BY Art Thiel 06:10PM 08/28/2020

Thiel: An NFL strike? Wilson’s talking the talk

Had there been a game, Russell Wilson thinks the Seahawks would have struck. Instead, they have a couple of weeks to scare the hell out of NFL owners.

Russell Wilson said he thinks NFL players would have struck this week had there been games.  / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

To hear Russell Wilson tell it, the NFL got lucky this week. Had there been regular-season games, players would have gone on strike to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

“Yeah, for sure,” said the Seahawks quarterback , answering a question on ESPN 710 radio Friday. “Just witnessing what happened to Jacob and all the things that have added up to this, it’s devastating, truly devastating. And it’s not like this hasn’t been going on for years. That’s the scary part and sad part.

“The difference now is we get to see it every day because of social media and phones.”

Wilson’s candor was a window into the thinking of at least some players in football as to whether they will withhold services, following the lead of players in the NBA, WNBA, MLS, MLB and, belatedly, the NHL.

The independent but near-simultaneous protests Wednesday forced the leagues to postpone games after the outrage that followed when a citizen video circulated showing an officer in Kenosha, WI., putting seven bullets into the back of Blake, a Black man who was unarmed. He remains alive but paralyzed.

By good fortune of their calendar, NFL teams are in training camps, although nine teams declined to practice Thursday. The Seahawks were already scheduled off Thursday following a mock game Wednesday at the Clink. They practiced normally Friday. Wilson said a Seahawks response is being studied.

“We’re definitely discussing what do we do next, how do we make a change,” he said. “How do we cause movement and how do we make a difference? We’re in the midst of all that right now. We don’t have weeks, months and years to change it.”

The NFL opens its regular season Sept. 10, and Seahawks open in Atlanta Sept. 13. League-wide reporting suggests most players are in similar positions regarding potential team actions. After the wildcat strike begun by the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA bubble in Orlando, the NBA and other sports will have returned to action by the weekend.

That doesn’t mean anything has changed on the streets of America.

“I think what’s really disappointing is just knowing that we, as athletes, try to (make) a difference,” Wilson said. “Sometimes people don’t want to listen and don’t want to recognize that that could have been us, and that could be us.”

The NBA and its players union in a joint statement Friday announced a return to work Saturday after an agreement to create a “social justice coalition” that includes players, coaches and owners. Among the goals are increased voting access, promoting civic engagement and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.

To Seahawks FS Quandre Diggs, such a collaboration in the NFL is unlikely.

“I think the NBA is more of a partnership with (commissioner) Adam Silver and those guys,” he said on a Zoom confeence with local reporters. “We’re not partners with Commissioner Goodell or anybody in those front offices. They look at us as it’s a working relationship. That’s what it is. I don’t know how much it’s going to change, but we’re going to continue to push.

“I just want the owners to get on board with us and understand our message. I’m tired of them, and I’m tired of teams putting out PR statements. Let’s put some action into the words. Let’s get it out in these neighborhoods. Let’s try to get these cops and people better training.”

The other NBA advantage is that the 13 teams remaining in the playoffs are together in the bubble, talking and planning. Same is true for the 12 WNBA teams. NFL camps are in 32 places over four time zones, cramming months of work into a shortened preseason.

The NBA also made itself of a target of President Trump.

“The NBA has become a political organization, and that’s not a good thing,” he said in remarks Thursday as the four-day Republican National Convention ended. The claim was ironic, because choosing the taxpayer-funded White House and its staff and facilities made the event into a political organization, likely a violation of ethics laws.

If the NFL players do emulate the other leagues and strike the opening weekend to effect change, it will be another milestone in the growth of athletes’ power in the sports industry.

The Blake shooting following the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis helps make the argument that player protest isn’t sufficient. The billionaire owners must join in to bring public, sponsor and political pressure to bear on electeds for urgent reform.

There is a kind of sports precedent: In 2014, after Clippers owner Donald Sterling made overtly racist remarks, players demanded his removal before they would play. The NBA quickly responded by forcing Sterling out. The club was eventually sold to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

The effect of job action helps answer the question by many white people of what a strike accomplishes. ESPN columnist Howard Bryant explained it this way Friday:

Underneath it all — the passive-aggressive questions about what walking out will prove, how people will never, ever watch the NBA again — is threat, questions less in search of illumination but designed to diminish the players, to question their authenticity and disavow them of any thought of self-determination. There is no citizenship beneath their tank tops, and even less humanity. You’re here to entertain us. No, you’re literally here to entertain us. That’s your job.

Sometimes there are moments in human history more important than games, and the only way to get white people to pay attention to this momnt is to deny them their most valued sports entertainment.

That is the weapon NFL players have, and NFL owners fear. The spontaneous strikes by other leagues were just the preseason.


SPONSORED POST

Support SportspressNW

The idea is simple: Want to help? Please, and thank you. Don’t want to help? Please and thank you for continuing to read. Our content is free to all. No paywalls. No tricks. See the ways you can support SportspressNW.

YourThoughts

  • Tim

    Trump’s licking his chops…more red meat to throw at his base while providing cover for his own gross incompetence and treasonous conduct. As a fan, I’ll be disappointed at missing games, but as a citizen, I’ll be proud to stand in solidarity.

    On Nov 3 we must stop put an end to the toxicity oozing down from the White House. Biden-Harris!

    • BB46

      What in reality is Trump supposed to do about the whole problem? It was here long before he was born and will be (Unfortunately) after he is pushing up daisies.
      As far as our vote?? Good luck. I’m talking as a blue collar working class person here. We realistically have 2 choices. We can vote for a “R” or a “D”. 2 political parties who have left the middle and working class far behind. Both political parties are owned by the filthy rich. Nobody can get elected for any type of major office without agenda money backing them. This country BEGS for a 3rd political party but he other 2 will never allow that to happen.
      I saw Al Sharpton say “Quit killing us” but I have never seen him or any other person with a voice say “Quit putting yourself in a situation where the police may have to act”.
      I would have to assume that the police are taught that since that guy wasn’t stopping when he was told to do so and could have drawn a gun from his van they acted as their training dictated. They could NOT allow Blake to get ahold of a weapon. We found out later that he brought a knife to a gun fight but those cops didn’t know that. They knew if he pulled a gun they AND the general public were going to be at risk. Blake put those officers between a rock and a hard place. It wasn’t Trump, Biden, Obama, you or me. It’s a sad situation we are in. I feel if I (White guy) do exactly the same thing as Blake I would end up exactly the same place. Only it wouldn’t make national news and I wouldn’t have lawyers calling trying to take my case.

      • Tim

        What can Trump do? He can stop fanning the flames of the “culture” war and dividing people. But, he won’t because he directly benefits from division and chaos. It’s who he is, and I have to give it to him–he’s been very consistent.

        I also disagree that our choice is between two equally corrupt parties that have abandoned the working class. While I do agree that the parties themselves have, we’re talking about Trump and Trumpism and the Republicans that enable him are leading our country into the abyss. This is not a normal election, nor are these normal times. This is a ten alarm fire and a national crisis. He wants more police shootings…more racial division, more chaos. Trump is like the Joker in Batman minus the charisma. This Joker needs to go and to compare both parties as equally corrupt is a joke in itself.

        Finally, as a white man myself, I disagree that the outcome of you getting shot seven times in the back would have been the case at all. Think about it. Blake was shot…Seven. Times. In. The. Back. Seriously? This is state-sanctioned violence that comes from a deep suspicion, fear, and hatred of black people. In other words, institutionalized racism.

        Go Hawks!

        • BB46

          Tim,
          I have no problem with you disagreeing. In fact I really wish I was wrong. I just don’t believe I am. Trump is Trump. He got voted in NOT because he was a great choice,,, but because there wasn’t any better. I doubt he wants his administration remembered as the one with the most social failure. Also,, it isn’t the republicans that enabled his election. It was the Democrats because they had nobody and no message “We the People” could count on. Democrats used to be the party of the working class but no longer are. They are the green party. The working class can’t afford a seat in politics anymore. We are left out.
          Tim,,, In my view,,, the owners of this country (And it’s no longer “We the People”) love to see us blaming racism for the problems we have. I disagree with the source. I believe it starts at the top. The massive separation of wealth. 60% of the wealth is in the hands of 1% of the people. THEY are in control. They own our government. Bought and paid for. Politicians answer to them.
          I agree. Black lives matter. But in reality. ALL lives matter. We are all 1 race. the human race. A GREAT man once had a dream. A dream where people were judged by the content of their character. NOT by the color of their skin. I know some wonderful people of color. I know some scum bag white people too. None of that has anything to do with their color. Just their character.
          Last thing this time. Change and reform CAN be good things. It depends on what those changes are. If you look you may find most are born from the agenda of those who benefit the most from those changes. NOT the betterment of “We the People”.

          • Tim

            There was better. Hillary was way better than Trump and it’s not even close. By the way, I voted for and donated to Sanders both elections. But…you commit the fallacy of false equivalency. In the words of Noam Chomsky himself, the greatest advocate for the working class, “There have been many monsters in the past, but it would be hard to find one who was dedicated to undermining the prospects for organized human society, not in the distant future — in order to put a few more dollars in overstuffed pockets.” Enough said.

            In terms of race, we are not one race…we are one species. Yes, character matters, but that’s not what we’re talking about—we’re talking about state-sanctioned police violence against people of color and a president that is ordering the arrest of dissidents while goading white extremists into starting a race war. Trump has to go.

            To simply dismiss this by saying all lives matter is just another way of telling black people and all people of color to shut up and quit complaining. While you’re waiting around for the ideal third party to show up, my duties as a parent and citizen are calling me to raise my voice in solidarity and support Biden/Harris 2020.

          • BB46

            Tim,
            Please don’t try to tell me what I mean. I’m not telling blacks their lived don’t matter. But if we ALL are to be equal we ALL have to be looked at in the same manner. 1 race. (The human) I would think that would be the goal. Am I wrong?
            As far as Hillary being better than trump?? Again, we are dealing with the “D” agenda or the “R” agenda. Both parties vote almost 100% party line agenda. Both are “R” or “D” first and Americans second (At best) In my view the “D” agenda works real hard at taking away freedoms that many Americans died to protect. Hillary had no better message than any other. Plus,,, I like apparently enough of America has tired of the Clintons. When I think of them I think first of dishonesty.
            I believe I could have been a Bernie supporter also. Think he had some interesting reform ideas that were better. He realized the rich were having FAR to much influence in politics and government. But again,,, those same rich backed Biden because they own him.
            If you look,,, I said this country BEGS for a 3rd political party. But the other 2 will never allow that to happen. They have control and don’t want any competition. God forbid if an organization ever came to power that could tell the truth.
            Tim,, Just so you know. I appreciate the ability to be here and us being able to share views of a sad situation. Also, I used to be a Democrat supporter and thought the republicans had nothing for the working class. I still believe the same about the Republicans but I found I can no longer support the Democrats either. Both parties work only for themselves and no longer for the American people. Neither cares bit about honesty. Only that $$$ is power and power is $$$.
            Again,, appreciate you and your thoughts. Thanks.

            BB46

          • Tim

            I appreciate yours too. This is a charged issue and we all have strong feelings. Passionate and civil debate is a healthy thing and I appreciate that Art creates a forum for us to not just talk about sports, but sports in the context of societal issues. Many journalists are shying away from this as things become polarized.

            I agree that in an ideal world, those executing civil law would be impartial and color-blind. But, the evidence is showing that they’re not, nor have they been. Neither of us can prove we’re right with hypothetical situations. But, there is a body of evidence that clearly shows people of color are treated differently under the law.

            I’m not judging you by assuming you’re dismissive of black lives…but as black comedian Michael Che astutely observed, simply saying all lives matter is akin to responding to the commemoration of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, by saying, “You know, all buildings matter.”

          • BB46

            Buildings can be rebuilt. George Floyd won’t get another chance to get his breath back. Blake will probably never walk again. But I just can’t put that ALL on the police or say the problem was racism only. Floyd we found out later was on a heavy dose of Fentanyl. That may have made a difference in his responses AND his breathing issues.
            Blake sure seemed jacked up and obviously wasn’t doing as officers were telling him to do. (STOP) They (From what I hear) tried taser twice. I sure don’t believe they shot Blake because they were wanting to. Once Blake got inside his van I believe police training dictated he could be going for a weapon and THAT led to 7 shots. Blake wasn’t just walking away and the officers just decided to shoot a Black man. I just don’t see that.
            What I do see is once Blake went into his van and “Could” have grabbed a weapon the police did as they were trained. Then they worked very hard to save his life and just may have done that. Blake wasn’t shot because he was Black. He was shot because he resisted and did NOT STOP when police were there. If he did he would be alive and healthy right now.
            Again,,, Everybody is wanting the officers to be charged. Sharpton, Jackson are demanding justice but neither say anything important like STOP when they say STOP.

          • Husky73

            We HAVE a third political party. We have the Democrats, the Republicans and the Trumps. FDR was the architect of the modern Democrats, as was Reagan of the Republicans. Trump’s voters are Trumps. They are not Republicans.They share Donald Trump’s dream of dissolving elections, the Constitution, political parties, the courts and the Congress. They want only Trump, followed by Trump’s children.

          • Mark Stratton

            The one thing Trump and Clinton have in common is that neither has been prosecuted yet. Hillary has built a criminal empire (The Clinton Foundation) while on the public payroll. Trump did his as an independent businessman.

            DEFUND SOCIALISM!
            TRUMP 2020!!

          • Tim

            “Hillary has built a criminal empire (The Clinton Foundation) while on the public payroll. Trump did his as an independent businessman.”

            You lost me on this here…so Trump earns your vote again due to the fact that he built his criminal empire independently as you put it. By extension, the Don of a mafia family in your old Chicago neighborhood would earn your vote as well. I suppose there is something glamorous about the lives of criminals, though were you to interview Trump’s seven felonious campaign staffers that have been arrested they might have a different perspective.

            TRUMP FOR PRISON 2020

          • Husky73

            If Ronald Reagan was alive today, he would be HORRIFIED by Trump.

      • jafabian

        For starters he could wear a mask.

      • eyeroq

        You said:

        “What in reality is Trump supposed to do about the whole problem? It was here long before he was born and will be (Unfortunately) after he is pushing up daisies.”

        When Trump entered office he scrapped the 2014 Obama era reforms in response to Ferguson of close DOJ oversight of problem police departments and eliminated key federal tools designed to impose accountability. Instead he let agencies determined to have engaged in racial profiling, high levels of excessive force complaints, and other unconstitutional practices go back to policing themselves.

        So what do you think? Does that make Trump a helpless and innocent bystander in all this?

        I think it pretty clearly makes him complicit in making things worse when Obama had proactively tried to fix this issue.

      • Husky73

        Bush43 killed Saddam. Obama killed Bin Laden. Trump killed the Republican Party.

        • BB46

          The republican party has never supported the working class. NOT where they get their support. Now they do believe in property rights and public lands being open to “We the people”.

      • Archangelo Spumoni

        ” . . . 2 choices. We can vote for a “R” or a “D”. 2 political parties who have left the middle and working class far behind. . . .”
        No. If you actually look at legislation, appointees, platforms (only one this time), proposed legislation, and general philosophy, one of the parties did not leave working folks behind. Claiming both have done so shows incomplete awareness of current issues.
        With respect to the money in politics, we fail to invest the few minutes each election to actually become informed on stands, attitudes, proposed legislation, etc. We allow ourselves to be snookered, bamboozled, tricked, and duped by tv ads.

        • BB46

          We allow us nothing because both parties are full of deceit. Arch. I stand by my statement. BOTH parties have left the working class behind. BOTH parties vote party line agenda. As I said before. They are “D” / “R” first and Americans second. Both parties main objective is their own agenda. Which is discredit the other party and get more for themselves. “We the People” are just pawns in their political game.
          Believe what you want but do your research before you drink the cool aid.

          • Archangelo Spumoni

            In short, someone has totally 100% not paid attention to appointments, legislation, “party agenda” (which proves a massive difference between the 2 main ones), and general outlook.
            Either that or is a Drumpfh supporter pretending to be more open.

          • BB46

            No Arch. I’m not a Trump supporter. I’m a “Realist”. There is no room for “Realists” in politics. If you read the comments here,,, somewhere you will see that I support neither political party because neither political party supports the working class. Which I am a part of.

          • Archangelo Spumoni

            It’s a little sad that what some folks “know” just isn’t so, especially with the parties. A quick perusal of their platforms; a knowledge of their sponsored legislation today and even going back 50 or 100 years; a basic grasp of formal positions is lacking here.

  • jafabian

    DangeRuss has never come across as socially conscious or motivated during his Seahawks career as former teammates Doug Baldwin, Michael Bennett and Richard Sherman were. In fact this team as a whole seems more subdued than it was four years ago. Based on his comments maybe the wheels are turning in his head.

    I’ve seen players asking what can they do today about the systemic racism going on and I saw Sue Bird give a great response to WNBA players which really can apply to everyone: get out there and vote. I’ll actually take it a step further. NFL players are not only gifted with amazing physical skills but most of them have also been a part of some of the best colleges in the nation. The average NFL career is 3.5 years. Use that education to make change for the better.

  • Husky73

    Trump could have shot an episode of The Apprentice on the White House lawn, with Ivanka hawking purses from a tent, and Trump’s base would be absolutely fine with that. They’d be cheering.

    • Tim

      They really would. It’s no joke.

    • eyeroq

      If destroying the postal service is ok with his base (despite the crunch it puts on small businesses in a recession not to mention lives it threatens of the elderly that depend on receiving medications in the mail) in order to disenfranchise voters then I can’t possibly see why they’d bat an eyelash at something as quaint as the Hatch Act.

  • 1coolguy

    “Two Kenosha police officers fired tasers in a bid to stop Jacob Blake before one of the officers shot him seven times in the back with a gun, the Wisconsin Department of Justice said on Friday. The taser deployments “were not successful in stopping Mr. Blake,” according to a press release.”
    Have you ever witnessed what a tasing does to a person? I suggest Blake was given more than a “fair warning”.
    Do I condone a guy getting shot 7 times, in the back, hardly, but at the same time, the guy was given multiple warnings, tased TWICE and STILL went to his car. Is this normal? You you or I would not stop in our tracks when given a warning by a cop? How about after the first taser? No? Really? How about after the SECOND tase? STILL NO?
    I suggest there is much more to this story.
    Also Art, it is shallow and disingenuous to bring Trump into this, as I do not recall your similar reaction when black men and boys were killed by cops during the Obama administration. You extreme bias is clear, making a mockery of journalism.

    • Tim

      “Do I condone a guy getting shot seven times in the back, hardly…” says 1coolguy who also said a few weeks ago: “Kill Dems? Now that’s actually intelligent! Start with the hag in Congress!” And you call Art shallow and disingenuous. You have no credibility to be weighing in on the ethics or lack thereof regarding gun violence.

    • Bruce McDermott

      Well, as I recall, Obama did not praise white supremacists as “good people,” for just one example of the many whistles, for dogs and humans, that Trump has blown repeatedly to fan racial division. There is simply no comparison between Trump and Obama when it comes to appealing to America’s darkest racial instincts. And cops should not shoot any man, black or white, in the back because he didn’t stop walking away after two tasers. It’s just that such things seem to happen much more to black people these days, now that videos are so plentiful. That is the reason for the reminder, Black Lives Matter.

      • BB46

        If you look Blake did walk away and was NOT shot then. He was shot when he got into the van and “COULD” have grabbed a weapon. He was reaching. That is when he was shot. I don’t know what you expect the police to really do in that situation. Blake needed to stop himself when police first told him to. When I see the video I just believe Blake put the police between a rock and a hard place. VERY unfortunate.

  • Mark Stratton

    Was Blake unarmed? We don’t know but the audio picks up the cops shouting ‘drop the knife’. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/kenosha-police-union-gives-its-version-of-blake-shooting/ar-BB18tWPM?ocid=msedgntp The cops were called to a domestic disturbance, and aware that Blake had a felony sexual assault warrant out on him. Not exactly an innocent. I believe BB46 is correct; if that was a white man the outcome would have been the same. If you get into a physical altercation with the police you are going to lose, regardless of race.

    There was a revelatory segment on KJR radio yesterday featuring Hugh Millen, who grew up in a mixed household. The questions he posed need to be answered before there will be any real change, and they apply to this situation and most of the other police killings under dispute. Paraphrasing:
    Were you involved in illegal activity that caused the police to arrive?
    Did you initiate the confrontation with the police?
    Did you comply with police orders?
    My own question: If the answers are yes, yes, and no, then what the hell did you expect to happen?

    I have relatives who are cops, including a retired homicide detective in Chicago. None of them ever want to pull their weapons, much less use them on a suspect. But there is no reason for them to put themselves even further into harm’s way by allowing a suspect to gain the upper hand, which Blake seemingly was trying to do.

    Look at the statistics on crime in the US. When you have 13% of the population committing 53% of the murders and 60% of property crimes, you’re going to have a lot of bad interactions with police. 99.9% of cops aren’t racist Just doing a very difficult job.

    Racism is real and despicable. But if black athletes want to have a conversation let’s have an honest and complete conversation. Lots of cleaning up to do on both sides of this debate.

    • Tim

      I believe that there are some good cops out there, but I’m not going to act like Trump by pulling a number out of my ass and calling it a fact. 99.9% of cops aren’t racist? Citation please.

      There are ways of deescalating situations without resorting to murder. I’m a teacher in a poverty high school and I’ve dealt with plenty of angry kids over the years that refuse to comply with my demands as they walk or run away. Not once have I ever felt I needed a gun or wished I had one.

      Blake was shot seven times in the back in front of his kids. Think about it. Seven times in the back. There were no other options?

      • Mark Stratton

        Seven shots is obviously excessive, but then I’ve never had to wrestle an enraged felon who just withstood getting tasered twice. Might be some adrenaline involved. And I don’t care how much training you’ve had, if you are in legitimate fear of your own safety you do what you have to do to survive. But Blake had his kids in the car so I guess the cop should have just taken whatever Blake was going to dish out?

        Not to make light of your example, but an angry teenager is not a good analogy for Jacob Blake.

        • Tim

          I get your point, but this clearly fits an established pattern of black people getting murdered by police. Gun shots in the backs (and fronts) of black people, knees on the necks, and generally excessive force seems like the go-to for law-enforcement. Until more police speak out against racism and corruption and back it up with words and deeds, this will continue.

          The thin blue-line mentality is prevalent not only with law enforcement, but across white society, especially in terms of how the “law’ is administered to minorities.

          • Mark Stratton

            I maintain that the police, for the most part, are not the problem. Go back to Hugh Millens questions.

            The cops in Kenosha were responding to a call from a citizen claiming domestic violence. Once they get that call their job is to mediate if possible, arrest if necessary. Blake got belligerent with police and the situation escalated. I’d bet his toxicology report is interesting, especially since he was driving with his kids in the car. The details haven’t all come out yet, but it is likely that just a little bit of cooperation on Blake’s part would have negated the need to use force.

            When you have mayors like Bill DeBlasio, Jenny Durkan, Ted Wheeler, et al neutering the police and their administrations refusing to prosecute certain crimes, the thin blue line is all the cops have. You want to talk about fanning the flames? Just tell the rioting thugs in Portland that they don’t have to worry about prosecution. Want to throw rocks, batteries, molotov cocktails at the police? Go right ahead! Commit almost any crime you want in New York, no bail! Take over a police station in Seattle; Summer of love! How would you like to be a cop in those circumstances?

            Closely tied to the crime statistics is the disintegration of the black family. Over 70% of of black children are born to single mothers. I want to hear Russ and other black athletes quit pointing fingers and talk about the importance of parenting/fatherhood and taking responsibility for the children you create. I’d like to hear them talk about cooperating with police so situations don’t escalate.

          • BB46

            Very good points. In my mind,, Mr. Blake doesn’t make a very good “poster boy” for Black Lives Matter. (Other than he is black) Seems they are heavily supporting a man who didn’t do his part. MLK’s dream did mention “Content of character” From what we hear Blakes wasn’t all that impressive. NO that is no reason to shoot him but he DID give police cause. I don’t see how that is debatable. When police say STOP,,,,,,, STOP!!!!!!
            I don’t think anybody who is aware of things debates there is some racism in the world. But you can’t blame every altercation on it. I think far more often the problem is “Content of Character”.
            Black Lives Matter AND the athletes with a voice need to get the word out that when the police say STOP then STOP!!!! If there is one thing that really bothers me is NONE of those people and organizations who have a good voice are bringing that up. That needs to come from the Russell Wilsons, Bobby Wagners, and such. They all seem to be blaming racism. I mean,, all my pipes are good but when Bobby Wagner speaks I want to “Quit freakin’ and go hire a plumber.
            The Blake incident to me isn’t a race issue. No matter who you are if you go to a place where there “MAY” be a weapon when police are yelling at you to stop then police will protect not only themselves but also the community.
            Last thing. Even though I don’t believe Blake is a good poster boy for BLM I do believe he is a GREAT example of what can happen when the police say STOP and you fail to do so.

          • Tim

            First a response to the stereotypes in your last paragraph–fatherhood and family life are themes Russell has spoken to in his entire time here in the Northwest. So has Michael Bennett. When I think of him, I think of his tender love for his daughters and wife to whom he so often spoke to as his motivation. I could name plenty of others so I fail to see your point.

            What your points do accomplish however is perpetuating the fear in middle America that the mythical black man is reckless and irresponsible while failing to take into account all the societal and economic factors that lead to single motherhood. The deflection is tiresome.

            “I’d like to hear them talk about cooperating with police so situations don’t escalate.” In other words, obey your white master without question. You and I as white people (I assume you are) have no idea what it’s like for a black man even getting pulled over. I know I’m only fearful of getting a ticket…not fearful for my life.

            Finally, there’s no defense for the thin blue line. All it does is punish good cops who truly do believe in upholding the law: https://thecrimereport.org/2020/06/18/the-plight-of-the-police-whistleblower/

          • BB46

            Tim,
            The “White Master” thing is a bit to far. It is simply the law and law enforcement. Same law for all. Mark S brought up some numbers that are not pretty. In my view those numbers aren’t so much a race issue as an opportunity issue. USA manufacturing started moving offshore decades ago. Now most is not done in the USA. Blue collar working class jobs GONE!!! There were reasons other than pure profit for companies to move manufacturing away from America. Even though for business people profit was enough in itself. Another big reason was they could build an entire factory in another country faster than they could get their breaking ground permit here. That my friend is the greeners at work. The Green movement is NOT friendly to the working class. The environment is the pawn they use to gather control and mostly,,,, $$$$. Nobody seems to notice or care.
            Another issue is once one gets a criminal record getting hired for any job becomes very difficult. And instead of building cars the jobs are now flipping burgers. Not a great future there.
            I would think Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson would say over and over again.. Get ALL the education you can. There are programs that allow the poor to go to college almost for free. Unless one likes flipping burgers (Which is still honest work) education will be almost the only answer. Even that is no guarantee. College is now also a huge $$$ commitment and industry. Another thing. I believe manufacturing may come back to the USA. But it will be done by robots. Still very few jobs.

          • Mark Stratton

            Are you completely obtuse or did you miss my point on purpose?

            You don’t dispute the facts, you just don’t like what they mean.
            I’m sure Russ, Richard Sherman, Mike B etc. are great parents.
            And that is exactly the point. They talk about ‘difficult conversations’. I hope to God we can have those conversations. They obviously know the value of being a good father, but they’re pointing the finger at the cops because that’s what gets them off the hook from a PR standpoint. They know the numbers I cited, and need to have the courage to speak to their own community about what’s wrong. Leadership is required, and as long the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have the loudest voices nothing will change, except those two poor inner-city preachers will get even more fabulously wealthy. The numbers I cite are from a study by the Washington Post, quoted by columnist Jason Riley and author Shelby Steele. Both are Black and have a clear understanding of what’s happening to the Black family and the effects it has on crime and society. You obviously have no clue. I agree that the deflection is tiresome, and I wish you and your ilk would stop.

            What I cited are facts. If they have become stereotypical that is the fault of the perpetrators, not me. These numbers haven’t done anything but get worse over the past 50 years. This is not a screed against Blacks, this is acknowledgement that if these very basic issues aren’t addressed there will be no real or permanent change. As long as Black men are having such a disproportionate influence on crime you can make all the changes you want to policing and it won’t matter. 50+ percent of the crime means 50+ percent of the negative interactions with police. With predictable outcomes.

            This was not always the case. Black people in general have always been family oriented. The advent of LBJ’s Great Society with well meaning programs and approximately $15 trillion in spending have done nothing but re-enslave people by giving them just enough to survive, but not enough to thrive. Inner-city schools teach almost nothing. Jobs are hard to find. We all know what happens when a lot of young males (any color) have nothing to do.

            Are you aware that not all police are white? Your views are so simplistic I wanted to be sure.

            I grew up on the south side of Chicago and have witnessed, off and on, what goes on there for over 50 years. It would be educational for you to tour my old neighborhood. I guarantee you’ll be wishing for a thicker blue line if you make it home.

    • eyeroq

      “Was Blake unarmed? We don’t know but the audio picks up the cops shouting ‘drop the knife’.”

      I think we do know. Your own article reporting on the statement put out by the police union cites state investigators saying only that officers saw a knife on the floor of the car. Since that was the only knife in the vicinity that points to poor training and overreaction that police would draw their guns and yell at him to drop his knife when he wasn’t even wielding a knife.

      If they hadn’t overreacted initially they could have easily restrained him before he reached the vehicle. It was only because they were keeping distance with guns drawn over a fictitious knife that they weren’t in position to do so.

      • Mark Stratton

        Could it be that he had the knife in his hand and dropped it in the car? That doesn’t fit your narrative but it’s quite possible. The cops are heard yelling “drop the knife”, so they must have believed he had one.

        They could have easily restrained him? he shook off two tasers and you think they could have easily restrained him?

        • eyeroq

          All you have to do is watch the video to see Blake never had a chance to open the car door before getting hit with 7 slugs in the back. You don’t see how desperately you’re reaching to fit the facts into your narrative Mark? You’re essentially doing what you’re accusing me of. But no, what you’re proposing isn’t possible, not in a world with video evidence. Scary to think of what some cops must have gotten away with prior to the days of ubiquitous cell phone footage given the degree some quarters of the public are willing to spin a fictitious alternate reality even in the face of such damning material evidence.

  • Chris Alexander

    I appreciate Russ’s candor but doubt teams/players boycotting games makes any difference. Not really. Does it get people talking? Sure. But are the people that are talking the ones that SHOULD be talking? And don’t actions speak louder than words? There’s no doubt that professional sports can play a role in societal change, but teams and players should use their platform to reach people DIRECTLY and to leave no room for debate in their message. I recall a story from a few years back about Doug Baldwin meeting with police and having conversations with them about race relations, appropriate threat responses, etc. To me, THAT seems like a better approach than boycotting games.

    • eyeroq

      You don’t see how a football boycott would get the people among Trump’s base talking? They’re among the most passionate of football fans, much more so than basketball.

      • Chris Alexander

        Getting Trump’s base talking isn’t a solution … all a boycott does is galvanize them and give Trump something else to rail against.

        • eyeroq

          Sadly, I concede you’re likely absolutely right about that.

  • Husky73

    Whatever Obama said to the NBA players convinced them to continue to play.

    • jafabian

      I read in various media reports that Obama said the obvious. If they boycott or cancel the season then the players won’t have the opportunity to get their statements out there. That by playing they would always have the opportunity to speak. Can’t argue with that logic.

      • BB46

        I never thought of that,,, Good point.

  • woofer

    Some very thoughtful comments posted here. It can’t be really be denied that the Democrats under Bill Clinton sold out the working class and Trump was the ultimate beneficiary of that. He played into a legitimate streak of working class resentment.

    But we now know that Trump was faking. He cynically adopted the appropriate cultural symbolism, including sports fandom, but has no real sympathy for the real needs of working class Americans. His plan is to substitute white racism for working class economic values and then continue to make common cause with the oligarchy.

    The actual long term answer is for working class people to retake control of the Democratic Party. But that will require existing party elites to break with their comfortable addiction to Wall Street money — or be rejected at the polls — and for white workers to make common cause with their black and brown brethren. In other words, the white working class needs to finally and unambiguously to reject its flirtation with racism. It can be done, and in truth substantial progress has been made since the Sixties, but obviously more remains.

    This is where articulate black athletes like Wilson have an important role to play. The professional sports audience includes people of all races. And outside of far northern specialities like ice hockey and curling, a competitive athletic team in any sport requires top black and latino players. So when star black players talk, their loyal white fans have no choice but to listen. That awkward reality creates an opportunity for meaningful communication to happen in an otherwise angry and bleak political environment. We need to take full advantage of it.