Monday, December 8, 2014

Freedom of expression? Or should Derrick Rose keep his trap shut?!?

A t-shirt is going to show us just how much Chicago sports fans “love” Bulls point guard Derrick Rose.

Bulls fans have become critical of the fact that Rose has suffered so many injuries during his professional athletic career and gives the impression that he’s in no hurry to recover from his various maladies.

THE DEBATE OVER Rose is whether he’s merely being careful and taking care of himself; or if he’s got a lazy streak within him.

But now, we’re going to have another issue – following the Saturday night incident where Rose publicly wore a t-shirt with the slogan “I can’t breathe” printed on its front.

That slogan refers to what were among the “last words” spoken by Eric Garner in New York while being held in a choke hold by police. Garner later died, and his words are being used by protesters angry that the officer in the incident evaded criminal indictment for his actions that caused the death.

Rose became merely the latest professional athlete to show sympathy toward someone who died recently because of a police officer’s actions.

LET’S NOT FORGET the St. Louis Rams football players who last month took the field prior to a game against the Oakland Raiders with their hands held in the air, symbolically letting police know that just because they were black men, they weren’t about to commit any violent acts.

As though the assumption was that black people are naturally violent and pose a threat that law enforcement should react harshly towards.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association led a verbal attack on the football players, saying it was disrespectful for them to side with the people who believe the death of Michael Brown in suburban Ferguson, Mo., was caused by police and who are angry that an officer there also managed to avoid being indicted for his actions.

Now, we’re going to see how the sports world comes out against Rose, although it should be noted that the Chicago Tribune reported most of Rose’s Bulls teammates are supportive of his right to express his views.

THEN AGAIN, ROSE is the supposed star of the Bulls team and is the man whose fitness is key to whether the Bulls have a chance to be in the NBA playoffs come spring.

If he does play well this season, he “buys” himself the right to say what he thinks.

Those Rams football players (Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Gevans and Kenny Britt) are not NFL stars. In fact, there’s a good chance that when they die, their obituaries will lede with the fact that they were the guys who protested Brown’s death – instead of anything they did during a game.

As for Rose’s gesture of protest, I think it is rather mild. If you weren’t paying attention during pre-game warm-ups, you didn’t see it. It’s not like he’s going around elaborating on his attitude these days.

SO I THINK anybody who gets too upset about Rose taking such a stance is probably saying more about themselves than anything Rose (or Garner) said or did!

It reminds me of the book “Ball Four,” in which former pitcher Jim Bouton addressed the attitude of baseball people toward those of their colleagues who expressed views on social issues.

Ballplayers could say anything they want if they expressed a socially conservative viewpoint because they were “right.” But if they said something construed as not supportive of the conservative establishment, then they were criticized for being “wrong.”

Unless the player in question was a big-enough star, in which case they’d get a simmering silence directed toward them. Is that bound to be Rose’s fate for daring to wear a t-shirt Saturday night?


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