Eric Garner. Michael Brown.
Derrick Rose. The St. Louis Rams.
By now we've all heard about the officers involved in the killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown not being indicted. We've heard about the protests of the decisions and the support of the officers. I'm not here to talk about race or if I think the jury was right or wrong. I do want to look at a few things though.
So, two weeks ago officer Darren Wilson was not indicted for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. We've been constantly hearing about the violent protests in Missouri and other places. Setting things on fire, looting, etc. But let's talk about a more "peaceful" type of support I've seen.
A few players of the St. Louis Rams came out of the tunnel last week with their hands raised in the air which we all know to the the signal for "Don't Shoot". This same gesture can be seen in the video of Michael Brown's last moments. Now these players did't say anything. They didn't sit the game out. They weren't on the street setting things on fire. They simply raised their hands - in support.
Now, there are a few people a bit upset about this. Police committees, fans, commentators, etc. They even want these players to be punished in some sort of way. Suspend them from games. So, you want these players to not be able to play because they are supporting a protest? Because they feel that something was wrong and unjust? Did someone tell the people that helped raise money for the officer (when he was suspended WITH pay) that they weren't allowed to work? You're allowed to support a cause but because they are people that we deem as famous they can't do the same without some sort of punishment?
A bit more recently, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose warmed up in a black t-shirt with the words "I Can't Breathe" on the front. These words can be heard on the video of Eric Garner being choked by an officer before losing his life. Rose didn't say anything during the warm-up, didn't speak to reporters after the game. Just wore his shirt and went on about his business.
Now here's the thing that gets me. People are coming out and saying that Rose wore the shirt but is not smart enough to articulate why and probably doesn't even know why. Before I continue allow me to say - anyone that knows me knows that I loathe nothing more than for D. Rose to open his mouth and speak. I believe that the school system failed him as a student because he is certainly not the brightest bulb lighting up the basketball court. But how can anyone believe that something as powerful as that phrase on a shirt be something that even Rose doesn't understand? In the midst of all that is happening you think he bought that shirt for style?
In both situations I really believe that all of these athletes have it right. You don't have to be loud and acting crazy to get a point across. A silent supporter can do just as much as a violent one. And I think Magic Johnson hit the nail right on the head recently.
"They have to get involved socially, They have to because it affects them, too. And it affects their families. They grew up in these situations; they must not forget that. They [were] once poor, they went to inner-city schools that didn't have technology or computers, they didn't have good books. See, I went through that whole situation. They went through that as well. A lot of their cousins are still going through that, so they must not forget that. I hope that they would do more."
What really grinds my gears is that people being upset that these players are showing support is really how all of this started. Some sort of inequality. Some people can do something and get away with it - others can't.