By Leland Stein III, For TheAfricanAmericanAthlete.com
A friend sent me an article on Yahoo.com where a group has bastardized Black Lives Matter movement into Blue Lives Matter.
First, I want to say I have too many friends and family that have been, or currently, serving in the military or police force. My grandfather fought in World War II, uncles and cousins in Vietnam and Korea. Many more are policemen, so I truly respect and get their sacrifice for this country.
However, the complete inability of Americans to listen to, respect, receive, regard or take note of any opinion other than their own is disconcerting and troubling.
I have twin grandsons that are four-years-old. At one point I thought we were really leaving the world a better place for their dreams, goals, and aspirations. But when I see the complete discord and inharmoniousness people are displaying I have to wonder where we are headed?
Our First Amendment gives all the right of free speech; however, with that, we all have to understand freedom is not free. It comes with the responsibility of respectful discourse, and being able to listen to others that may have different opinions.
Also, what has happened to the facts? Two plus two equals four. The sun rises in the East. Airplanes use fuel, and grits and butter are made for each other. Yet, in this getting stranger everyday universe “alternative facts” has crept into today’s lexicon.
Look no further than the article in Yahoo.com where the founder of a proposed pro-police organization blasted NFL player protests, and turned down a partnership offer from the New York Jets.
Blue Lives Matter NYC recently was approached by the Jets about a partnership. Instead of using the opportunity to uplift the men in blue, the founder, Joe Imperatrice jumped on the Trump train and made it all about the NFL players.
He issued a vile email that marginalizes minority American’s very real concerns and apprehensions relating to sometimes excessive and one-sided interactions with a small percentage of police.
In spite of the fact many veterans, and some police, have rallied around the players right to First Amendment non-violent protest, the divisive rhetoric seeded by Donald Trump has grown into its own tree.
Via emails shared with The New York Post, Blue Lives Matter founder wrote:
“Although I’d love to work with an NFL team right now I feel it is not the right time. All over the United States players feel entitled to disrespect our first responders, our military members both past and present and our flag. These players make more money in a season than some people make in a lifetime and their ‘Issues’ are made up, exaggerated, and more times than not false.”
He continued: “Once again I do appreciate the offer but revenue we have could better be spent on the families of officers killed in the line of duty protecting the ignorance of these individuals rather than contributing to their paycheck.”
Blue Lives Matter founder in July, appeared on a Fox News segment blaming the media for a war on cops saying: “Just like Donald Trump gets beat up every day, so does law enforcement.”
What a sorry example of someone not listening to his fellow man, instead he went to the tired racial juggernaut. Claiming the NFL player’s protests are fake and over exaggerated . . . what?
In other words, what he is saying is the brothers’ issues are not worth his time of day.
Instead of even acknowledging some real issues, the Blue Lives Matter leader jumped on the player’s salary (what do their salaries have to do with anything?); replayed this anti-military, first responders, flag, country. The final nail in the coffin was him suggesting the protesting players were ignorant (most of these men spent at least three years in college).
Why am I even surprised?
This man is the same person who stated in a 2017 Fox News segment defended the NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” policy that gives officers authority to detain and search pedestrians using their judgment of “reasonable suspicion.” Here are the facts: A report uncovered that 84 percent of the people stopped and frisked in New York were black or Hispanic, while only 10 percent were white.
It appears that some of our white brethren just will not listen or acknowledge that there are a small number of officers that do not always do the right thing. How has this fact turned into a condemnation of all officers?
In this free-flowing society teachers, doctors, lawyers, CEO’s, garbage men, sports owners etc. all make mistakes or takes a wrong turn. This is a fact. So why will Americans not admit that a few of our men in blue make mistakes too?
To all our brothers and sisters in this life, once again: the NFL players never, ever attacked the military, men or women in blue, the flag or first responders (that was a new addition in the discourse).
Randy Moss noted that he received hate mail after he used the platform of the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony to raise awareness of 10 black people who were unjustly killed by police or died after being taken into custody.
In America, non-violent protest has been its bedrock, yet when a few brothers do it, it has morphed into a national crisis and upheaval.
The crisis is not people engaging in non-violent demonstration. The crisis is seeing injustice to our fellow Americans and ignoring it.