They happened to be near the scene of a stabbing of NBA player Chris Copeland, as they left a NYC nightclub. But the two men, and two women who were with them, had nothing to do with the Copeland incident. Sefolosha was injured at some point, when several officers took him down. One of the officers appears to have a night stick. The incident was caught on camera by TMZ, and is posted at the end of the story.
Now, more on Sefolosha in a moment. I just gotta say, isn’t it amazing how often black folk get injured, or worse yet, killed during police arrests? It doesn’t matter your station in life. You can be rich, or poor. All you need for this to happen is to be black. And to that, there are those who think there is not a disconnect between police and black people. The only thing that will ever change their minds is if they get caught up by the police. Most black folks will tell you the most will routine encounters with police have the potential to go dangerously bad.
But back to Thabo Sefolosha. The 31-year-old Swiss native was the 13th overall pick of the Chicago Bulls in 2006. He has been a solid role player for much of his career, never averaging more than 8.5 points a game, with the Bulls, Oklahoma City and now, the Hawks.
While his NBA career has been rather ordinary. His courage, principle and conviction is extraordinary. Sefolosha could have taken the easy way out of his arrest, in which he was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental administration. Prosecutors were willing to give Sefolosha, in essence, a walk. All he would have to do is plead guilty, and do one day of community service. His record would also be expunged.
But Sefolosha decided not even the possibility of going to jail, or losing his career in the NBA, was worth pleading guilty to a crime he did not commit. So, he went to trial, and he won. It only took the jury 30 minutes to find Sefolosha not guilty on all charges.
That took some courage. We often talk about African American athletes not stepping up to take on issues with the conviction of some of the past African American athletes. The comparison of today and the ’50s and ’60s are sometimes unfair because the circumstances are so different, there is some validity to that. Some athletes think their brand is more important than the person. Not Sefolosha. He obviously believed in truth and justice. Most importantly, he believed in himself. The video: