LADY AT THE BAT: David Wright, Jackie Robinson & Lives That Matter

Friday, December 26, 2014

David Wright, Jackie Robinson & Lives That Matter

David Wright is the son of a cop.

It is very important, I believe, to remember that, in lieu of his reaction to last week's execution of two NYPD officers.  Well, let me speak for myself: It is very important for me to remember it.

If I don't remember it, it will be very hard for me to keep from wondering if David Wright doesn't believe that Black Lives Matter.  After all, we heard nothing from him, or from the Jets' Nick Mangold, after the Michael Brown and Eric Garner incidents.  As far as I can tell, we heard nothing form any white professional athletes regarding these incidents. It was only after the police officers' deaths that we heard about Mangold wearing an NYPD baseball cap on the field, and about Wright calling the families and inviting them to Spring Training.

Though I definitely do not agree, I can understand why some would side with the cop in the Michael Brown incident.  I also believe that police officers deserve our support for the difficult job that they do.  Officers Liu and Ramos did not deserve to die. However, why weren't any white athletes wearing "I Can't Breathe" tee shirts in honor of Eric Garner?  Their failure to speak out then, coupled with their support of the cops makes them look bad, especially after the killer posted the reasons for his actions on social media.  It almost makes them look as if they condoned Garner's killing.

This entire thing reminds me of Jackie Robinson.  Wearing Robinson's number 42 on Jackie Robinson Day is now mandatory. Before that happened, however, only black players elected to wear it (for the most part).  The white players looked bad, I felt. One wonders if this was one of the reasons for making the wearing of it mandatory.

White players didn't seem to realize that Jackie Robinson was a part of their personal baseball history as well. David Cone put it best during a YES Network broadcast a few years ago.  Baseball integration, he said, gave him a chance to measure his skills against players who actually were the best in the world, rather than only those anointed as such simply because they were white.

Just as Jackie Robinson is a part of every baseball player's personal history, so are unarmed people killed by police officers a part of everyone else's personal history. Whether they are white or black, a multiple offender or without a single arrest, one thing is true about them: Their lives matter. All Lives Matter.

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