Why “I Can’t Breathe” Matters

Dec 8, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) wears an " I Can't Breathe" t-shirt during warm ups prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.  Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 8, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) wears an ” I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt during warm ups prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

There was once a time in sports where it was cool to be an anti-hero. Charles Barkley ran a money-making campaign to prove he was not a role model. Michael Jordan, the best to ever do it, never made it his business to prove that he cared about the community either, despite how the hood’s love of Jordans has kept his money long in the years after basketball.

“Republicans buy shoes, too,” he once said. (Or possibly didn’t. Either way, Jordan was famous for his non-political stances during his playing career.)

The 1980s and early 90s, the years of modern excess, were years where anyone could say anything what they wanted, because everyone seemingly had everything they wanted. It was easy not to care, especially if you were one of the world’s biggest athletes.

But something’s changed in a major way. There’s something very special happening in sports right now. People care.

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Penn’s Gutmann Criticized for “Die-In” Pose

When protesters invaded Penn President Amy Gutmann’s holiday party Monday night, she made a snap decision: She joined them in a “die-in” — a protest that’s become popular in the wake of two grand juries’ decisions not to indict police officers for killing black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City.

Now she’s being criticized by Eric Rohrback, president of Penn’s police officers’ union.
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Protest Leads Organizers to Cancel Lantern Parade

Lantern+Parade,+Christmas+Village,+Philadelphia,+LOVE+Park,+Philly+POPS,+Concert

The Christmas Village Lantern Parade has been canceled.

That word comes via an email from Aversa PR and a note on the website. Lantern Parade organizers decided to call off the event after Ferguson protests were scheduled at the same time in LOVE Park.

The now-cancelled parade of “traditional German-style lanterns” was scheduled to start at the LOVE sculpture at 5 p.m. The event was scheduled to include performers from Enchantment Theatre’s The Snow Queen, a performance by the Philly Pops and a singalong led by the children from East Passyunk Ave’s Alphabet Academy.

Here’s the note from Aversa:

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In Policing Debate, Ferguson Is a Bad Example

National Guard stand in front of the Ferguson Police Department Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Missouri's governor ordered hundreds more state militia into Ferguson on Tuesday, after a night of protests and rioting over a grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, a case that has inflamed racial tensions in the U.S.

National Guard stand in front of the Ferguson Police Department Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Missouri’s governor ordered hundreds more state militia into Ferguson on Tuesday, after a night of protests and rioting over a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, a case that has inflamed racial tensions in the U.S.

I like Mike Missanelli. I could listen to him talk sports and pop culture for hours on end, and have. Mike is the afternoon host on 97.5 The Fanatic radio station and a fellow contributor to PhillyMag.com. But he is wrong in continuing to use the police shooting in Ferguson as an example of a pervasive racial bias in police departments across America.

Missanelli made his case on this site last week when he chastised sports commentator and Hall of Fame basketball player Charles Barkley because he “didn’t express outrage at the non-indictment of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the confrontational shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.” And because Barkley said “the grand jury was righteous in its weighing of the evidence, and defended police officers as deterrents to even worse things that can happen in the ’hood.”

All of that is true and based in fact. Barkley is right.

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Penn Alum John Legend, Chrissy Teigen Hire Food Trucks to Feed NYC Ferguson Protesters

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Vanity Fair reports that Penn alum and singer John Legend and his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, hired a fleet of food trucks to feed folks who were protesting the Eric Garner and Ferguson Grand Jury decisions in New York City over the weekend.

Protesters, who had been camped out in NYC’s Lincoln Square all weekend, were no doubt thrilled when Teigen retweeted the following message to her 500,000 followers on Sunday:

Being the true good samaritans they are, neither Legend or Teigen have taken credit for the deed, though Bipartisan Report confirmed their involvement with this tweet, which includes photos of the trucks:

Mmm. Kimchi tacos and good deeds. That’s what the holidays are all about.

Facebook and “Friends” in the Wake of Ferguson

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Scene from last Wednesday’s protest march (top); detail from a controversial post on the Facebook page of a Central Bucks West guidance counselor.

As a 29-year-old woman, this is how my Facebook feed tends to look: baby picture, wedding picture, baby-at-a-wedding picture, Supernatural spoiler (that last one might be my own contribution).

But over the past couple weeks, I’ve noticed an even less appealing trend: racist rant, thinly veiled racist rant, confusing meme that I suspect is a racist rant.

To clarify, I’m from the Northeast.

This is not, necessarily, to say that my hometown is any more backward than your own hometown. (Unless you’re from Amherst — you guys are pretty squeaky clean.) There’s an ugly, dumb contingent in every group of humans, and most of the time, I love that place. But post-Ferguson, I find myself rethinking my Internet relationship to the (Often, But Not Always) Great Northeast.

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CB West Counselor Blames Child for Post About Eagles Die-In

Yesterday, protesters held a “die-in” after the Eagles game. Clergy leaders with Philadelphia Organized to Witness Empower & Rebuild organized the die-in to protest the decision not to issue indictments in the police killings of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York. After the game, protesters laid in the street at Broad and Pattison for four minutes, 30 seconds — as die-in protesters have done in previous protests.

About 200 attended the protest. Some of the protesters were met with derision by fans leaving the Eagles’ 24-14 loss to the Seahawks.

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