Pro Teams and the Police - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Pro Teams and the Police

Five police officers dead in Dallas, another three in Baton Rouge, what could be a more appropriate time to have your employees express anti-police sentiment in public? An outrageous sentiment, right? Outrageous yes, but judging by the milquetoast responses from both the NFL and NBA on some of their players’ recent actions, it seems to represent the present mindset of many in both Leagues.

Case in point is the posting of Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell. The day before the Dallas Police shooting Crowell sent out an Instagram which displayed an image of a white police officer being graphically beheaded with a knife, along with the message, “They give police all types of weapons and they continually choose to kill us…#Weak.” Crowell later apologized for doing this, but not before criticizing the rest of us in his apology statement with, “we have to do better as a society.” Thanks for the advice, Isaiah!

Remarkably as of this writing Crowell still has not been cut by the Cleveland Browns, but all seems well as they did give him a stern talking-to where they expressed their disappointment and did go on to say that Crowell “must take steps to make a positive difference after a very negative and impactful post.” What that inane rhetoric means is anyone’s guess.

This is not the Cleveland Browns’ first beef with the cops. In 2014 Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins wore a T-shirt that said “Justice for Tamir Rice – John Crawford” onto the playing field prior to a Browns game, in reference to two African Americans from Ohio who died after confrontations with police. The previous Sunday, Johnson Bademosi, a cornerback for the Browns, wore a shirt with “I Can’t Breathe” on it, referencing Eric Garner who died in Staten Island during a police arrest. In all three cases, police were cleared of criminal wrongdoing by grand juries.

At that time, the Cleveland Police asked for an apology over the T-shirts. Any non-brain dead employer would have, at the very least, told their employees that political sloganeering while on the job, especially in front of the public, isn’t acceptable. Instead the Browns’ official response was, “We have great respect for the Cleveland Police Department and the work that they do to protect and serve our city. We also respect our players’ rights to project their support and bring awareness to issues that are important to them if done so in a responsible manner.”

Meanwhile in Minnesota, with the State already on tenterhooks from the shooting death of Philando Castile and with the aftermath of the Dallas slaughter still fresh in the news, the Minnesota Lynx WNBA basketball team decided it was just fine and dandy to allow their players, while on the job, to shove their controversial politics down the public’s throat. The storm began when police officers providing security at a Lynx game walked off the job after some of the players wore T-Shirts that had “Change starts with us, justice and accountability” printed on the along with the phrase Black Lives Matter and the Dallas Police Shield. Once again instead of being asked by their employers to keep their politics outside the office, the players were encouraged to keep the dialogue going. “The Lynx organization was made aware about the concerns of the off-duty Minneapolis police officers,” the team said. “While our players’ message mourned the loss of life due to last week’s shootings, we respect the right of those individual officers to express their own beliefs in their own way. We continue to urge a constructive discussion about the issues raised by these tragedies.”

One wonders if the constructive discussions the Lynx management is encouraging includes that of Black Lives Matter leader Deray Mckesson who has tweeted such gems in the past as “The police are engaged in ethnic cleansing” and “The police are killing people. Officer Friendly is akin to the myth of the American Dream.”

Incidentally, as the Lynx game in question was going on, police were being assaulted in nearby St. Paul by Black Lives Matter protesters who threw rocks and bricks at them.

What is illuminating about professional sports teams encouraging political activism from their players while on the job, is that it’s perfectly understood this isn’t a two-way street. If, for instance, a Lynx player wore a T-shirt pregame protesting gay marriage, or a Browns player wore a T-shirt during warm-ups protesting transgender restrooms, both the NFL and NBA would have shut them down in a heartbeat. In this one is reminded of Orwell’s Animal Farm where all are equal, but some are more equal than others.

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