Sports, Protest, and Criminal Justice Reform

This week, the United States gets to watch as the New England Patriots take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Superbowl LII.  But football (like all sports) involves more than a battle of strength: read how Eagles Safety Malcolm Jenkins describes his commitment to fighting for justice, as well as Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ iconic salute during the 1968 Olympics.

Then, before watching the game, take action on criminal justice reform with the ACLU.

What protesting NFL members like me want to do next Olympic Athletes Who Took a Stand
“We have borne witness to the deaths of Philando Castile, Jordan Edwards, Tamir Rice and countless others.

In honor of their names, we are joining the fight for change. We are demanding police transparency and accountability so we can build trust and work together to make our communities safer.

We are fighting to end the money-bail system by investing in community bail funds and advocating legislation that does away with money bail altogether.

We are fighting to pass clean-slate legislation in Pennsylvania to seal nonviolent misdemeanor records automatically after 10 years. We must provide opportunities for employment, housing, education, loans and voting. We should not disenfranchise a third of the population.

I’ve heard people say that my colleagues and I are un-American and unpatriotic. Well, we want to make America great. We want to help make our country safe and prosperous. We want a land of justice and equality. True patriotism is loving your country and countrymen enough to want to make it better.”

Continue reading Malcolm Jenkin’s article here.

When the medals were awarded for the men’s 200-meter sprint at the 1968 Olympic Games, Life magazine photographer John Dominis was only about 20 feet away from the podium. ‘I didn’t think it was a big news event,’ Dominis says. ‘I was expecting a normal ceremony. I hardly noticed what was happening when I was shooting.’

Indeed, the ceremony that October 16 ‘actually passed without much general notice in the packed Olympic Stadium,’ New York Times correspondent Joseph M. Sheehan reported from Mexico City. But by the time Sheehan’s observation appeared in print three days later, the event had become front-page news: for politicizing the Games, U.S. Olympic officials, under pressure from the International Olympic Committee, had suspended medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos and sent them packing.

Smith and Carlos, winners of the gold and bronze medals, respectively, in the event, had come to the ceremony dressed to protest: wearing black socks and no shoes to symbolize African-American poverty, a black glove to express African-American strength and unity. (Smith also wore a scarf, and Carlos beads, in memory of lynching victims.) As the national anthem played and an international TV audience watched, each man bowed his head and raised a fist. After the two were banished, images of their gesture entered the iconography of athletic protest.”

Finish David Davis’ article here.


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