The Atlanta Falcons released a video as part of its social justice outreach efforts that is primarily police propaganda and completely misses the mark. A common theme in these police ride-a-longs that players are engaging in, a core aspect of the video, is the underlying sentiment that complaints regarding police brutality are exaggerated or otherwise illegitimate. That it is necessary for those who are appalled at the existence of state-sanctioned violence that disproportionately affects Black people resulting in vicious assaults or even death to step into the shoes of police to “understand” their position. This is insulting, absurd, and clear gaslighting. No-one would dispute that police have a difficult job. What we assert is that their decisions on the use of force are influenced by racism. We have all seen video after video of police using great restraint when dealing with white people while defaulting to excessive and deadly force when dealing with Black people. From peaceably arresting mass murders and killers, including taking them to Burger King on the case of Dylan Roof, to engaging in all our brawls with whites who come out alive to not expressing any fear in the face of whites with vehicles filled with weapons. In the meantime, Blacks are shot and/or killed when reaching for cell phones, after being stopped for minor traffic offenses, when running away, when reaching for a license.
In the video, Black players take all of the responsibility for essentially “misjudging” police, and not a single police officer discussing the rampant issue of racism within police departments. Not a single acknowledgment of the fact that there are police who use excessive force and racially profile Black people. As if we don’t have study after study demonstrating that police engage in misconduct involving Black people at far higher rates than whites. As of the so-called “good cops” remain conspicuously silent, with very few exceptions, in the face of the very real brutality perpetrated by their brothers and sister in blue. Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank utters the same illogical, deflective arguments often heard regarding this topic, namely how players should respect the flag and military personnel. In actuality, Blank should focus on the actual bases of the protests, systemic racism in the country, and respect the autonomy of players as individual citizens to accept or reject the invitation to participate in the national anthem ceremony. The Falcons, like the rest of the NFL leadership, are treating this issue as a nuisance instead of a reflection of one of the longest lasting travesties in U.S. history.
Article below by JuliaKate Culpepper at ajc.com.
For the past three months, the Atlanta Falcons have partnered with the Atlanta Police Foundation, the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta and Atlanta Habitat for Humanity to get ownership, coaches and players involved in serving the community and creating conversations.
Read the rest at ajc.com.