You can’t spell BLM without MLB, and so it makes perfect sense that Major League Baseball returned Thursday evening on its knee, placating the Black Lives Matter mob with headpats, bellyrubs, butter biscuits and other pet treats.
The Yankees and Nationals took batting practice in BLM T-shirts. They kneeled and bowed their heads before the national anthem, then rose to their feet for the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner. MLB carved BLM into the back of the pitcher’s mound. In Boston, the Red Sox unveiled a 250-foot BLM billboard at Fenway Park. In the nightcap, Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts, one of the richest athletes in sports, kneeled during the playing of the anthem.
I found the whole thing sad, embarrassing and patronizing. It crystalizes America’s pervasive lack of substance. Imagine Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey signing Jackie Robinson to be a mascot rather than second baseman.
That’s what BLM is at this point. Corporate America’s lovable mascot, a decorative symbol to be bought and plastered on a field to ward off accusations of systemic racism. When fans return to the ballpark, commemorative “I’m Not Racist” T-shirts, ball caps and jerseys will be available to the public for just $29.99.
We used to fight for opportunity, a chance to compete at the highest level athletically, academically and financially. Now we’re fighting for public pandering and payoffs to charities that fight social injustice with highly-compensated speaking engagements.
It’s insulting. Are we really that cheap, that clueless? Have we come so far that there’s so little to do that symbolic gestures and eight-figure checks to the National Rainbow Action Network For The Advancement Of Media People are all that’s left to do?
The gestures don’t fight discrimination. And they won’t prevent the next batch of riots. In fact, all the pandering guarantees another wave of riots. The rioters have been rewarded. The bigots painting with broad brushes, the ones vilifying all police and all white people, watched Thursday’s Ice Justice Challenge and felt emboldened.
They’ll wait for the mainstream media and celebrity influencers to reveal the next piece of viral video intended to trigger their emotions. Meanwhile, LeBron James and his Orlando-bubbled NBA cohorts plan to keep the emotional pot simmering with constant references to Breonna Taylor, the Louisville woman caught in a hail of police gunfire during a failed drug bust.
Stirring outrage is the side-hustle of professional athletes.
Someone might want to inform Mookie Betts that taking a knee has lost its outrage-ability. The Ice Knee Challenge is as mainstream as mom, baseball and apple pie. Major corporations finance it. White kids from the suburbs do it. Roger Goodell endorses it.
There’s no risk in taking a knee, especially when you’ve signed a 12-year, $365 million contract. The kneelers aren’t mimicking John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the ‘68 Olympics. The courageous black professional athlete will be the one bold enough to point out the fraudulence of the movement.
Kneeling is a fad that went pop, crossed over and is the preferred gesture of people disconnected from “the culture.” Someone needs to send Mookie the memo circulating throughout the NBA.
Talk Breonna Taylor. That’s the new gesture.
Thursday, following a scrimmage against the Mavericks, LeBron James opened his press conference calling attention to Taylor’s death.
“First of all, I want to continue to shed light on justice for Breonna Taylor and to her family and everything that’s going on with that situation,” James said. “We want the cops arrested who committed that crime.”
Taylor’s death was tragic. Three police officers executed a no-knock search warrant on her apartment. Taylor’s boyfriend acknowledged firing the first gunshot and injuring a police officer. The police responded, firing 22 shots. Eight of those gunshots hit Taylor.
Because Taylor’s boyfriend fired first, there’s zero chance of convicting the officers involved in the shooting. Johnnie Cochran’s corpse could raise reasonable doubt in the case. An arrest and trial would waste Kentucky taxpayer money, and the subsequent not-guilty verdict would spark a second wave of costly and potentially deadly riots in Louisville.
James is grandstanding. He’s keeping the racial animus warm until the next Cops Gone Wild video. That’s the purpose of Black Lives Matter — racial animus. We know the movement cares nothing about the thousands of black lives lost to non-white perpetrators. BLM’s mission is to provoke racial tension.
“When you’re black, (BLM) is not a movement,” James said. “It’s a lifestyle.”
Wow. James is frighteningly lost in secular values. He represents a generation of young black people detached completely from religious faith. Christianity is a lifestyle. Islam is a lifestyle. Judaism. Buddhism. Hinduism. Confucianism.
Black Lives Matter is a political offshoot of Marxism with the goal of disrupting the nuclear family.
LeBron James is the head of a nuclear family and has tremendous influence over young people. Repair of the black family structure should be the top priority for anyone with a legitimate concern for the welfare and future of black American lives.
Yeah, LeBron James needs to shut up and dribble. He’s clueless. He’s a tall basketball player masquerading as a thought leader and moral compass. Shrink James to 5-foot-9 and no one would take his social and political commentary seriously.
A healthy lifestyle does not consist of promoting racial animus and second-guessing white police officers. James’ framing of BLM as a lifestyle is as rational as his assertion several years ago that unseen spray paint on his mansion gate made him feel like Emmett Till’s mother.
LeBron, Mookie, Colin Kaepernick, Malcolm Jenkins and all the other professional athletes side-hustling racial animosity for social media traction are diminishing sports’ role in American society. They’re diminishing the reputation of athletes. They’re branding themselves as spoiled, entitled and irresponsible opportunists.
They’re no different from the corporations that rub their bellies, pat their heads and feed them butter biscuits.
If you want Jason Whitlock for your radio show or podcast, contact Gary@outkick.com.