Tag Archives: Ferguson

NBA Stars Take a Stand With “I Can’t Breathe T-Shirts”

By Nick Muhl

In a show of support for Eric Garner and his family, NBA stars LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams and several other players wore black “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts during the Cleveland Cavaliers game versus the Brooklyn Nets Saturday night.

The players wore the shirts during their pre-game warm ups, copying the move by Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. Rose was the first to wear the shirt during his pre-game warm up before the Bulls game on Saturday.

While LeBron had made many statements throughout the prior week, regarding his displeasure with several highlighted law enforcement related deaths including Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, the decision to wear the shirts came as a surprise to many.

James was interviewed following the game and attributed the symbolic act to “the power of social media.”

James was quoted Sunday requesting a shirt like Rose, through the social media app Twitter, Brooklyn Nets guard Jarrett Jack was able to supply and coordinate wearing the shirts in a sign of peaceful protest.

When the players for both teams came out for pre-game warm ups, the social media world erupted. While the twitter world was scattered with both positive and negative reactions, the #ICantBreathe trend rose back to the top trend on Twitter following the pre-game warm ups, and still remains in the top 5.

Just as LeBron attributed the success of the silent protest to social media, James, Rose, and the other NBA players knew their act of protest would draw attention to the major racial issues and tensions going on recently in the United States – especially on social media.

The NBA is not the only professional sports league to be the topic of headlines regarding players act of protests in the past several weeks. Most notably the NFL’s St. Louis Rams had several players including wide receivers Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt, who demonstrated the “hands up, don’t shoot” sign of protest during pre-game introductions for the team last Sunday.The NFL did not fine any of the Rams players.

According to USA Today’s Sam Amick, the NBA will not fine any of the players for wearing the t-shirts at this time. However, Amick will not provide the name of his source.

LeBron had this to say about the protest following the game,

“As a society we have to do better. We have to be better for one another no matter what race you are. But it’s more of a shoutout to the family more than anything because they’re the ones who should be getting the energy and effort.”

Coverage of the many protests have highlighted the news now for several weeks, and can be expected to for at least several more weeks. It remains to be seen if the NBA players act of protest will continue and how much media attention, as well as social media reaction, it will receive.

Athletes Give Their Two Cents On Ferguson

By Matt Rogers

As we all know by now, there was a tragic event that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9 of this year. The event was the shooting death of an unarmed man named Michael Brown by a Ferguson Police officer, Darren Wilson. Since this happened, there have been countless riots and protests against not only the police officer that shot Brown, but the police force as a whole.

On November 25, it was determined that the officer that shot, and killed, Michael Brown will not be indicted on criminal charges for the incident. This has received tons of media coverage because of the implications of what may come as a result of the decision to not indict the officer. Riots have proceeded in Ferguson. Burning of police cars, arson and vandalism of public building, and police standoffs have raged on.

Not only has this tragic event received extensive media coverage, it has caught the eye of many other public figures, including many athletes. Twitter has been blowing up with tweets from athletes about the decision. LeBron James, maybe the most recognizable athlete on the entire planet, tweeted that “it hit home”, but he also noted that “violence is not the answer”. Matt Barnes, a forward for the Los Angeles Clippers, tweeted that it is “okay to kill people…. as long as the person being killed is of color & the person behind the trigger has a badge”.

These opinions expressed by these two NBA athlete definitely imply that they are not happy with the decision handed down not to indict officer Darren Wilson, a white man, that killed Brown, a black man.

In my opinion, although I do agree with some of what the athletes are tweeting and saying, I do not agree with the way that they expressed their thoughts on the subject. I believe that the subject is worthy of much more than a 160 character tweet. I also believe that athletes too often take to social media to express their impulses, but given the way things are in today’s society, social media seems to have become the most popular way for people to express their inner thoughts and beliefs.

The expansion of social media, mainly Facebook and Twitter, has resulted in too many “foot in mouth” moments because people (athletes) often post off impulse rather than thinking through what they are actually saying or posting. I am also a firm believer that athletes should be more aware of what they say on social media because one of their obligations as role models for children is to exhibit composure in adverse situations. What James said did not come off as offensive, but what Barnes posted could have been something that a large number of people could have taken offense to.

I was nowhere near Ferguson, Missouri the day that this shooting occurred. I do not know what lead up to the shooting or why Wilson felt threatened by Brown. I do know that sensationalism is something that is abundant in media coverage, especially today, so certain parts of stories are made from nothing. I suggest that athletes offer little to no public thoughts on situations like this one on social media. If they want justice, like the rest of us, they should let the public hear the word come out of their mouths. It should not be that hard for LeBron James to find a camera to voice his thoughts to, the press is constantly looking for anything new from King James.

Athletes take to social media over Ferguson Verdict

By Kaleb Page

Voicing our thoughts is something all of us do when it comes to something big happening in our country. No different is this period in time when the Ferguson case coming to a close brought on many reactions from not only people in the United States, but around the world as well. One thing I won’t get into specifics on is the case or the verdict itself, but one thing I will say is that this case and the end result will be around for a long time.

After the verdict was read, not only were everyday people like you and I taking to social media to look at the reactions, discussions and to voice opinions; athletes were doing it too.

Yahoo Sports and Sports Illustrated have screen shots of some athletes tweets in reaction to the verdict and the subsequent actions in the community of Ferguson. Now I know it is good that sports outlets cover the different aspects of news that involve athletes, and this is something to cover since there are prominent athletes speaking on a big social issue at the time in this country. However, I do find a problem in doing this and highlighting certain types of things said.

When a big name athlete with a lot of influence like Kobe Bryant says, “The system enables young black men to be killed behind the mask of law” or Serena Williams says, “Wow. Just wow. Shameful. What will it take???.” What type of role does that play in feeding on to the madness we have seen on social media and in the Ferguson community?

These athletes know they hold a lot of social influence whether it is fair or not. They definitely can and do spark thoughts for people by what they say. That is why for me personally I wish athletes would just stay away from subjects like these when it is still in the heat of the moment. Don’t get into the specifics, don’t try to incite more hostile reaction, if anything just do a simple neutral message. Tweets like the ones above however, just add to the quick actions by people who don’t give time to really think on it.

I know that is human to want to speak your mind on something out there, but like I said I don’t think that it is an athletes place to jump in on this issue especially on social media. I hope that these tweets and other social media outlet outpourings by athletes similar to Kobe’s and Serena’s don’t get publicized more than they already have. Because if there is one thing sport shouldn’t be, it shouldn’t be a dividing factor on top of the many factors dividing us already.

Sport should be something that brings us all together no matter the race. I hope that athletes realize that before they post on this issue.

The video above is from ESPN First Take, and it looks at how athletes speak on social media about major issues. This video is primarily about when Ferguson just began and athlete reaction at that time. I recommend watching it all as it speaks to what I wrote above as far as reaction to the conclusion of this case (or start at 5:12 on the video).