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Former NFL running back Hershel Walker and the owner of the NBA’ Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, engaged in a testy exchange over the “Black Lives Matter” movement and its place in professional sports during a Fox News special Sunday night.
The program, “The Fight for America,” featured host Harris Faulkner and was aimed at exploring the current state of race relations in the United States as well as the ongoing civil unrest that initially began following the death of George Floyd.
At one point, Faulkner asked Walker his thoughts regarding the impacts of racial tensions on the country as well as in professional sports leagues.
“Well, you know, one of the problems that I think we have is a lot of these sensitive topics we do not want to address but we do not want to address these sensitive topics so what we try to do is water them down and shout people down,” the 1983 Heisman Trophy winner responded.
Walker, who is a known supporter of President Donald Trump, then questioned decisions by the NFL and NBA leadership to incorporate “Black Lives Matter” into their uniforms and league messaging, adding that “some people may not believe in BLM.”
The NBA plans to paint “Black Lives Matter” on courts for the league’s season restart July 30, following a months-long delay over coronavirus.
The NFL is also reportedly considering ways to add BLM messaging to games as well. Officials have already announced they will play the so-called “Black national anthem” — “Lift Every Voice and Sing” — before each game during Week 1 of the upcoming regular season, which begins in September.
“I’m not sure what they stand for,” Walker said of the BLM movement, “so how could the NFL say we will support BLM or we will do this here without having the players to say what they want because you cannot put that on a player who may disagree with you.”
Cuban said that he largely agreed with Walker but added that the decision to paint “Black Lives Matter” on some courts was requested by players themselves.
“This is important to our players and important to the fans, but most importantly it’s important to the United States of America that we address these sensitive issues and try to help end systemic racism,” Cuban insisted.
“Wait, wait, no, no,” Walker interrupted. “I think Mark is totally correct. We have to address it but you don’t address it by saying we will do it without knowing what it is you are doing. No one is coming up with solutions like we will put BLM well…”
“Not to question you, Mark, but do you know what the organization stands for? Besides saying, Black Lives Matter. Because I say one of the things that we have to address is Americans’ lives matter,” Walker added.
Cuban fired back quickly.
“Herschel, they’re not mutually exclusive. Every life matters but when someone is in trouble you address them first,” he said.
“The Black community has had issues and I think, you know, systemic racism has been here for generations and it’s not going away unless we do something about it, and I think that’s what we’re trying to do,” the NBA owner added.
Other former NFL players are also at odds with the league’s decision to play the Black national anthem and to allow players to continue kneeling in protest during the playing of the real national anthem.
Kevin and Keith Hodge, known as the Hodge Twins, lampooned the NFL’s ‘anthem’ decision, noting that it is divisive and non-unifying.
Comedian Terrence Williams also blasted the decision in a video.
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