Lance Conklin

Influence Of Pro Athletes During A Crisis

Aug 20, 2014 5:05 AM EST

The Washington Redskins hosted the Cleveland Browns for a preseason game on Aug. 18. The game itself was close to a disaster to watch, however what happened before the game is drawing more attention than a game featuring Johnny Manziel and RGIII. When the Redskins came out of their tunnel right before kickoff, members of Washington’s defensive backfield came out with their arms raised in a tribute and show of support for Michael Brown Jr. For those of you who are unaware, Brown was the 18-year-old who was gunned down in Ferguson, Mo.

I’m an avid watcher of ESPN and the morning shows it has, including “First Take” with Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless.  I usually find myself agreeing with them but I could not disagree more with their opinion on what the Redskins players did. They were live Tuesday morning and were in agreement that more players should be standing up for Brown and showing their support.

The idea is right, but the message is dead wrong.

Was the players’ heart in the right place? I believe so. Did their intended message get through? Not to me and I’m sure not to a lot of others as well. Brown allegedly committed a strong armed robbery before he was confronted by a Ferguson police officer. After the confrontation what exactly happened is still unknown. Of course there is tons and tons of speculation and “key witnesses” who completely contradict each other. But as it sits right now and with the facts at hand, there is a very good possibility that Brown will be found to be the primary aggressor, which includes allegedly assaulting a police officer and attempting to take his firearm. If that’s how it plays out, what is the message that all the pro athletes and various media personalities send?

First off, it says we support alleged convenience store robbers and teenagers who allegedly assault people. And these are the same people always stating that this is the United States and we’re innocent until proven guilty. That is not the case here as media personalities and athletes show their support for a teenager who allegedly committed a robbery, allegedly assaulted a police officer and may be found guilty.

So many people follow the steps and beliefs of professional athletes during times like these yet nobody takes the time to look at the facts. The Redskins players and ESPN personalities, like most of us, are not close to the situation at hand and are just speculating. But to use the influence of professional athletes to show support to a teenager who may be deemed a criminal is just ludicrous. Everybody screams that we want justice and fair treatment. Is it really fair to show support for a possible criminal and then chastise an officer who may have been fighting for his life? That is the wrong message. NFL players are human, too, but they need to think about the message they may be sending before they act.