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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?
Wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” tee shirt while warming up for a game your paid millions to play is not activism and it is not fair to either side involved when you blame the media for questioning you about it. Honoring Muhammed Ali, a self-avowed racial separatist, as a civil rights and cultural hero is equal parts unfair and inaccurate. But that’s what Lebron James does.
Ali had more in common with David Duke, Richard Spencer, or Robert Byrd than he did with MLK – yet people like James, enamored with the nonsensical social justice agenda, continue to advance this myth and ignore the double standard in front of their eyes. James is paid to slam dunk basketballs – not social or political subjects – and he’s better all-around when he adheres to this. While not directly calling out the police the way he has done in the past, here’s what he had to say on that June 16th 2016 at the ESPY’s.
“We all feel helpless and frustrated by the violence. We do. But that’s not acceptable. It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what are we doing to create change. It’s not about being a role model. It’s not about our responsibility to a tradition of activism. I know tonight we’re honoring Muhammad Ali. The GOAT. But to do his legacy any justice, let’s use this moment as a call to action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves. It’s for these issues. Speak up. Use our influence. And renounce all violence. And most importantly, go back to our communities, invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them. We all have to do better. Thank you.”
While giving his portion of the ESPY speech that occurred the week of the officer involved shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, Anthony also looked to benefit in the PR department from a hot-button issue he had never really lifted a finger for before. Anyone willing to watch the Sterling shooting and take a moment to do some research on either policing or firearms – take your pick – knows that this was a necessary shoot and that officers felt their lives were in danger for good reason while wrestling with the armed suspect that they had been called to the scene to deal with.
As far as Castile goes, whether you agree with the cop’s decision to pull the trigger, whether you feel he was worthy of being a police officer in the first place, or whether you buy the angelic biography crafted for the late Castile by the media – the fact remains that the officer who shot him was not a white officer but Hispanic. The same people shouting down police officers in this country for racism against blacks are claiming police racism against Hispanics and other minority groups as well. In doing so, they create a white police officer super-villain in their own misguided minds. You cannot pick and choose when it is advantageous to ignore race or make it a focal point of your argument. Yet, Anthony had this to say:
“Good evening. Tonight is a celebration of sports, celebrating our accomplishments and our victories. But, in this moment of celebration, we asked to start the show tonight this way, the four of us talking to our fellow athletes, with the country watching. Because we cannot ignore the reality of the current state of America. The events of the past week have put a spotlight on the injustice, distrust and anger that plague so many of us. The system is broken. The problems are not new. The violence is not new. And the racial divide definitely is not new. But the urgency to create change is at an all-time high.”
Paul decided to Bring up Michael Brown, who viciously attacked a police officer and went for his gun. He also decided to bring up Trayvon Martin who was killed by a Hispanic civilian he decided to attack. These stories became massive anti-police stories because the media saw dollar signs and people like Wade stupid enough to buy in. It’s regretful that the Hollywood and Pro-Sports Elite fishbowl world only knows what they are told to know by outlets who profit in division. Here’s what he had to say:
“We stand here tonight accepting our role in uniting communities, to be the change we need to see. We stand before you as fathers, sons, husbands, brothers, uncles and in my case, as an African-American man and the nephew of a police officer, who is one of the hundreds of thousands of great officers serving this country. But, Trayvon Martin. Michael Brown. Tamir Rice. Eric Garner. Laquan McDonald. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. This is also our reality. Generations ago, legends like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe and countless others, they set a model for what athletes should stand for. So we choose to follow in their footsteps.”
If I were Paul’s uncle, I’d tell him, “Leave me out of your social justice warrior crusade, son”.
Manuel became the first black woman to win an individual gold medal in swimming at this past Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro. As a matter of fact, I remember watching it and rooting for her as she swam her tail off the same way I root for all Americans.
There’s something about seeing an athlete celebrate winning a medal in the Olympics in less glamorous sports such as swimming or track that touches me more deeply than seeing a wealthy professional win a ring in the Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series, etc. Olympic athletes seem more down to earth, more accessible – every day heroes dedicating their lives in pursuit of greatness and love of the sport, rather than for big money contracts, fame, and corporate endorsements.
I felt great for Manuel the way I always do when one of our own takes home a medal – but the more she spoke, the more unamerican she came off. The speech started off with this:
“This medal is not just for me. It is for some of the African-Americans who have come before me,” she added, referencing former Olympians Maritza Correia and Cullen Jones. “This medal is for the people who come behind me and get into the sport and hopefully find love and drive to get to this point.”
Then it went over to this:
“The title of black swimmer suggests that I am not supposed to win golds or break records, but that’s not true because I train hard and want to win just like everyone else.”
And finally ended on this:
“It means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality,” Manuel said. “This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on. My color just comes with the territory.”
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking a moment to acknowledge that she’s the first black female gold medalist in swimming. That’s a record to be proud of. It’s where she goes from there that reveals her as classless in my eyes.
The Olympics is about competing for national pride on the world stage – it always has been and always will be. Patriotic American athletes at least take a moment to acknowledge their country when they get that big win. It’s how we share the moment together as Americans. It renews us and builds cohesiveness – but Manuel only pays tribute to black swimmers before pulling out the victim card on how the swimming world sets low expectations for people of her skin color. Finally, she takes her moment in the sun to deliver a good kick in the ribs to police officers – and the media fawns over her.
Try and imagine this white cop cheering you on as you swam for glory in Rio, Ms. Manuel. As hard as it may be for you to believe, I didn’t see black. I just saw red, white, and blue.
No such list can be complete without the mention of Colin Kaepernick – who I believe suffers from the same complex Sefolosha or white athletes face in the predominantly black professional sports industry where they feel perhaps bullied into adherence to the liberal doctrine of identity politics. His official stance on refusing to stand for the National Anthem is this:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
While his official stance on why he is so over-the-top regarding race relations in America is this:
“What do I represent?’ And you know what? My racial heritage is something I want people to be well aware of. I do want to be a representative of the African community, and I want to hold myself and dress myself in a way that reflects that. I want black kids to see me and think: ‘Okay, he’s carrying himself as a black man, and that’s how a black man should carry himself.’”
Being the product of a bi-racial inception and raised by two white adoptive parents in today’s identity politics obsessed world seems to have taken its toll on this confused individual. It seems Kaepernick is hellbent with proving his “blackness” above all else. Being on the receiving end of a good old fashioned white-guilting can be brutal, but Colin clearly has not taken it well. If the “blackest” group in American society today decided it was moving to Pennsylvania to live with the Amish, Kaepernick would have changed his last name to “Yoder” yesterday. His behavior has been an astonishing thing to witness and it’s a microcosm of the insanity taking place in our society today.
As a member of the Women’s National Soccer Team, you only get the spotlight once every couple of years. The Olympics and the Women’s World Cup are your time to really shine. If you’re like Megan Rapinoe, that leaves a lot of down time away from the cameras and the spotlight where you’re relegated to a fringe existence as a midfielder for the Seattle Reign FC. For some, that’s a dream come true, but attention-seekers like “Pinoe” require more praise and adoration.
Around the time when Kaepernick began his kneeling campaign and after Wade, James, Paul, and Anthony had their fantasy Civil Rights moment at the ESPY’s, Rapinoe saw a chance to be relevant as well. Last September, Rapinoe pulled a Kaepernick at the Georgia Dome during a USWNT matchup with the Netherlands. The National Anthem played and Rapinoe took a knee. It was as brave as it was original.
To really milk the spectacle for every last drop, Rapinoe then took to the LA Times to write possibly the most patronizing and self-important piece ever written. In it, she refers to herself as “one of the women you have referred to as an American hero, more than once”, claims kneeling at games is being part of the solution to a deadly epidemic (17 unarmed black males were killed by police that year), and even quotes Emma Lazarus by saying, “Until we are all free, we are none of us free” as if we are all living through the Antebellum south. Finally, using the Tyre King case to bolster her piece, Rapinoe leaves out the fact that the boy encountered with a BB Gun pistol in his hand while they were responding to reports of an armed robbery – and that the Columbus officer who shot him once saved the life of another black child attempting to hang himself.
Virtue-signaling will always be more popular than soccer in America.
Former Atlanta Hawks standout Thabo Sefolosha is a truly interesting case. Born and raised in Switzerland, he speaks three languages – French, English, and Italian. The man has played professional basketball in Italy, Turkey, Switzerland, and the US.
Back in 2015, Thabo was involved in a physical altercation with NYPD officers when asked to leave a posh Chelsea bar right after a stabbing had occurred. Eventually, it took five cops on scene to place Sefolosha into custody for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and other charges outside. Video exists of the altercation in which Thabo sustained a fractured tibia is his left leg that ended his season. At no point does there appear to be any striking of the legs of the much larger man by the police during the tussle from what is captured on the video.
There’s a couple of things to comment on here. Number 1: As soon as the cuffs went on, the altercation was over. Five officers did what they had to do to get a tree of a man into custody. None of them were unhinged or out of control and it appeared by the book. Secondly, old Thabo should have known better than to challenge the police in the first place after living in several countries to include Turkey. I’d like to see how Turkish police deal with a civilian resisting arrest. My bet is Thabo wouldn’t dare to find out. Finally, the charges were dismissed. To me, this is a sign of privilege running contrary to claims he’s made about his blackness putting a target on his back. There’s no way an average Joe would have been able to swing that dismissal in court – but it doesn’t end there.
High powered attorneys, D-Level celebrity status, bad PR for the NYPD, and yes – Thabo’s blackness in combination with all those things at a time when police are consistently taking it on the chin – lead to him being awarded a $4 million settlement. He originally sued for $50 million. It’s important to note that large cites settle over everything. I once saw the City of Atlanta make a $250K when they were sued by a prospective police officer who was passed on hiring when his blood tests came back HIV positive during the hiring process. It’s no wonder everyone sues these days.
This entire list could be of nothing but NBA ball players as the league is virtually a who’s who of cop-disapproving adversaries when put in front of a camera or microphone. Rather than put the brakes on it, the NBA endorses it. For people like Irving, cops are the first people to be thrown under the bus when they have to get their hands dirty, yet the first people he’ll call when he’s being stalked on social media.
It’s no surprise that, Irving, a man so impressionable to have once believed that the earth was flat, is easily baited into believing this idea that there is a massively racist police force out to murder black men in our country. The fact is this. Irving’s expertise in police use of force policy is about as deep as his expertise in explaining why the flat earth theory is legit:
“Because it’s right in front of our faces…I’m telling you….they lie to us.”
The police…and scientists of this country are brutal indeed, Mr. Irving.
Kenny Britt and the Los Angeles Rams (Formerly St. Louis Rams at the time of the protest)
“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” was a lie. It was a story told by a liar. It has since been discredited by dozens of eyewitnesses. With that being said, the media bangs the drum to this day – proving that there are some outlets who don’t want us to know the truth. If you expected Rams players Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, Chris Givens, Stedman Bailey, and Tavon Austin to have done their homework before running out of the tunnel doing the gesture before a game against the Raiders back in 2014, think again.
The fact that anyone considers what Britt has to say on anything is bewildering. Britt had been investigated or charged by police on 7 separate occasions since 2010. Let’s take a look at a partial list.
- April 12, 2011 – Eluding a Police Officer, Lying to an Officer Hindering Apprehension, Obstructing Government Function Following a Stop in New Jersey
- June 8, 2011 – Resisting Arrest, Tampering with Evidence, Obstruction in New Jersey.
- February, 2011 – Theft By Deception in Tennessee
- June, 2012 – Outstanding Warrants for false statements in New Jersey
- July, 2012 – DUI in Kentucky
No wonder he doesn’t like the police.
A solid majority of professional athletes are not philosophers, academics, life-gurus, educators, or role models. They are entertainers and spectacular physical specimens who need to be reminded their place as often as possible. ESPN may get it twisted, but there are much better arbiters of leadership and citizenship than the 13 that made this list.