On The Fence
Bobby Leach "The Rooster" | 12/3/2014, 12:46 p.m.
Last weekend at the professional ranks of football, a handful of St. Louis Ram players came out of the tunnel at the start of their game against the Oakland Raiders and collectively put their hands up to show solidarity with protesters who have made their voices heard on police brutality on a national scale and that simple gesture created a firestorm of sorts in the media world. The St. Louis Police Department took exception to the silent protest and demanded that the national Football League and the Rams organization punish the players involved. WHAT!?
Why is it that when a professional athlete speaks their freedom of speech isn't quite what normally is our collective reality? Not only do they have a voice and a platform, I believe they should use it for the collective good whenever possible. If the St. Louis Police Department has a problem with it...who cares? Apparently they have not gotten the message and instead would prefer to lash out at any organization rather than clean their own house.
I am supportive of law enforcement and for the most part feel that officers are tasked with extremely difficult on the spot decisions every day, some they get right and some they don't which frankly is understandable as they are no different than any other human being when making a judgment call. Where I draw the line is the use of deadly force in all but a very small percentage of illegal acts. When an officer makes the decision to fire, immediately they also take on the responsibilities of judge, jury and executioner. Make the wrong call and the matter escalates quickly especially when we are talking about unarmed citizens. There is no opportunity for trial when a defendant is deceased and in my opinion there are plenty of non lethal options at their disposal.
In the end, I have an opinion and I will voice it and I would advise every single person to do the same. How else are we to improve our democracy if only an elected or appointed group is allowed to speak without prejudice? Any group that attempts to censor an opposing view should themselves be censored as that act is about as un-American as it gets. We may not agree but we do owe it to each other to listen to all sides before making a decision.
I am happy to see that the NFL and the Rams organization did not take any disciplinary action and let the players speak their minds in this case or action rather. I am thankful I live in a country where freedom is the foundation of every good work.