If you were one of the approximately 98.2 million people watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, you may have been frustrated by more political pandering sponsored directly by the NFL.
I am specifically referring to the anti-police narrative spread by the Anquan Bolden commercial about his cousin, Corey Jones, shooting death.
In the commercial, Anquan Bolden explains a tragic event in which a plain-clothes police officer, Nouman Raja, shoots and kills Bolden’s cousin, Corey Jones. The commercial goes on to explain how Anquan Bolden has created a foundation to create change and makes a claim that “had it not been for the work they do, Corey’s death would have been in vain”.
— Anquan Boldin (@AnquanBoldin) January 19, 2020
The commercial is divisive and breads contempt.
In the Jones case, without the help of the NFL, the “Player’s Coalition”, or another organization, the investigators found evidence contrary to Raja’s claims. The police did their job, investigated the police officer responsible for the shooting, the prosecutors took the case as it was clearly a wrongful shooting, and Raja was eventually convicted and sentenced to 25 years for manslaughter.
The system worked exactly as it is supposed to when someone (anyone) commits a crime, just like it does in nearly all cases.
So, I guess I’m confused. These advocacy groups such as Black Lives Matter keep calling for “justice”, but when justice occurs, it is still not sufficient? Just like I wrote in a previous article, I don’t think it is justice they want.
The NFL, for their part in the anti-police movement has claimed they want to allow the players the right to express their free speech. In doing so they have allowed the anti-police kneeling movement during our national anthem and the wearing of anti-police apparel as part of uniforms (Kaepernick wore some sock depicting a pig as a police officer). But what about Tim Tebow being fined and banned from praying or the countless Super Bowl ads supporting our police and veterans that are disallowed each year?
Furthermore, the NFL and the players talk about wanting to effect change in our communities but do little to clean its own ranks.
Domestic violence, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, possession of illegal firearms… these are just some of the countless crimes committed regularly by the players in the league. See for yourself…
The organization is in a unique position, able to reach into nearly every household in the nation. In doing so, they could choose to help bridge the gap, promoting unity, trust and compassion for one another. Instead, the NFL continues to choose criminality and anti-police bias and doubled down when they promoted a commercial and an organization providing a false narrative of police encounters with black men.
This will do nothing but further our divide.
Staff writer Mitch McKinley weighed in on the subject before the commercial aired.
The NFL opted to broadcast a commercial created the showcases a program called Inspire Change. Not only did they air the commercial during Sunday’s games, they are also going to broadcast it during the Super Bowl.
The target of the ad: law enforcement.
The message? Cops are bad and they are out to get young black men. In fact, cops literally drive around looking for opportunities to murder them.
Don’t believe me. Keep reading.
The circumstances around the advertisement are tragic.
Former NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin headlines the commercial. His cousin, Corey Jones was shot and killed by a plain-clothed officer in Florida in 2015. Jones was stranded in a broken-down vehicle and was waiting for roadside assistance.
The officer approached Jones in an unmarked 15-passenger van.
Claiming that he identified himself as an officer and arguing that he acted in self-defense, the officer drew his gun, fired 6 shots, striking jones 3 times. He was shot in each arm and was fatally struck by a third round that hit his heart.
Jones was on the phone with a wrecker service when the incident occurred, and the entire thing was recorded. At no time did Nouman Raja identify himself as a cop.
After a court trial and sentencing, the ex-cop was convicted of manslaughter and attempted murder and is spending the next 25-years in prison.
For the record, I am not making light of the occurrence that ended Corey Jones life. Officers are not above the law and must be held accountable when they get it wrong. My heart goes out to the Boldin and Jones families, as well as that of Raja.
But one cop does not create a nationwide epidemic of cops hunting for young, black men. Attorney’s for the Jones’ family says as much in post-trial interviews.
But they made sure to allude to color as Ben Crump, attorney for Corey’s paternal side, cheered the sentencing as “a milestone in black America because often we don’t see police be convicted and sentenced for killing our children.”
The one-minute long spot does highlight the necessity for strengthening police/community relations.
But it also does nothing to identify that the vast majority of officer involved shootings are justified, nor does it address the fact that more white people were killed by officers than blacks or Hispanics. Of the 933 killed by officers in 2019, almost half were white.
The piece makes it appear that the issue is cops targeting black men.
And for some reason the NFL decided they need to highlight the issue.
One of the biggest issues with crime and the NFL is domestic violence. The most notorious offender is probably Ray Rice.
In 2014, Rice was captured on video in an Atlantic City casino elevator punching his then-fiancé, knocking her unconscious and dragging her off the elevator and down the hall.
That video ended Rice’s career.
Do you know how many Super Bowl ads the NFL approved denouncing domestic violence?
One. It ran in 2015.
Of that commercial, Time magazine said:
There’s a new domestic violence public service announcement airing during the Super Bowl, and it’s much scarier than most of the ones you’ve seen before.
The ad is part of the NFL’s “No More” campaign, but you won’t see any earnest-looking football players here. Instead, it’s based on an actual 911 call from a domestic violence victim, who pretends she’s ordering a pizza because her attacker is still in the room with her.
Do you know how many ads they have approved that re-enacted the sounds of violence against someone?
None. While the 2015 spot did include what appears to be a 911 call where a woman pretends to order a pizza and the operator picking up on what she was doing and sending an officer. There was no violence depicted.
The 2020 commercial, on the other hand, re-enacts the event surrounding Corey Jones death, complete with actors portraying the event, complete with the vehicles matching the ones from the original account.
And here is why I said that they are giving the appearance that cops are targeting black men. They also show a plain-clothed individual exiting the unmarked vehicle with his gun drawn but hidden at his side.
The commercial leaves the impression that it was a pre-mediated murder. Considering that the conviction handed to Raja was manslaughter through negligence, there was no premeditation considered. In fact, looking through reports of the trial, the prosecution never argued that it was premeditated.
But that isn’t stopping the NFL from airing the commercial that certainly makes it look like it was.
According to an article done by the website Ad Age, the NFL drew heavy skepticism late last year after inking a deal with Jay Z’s Roc Nation to help support Inspire Change as a way to “amplify the league’s social justice efforts,” in the words of the NFL.
Roc Nation was not directly involved in the production of the new ad, but “we did consult with them on the content and overall approach,” NFL Chief Marketing Officer Tim Ellis said in a statement to Ad Age responding to questions about the new ad.
“The only way to answer those critics is to simply continue to focus on bringing people together and continue to shine a light on all the great work that NFL players and teams are doing to bring about positive social change in communities across our great country.
More than $25 million in grants has been awarded to social justice organizations as part of Inspire Change. This includes over 500 grants awarded to current and former NFL players for social justice programs and initiatives.”
Hey Tim, I have a question for you.
Did you ever stop to think that by running an advertisement like this, you are perpetuating an even greater stereotype than the one you claim to be addressing?
Is it possible that you are creating more animosity and hatred towards the law enforcement community and painting an even larger target on their backs? You know the people I am talking about. The same people who work security at your stadiums during the games.
Ellis, who joined the NFL in late 2018 from Activision, defended the decision to run the ad in the Super Bowl.
“We feel this is an incredibly important topic and deserves visibility in our biggest game of the year. With the Boldin spot, we want to tell the story of how one family’s tragedy inspired the creation of the Players Coalition, led to a historic partnership between NFL players and the league, and sparked one of the largest social justice efforts in sports history.”
Wait, an important topic that deserves visibility?
You are feeding a narrative that the left and the mainstream media or pushing but cannot provide tangible evidence to defend said narrative.
Even the Washington Post, who publishes a running tally of officer-involved shootings shows that in 2019, of all the OIS, when you filter the cases by “race” and “unarmed”, there were only 10 matches.
And several of those show that while the individual killed did not have a firearm, knife or other deadly weapon, they did assault the officer in some fashion, facilitating an escalation to the use of deadly force.
Even when you factor in “unknown race”, it only adds three additional cases.
Hardly the evidence of a nationwide epidemic.
The truth is, even one unjustified shooting is too many. But it should be handled the same way as every other murder accusation.
The person accused in the death of another is innocent until proven guilty. He or she will get their time in court and will have the matter decided by a jury. If the evidence is sufficient to get a conviction, then that individual will pay the consequences of their actions.
Period. End of story.
“We are aware of the challenges we’ve faced over the last few years. The issues that NFL players brought to the forefront do not only impact players. These are American issues that affect us all,” said Anna Isaacson, the NFL’s senior vice president of social responsibility.
“The NFL is fortunate to have an incredible platform and with this platform, we have the opportunity to help create positive change and work toward social justice for all of our communities.
We’re amplifying and supporting the work that players have started — this is what Inspire Change exists to do,” Isaacson continued, calling Boldin’s PSA a “signature spot we hope will really bring clarity to what social justice is and how committed NFL players are to these issues.
This is a personal and family tragedy, but the spot is really about what came from that tragedy and that’s all this great work on social justice.”
We agree that what happened to Boldin’s family in the death of Corey Jones was a tragedy. But the facts and the stats do not back up the narrative that the NFL believes to be important enough that it gets attention during the most watched game of the year.
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