S1: The following podcast contains explicit language.
S2: Hi, I’m Josh Levine, Slate’s national editor and the author of The Queen. This is Hang Up and Listen for the week of June 1st, 2020. On this week’s show, we’re going to talk about how the sports world is reacting and how we’re all reacting to the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. It’s part of that conversation. We’ll be joined by ESPN Myron Metcalf to talk about college sports and who is and isn’t speaking out about racial injustice. Coming to you today, as always.
S3: From my home in Washington, D.C.. Joining me from D.C. is Stefan Fatsis, author of the books Word Freak and A Few Seconds of Panic. Hello, Stefan.
S1: Don’t say as always, Josh, please. We can’t do this forever.
S3: Yeah, well, we’re doing it now and we’re going to be taking it for a while, so get used to it. With us from Palo Alto, California. Slate staff writer. Host of Slow Burn Season three. Joel Anderson. What’s up, Joel?
S1: What’s up, fellas? Glad to be here.
S4: Glad to be with you, Joel. And you, Stefan. And looking forward to our conversation. George Floyd’s life ended on Monday, May 25th, 2020. That’s the day when a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, killed Floyd in Minneapolis by kneeling on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Floyd’s life began 46 years ago. He grew up in Houston, Texas. Joel is going to tell us more about that later in the show. Stephen Jackson, who went on to play in the NBA, met Floyd in Texas. Jackson called Floyd his twin, and he went to Minnesota to speak about his friend’s death. Here’s part of what Jackson had to say.
S5: My white brothers I love. Every race. I’d love.
S6: But it comes to a point now where you love me and you stand on side of me. You loved me.
S3: I’m starting here with those words from Stephen Jackson because it can’t be said enough that systemic racism is a problem created by and perpetuated by white people that black people have suffered from and are suffering from and will continue to suffer from unless and until white people do something about it. And yet it’s too often left to black people like Stephen Jackson and many others, whether athletes or anyone else, to advocate for their own humanity, to demand to be treated as people or even sometimes just to be left alone. We can all see and hear and feel that this is an important moment. But so were the moments that followed the killings of Eric Garner and Flandreau Castile and Sandra Bland. And I could go on much longer here than in a just world. I would be able to. So speaking as a white man, the question now is whether something is going to change or if we’re going to just keep talking about change in the past and the present black athletes. Muhammad Ali, Colin Kaepernick, Stephen Jackson, many others have taken the lead in asking that question and sometimes forcing us to answer it and sometimes not. Joel, what are you even thinking about for the last week?
S1: I’ve been thinking a lot about how this reminds me of Ferguson and Baltimore. You know, we really seem to be on the precipice of a national implosion. You know, Wade, because, you know, it’s hard to look at those scenes from the streets all over the country where people are, you know, clashing with police in the streets and not think that something bad and really scary is going to happen. I think that every time I turn on the cable news or, you know, and it’s like, oh, man, how is this? I think that’s the thing. I’m always like, how is this going to end? And the reason I say that is because I’m really skeptical, really cynical, possibly pessimistic about the idea that this will lead to any larger systemic changes. So I sort of focus on the moment at hand and then like, well, God, I just hope that we can get out of this without anybody being killed in the streets, without, you know, a protest about police brutality becoming yet another example of police brutality. Right. So I think that’s what I’ve been thinking about all weekend. I just want people to be safe and to get out of this so that we can move forward. But I don’t take, you know, any sort of like lesson or sort of any like broader. I don’t have meaning brought many broader thoughts about this that I haven’t already had in 2014 15, because I mean that I know what this country is and I know what, you know, our fealty to, you know, the police state is, you know, I just tend to believe that we’re going to talk a lot about institutional racism and people’s feelings and standing side by side with people. And then in three or four months, whatever city, whatever jurisdiction hearing is going to, you know, approve a budget that increases, you know, the police share of the local city budget. So, yeah, I maybe I wish I had more inspiring words or something that could really, like, beautifully wrap this up, but it’s just a much more bleaker, darker pedestrian view of all these things that have happened over the past week. So, Stefan, I mean, I don’t know. I didn’t give you a lot to be off of there, but hopefully maybe you’re more optimistic than I am about this.
S7: No, not especially. You know, we’ve all been depressed and upset and angered by what we’ve seen. And we probably should pivot it back to what we’re here to talk about and talk about the role of sports and athletes and what we’ve seen over the last week and whether that has changed the way anyone’s felt or what it says about the role that sports figures and leagues can play in this national conversation. And I think it has been pretty striking. I mean, the one thing that I keep thinking about is, of course, Colin Kaepernick. And it took a couple days, I think, for people to make the connection between this cop putting his knee on George Floyd’s throat and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee. But but that is a very prominent image. Now, LeBron James tweeted it out a couple days ago. Sally Jenkins in The Washington Post talked about how the NFL picked the wrong knee. And that’s no solace to and it’s no surprise to sit here and say Colin Kaepernick was right. And Capstick also has been speaking out and also offering to pay for the legal representation for people arrested in in Minnesota in protests. But it is a sort of stark. Finder of just how right he was and how simple it would have been for the NFL to say we support not just his right to exercise his opinion and express his feelings, but we also support what he is talking about and how easy it would have been for the NFL to take a position that wasn’t so cautious and and marketable.
S4: Yeah, I think that’s right. And I think one of them most striking statements that’s come out of this came from the Miami Dolphins head coach, PRAnd Flores, who said and this came out unlike, you know, Miami Dolphins letterhead or whatever the Twitter equivalent is of letterhead. I vividly remember the Colin Kaepernick cut conversations. Don’t ever disrespect the flag, was the phrase that I heard over and over again. This idea that players were kneeling in support of social justice was something some people couldn’t wrap their head around. Our heads that I saw in the media and the anger I felt in some of my own private conversations caused me to sever a few longstanding friendships. I bring these situations up because I haven’t seen the same outrage from people of influence when the conversation turns to Marbury. Taylor and most recently, George Floyd. Many people who broadcast their opinions on kneeling on the hiring of minorities don’t seem to have an opinion on the recent murders of these young black men and women. That’s coming from the NFL head coach.
S3: The issue there, obviously, is that there aren’t a lot of NFL head coaches that look like Brian Flores. It’s very powerful to hear it’s coming from him. It would be a lot more powerful, as he said, if this message was coming from Bill Belichick. Bill Belichick, good example. But, you know, Joel, you know, back to this question of kind of looking for the bright spot here, everybody wants to see like. All right. How’s how’s everything going to be better now? One thing that’s dif definitely different is that more people are speaking out and more white people are speaking out than did in 2014 and two thousand fifteen. The reason to be cynical about that is that everybody now sees that it’s safe. The NFL says, oh, other brands are putting out statements saying that we all stand together. It would probably be worse if the NFL just sat there and didn’t say anything. But is it that much better? Or do they simply see like this is the way that the wind is blowing right now? And so if we’re not going to stand out and stick out, if we say, you know, we’re all brothers and sisters in this moment.
S1: Well, yeah. And so actually, over the weekend, I had to write something about, you know, police chiefs, for instance. This situation is even different for them because so many more of them than in the past have come out and said what we saw in the video of George Floyds arrest and ultimate death was wrong. That’s not what policing is. That is police brutality that, you know, they were basically seeming to say, well, hey, that guy’s firing. And later, his truck, you know, his prosecution, you’d been charged with third degree murder in George Ford’s death. That that was OK. And that’s that’s what should happen. Right. So, like, even the police chiefs think that they what they saw was bad enough and they did demanded the statements. So, of course, the NFL and, you know, prominent sports figures could look at that and say, you know what? It’s OK for us to say something right now. But I think the one thing and I’ve been talking about this with friends all weekend that we’ve been missing here because they’ve said, you know, we’re taking a stand like we’re we’ve got a problem with, you know you know, we want people to stand together. We have a problem with racism and so on and so forth. Nobody has mentioned police. None of these statements that have come out. Nobody has ever said anything about police brutality, police abuse. They’ve just spoken more theoretically, more generally about racism and institutional racism is systemic racism as if these are things that just happen on their own, that they’re part of the atmosphere and not things that are actively promoted and furthered by the actions of people and the decisions they make, whether they’re politically or in their everyday lives, like institutional racism. Systemic racism doesn’t just happen, but it allows people to sort of hide in this like bigger, broader phenomenon, and they don’t have to take responsibility. And so that’s why I’ve really been sort of skeptical of cynical, because it wouldn’t take anything for, you know, the Miami Dolphins or anybody else to say, hey, look, this is police brutality and it’s wrong and it happens because of racist policing practices. And that’s got to stop. And we’re going to work within our communities to see what we can do to stop that and to make police departments more accountable. You haven’t heard that. You’ve just heard I stand with you and. Martin Luther King said, you know, right, so the vote, you know, the voices unheard or whatever, you know, I mean, like, that’s not it. You know, that that’s not a call to action. That is a call to cease action to move to so we can get past this. And so I like wow, it is good for people to signal that what we saw in that video was wrong. It’s not like they said anything that would make me think that they’re really committed to making sure that it doesn’t happen again. If that makes any sense, does that make. Does that make sense?
S3: I mean, it does make sense. And I think, Stefan, we’ve seen societally, but also in sports, this kind of conflation of the military and police, like whether it’s with police kind of going through the streets with military equipment, whether it’s we have to wear saluting the troops.
S4: And also, you know, the first responders that are serving us in our communities, there’s this kind of way that the NFL and think in particular has taken the league the lead. But other leagues as well have really wrapped themselves in the flag.
S3: But just this idea that there’s a kind of bright line there that in order to be American. And I think in a way to be kind of beyond criticism, you have to say certain things about the military and about the police.
S4: And I think that this is like a real kind of third rail and something that for owners and commissioner that either don’t want to piss off Donald Trump or actively support him. There’s just like a line that won’t be crossed here.
S8: The NFL and other leagues made institutional decisions. And it wasn’t just after 9/11, it was before that. But certainly it has been heightened since 9/11. And they’ve made an institutional and a business decision to align themselves with the military and with law enforcement and to make it seem as if supporting that is an inherent part of their business, of their day to day operations. And absent it, it is a sort of anti-American behavior. The league’s boxed themselves into a position that they can’t get out of. They are so locked in now and have been for the last 20 years, particularly to jingoism and nationalism and false patriotism, that now when a lot of those ideals are looking to more and more people to be inherently suspect. The leagues really don’t know where to go. So you end up with Roger Goodell issuing a statement saying the NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country. And when he is called out by his own employees, people like Kenny Stills, the wide receiver for the Houston Texans who said save the bullshit. Well, what is the NFL going to do? They double down further and talk about how they’ve done. They’ve poured all this money into into social justice organizations in recent years. But it all still feels empty because we know it’s empty and we know because they were afraid of Donald Trump after after calling capron. And we know because they blackballed Colin Kaepernick and they denied him a job when it would have been perfectly easy. As I said earlier, for the league to just say we support what he is doing, we don’t deny his right to do it, and he belongs on the field because he is qualified to be on the field. And we’ve seen we also saw former Clinton spokesman and former NFL communications director Joe Lockhart write a piece for CNN admitting that the league did just that.
S1: Do you think that these leagues, I mean, can fool the idea? You think the NFL can fool anybody? Because I guess you like we we’ve talked about these statements. Right. And we everybody kind of feel that will suspect this sort of lacking here. So who are these really for them? Like, do you you know, I mean, because it just isn’t. Their actions have told the stories that they’re not really invested in this sort of stuff. And like somebody like Eric Reed. Right. Has been fighting against the NFL since he got back into it, about like the lack of real passion or even resources into these social justice initiatives that they’re putting money into. So I would. What do you even think these statements are for them or who are they for? Who you. Who are they convincing with this sort of stuff?
S9: I mean, I think they’re for themselves. They’re so that they can say that they had that they said it it’s to check the box and be able to move on. I don’t think they’re trying to persuade anyone or convince anyone of anything. I think I guess if anything, it’s a statement so that people can then say, all right, we what are you complaining about? We already said that we don’t support this. It’s like, you know, designed to be the minimally sufficient response to be able to move along.
S3: And conduct the next kind of order of league business.
S10: But the NFL was saying that, you know, four years ago with Tappahannock, it wasn’t that we don’t support justice. We don’t it’s not that we don’t support the rights of black people. It’s that, hey, you know, we support the flag. And this was disrespectful to the flag because why they wrap themselves in it. And so four years later, I mentioned this Joe Lockhart column on CNN. He writes, I was wrong. Well, first, he says that an executive from one team told him that they projected losing 20 percent of their season ticket holders if they signed Kapre neck and that this was a business risk that they somehow had quantified. And he goes on to say, I was wrong. I think the teams were wrong for not signing him, watching what’s going on in Minnesota. I understand how badly wrong we were. Dude, if it took the killing of this black man to make you realize that you were wrong. Come on. Who are you kidding?
S1: Well, yeah. And I mean, that’s the thing, right? It’s just that. Yeah. This killing, I mean, there’s no way that you can look at the Tamir Rice killing and think that that was anything other than an egregious injustice and horrible policing. And yet and still, they came out on the side of the argument that they did. Right. And so, you know, for now, not if they like it. You mentioned the wind is blowing in this direction after the George Floyd video gets out. It’s like, what are you guys going to do about it? But for these statements and that’s why I was asking, like, why do you think these statements before? Because nobody that was on the other side of the argument before is going to think this is sufficient. Then like, there’s no way that they can that that they could actually believe that, like releasing those statements. The Colin Kaepernick is like, you know what? That’s right, guys. It’s over, you know, over a year. We’re all good and we’re all good now and then.
S4: All the people have it all back to back to the point you were making before. Remember that one of the things that was used to, quote unquote, discredit Kapre, Nick, is that he wore socks that had tags on them. And I think that’s again, back to your point about how the thing that when we’re all like now in this having having the mythical national conversation about race that we’re always having, the thing that we’re not actually talking about is why we’re allowed to say about the police and about policing and how policing looks so much different to you if you’re black or a person of color than if you’re a white person. And also, like with the Coptic thing, it’s it’s like, OK, even if even if I don’t agree with this, let’s agree, like, OK, he’s not a perfect spokesman. Stephen Jackson, for many reasons, is not a perfect spokesman. But like, does it why does that matter? Who cares? It’s like who you know. And in another part of that of his press conference that we didn’t include a clip from. He talks about Jackson. Does you know that with George Floyd, there’s gonna be a tendency for people to talk about, you know, the negative things that that happened in in his his life and not the fact that he was just a human being who, no matter what, does not deserve this to happen to him. And so it just feels like we’re not capable of talking about the things that really matter and that are are really important. And that it always just gets back to this. You know, he did this thing that was offensive. Very like, why did you have to do it that way? Oh, I would have been OK with it if he had done this and not that. It’s all just just bullshit because people don’t want to have the conversation that we should be having. And it’s all just excuses.
S7: And one thing I’ve been thinking about two guys is that the breadth of the response by athletes and coaches and teams to George Floyd. I mean, it’s obviously commensurate with the reaction of the general public and what we’ve seen in the streets. But at the same time, athletes aren’t athletes right now. And I think there’s a connection to the lockdown and the coronavirus. And all of these athletes are outside of their team facilities, their home. They’re not training as much as they were. They’re not in in their usual environments. And I wonder whether that’s giving them, you know, a bigger voice to be part of the conversation on social media. We’ve seen everything from, you know, statements on Twitter to videos created by a tennis player, Francis Tufo, with other players and coaches and administrators in U.S. tennis really moving video rackets down, hands up with everybody putting their hands up soccer players in the one sport that is alive. And we’re watching in Germany, we’ve seen several players take knees or wear T-shirts that undershirts that say Justice for George Floyd, the U.S. player Western McKenty in the Bundesliga took a knee during their game over the weekend. So I think that just the environment has has helped. Give athletes a voice that they know they’re gonna be heard.
S8: Because this is what they need to do right now and there’s no they’re not they’re not working in their regular jobs.
S1: And to that point, I think that also explains in some ways the insufficient response from coaches and administrators because they don’t have all these same, you know, the same administration, the same sort of structure that would help them and be able to feed them the lines that they need to be able to say immediately. Right. And so you kind of end up with this, as you call it, anodyne statements that really don’t say much, but sort of check all these boxes and we end up with, you know, where we were in the first place was like where you really stand on this. You know, you’re able to just kind of get away with saying, I’m against racism, but not point to specific things that have created the conditions that, you know, lead to racism and lead to the sorts of police brutality and police abuse deaths that we saw with George Floyd. So Bill Belichick doesn’t know where to go. Right. He doesn’t have the same sort of structure and the same protection that he would normally have as he was if he was in the office every day and they were able to sort of talk this out. And that’s what it maybe that’s why it seems insufficient. And, you know, I guess it kind of I don’t want to diminish the importance of these guys saying anything at all, because it is important to signal that there are some things that are so egregious and so unacceptable in society that it demands people to say that is wrong. And if that’s all that they can give, then I guess we just have to live with that. It may not be enough for me, but it is important to just say it. And maybe that’s, you know, maybe that’s sort of the lesson of this, right, that we found an incident that was so bad that even, you know, Mike Leach had to re tweet a Martin Luther King meme.
S9: And you do have, you know, whether Joe Brown or Trevor Lawrence or Carson Wentz, you know, we can’t say how heartfelt the statements were. They seem heartfelt and not written by publicists. All we can say is that this is different. We haven’t seen, for instance, as many white athletes speaking out as we’ve seen now. And I guess it gets back to kind of minimum sufficient response. Like, I guess if I was a teammate of one of these guys, I would at least, you know, it’s meaningful. It’s more meaningful than not saying anything. It feels like there’s a shift happening here where you really do need to speak up and that this is a time when you need to make clear which side you’re on. And so those guys are are making it clear whether that translated how that translates when games start or how it translates into action. We don’t now, but I think it is just worth at least marking that this is a moment when things are different.
S8: I want to circle back and finish up here by mentioning that, you know, you talked about, Joel, how none of these statements mentioned police brutality. Well, there is one that did, and that was the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Teams statement. And it’ll be interesting to see because that league, the professional league they play in NWSL, is resuming before all the other major professional sports. They’re going to run this closed tournament in Utah starting later this month. And these are athletes who have made their voices heard. And if they take some sort of collective action on the field, which is noteworthy and something that we’re all going to be looking for, it’s going to raise this question of, you know, what’s Roger Goodell going to do if 75 percent of the league takes a knee in the fall, if they come back and start playing? Will there or will taking a need be co-opted by the establishment without acknowledging Catelyn was co-opted?
S6: Remember then that one week where like jazz, I want to work with Jerry Jones. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But everyone saw through that that fixed everything. Right.
S1: I’m glad you said that we can have done that because UConn women’s basketball also mentioned police brutality and then they’re all following in the activism of like the Minnesota Lynx who protested this, you know, years ago, you know, and angered the Minnesota Police Department so much they refused to work the games for a few days or something like that for a few games. So. Right. As with many things, the women were ahead of the men on a lot of this stuff.
S4: All right. I wanted to let you know that in this week’s bonus segment, we’ll be talking to Mary Medcalf of ESPN. We’re about to talk to Myron in the segment coming up about college sports and its reaction to George Floyds death. Myron is in Minnesota. And so we’re going to be hearing his perspective as somebody who has been, you know, living with George Floyds killing for the last week.
S1: In the days after George Floyds deaths and anti police abuse protesters into the streets all across the country, there was a slow but steady release of publicly prepared statements from people in the sports world. While players and activists spoke forcefully about what happened in Minneapolis last week, the coaches, most of them old and white, were a lot more restrained. We heard from a number of white football coaches, including Alabama’s Nick Saban. Texas is Tom Herman. Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy and plenty of others. Of course, there were a lot more who said nothing at all, including, disappointingly enough, the head coaches of the teams at my alma moderate’s VCU. The collective silence was enough to catch the attention of North Carolina central men’s basketball head coach Leavelle Motin. In an interview for ESPN Radio on Sunday, Motin called it alarming and challenged other coaches to say and do more.
S11: It seems as if black lives matter to them whenever they can benefit from it, right? Whenever they are getting them a first down or, you know, Catchin Aliu was shooting the three or whatever. But when it’s time for humanity to speak up on behalf of those those student athletes, his silence is cricket, the murder of black Americans. It’s too risky of an issue for you to stand up as a leader. Then who are they really playing?
S1: Who are they really playing for? It’s a good question. We’ve brought in the person who spoke to Motin on the radio and for a story that he later wrote for ESPN dot com. His name is Myron Metcalf, longtime college basketball writer for ESPN dot com. He even lives in Minneapolis right now. We’ve been trying to get him on air a long time. So, Myron, thanks for joining us today. First of all, how did this conversation with Martin happen? Do you have a pretty good relationship with him? Correct.
S12: Yeah. So, Moten, I’ve been tight for years. You know, he’s just one of those guys. Honestly, if you meet him, you just get cool. You just a guy that you just want to call even. It’s not about basketball. He just has a lot of insight. Online. But this year, I spent a week with the team. North Carolina Central HPC. I rode the bus or detained for we did a whole story about that and really got to know Hannah’s staff. They made me feel like family. So we had these conversations all the time. This was just common sense. We happen to have on the radio, but these are things he’s cared about and he’s expressed that for years. And it’s, you know, jolliest. We talk about the stuff in private all the time. But I feel like he got like, you know what? It’s time to say something in this moment. And there has certainly been a response. In college sports since he said that there have been people who released second statements, Chris Magnus put out another statement. John Calipari released a video, canceled his podcast show to ask for a moment of silence, wants to arrange a group of leaders to discuss the situation. So I think he made a mark.
S3: Let’s talk about the broader context here. And I think something that, you know, Murden was speaking about was just about college sports. Generally, you have these white, older white coaches and men’s basketball and football who are directly profiting off the work of young, uncompensated black men.
S4: And Modin is a black man at an HBC you who relates to his players in a different way than even somebody who’s put out a good statement like a Chris Mack has. How much do you feel like Modin was just kind of releasing, you know, his feelings about this bigger picture about college sports?
S12: Yeah, I think that definitely is an element of it, just because it’s impossible to look at what I see every time I go to a game. And ninety nine percent of the time, there are two white coaches and predominately black players. It’s impossible to not see that. And I mean, that’s America in so many ways, you know? But I think the collegiate element where the idea is you’re supposed to be leading young men and, you know, there’s this idea that you’re helping these young men mature. You can’t ignore some of these dynamics. I think someone like Leavelle and I don’t speak hand, but he’s confronted with these things every single day. And I think in moments like this, even the coaches put out statements that’s enough for their fan bases and supporters. He put out a statement on Twitter. He spoke up. Whereas I think what Leavelle was saying and what a lot of us are saying it is, it goes beyond a few tweets and MLK quote, This is about how are you teaching and leading the young men who have given up all their other opportunities to trust you with these crucial years in their lives. What are you doing to relate to them? What are you doing that goes beyond how they assist your program, how they benefit you and the big salary you have? Do you care about who they are beyond this? And to me, any coach in America, if you’re saying you care about them more than just the athletic elements, especially with black kids, you’ve got to admit that race is a component that you can’t just look at past. That’s what the bill was trying to articulate. And some coaches, like I said, I responded. And I do think it’s important for coaches to stand up. But what Max and I think that’s always the question we’re left with in these situations.
S13: And part of the problem here and obviously is who is coaching these young men and women of color in major sports? About a tenth of FBI football coaches are black. And then in basketball, the numbers aren’t much better. I mean, if you it’s like 30 percent overall, I think, in D1. But you take out the HPC use and then you move into the power conferences and you’re down into like 13, 14 percent. And there are conferences that don’t have a single black head coach. I mean, do you think that in addition to sort of putting out tweets and trying to push the conversation further, there’s there’s a potential here for schools to recognize their failures here?
S12: I don’t have that confidence in the collegiate landscape because I’ve been here too long to get fooled again. I would love to believe that this was sort of the thing that propels us into what you’re speaking of. Let’s give more minorities my opportunities. I’ve heard the same song too many times. It’s clear, based on the numbers that you just said and mention, that America’s presidents, athletic directors believe the best leader for their program is a white guy. There’s no way to look beyond that because the numbers prove. And that puts so many coaches in a difficult spot. How do you, as an African-American, prove that you belong? And I talked to so many black coaches and they tell the same story. How do I get in that room with that president or that athletic director to prove that I can lead this program? And then there are so many social challenges. We don’t go to the same barbershop. We don’t get the same church. We don’t have the same conversations. We’re not watching the same TV shows. That makes it difficult to relate to an institution where the vast majority, over 90 percent of these leaders, athletic directors and presidents are white. So now you’re asking these guys to trust that you’re capable and to step outside their comfort zones to give you an opportunity and give you a fair shake. And that just hasn’t happened consistently. And I was just with a meeting with I believe it was, you know, 500 coaches around the country, many of them African-American. And our conversation quickly became this. How do we change it? And I’m always lost. But at the end of the day, if the unthinkable doesn’t have to meet some sort of a standard as to who gets interviewed, then these schools can escape by hiring these search firms, which are all white, to get the right candidates. And then when you go to them and say, what was the hiring process? Well, we gave that search firm our criteria and then they came back with this particular candidate. Everybody’s making excuses. And I don’t know how you solved that. And I’ve been trying for so many years to figure it out.
S1: So, Mark, you mentioned you didn’t want to be fooled again and you were covering college basketball. Obviously, you know, 2014, 2015, when we had, you know, uprisings around the country that we had not seen for, you know, 20, 25 years. Right. What’s different now in the response from coaches, college coaches, now that, you know, we didn’t see back then because I you know, 2014, 2015, I don’t remember hearing many statements from coaches then, nor do I remember much of a push for them to even say anything about what was going on at the time.
S12: Yeah. I mean, that’s a really good question. I think what’s changed perhaps are the players and that these are players who lived through Ferguson and they saw that and they saw Orlando and they saw Sandra Bland. And I’ve seen so many things that unlike you and me growing up when we did, they’ve seen these things in real time on social media and they have these discussions in real time on social media. And I think you have more coaches who understand like that’s the way you communicate to your players these days, maybe a lot, maybe more sold in 2014, your team, and perhaps feel like they have to say something so that that audience that really is glued to social media will believe that they they care. Now, what’s change about the true investment? I don’t know the answer to that. I guess we’ll see. But I feel like we’ve said that so many times. A number of these statements are let’s call them what they are. They’re statements that suggest and I’m not saying that people are disingenuous, but they suggest you care and I suggest you’re invested and they suggest that you think what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day and others like him were some really, really terrible incidents. But they also want the lie so that you don’t get yourself into a dicey situation with some of your big supporters and boosters who might not have the same view. So, so many of these things feel manufactured. To me, like a bunch of people went into a room and said, how do we released this statement so that everybody’s happy? And Joe, you and I know if you’re gonna have conversations about race, you might make some people mad. There’s no way to have a real conversation surrounding race and the things attached to race, police brutality, racist racism, systemic racism, the achievement gap, all these things without making people upset. Right. So I’m curious going forward if there will be more coaches who are willing to make those kinds of statements, the ones where you take aside, the ones where you have to address these things you’re seeing in front of you, not just today when it’s convenient, but in the weeks and months that follow that you’d make this a part of your curriculum and a part of your platform, cause boosters, administrators and coaches not not quite known as the most progressive bunch of folks out there.
S7: I mean, here’s what here’s what Nick Saban said in his statement.
S13: I mean, and you talk about anodyne and walking a line. We are all part of this. And we must banish these types of injustices and not just our country, but our world. The ultimate future of our nation is in our hands. And like the teams I’ve been privileged to coach, we must depend on and respect each other. No matter our differences, we must come together as a society and treat one another with respect and dignity. I mean, I didn’t say very much.
S12: Frankly, it honestly, some of these statements sound like a line from Gladiator, like Russell Crowe. And he would be like in the in the Coliseum. He would make a declaration sound like a sound like that, like like that’s the audience. They were a bad today. And again, I understand these are big names and everything they do, there’s gonna be some assistance. But I’m waiting to see some of the raw emotion that we have to deal with when these things happen. Waiting to see someone show me the tweets. The messaging hasn’t been to get built yet. I want to know how you felt when you saw that video. That, to me, is real. I want to know what your immediate thoughts were and what you intend to do. That’s real. And I’m not saying, again, these statements are fraudulent, but there’s no way there enough. And I think there are a lot of people who are saying, fine. They spoke up. What else do you want? I want them to use that platform and understand the benefit they had by coaching these young African-American men that they don’t have a choice about whether to take a stand on these issues. If you’re going to coach those kids, these are your issues, too. And if they’re not, we’re going to continue to ask these questions and hold you up.
S3: One thing I’ve been thinking about, Marion, gets back to what you were saying about the promises that coaches make around being responsible for these young men, the promises that they make. And to the kids parents, you know, in these recruiting visits, it’s a very intimate kind of moment, right? You go into somebody’s house and you are trying to convince them to come to your school and you’re saying, I’ll take care of you, I’ll be the leader, I’ll be the mentor you’re making. Promise me kind of a vow. And it feels, I think, to a lot of us, like, that’s all kind of stagecraft, that there’s some kind of artifice and fakery to it, and that when it actually comes time for these young men to get to campus, it’s all. Feels very kind of like they’re being used. And that promise isn’t being fulfilled, whether it’s around, oh, we’re going to make sure this kid gets an education. But you have to take, you know, general studies, major. Because you don’t have time to actually go to these these classes. And so, like, yeah, we wrote we want you to get this very specific type of education that maybe won’t leave you fully educated when you leave. That’s that’s just one example. But, you know, I’ve I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading around David Duke because that’s the topic for season four of Slow Burn. And the thing that struck me as being like so remarkable and telling is that when Duke was running for governor in 91, there were ads that went out right before Election Day that said you have to vote against Duke because if he wins, that’s going to hurt LSU in recruiting. The black students are not going to want to go there. And just seeing black athletes in this totally, you know, mechanistic kind of way, like we need to make sure that we don’t do this thing because then black athletes who we need for our team to do well will not want to be here. And so it’s a long way around saying, you know, the cynical way to look at it is like maybe these coaches are just saying the bare minimum right thing. So the black athletes won’t want to go to another school.
S6: Are you suggesting that powerful coaches only care about recruiting? That’s never happened. That’s never happened. Oh, they’re all salesmen.
S3: And they’re they’re they’re selling us that. They’re being sincere about George Floyd’s death. Right.
S12: 100 percent these statements. And if you look at the time right there, we’re certain some. Well, released statements earlier in the week. Over time, in the last 72 hours, when you gotta make a statement, because if you don’t, someone’s going to say, why didn’t you put something out? It’s always about recruiting. Like I never expected. Much more than like you’re in a position like that in a power five school because you have been obsessed with winning and do whatever it takes to win and to be the head coach of a program like that. That’s who you are. It’s always recruiting. And certainly these statements, our message to black athletes who are there now and who could come in the future. But I just don’t think that’s sufficient for those young men. And at some point, we as reporters have to do a better job, I think, of holding these coaches accountable and not just when these situations arise. I mean, to me, we’ve talked about George Floyd for a week and there are a lot of people who are already exhausted. They’re already tired of talking about racism is every day. It’s forever. Right. So we shouldn’t allow, I think, these coaches to get away with not having real discussions, public discussions, even when things like the George Floyd encounter aren’t happening like this has to be something that is a part of what they do and part of their platform. If they truly have an investment in these young black men who are black man and you can’t escape. But I think something else you said is also happen around the name image and likeness. Stuff is also happening where you’ve got programs trying to sell the value of going to a particular institution. How much money these kids are going to be able to make on the side and they go to this school or that school. So recruiting is about to get even more complicated. And that’s certainly a part of it. I think what we’re seeing right now.
S8: Joel, I want to ask you, you’ve also covered college sports, of course, also and sort of piggy backing off of what Josh and Myron just said. You know, these coaches have to be aware. I mean, Nick Saban’s aware that, as we’ve just been talking about, that social media has made the lives of athletes different. They are more plugged in. There is a broader and easier conversation for them to have. And everything that they experience is now shared. And it’s visible. Can coaches continue to get away with. You know, I’m deeply troubled by what I saw. Or as Myron just said. Now, does this have to become part of the recruiting platform? It’s got to become part of their mission statement or however they they phrase frame the way they reach out to the students that they’re trying to get to play sports for them.
S1: I’m fairly cynical about this sort of stuff. I don’t think they have to do anything. I just think they kind of have to ride this out until the news cycle changes.
S8: And you think, man? I mean, isn’t it possible that some young athlete, top athletes going gonna say, why should I go play for this guy? Look at this.
S1: I mean, if I read it on paper, they make a bad statement or if they made a statement or if they said something that would reveal that they didn’t see a problem with George Ford being killed in that manner at all. That would be a problem. But I’d you know, there’s so many elements that go into a college athletes decision to go someplace that it very rarely do the politics of the coach come into play, because if it did, then you probably wouldn’t see so many guys had the success recruiting it, let alone the schools. You don’t I mean, like Ole Miss would never get anybody if this was right. Right. If that sort of stuff mattered. So I just think that for the most part, what schools are doing and is Myron seeing into these statements, they’re just kind of making a very, you know, a very sort of soft statement. They’re saying, we’re with you guys, we’re against racism, and they can just kind of wait it out. You know, in a couple of weeks, the news cycle will change. You know, maybe there’ll be a, God forbid, a second wave of coded. There’ll be some sort of you know, we’re in the middle of a presidential election. The news cycle will change and we’ll move on. And that’s exactly that’s exactly what happened after Ferguson in Baltimore. You know, eventually people move on. And I don’t think, you know, teenagers or their parents or coaches or anybody going to hold that against somebody for saying for not saying enough. That’s sort of your take on it.
S12: Yeah, I think everything I’m saying is what I would hope to see what you would think they would feel morally obligated to do. But I’m in the Senate. Go two in terms of these statements will be sufficient for 99 percent of the coaches and we will move on. I’m very curious, Joe, and I wondered what you think about this if this happens in mid-September. And now you’ve got athletes who are saying, I’m taking this to the field, I’m taking this to the basketball court. I’m going to make a visible showing of how I feel on this big stage. How many of these statements do we see? How many of these? How much support do we see? Because I think that would be a completely different conversation for a lot of these coaches, because right now you can say, hey, I support you, set out to get it. Ohio State young man at Ohio State who protested. I was detained by police on Friday. Gene Smith, athletic director, director at Ohio State, comes out and says, I support you. Chris Holtmann, as coach says, I support you. And I believe that. But it’s also June 1st. Right. Does that support for all of these coaches and athletic directors carry over into the season? If these same young men come out and say, you know what, I need to do something on the field to prove that I care? Do you support me there? I’m very curious about the responses that we’ll get.
S1: That would be a base name because the timing is everything. Right? And I just think about, you know, it was a two thousand sixteen or seventeen when Mazouz football program was brought to a halt. Like, that’s how like Gary Pinkel resigned as a result of those those protests. Right. That were happening on campus that were around, you know, very specific issues of racism and discrimination within that campus. Right. But a brought that program, a Power five program, a program that had played in the SCC championship, you know, in the previous two years to a halt. So, yeah, I mean, I definitely think. Right, like, if if this comes back around or there’s another incident that sort of captivates the nation in the same way, then. Yeah, I mean, no, that would be really thrilling to me. Like, I don’t want anything to happen. You know, it goes without saying that I don’t want anybody to lose their life in that way. But a similar sort of issue, a similar sort of controversy in the middle of the season. Oh, well, then it’s going to be on and poppin. You know, I mean, like I think then they will then they’ll really have to do some.
S3: Yeah, well, the the thing that I’m wondering about as a possible kind of pathway for things to change would be the name and a name, image and likeness situation, because, you know, we’ll see how that all shakes out. There are different ideas flying around, but let’s just imagine or stipulate that players will get some amount more empowered than they are now, some amount more security, some amount more ability to capitalize on, you know, that the fame and renowned that that that they generate. OK. Will that be enough to you know. You know, Kain Colter at Northwestern starts this movement to unionize. That school doesn’t really spread beyond Northwestern. Shabazz Napier talks very publicly at a huge moment at the Final Four about how he sometimes doesn’t have enough T. S Towns protests after George Floyds death. Could we see sort of exponential growth in the number of players and prominent players who feel like they have the platform and the safety to be able to speak out? That seems to me like it’s possible. I don’t know if it will happen, but if something change changes, I bet it’s because the athletes themselves feel like they are empowered to speak up like pro athletes have been able to.
S12: Yeah, I’m extremely cynical on that idea only because when it comes to name, image and likeness, first off, we don’t know what that’s gonna look like. And time the incident play is talking about fair market value. I have no idea what that means. How much was Tzion Worth two years ago made of Nike come designed to do that year and said here’s 20 million dollars because you’re the biggest thing in sports right now? Is that fair market value? So I don’t know what name, image and likeness rules will look like, but they’ll continue to benefit the stars and they’ll benefit the most popular players. So those guys are already I mean, it’s been in women on women’s teams as well. They already had prominent positions. So whether they speak up without naming the likeness or with it, they have a lot of security in that you’re not really a superstar. You know, you’re gonna listen to them and you’re gonna give them certain freedom. So I don’t know if that really changes. So the audacity that someday that athletes might add, I think to me they’ll change each other. I mean, that’s your best hope in that. I think social media as just made it trendy for a lot of these young folks to get involved and express their views. And they can all do it so easily, you know, set towns. And I’ll state, you know, puts the video on Twitter of the NBA getting detained by police and handcuffed. He puts a statement on Twitter. And there are thousands of people sharing this moment here. Need me. He didn’t need some other group to help him put out this statement. He did it on his own. So I think that to me, if they’re going to be more bold, it’s because they have the better opportunity to say things without the filters around them. So will they fight the filter? That’s my question. Will they say something at the. Says, don’t protest. Well, they say something if the athletic director says we don’t want to talk about this issue. I’m very curious to see how that all plays out.
S8: I do think it’s going to be harder for white coaches and athletic directors to try to clamp down in the fall if the sports come back. And if there’s still this tension out there, which, of course, there will be. So my hope is that, yeah, there is some power in the collective here and the collective force of what’s happened over the last few weeks and what’s going to continue to happen through this summer.
S7: And that athletes will recognize that suddenly, you know, they’re going to see that Kapre Nick was right and that, you know, we’ve seen cops, whether cynically or not taking these in the last few days and suddenly certain forms of expression that were third rails are more validated. And if the students are bold enough and, you know, this is these are huge ifs and can overcome the inherent stacked deck against them, scholarships, control over their lives, control over their futures, you know, that would be obviously a very positive thing to say.
S12: It would be positive. I would say it quickly. I feel like this is going to be the most insecure class of athletes we’ve ever had because athletic departments are shrinking scholarships, you know, being minimized. So I think actually there will be more fear of speaking out because everybody is not going to make it. Every team’s not. That used to be still in play this fall. So I just wonder how we all navigate that.
S1: All right. Well, I think we can put a pin in the conversation here. I’m sure this is going to come back around at some point. And when it does, we want to have you back on admiring. But in the meantime, thank you. Stay safe up there, bro. And we’ll be looking forward and following you going for.
S12: Appreciate it. Thank you all.
S14: Now it is time for after balls and Professor Lou Moore, who we have had on this show before, put together a map the history of black athletes and police brutality. We’ll link to it on our show page and suggest that folks check it out. And the examples which are all illustrated by a news story so you can read more about these particular incidents. Go back to 1983. The first athlete is a boxer named Joe Gans. And that headline of the story is this little squib is Joe Gans Find. It says Joe Gans colored the champion lightweight boxer of the World, was fined five dollars and costs by Justice Rabb at the North-Eastern police station yesterday morning on the charge of acting in a disorderly manner. The story goes on to describe a conflict between Gan’s and two folks that he was with, both black men, a patrolmen. The patrolmen came up to them and told them they were creating too much noise. The officer resented the remark from one of them and threatened to place them under arrest. There’s been a scuffle where the policeman was hit on the ear and then it says Gan’s made a dive for the patrolmen, who in turn struck him in the head with his club, knocking him in the street. It was Gan’s, the boxer who was fined for this. As I said, the beginning, five dollars. And if you want to look at the long and sad and sadly unsurprising history of police brutality and black athletes, then there are a lot more examples like this on Lamar’s map. So Joe Gans is after him on them today. Joel, what is your Joe Gans?
S1: I was reading through the Houston Chronicle over the weekend trying to learn as much about George Floyd as possible in one of these stories about Floyd in his early life in his hometown of Houston. The current coach at his alma mater said, I don’t know a lot about his adult background, but I’ve heard nothing but good things. He was always smiling every time I saw him. So if, like me, you’d never heard of George Floyd before last week. This after was for you. But it’s not about his gruesome death that was caught in that now viral video in Minneapolis last Monday. While so much time has been spent and rightfully so, recounting Floyd’s final awful minutes at the hands and knees of police. I was hungry for more information about his life. And former NBA player Steven Jackson, as we mentioned in an earlier segment, was one of the first to help with that. Jackson is from southeast Texas, Port Arthur, which is about an hour and a half outside of Houston. And he quickly and repeatedly explained that he had a personal connection to Floyd. He called Floyd twin. And if you see if Steven Jackson and if you’ve seen a picture of George Floyd, it makes sense. They legitimately look like brothers. And so that was all how I found out. Floyd was six foot six and from Houston, Texas. And it didn’t take long for me to sort of fill in the rest of the story. He was raised in the city’s historic Third Ward neighborhood. He went to Yates High School and he went off to college briefly on a basketball scholarship. And so the most interesting data point and there to me as a huge Ian, is that Floyd was a member of Yates’s 1992 football team that went 13 two and won and lost in the class five, a state final. If you’re from Third Ward or the south side of Houston, like me, that school and that team still means something special today. Fans of Friday Night Lights, the book and not the TV show that I’ve never seen of the movie, might remember a passing reference to Yates’s 1985 championship team that seemed defeated, Odessa, Permian, 37, and nothing in the title game. It was the first all black team to win a state championship in Texas, and Floyd became a part of that tradition when he joined the football team in the 90s. When Yates was still a local and state powerhouse, he was a titan on the team in 1992. That team was led by Gerald Moore, who that year became the first HDD player to rush for more than 2000 yards in a single season before going on to start Oklahoma. And this was high school football in Texas in the 90s. So there wasn’t a lot of passing going on. But Floyd still managed to stand out as a tight end in that state championship game that I mentioned earlier that was played in the old Houston Astrodome. Floyd caught three passes for 18 yards and a 38 to 20 loss to Temple High School. So Gates lost. But if from Houston, like me, that team is as memorable as any other team that ever won a state championship. And Floyd even ended the year by making get until the local all star team. Here’s a line from that story. Running backs Gerald Moore and Johnny Bailey, linebackers Oscar Smallwood, Melvin Foster and Tight Ends Floyd George. So they got the. Names backwards there. Right. It’s George Floyd, but they said and tight ends, Floyd, George and Zino Alexander names the football followers of Yates’ certainly know well, as do the college recruiters. So they didn’t quite know Floyd or his name as well as they claim to, but he nonetheless made a name for himself. Yates’s football coach, Maurice McGowan remembered Floyd is more of a basketball player who was convinced to play football. The coaches had to beg him to come out to play football. He felt most at home on the basketball court. In fact, one of his teammates said of him he was fluid. You know how some people make awkward moves? Well, he knew how to handle the rock and to get to his spots and get where he wanted to go. Floyd did well enough to go on to play basketball at South Florida Community College, but he didn’t finish. He came back home to Houston and got connected with the legendary screwed up click that was led by, you know, the iconic Houston musician deejay screw. And I assume what’s going to happen here is this is the first time we’ve ever played a clip of a Screwtape on.
S15: Hang up and listen to little questions raised, so to speak.
S1: That’s Floyd. That’s Big Floyd. I didn’t know that. I’ve heard these songs for much of my childhood and did not realize that Floyd was actually part of a music scene that made Houston, you know, one of the more important scenes in rap music in the 90s. So anyway, Floyd gotten a rap, you know, but after that, the reports on his life got a lot more spotty and sporadic. We know that he had two daughters. We know that he spent a little time in jail. We know that he recently moved to Minneapolis looking for a new start at life. We also know that he was only 46 years old at the time of his death. Floyd wasn’t an extraordinary guy, but he was part of something special once. And that’s something we should all be able to relate to, especially if you’ve heard me talk about my year quarterbacking, the 1989 Southwest year to an undefeated season. He was just a regular guy. He was a human being, as Josh said earlier, and that makes his death hit even closer to home. Rest in peace. Big Floyd.
S2: Thank you, Joel. And that is our show for today. Our producer is Melissa Kaplan. Closeness Pashas and subscribe or just reach out, go to Slate dot com slash, hang up. You can e-mail us at Hang-Up at Slate dot com. If you’re still here and you want even more, hang up and listen. We have a bonus segment for you this week with ESPN’s Myron Metcalf, who has been living in Minnesota for a long time and gave us his perspective on what’s gone on there for the last week.
S16: When I thought of any on Monday, Memorial Day. I knew right then and there. And here was my thought. This is what would have happened if Orlando had happened in Minneapolis. Orlando still died in police custody, was shot by a police officer. But it wasn’t sort of a little suburb outside Minneapolis. It wasn’t Minneapolis. Police had Landow happen in Minneapolis.
S17: This would have been the result for Joel Anderson. Stefan Fatsis, Josh Levine members, Olmo Beadie. And thanks for listening.
S4: Now it’s time for our bonus segment for Slate plus members, back with us is Myra Metcalf from ESPN. Hey, Marin. Thanks for sticking with us.
S12: Yeah, thanks for. Keep me on. Phone.
S3: Yeah. So we didn’t get a chance to talk to you about where you live in our previous segment. You’re in Minnesota right now. Can you just talk to us about your perspective on what’s been going on for the last week? You’ve been there for 20 years, right?
S12: I mean, you know, you get to see how sort of the national lands can shape perspectives. You know, this thing has just exploded. But I remember when I when I saw the video on Monday, Memorial Day, I knew right then and there. And here was my thought. This is what would have happened if Orlando had happened in Minneapolis. Phil Landow, Castiel died in police custody, was shot by a police officer, but it was in sort of a little suburb outside Minneapolis. It wasn’t Minneapolis. Police had Landow happen in Minneapolis. This would have been the result, everything attached to it. And I think that when I saw it Monday, I thought, get ready for a wild week because I knew the anger that was here and just the frustration, the history here. And I’m like a lot of people where I feel the anger and support, the anger and support the frustration. And to watch that video is like one of those things where I’d either slept well. You know, you don’t. You don’t. You just the devaluing in that moment of this. This man needs nothing. This man is this man does not mean anything. And I’ll sit here for nine minutes to prove it. That does something to you, you know, that really, really does something to you. And then just to see what it’s evolved into and some of the looting and the and the fires. And there are people I know. We have lost businesses who are trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces. There are communities. A lot of poor communities that have lost their only grocery store. And these are real things. Are people coming in from outside? We’ve had these conversations locally. But George Floyd, to me and the other half an African-American I know in this city, is still the headline. That’s still where we’re at. We are still on Monday in nine minutes. We’re not going to move from that. I think that is the important thing.
S1: Even among the devastation, I’m not going to forget about George for, you know, Emara, because I think one thing that’s sort of interesting is that a lot of people, at least I mean now, you know, you don’t want to read too much into social media response. Right. But a lot of people are sort of surprised that Milia Minneapolis was primed for this. But it sort of overlooks like the Jama’a Clark situation of a few years ago for Landow. Castiel, like Minneapolis, is much more diverse than it gets credit for. Right. And second, there’s been a lot more conflict and conversation around the relationship between police and communities of color there. Minneapolis, right. Like this is an ongoing conversation that sort of peaked with that video that came out on Memorial Day, right?
S12: Yeah. I mean, I talked about Prince and his great music and who he was. Listen to Prince. Prince was talking about this. I mean, Prince talked about the issues in his city, the history here. It’s so important you have the largest mass execution in American history and a place called Mankato, Minnesota, about an hour south where I went to school. Members of the Dakota tribe that happened here. The main highway in this city was built through the most prominent black neighborhood of the Rondeau neighborhood. In Minnesota’s history, they legitimately took a neighborhood. Displaced everybody. These were black business owners, black doctors, lawyers, black grocery stores like apartment buildings, black owned. They cut the highway directly through that neighborhood. So, like, there’s an energy here that is not just these kids. It’s their parents and grandparents and great grandparents. You know, this is something that’s lingered here because what we’ve dealt with here is they call it Minnesota nice. You know, that’s the that’s the attitude. And everybody’s nice. And it’s like minorities joke about that because we haven’t experienced that. And if you’ve been here, you know that this anger isn’t surprising. And trust me. Know, white, black, Hispanic. A lot of people are showing their frustration out there, showing how mad they are about what’s happening with this, they get it, too. But I’m telling you, man, what I saw that video like right then and there, I knew what was coming. I wasn’t like, oh, this could be. I knew the moment I saw that video that this was where we would be in the days that followed.
S3: What is the role that sports have played? From your vantage, Maran, we’ve seen so many different athletes kind of step up and speak out around the country, but in Minnesota in particular, there’s such a legacy of black athletes, Erin. There’s been so many black athletes speaking out in Minnesota the past week.
S12: I mean, Stephen Jackson coming do was powerful. I thought he had a really powerful statement. And he was friends with George Floyd. He knew him. So I thought Stephen Jackson was really powerful. And he’s gathered, you know, Karl Anthony Towns, who just lost his mom to COBA, 19. Was out at the rally. Royce White, who used to play at Iowa State and Minnesota, played in the NBA. He’s been a real activist. So I think these people are really activating these individuals who feel that pain and anger. Here’s my problem. Show their peaceful protests that they’re leading because Royce White just let another one with thousands of people yesterday, and he did it again on Saturday and Friday. And I don’t know if we’re seeing enough of that. Yes, Stephen Jackson’s are doing a great job of expressing their anger and frustration. But then they also went out and they’re leading these people on peaceful marches. And I don’t think we’ve seen enough of that. I think the other thing is like they’ve got a right to be back, you know? And I think these athletes, when they speak up, when we say it. You know, it’s why are you so angry? But when they see it, I think more people go, oh, man, Steven Jackson say that maybe I should try to understand why they’re why the anger is there. So, I mean, play a key role.
S8: I was reading a profile of White in The Washington Post about his role in Minneapolis. And it’s more than just sort of standing up with some athletes. It’s and White obviously has been very active in securing mental health rights for people, not just athletes. He has struggled himself, obviously, with with mental health issues, but in that piece talked about how white text that a group of 30 Minnesota athletes, some of them in college, some of them pro some of the Mac, some of them current to try to get them together to participate. And it’s this recognition that athletes can have a role here on the on the ground locally where this is happening. That seems pretty powerful, very powerful.
S12: I wish I would have seen more white athletes with them. Right. I wish I would have seen more prominent white athletes on the ground marching next to Royce White and Karl Anthony Towns and Stephen J.
S6: I mean, while there’s many ways Kevin McHale can you owe me, Kevin? I mean, without being too out, you know, said too much about Kevin.
S1: We saw where his political allegiance is 2016. So he will be our.
S12: He was. He wasn’t out there while he was about there. I think Kirk Cousins put out a statement, didn’t let you know. The burden that these athletes face is heavy. They have to do something. Well, you know, often care it alone.
S1: You know, what’s actually shocking in a couple of people brought this up is that the University of Minnesota ended its relationship with the police department in Minneapolis public schools. They ended their relationship with the police department as well, which I mean, sort of speaks to a long running problem there. Right. You know, I mean, like, that’s that was used that that seem big to you?
S12: It was. I mean, that’s a that’s a public statement. The University, Minnesota, that’s a president who started in September. I mean, this isn’t someone who’s been there for 10 years and has that kind of power. I mean, that’s that’s someone who said, no, this is going to set the tone of who we are. Now, this is what’s not covered. That decision was started by the undergraduate student president, who is a minor. She’s the one who wrote the initial letter saying we have to cut ties with the Minneapolis police. And then the school a day later said, we’re going to do that. So this started from the ground level. And you go to games. You mean out of place everywhere. So more than anything, this is a financial hit to these individual officers. You make a ton of money overtime. You know, you make a bunch of money being security at these games. I mean, they’re hitting them in the pocket more than anything in terms of cutting off this extra money that they provide and it’s millions of dollars. So it was a huge move.
S3: Well, Marin, thank you for coming on the show and for spending time with us. Hope that you’re able to stay safe, that that folks are able to rebuild their their their businesses, as you were talking about. And, you know, you’re right that people have a right to be angry. And so just finding the right kind of like an outlet, how to thread the needle where I think we’re all trying to figure that out right now. Thanks for having me. And thank you. Slate plus members. We’re back with more next week.