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Chris Broussard, an NBA analyst for Fox Sports 1, pushed back Monday on the notion that all facts surrounding the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake should be known before Americans form an opinion about it or, presumably, before officers are punished.
In a conversation with “Fox & Friends” co-host Will Cain on Sunday about whether there has been too much politicization of the NBA and other professional sports leagues, especially the addition of “Black Lives Matter” messaging — Broussard, who is black, suggested that video of Blake being shot seven times by a Kenosha, Wis., police officer was evidence enough that the officer used “excessive force.”
“The [NBA] players are saying, when you look at Jacob Blake…nobody’s saying he’s a saint, they’re just saying that was excessive force,” Broussard said. “And I think most Americans, if not all, would say that was excessive force.”
Cain, however, responded, “That’s a conclusion that has to come at the end of an investigation and a search for the truth.”
“Does it? Does it?” Broussard interjected.
“Yes, I think it does, Chris,” Cain said.
“Really?” Broussard noted, sounding incredulous.
“Any conclusion has to be reached at the end of a search for the truth,” said Cain.
“My eyes are a conclusion too,” Broussard said. “This man was unarmed, he could have been tackled several times. They didn’t have to shoot him.”
“No, Chris, there has to be a search for the truth, and evidence and facts before we reach that conclusion,” Cain interjected.
In fact, BizPac Review reported last week that Blake was engaged in a tussle on the ground with at least two Kenosha officers before he extricated himself from the scuffle, walked around the front of his vehicle, and opened the driver’s door to reach inside before an officer opened fire.
The report was based on a second video clip unearthed by the Daily Mail showing Blake and the officers fighting on the ground.
A subsequent BPR story cited findings by the Kenosha Professional Police Association, the department’s union, which said that responding officers were aware that Blake was wanted for sexual assault and domestic abuse, and that he fought with them when they arrived.
What’s more, Blake was armed — with a knife — the union noted.
“Based on his non-compliance, one officer tased Mr. Blake. The taser did not incapacitate Mr. Blake. The officers once more went ‘hands-on’ with Mr. Blake; again, trying to gain control of the escalating situation,” a statement by the union said.
“Mr. Blake forcefully fought with the officers, including putting one of the officers in a headlock. A second taser (from a different officer than had deployed the initial taser) was then deployed on Mr. Blake. It did not appear to have any impact on him.
“Based on the inability to gain compliance and control after using verbal, physical and less-lethal means, the officers drew their firearms. Mr. Blake continued to ignore the officers’ commands, even with the threat of lethal force now present,” the statement added.
Earlier in their back-and-forth, Cain and Broussard discussed the impact politicizing sports — in effect, players making overtly political statements while they’re playing their respective sport instead of doing so on their own time — the NBA analyst suggested that current protests during games would continue for the time being at least.
“I don’t think it has to be permanent. I think because basketball and football are dominated by African Americans, and African Americans feel like they still have, which I agree with, a fight for equality and justice in this country, our athletes are using their platform to push for that,” Broussard said.
Cain went on to make the point that many fans may feel like they aren’t allowed to disagree with the messaging of groups like Black Lives Matter, and that could have an impact on audiences and fan bases.
There is already evidence that fans are being turned off by all the lecturing.
The Washington Examiner reported that the NHL’s Dallas North Stars have lost season ticket holders after the team and the league chose to push BLM messaging.
After Major League Baseball restarted following a lengthy coronavirus-related delay of the 2020 season, viewership stagnated and declined in a major way. MLB has also adopted BLM messaging.
The NFL plans major BLM messaging for its September kick-off and for the duration of the season. It’s unclear if it will affect viewership, but the last time the league allowed player protests in the form of kneeling, viewership dropped off dramatically as did stadium attendance for a number of teams.
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