Monday, December 01, 2014

NFL Stands with Michael Brown (Kind of)

The NFL will never be mistaken for a progressive organization, given its record on domestic violence, the damage it appears to do to most of its own players, its monopoly/tax-free status and its undying support for the military and militarism. And yet four players from the St. Louis Rams did provide a progressive message yesterday -- displaying signs of racial solidarity and support for Michael Brown by holding their hands up right before their game. It was a nice gesture and, for once, the NFL decided not to punish players for a political statement. Good for the players and good for the league!

Not surprisingly, around the time this was happening a black man in Pontiac, Michigan was stopped by police. Why? Well he was apparently engaging in “suspicious behavior,” as reported by an unidentified caller. And what was that behavior? He had his hands in his pockets. Hmm, that does sound suspicious, you might say. But what if we added the fact it was cold? Apparently mitigating facts like that don’t get in the way of the Johnny-on-the-spot Pontiac Police Department, who did in fact stop him (YouTube video).

The man, a little flabbergasted, said: “There’s got to be 10,000 people walking around with their hands in their pockets.” The police officer responded, “There’s been a lot of robberies.” The two men then had a standoff where both of them have their phones out, aimed at each other to record the incident, while they discuss the absurdity of their predicament. The police officer explains that they got a call about “suspicious” behavior.

So we can add another item to our list of things that are suspicious when black men do them: walking around with your hands in your pockets on a cold Fall day in Michigan.

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