ESPN continued its love affair with all things Black Lives Matter on Tuesday’s edition of Around the Horn. Guest host Pablo S. Torre asked his panel for their reactions to the story of four off duty Minneapolis police officers that walked off their side job, working security for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, after Lynx players came out for warm-ups wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts:
Pablo: In Minneapolis this weekend, the WNBA Lynx donned T-shirts bearing the names of Steel and Sterling and the shield of the Dallas police department, along with the words "Black Lives Matter. And Maya Moore highlighted things. Automatic of which led four off-duty cops working at the arena as freelancers to walk off the job. That was commended by their union, which cited false narratives and "...the recklessness of rushing to judgment before the facts are in." L.Z., what is your reaction to a story like this?
L.Z.: Well, first of all I just want to say how proud I am that the WNBA's team was the first professional sports team in the state to have a unified statement. I think that the WNBA in general gets trashed a lot by guys who make fun of the attendance and they don't play basketball the same way. A group of women step up and do something the men have yet to do. This is the one-month anniversary of the people killed in Orlando. The first responders were heroes in that situation. I think we all agree that police officers are valued and loved in this country. With that being said, how is a message about addressing police brutality, how is a message about criminal justice reform offensive to people who work in this industry? If you truly care about the citizens of this country, then you want to make sure that your profession does everything that it can do to ensure the safety of everyone. Black Lives Matter does not mean that white lives do not matter. It means we have been treated for centuries as if our lives did not matter as much as others. I am glad once again that the women stepped up and did something that the men have yet to do. Brothers in Minnesota, where you at?
Paul: The Lynx did a great job of getting across their message in a great way, and the police responded by walking off their job. That is unconscionable to me. What part of the Dallas shield on the back of their Jersey is his a reckless narrative? I thought this speaks to the whole climate, maybe in that state and area, but all the Lynx were doing was expressing their feelings and make an important statement and doing it without hurting anybody. If they have off duty cops there at the arena, there is a reason for it. If they left, that would mean less security. They could be putting people at risk. So shame on the police in this situation. Shame on them.
Pablo: Bomani, how does that element affect your opinion of this, the off duty, freelance nature of those jobs?
Bomani: Generally when these conversations come up, we don't say people are police officers because they are or are not on clock. If you are sworn to protect, it is something that goes on all the time. What those women did was not at all incendiary. That was as much of a can we all get along as they could have done. They were giving credit to the Dallas police department, a law enforcement agency. One of the names on the shirt involved someone with the Minneapolis police department. Maybe that hit too close to home. It is hard to have a conversation when the other side is not inclined to listen.
Here’s a thought, if Black Lives Matter truly means that not just black lives matter, then why not change the name to All Lives Matter? If you start an organization that preaches the value of all lives, do you name it Puerto Rican Lives Matter?
Also hilarious is the notion, advanced by Bill Plaschke of the LA Times, that somehow these cops walking away from their security jobs put people in danger. Wait a minute, I thought it was the cops who were putting people in danger? Shouldn’t BLM, and their obvious sympathizers at ESPN, celebrate cops walking off the job? Now, everyone is going to live! Right?
As for Bomani Jones befuddlement as to why cops would be offended by a shirt with Black Lives Matter on it…I don’t know. Maybe it has something to do with their brethren getting shot at a BLM rally, having rocks thrown at them at BLM rallies, in addition to having Minnesota BLM members say they want them dead.
Other than that, no good reason for a cop to be offended by a Black Lives Matter shirt.