Managing Editor’s Perspective

Celebrities and Athletes Cling to a False Narrative. They Should Take A Lesson From Each Other.
By George Beck

Remember when you were a kid and your mother told you if you tell a lie, you’ll have to keep telling more lies until eventually it catches up to you? For celebrities and athletes, it’s time to re-learn this valuable lesson.

Lies, lies, lies is where it all begins in Ferguson, MO. Allegations that Michael Brown cried “Hands up, Don’t shoot,” before Officer Darren Wilson justifiably shot him was debunked but that still doesn’t stop the agenda-driven folks from clinging on to it as gospel. It fits this pseudo-narrative that police officers are out there lusting to kill innocent black men.

Who can forget the celebrity video last summer: 23 Ways You Could Be Killed if You’re Black in America. In more than half of these incidents, the person killed bore direct responsibility for their death by either resisting arrest, participating in a violent crime or posing an imminent threat to the officers or others. Take for example, Jada Pinkett Smith’s part, “Holding a Fake Gun in Virginia.” She was referring to India M. Beaty, shot and killed by Norfolk Police Department’s Vice and Narcotics Division Detectives, who were conducting a surveillance operation when they came across a fight in a parking lot. The officers saw that Beaty was involved in the altercation and was threatening another person with a handgun. When she refused to comply with the officer’s demands, and when she made a threatening motion, she was shot and killed. Tragically, the gun, it turned out, was a fake but as the image released by the Norfolk Police Department showed, it possessed the same appearance and details as a real gun. Or let’s look at Adam Levine’s claim, Jamar Clark was killed by police for “Attending a Birthday Party.” Levine forgot to mention that Clark fought with paramedics and then grabbed a cop’s gun before being shot and killed. And the list goes on and on.

To be fair, out of the 23 incidents there were some that were deeply troubling. Five out of the 23 cited were clear cases of homicide that resulted in the loss of life. In all of these cases, those responsible have been brought to justice.

A more accurate framing of the problem is seen in a response video: 23 Ways You Could Be Killed If You’re A Police Officer in America. This NJ Blue Now video depicts 23 officers who were law-abiding citizens sworn to protect and serve their communities. They were not thugs, convicted felons, resisting arrest, or intent on causing others harm. They lost their lives while serving this country. They were all targeted and murdered for the uniform they wore, and yet, this is not part of the national discussion? Why? Because it jams up the pseudo narrative—the great big lie.

Americans see through the lies. The Emmy Awards ratings were down again and it looks like the NFL is set to suffer a larger plummet in ratings and in turn decrease profits. Many patriotic Americans watching the NFL are aghast at such blatant disrespect to a flag and National Anthem that symbolize the freedoms they enjoy today—the kind of freedom that allows athletes to be paid enormous salaries to play a game they love. Yet, how could a league of intelligent and talented people on all levels make such a mistake? Are they foolish enough to double down in response to spontaneous comments made by President Donald Trump calling players taking a disrespectful knee an expletive and calling for the owners to fire them?

Tread lightly. Doubling down on a bad strategy in response to the President’s comments will not serve them well. If this continues, by the end of the season, the NFL ratings will be tanking so badly they will wish they never permitted this. But, maybe the damage is already done. The NFL’s ratings are declining. Videos of fans burning team jerseys, season tickets, and memorabilia are emerging en masse on social media. Many Americans are vowing to boycott the NFL by not watching or spending a dime on anything NFL related. President Trump is seen as defending the flag, while the opposition is deemed anti-patriotic and anti-American. Direct TV is shelling out refunds to fans who no longer want to keep their Sunday Ticket package that gives fans every Sunday football game for around $280 per season. And the damage has only begun.

This translates into serious economic pain for the NFL, perhaps the only kind of pain it really understands, but that does not compare to the emotional pain Americans everywhere are suffering as a consequence of its confused values and disgraceful conduct.

George Beck is a police detective, award-winning journalist, and managing editor of NJ Blue Now magazine. He’s a Ph.D. candidate at Drew University. He is the author of The Killer Among Us and several other books. His nonfiction and short stories have been featured in magazines and anthologies nationally and internationally.