ESPN Analyst Angered by Michael Jordan Donating to Police, Not Black Lives Matter

Leave it to the leftists at ESPN to take a perfectly benign, meaningful, and constructive statement and deride it for not being radical enough. Well, leave it to one leftist. ESPN analyst Kevin Blackistone, who thinks that America has a “rapacious appetite” for slave drama, and thinks the National Anthem is a “war anthem,” was part of the panel on Monday’s edition of Around the Horn.

The show led off with discussion of Michael Jordan’s statement on police-involved shootings and race. At first, it appeared that an ESPN panel would actually have a sensible, non-vomit-inducing discussion about a sensitive matter.

Then Kevin Blackistone spoke:

Host: Let's start with Michael Jordan saying he can no longer stay silent, speaking out on shootings of African-Americans and the targeting of police and racial tensions in America on the undefeated. And said if we can come together as Americans and improve peaceful dialogue and education, and he's donating $1 million each for the institute for community-police relations and the NAACP legal defense fund. Frank, you've read this. What do you think of it?

Frank Isola: Well, I think -- I don't think it could hurt. How much it would help, I'm not so sure. Michael Jordan as a 20-year-old, as a 30-year-old saying something along these lines, I think it would have a little bit more of an impact. But he is putting money behind it, which is important. This all started with Carmelo Anthony, who wears the Michael Jordan gear, saying what he said on Instagram and also in the garden. I think for Michael Jordan, I think it's important, yes, he's taking a stand. But he's not picking sides in this. I think if people want Michael Jordan to stand there and be anti-police, that's not going to happen. Number one, his father was a murder victim. So I think Michael Jordan is very sensitive and he knows what other families are going through. When it comes to the police, the Chicago bulls have employed a former Chicago P.D. Officers in the past. Michael Jordan was friendly with them. No way that Michael Jordan is going to stand there, nor should he, and be anti-police. He's not going to do that.

Host:  Kevin Blackistone?

Kevin Blackistone: But you don't have to be anti-police to understand what the situation is. I'm hard-pressed to find out how you can be emotionally moved by the extra judicial killings of black men in this country and then cut a check for $1 million to the police. The police aren't in need of funding when it comes to this situation. I mean, you're talking about a city like the city of Baltimore, which is paid out over $12 million in settlements for police brutality lawsuits between 2010 and 2014. If they had policed their communities a lot better and treated black people a lot more humanely, then they would have a lot more money to spend for their police department. And as far as giving money to the defense fund of the NAACP, which basically was borne out of Thurgood Marshall back in the 1940's, why not give the black lives matter a legal arm and fund and seed some funding to start that as a new civil rights movement for a new era and a new century?

Host: Israel Gutierrez?

Israel Gutierrez:  Kevin, I understand what you're saying. I also don't know -- I understand that he is Michael Jordan. But what do you expect him to do? I know what you just said, in terms of, you know, things may be taking more of a stance or giving the money to other places. But here we've got Michael Jordan, arguably the most popular athlete we've known in this country, not necessarily taking a stand but speaking on the issue and doing something productive. And, you know, the climate that we're in right now doesn't really lend itself to really people listening very well. And if you take an extreme side, or one side altogether, you're more often creating an argument rather than a discussion. The final goal remains what Michael Jordan says, unifying, sort of getting rid of profiling and getting the police to understand better and getting, you know, African-American communities to possibly community better with police. Whatever the case may be, the goal remains the same. While Michael Jordan may not have done the perfect thing here, it still stands as a very meaningful, you know, support of the situation.

Host: And Bill Plaschke?

Bill Plaschke: Yeah. I was also impressed with it. You know, it was a statement for unity. He cut two checks for unity. Basically the four high-profile NBA players on the -- NBA players on the night of the ESPY's, it was what they said but he put $2 million behind it. I think this sends the world a message about how this country is trying to unify and get together on this issue. And, again, I think in the wake of the horrible African-American killings, on the other side, the police killings in Dallas and Baton Rouge and other places, I think this was an important step for both sides for unity. That's what we need, really good move from Michael Jordan.

Host: Kevin, can you expand on some of the comments you made earlier?

Kevin Blackistone: Sure. You know, if I could talk to Michael Jordan, I would say, why don't you talk to Haines underwear, who you represent, and talk to them about bringing back some of the 30 plants they closed down in the early 2000’s and outsourced those jobs overseas and bring them back to areas around urban America where maybe young black kids can get better jobs and not like you saw with Eric Gardner in New York have to sell looseys on the sidewalk in order to pay his family. I think those things would have a far more reaching impact on this situation than $2 million given to either of those institutions.

Why give money to the police? The fund that Jordan donated to is a newly established Institute for Community-Police relations, to help promote better relations between the police and the communities they patrol. In other words, it does the exact same thing that Blackistone and others have been demanding the police do for months now.

It’s not like Jordan is just handing a check to the cops.

As far as why not to give money to Black Lives Matters, how exactly does it help police-community relations, for Jordan to cut a check to the same group that once famously chanted:

“Pigs in a blanket, fry em’ like Bacon!!”

It’s also important to note, with the exception of Frank Isola, everyone on this panel is a hardened leftist. Well-documented in the Newsbusters database. And even they couldn’t follow Blackistone down that silly road.

Also incredible is that Blackistone seemingly tasks Michael Jordan with single-handedly improving the economic plight of black people. Barack Obama has not only not-improved the economic plight of black people in nearly eight years as President, it’s actually gotten worse. Yet, somehow, Michael Jordan, backed by the full faith and credit of the Hanes underwear company, is supposed to save the day?

Maybe if intellectuals in the black community told the truth about unions, and pricing themselves out of the market, more companies would have plants and factories in the inner cities. Unfortunately, instead of intellectuals, we have Kevin Blackistone.

Race Issues Sports Media ESPN Sports Michael Jordan


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