Welp, here we go again. Yet another video of the police using a person of color as target practice is devastating a community and Black America. But this time, I want you to pay attention to who you don’t see or hear from, which are white athletes.
On Monday, Elizabeth City, a small town in North Carolina, declared a state of emergency ahead of the release of body camera footage of police murdering Andrew Brown Jr. last week. I used the term “murder” for a reason, as it’s time to stop sugarcoating these constant acts of violence, hate, and inequality. You know it’s a murder when Brown’s family were only allowed to watch about 20 seconds of the body camera footage.
According to reports, Brown was sitting in his car in a driveway as a Sheriff’s truck blocked him in as his hands were on the steering wheel. Deputies then ran up to the car shooting. And as he was trying to drive away from being shot, Brown even attempted to avoid hitting officers with his car. Police continued to shoot at him with assault rifles and were still shooting after he crashed into a tree.
The reason for this senseless killing? A damn search warrant. So far, at least seven deputies have been placed on administrative leave and three have resigned.
Imagine if Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins would have used his platform when Daunte Wright was killed by police in Minnesota. Think about the impact that could have been if Cubs infielder Kris Bryant attempted to publicly hold the Chicago Police Department accountable when the video of Adam Toledo’s death was revealed. What if Cavs forward Kevin Love had worn a “Defund The Police” shirt during warmups after Ma’Khia Bryant’s life was taken too soon in Ohio? And how awesome would it be if Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey took a knee all next season because of what happened to Brown Jr. in North Carolina?
It’s not just them, per se — I ask these questions of any and all white athletes, and people, because Black athletes, and people, are exhausted. The last two years have been a hellacious journey, and our tanks are running on fumes. We need more than hashtags and statements from players, teams, and leagues. We need action and some actual help with the heavy lifting. Our backs are sore.
A few weeks ago, CNN’s Chris Cuomo caught flak for saying that reform won’t happen until police kill “white people’s kids.”
“How many more?” he asked. “Die of the pandemic, dying from police shootings. George Floyd, Daunte Wright. I wonder if you’ll remember their names six months from now because they’ll be replaced by so many others.”
“Forget that police are trained to deal with non-compliance with force that is not lethal. Hey, comply or die,” he sarcastically said.
“And you know what the answer is. You really do. You don’t like it, I don’t like it, it scares me,” he continued. “Shootings, gun laws, access to weapons. Oh, I know when they’ll change. Your kids start getting killed, white people’s kids start getting killed.”
Maybe Cuomo has a point, as shared experiences can transcend race, gender, culture, and creed. Or, maybe nothing would happen at all. Because when you think about it, white people have been the countless victims of mass shootings for years, and yet this country refuses to take any kind of aggressive stand for more gun control.
At some point, this country has to get fatigued from all the killings at the hands of police and mass shootings, right? Or given what America has always been, sadly, this may just maybe a peek into our new normal.
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