on in which Kaepernick and others find themselves. When protests h

in BullyGeister 09.01.2019 06:20
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The Seattle Mariners have suspended backup catcher Steve Clevenger without pay for the rest of the season a day after he sent racist tweets criticizing protesters in Charlotte, North Carolina; the Black Lives Matter movement; and President Barack Obama.In the tweets, which have since been deleted, Clevenger mocked the groups in Charlotte protesting the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott, whom he called a thug, while referencing Colin Kaepernicks weekly demonstration to kneel during the national anthem to raise awareness of police brutality. He also called Black Lives Matter and Obama pathetic and said everyone involved should be locked behind bars like animals. (Clevenger has since released an apology.)So, can we stop calling Kaepernicks protests meaningless now??What Clevenger didnt realize is the extent to which he was proving Kaepernicks point -- and, perhaps more importantly, the extent to which he was proving Kaepernicks detractors wrong. Here you have a white player aggressively criticizing on-the-ground protesting by implying its too loud, while in the same breath criticizing a silent protest by a fellow athlete.In the weeks of debate over national anthem protests, much has been said about the seemingly no-win situation in which Kaepernick and others find themselves. When protests hit the streets, those inconvenienced by them admonish demonstrators for not undertaking more peaceful means. When peaceful protests occur on the field, players are told their gestures are distracting and ineffective.At the very least, we can debunk the ineffective part. Here we are, weeks later, still talking about the protests, which have grown across players, teams and leagues. The protests have spread from Kaepernick to Megan Rapinoe to entire NFL and WNBA teams. Theyve inspired Adam Jones to spark a conversation about race in baseball and the importance of white allies. Theyve led to quick, actionable consequences for a player tweeting incendiary things.Sure, Seattle is among the most liberal cities in the country, and Clevenger is a journeyman backup catcher who has barely managed a full seasons worth of total games in his six years in the majors. Hes not exactly Dan Wilson, and the Mariners didnt exactly have to sweat over this decision.Clevenger was quick to place Scott into thee thug category, while criticizing protesters for being too violent in the wake of a shooting of one civilian by another during the demonstrations.ddddddddddddut in the wake of the killings of Scott in Charlotte and Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Kaepernicks detractors have remained largely silent, save for the few like Clevenger doubling down on the narrative that black people getting gunned down in the streets must somehow deserve it -- and those choosing to speak up about it belong behind bars. That no matter their means, dissenting black voices will always be shouted down.Another somewhat troubling narrative has emerged in the hours since Clevengers suspension: that theres an inherent hypocrisy in supporting the free speech behind on-field protests of the national anthem while condemning a player for tweeting, even if people on both sides disagree with both messages. Thats a rational conversation we can have, but this instance isnt the place.People such as Justin Verlander and Kate Upton have the right to tweet misguided and poorly formed opinions on anthem protests. But when a player refers to black protesters as animals and calls for their mass incarceration, not to mention throwing our president in there, we should draw the line. We can debate where, exactly, that line should be and how it should be drawn. We cant debate that the line does exist. As ESPN the Magazines Mina Kimes put it, theres a difference between political commentary and hate speech. The blurring of that line only leads to more of the latter.So yes, the Mariners suspended a relatively meaningless player, for the relatively meaningless number of 10 remaining games, to the relatively meaningless tune of $34,000 pay. And yes, the Mariners probably decided that Clevengers statements construed conduct detrimental to the team from a PR perspective.?But the movement Kaepernick started, as an extension of Black Lives Matter, in reaction to an ongoing crisis with which scores of both players and fans across the major sports can identify, is what has finally begun to render hate speech detrimental. Hopefully this will continue to extend from speech, to attitude, to action. 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