Another moment of police violence caught on film has sparked a wave of protests in Kenosha, WI. The shooting of Jacob Blake – who was hit in the back seven times by officers as he opened the door to his vehicle, reportedly after attempting to intervene in a fight between two other people – has let loose another wave of collective anger from many around the country. Including responses from some of America’s most notable athletes.
The NBA put their playoffs on hold this week, following the decision from several teams not to go ahead with their planned games. A restart of the postseason is expected beginning Saturday.
“And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!!” NBA superstar LeBron James wrote in a Twitter post responding to a video of Blake’s shooting. “Someone please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted. This shit is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE”
Major League Baseball followed suit, postponing three games planned for August 26th, with more games postponed on August 27th and potentially more over the coming days.
“That motivated us,” Brewers star Ryan Braun told reporters, speaking of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to delay their playoff series against the Orlando Magic. “At some point, actions speak louder than words. Because this happened so close to home, it hits us differently than it does other teams.”
However, if the players around the MLB found the stance taken by NBA athletes inspiring, at least one of the UFC’s more notable names seems to have nothing but derision for the message basketball players are looking to send.
Oh wow, you postponed your games?! Wanna prove you’re really about change? Quit your multi million dollar jobs and soft privileged lives playing a kids game, take a massive pay cut and perform the toughest job in America. Become cops!!!! @NBA @MLB @KingJames— Colby Covington (@ColbyCovMMA) August 27, 2020
That hardly means that Covington speaks for all the UFC’s fighters, though. As welterweight champion, and recent opponent, Kamaru Usman was quick to remind his former foe. “I really wish someone would just break your jaw already,” Usman wrote in a Tweet highlighting Covington’s message.
Usman also took to Instagram, posting a video of a separate police incident in which a man walked back to his car during an arrest, shoved an officer, and then chased the officer while the officer tried to tase the man—the video was juxtaposed against Blake’s shooting.
“Run ins with law enforcement shouldn’t have this much of a disparity,” Usman wrote. “There’s a big Difference in the outcomes for These TWO SEPARATE INCIDENCE!! Why Can’t We All Agree On This????”
Usman followed up with more thoughts on that post, and why he felt it was worth sharing, in another video message to fans who may have found his point unclear.
“The one thing that I wanted to really point out, initially, right from the beginning, from those moments was - if most of you didn’t realize - when that cop was talking to the Caucasian guy, and asked him to get down, and he had something in his hands,” Usman said, describing the video. “It was a taser. It was not a gun, it was a taser. So, the cop knew where his gun was, he had his gun. But he pulled out the taser.
“In the video above, with Jacob Blake, all the cops had their guns drawn. While he had nothing in his hands, he wasn’t speaking back. He was walking to the car, and they shot him. Right there, point blank.
“The other guy, on the other hand, was able to get up, chase after the cop, get into – after being tased – get into his car, drive around, ram into the cop car, get out and still able to run around. And not been shot once.
“So, I think that’s food for thought, there, of what the difference is,” Usman continued. “They’re both human beings. What is the difference? One was black and the other one was white. That was why I posted the video.
“I think some people have been—either they were confused by it, or they were just ignorant with the messages they were sending me or responding to. That’s very disappointing to hear, that’s very disappointing to see, and it set me off in a different place. Because, that’s what we still live in. That’s what I’m expected to live in each and everyday. So, that is extremely painful.”