Politics

These Athletes Have Used Their Celebrity Status to Attack Those Who Serve the Country

Introduction

Over the course of the past decade, athletics have unfortunately followed in the same direction as the rest of American pop-culture.  These days, the sports world is full of grandstanding political statements, faux-movements, and the type of virtue-signaling that alienates people, creates division, and greatly diminishes the magic that sport used to possess in this country.

The latest trend in sports today is to berate, slander, and disrespect those who serve our nation.  Police take the brunt of the abuse, but athletes famous for the muscles south of their skulls have even stooped to turning their ire on our nation’s military.  Without further ado, here are 13 athletes who have used their different degrees of celebrity status to attack those who serve the country.

Joakim Noah

The New York Knicks’ newly acquired star decided to stand up Cadets for dinner at West Point last September when the team made a training camp visit to the Military Academy in the offseason.  The Knicks have been doing training camp at West Point since 2014 and Noah is the only player to pull this type of stunt in three seasons.

Noah claims he’s not anti-troop, just anti-war.  When Florida Gators met with President George W. Bush back in 2007 after winning the NCAA National Championship, Noah “protested” the Iraq War by wearing his shirt untucked.  I’m not against his stance outright, it just seems pretentious for the stand taken to be so petty, inconsequential, and juvenile in nature.

Anti-war people aren’t immoral, just naïve.  The US isn’t perfect and the politicians sending kids to die on foreign soil are anything but good actors many times.  However, war is sometimes the only option and refusing to fight is unacceptable in those cases.  Making a political statement by punishing the kids preparing to serve this country was low rent.  Check out the US Military Academy’s official statement:

“The U.S. Military Academy at West Point develops leaders of character for the defense of our nation. We are disappointed and feel Mr. Noah’s choice of West Point to make a statement is inappropriate because of the great sacrifice that has originated from this institution over our nation’s history.”

Derrick Rose

When Derrick Rose made headlines for wearing the “I Can’t Breathe” tee shirt during warm-ups last year, he was largely applauded by the press.  Two years later, he was being investigated for an alleged rape, and the detective assigned to his case was found dead of an apparent suicide in the LA metro area.

I’m not saying Rose or his case had anything to do with the death of Det. Nadine Hernandez. What I am saying is this.  Per one Badge of Life report, a police officer commits suicide every 81 hours in the US.  Between ’09 and ’12 the annual number ranged from 108-143 officers who took their own life and another thousand officers suffering from PTSD for every suicide tallied annually.  Why not wear a tee shirt to raise awareness for this tragic pattern, Mr. Rose?

Conversely, per the Washington Post database for officer involved shootings, 963 people were shot and killed by police in 2016. Of that number, 233 were black – and of that number, only 17 were black and unarmed.  Of the total number, 465 were white.  22 of those whites were unarmed. While a cop commits suicide every 81 hours in this country, the same math tells us an unarmed black male is killed by the police every 516 hours. This narrative of black genocide at the hands of police doesn’t add up – yet the police suicide epidemic narrative doesn’t exist.

While Rose has personal experience in dealing with a police officer who committed suicide, I don’t know whether he’s had personal experience with the police killing an unarmed acquaintance of his.  Either way, if the outpouring of public grandstanding were done in accordance with which issue was causing more loss of life, more orphan children, and more distraught family members looking for answers – perhaps Rose would be wearing an “I Can’t Live” tee shirt to raise awareness for the approximately 130 cops who take their own lives each year.

Isaiah Crowell

In one of the more extreme displays of animosity against police officers on this list.  The Cleveland Browns RB made headlines for posting an image to Instagram of a white police officer’s throat gushing with blood as a black clad killer donning the Egyptian pennant of Ankh stands behind him covering his mouth as he slices away.  Of course, the pennant around the killer’s neck has been hijacked by black supremacist groups over the years.

The picture Crowell chose to share mimics the infamous ISIS still of “Jihadi John” beheading of James Foley back in 2014.  The caption he chose to type said this:

“Mood: They give polices all types of weapons and they choose to kill us… #Weak”

Not surprisingly, the IG post caused quite a controversy for the Browns organization, who had no choice but to condemn it.  In the fallout, Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Stephen Loomis threatened to pull police from providing security at Browns home games if Crowell didn’t “make it right.” I’d have gone a step further and demanded they let him go from the team if they wanted to retain the services of Cleveland PD instead.

So where do we stand today with this mess? The double standard is striking.  While the NFL downplayed the incident and accepted Crowell’s apology for an “inappropriate and insensitive” social media post, I wonder if they sent him to sensitivity training like they did Riley Cooper for drunkenly barking out a racial slur in 2014? Cooper was released the following season – and Crowell?  Well, 2017 is set to be a contract year, and it seems the industry is rallying around him to have a breakout performance.

Dwayne Wade

NBA players Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James, and Chris Paul took misguided virtue-signaling to new heights at the ESPN ESPY awards last July.  On a night where athletes were being honored for their various performance related feats throughout the year, the four self-aggrandizing men fashioned themselves as civil rights icons fighting a fictional racist villain that does not exist.  Here’s what Dwayne Wade had to say about the police in America today after clearly doing his homework to learn Black Lives Matter rhetoric:

“The racial profiling has to stop. The shoot-to-kill mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value of black and brown bodies has to stop. But also, the retaliation has to stop. The endless gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, it has to stop. Enough. Enough is enough. Now, as athletes, it’s on us to challenge each other to do even more than we already do in our own communities. And the conversation, it cannot stop as our schedules get busy again. It won’t always be convenient. It won’t. It won’t always be comfortable, but it is necessary.”

It was subtle, but at least Wade had the sense to point out that nothing kills more black men than black men.  Nonetheless, his Wade’s World Foundation, took in $452,320 in donations during all of 2014. Of that, only 112K was actually spent on charity.  It appears that Wade isn’t being “challenged to do more in his community” and is instead putting his name behind a non-profit for his sister, Trigil Wade – who runs it — to make a living.  How about you show charity isn’t convenient by ending the con-job against the people you take credit for helping, Mr. Wade?

T.B. Lefever

T.B. Lefever is a Senior OpsLens Contributor and active police officer in the Metro-Atlanta area. Throughout his career, Lefever has served as a SWAT Hostage Negotiator, a member of the Crime Suppression Unit, a School Resource Officer, and a Uniformed Patrol Officer. T.B. is also a certified Field Training Officer. He has a BA in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Rutgers University. Follow T.B. on Twitter @tblefever.

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