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Sterling Brown Tasing Proves Black Athletes Are Still Black First

Privilege depends upon the perspective. For those of us who value professional sports, it does seem like a privilege to play in the National Football League and the National Basketball Association. To play a game for a king’s ransom, to be able to afford better food, clothing, and shelter for yourself and your loved ones is indeed a privilege on its face. 

When Colin Kaepernick first took a knee one of the first critics levied against him was that she should simply be happy to that he was earning millions of dollars.  But what is it to have money and celebrity status if it can’t protect black athletes from a police officer with bad intentions.

In April, the world saw former NFL prospect and University of Toledo football player Desmond Marrow was choked unconscious by Henry County (GA) police officers in a video of a December arrest that has since gone viral.  

Desmond Marrow

ATTENTION*** to anyone who views this post , #Share #Like …PLEASE HELP ME GET MY VOICE HEARD!!! I Was Falsely Arrested & taken into custody in #Atlanta #Georgia #HenryCounty by the Henry County…

According to a statement from Marrow’s attorney, their client was the victim of what he believed was a race-related road rage incident in which two white males are alleged to have berated him and threw coffee in his vehicle.  He then followed them and “a discussion ensued”.  The attorney says a witness called 911 and reported that Marrow had a weapon. 

That’s all it takes to be accosted and brutalized in the United States if you’re a black person, a white person simply has to say you’re suspicious. Even though social justice has its dark spots, many of these incidents would likely not get the attention they deserve without social media intervention.

Although at the time of arrest an initial use of force review was conducted by internal affairs, earlier this month police Chief Mark Amerman ordered an internal affairs investigation to be conducted, Henry County police Capt. Joey Smith said. As of today, the officer involved is on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation.  Marrow was charged with making terroristic threats and obstruction, as well as reckless driving and aggressive driving. A judge magistrate later dismissed the charge of terroristic threats, which was transferred to the DA’s office.

Both from a historical and contemporary point of view, black personage is an equation that is arbitrarily considered when dealing with white sensibilities in a moment of high tension and emotions.  In these moments, decades of bigotry bubble to the service in an instant. Earlier this week video surfaced of an incident in January Sterling Brown, a rookie guard for the Milwaukee Bucks, being accosted at the parking by Milwaukee police officers and tased with a stun gun. According to those that have seen the video, the move was unprovoked.  

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The 23-year-old guard was arrested and questioned over a parking violation at a Walgreens parking lot. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is so shaken by the incident that he’s already bracing for the blowback. The video is slated for release this week.

“I’m going to let the release of that speak for itself, but yes, I definitely have concerns after watching that video,” Barrett told reporters Monday.

Sources who have seen the body-camera footage told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Brown was not at all combative before officers used the stun gun. “This could be bad,” a source told the Journal Sentinel of the video. “The player doesn’t appear to be provocative at all.”
The officers involved in the incident are the subject of an internal investigation. Brown was not charged after his arrest for resisting or obstructing an officer.

“There’s going to be a video that’s going to come out soon, in the next couple of weeks, involving the department,” Assistant Police Chief Michael Brunson Sr. told a church congregation on Sunday, according to WITI-TV. “And I’m going, to be honest with you, we’re going to need your support during the challenges.” Though Desmond Marrow never played a minute in the NFL, and rookie Sterling Brown doesn’t have a household name, these incidents illustrate how a random chance can place any black person under threat of assault or death based on the color of their skin.

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