On August 9, on the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death spurring the Black Lives Matter movement, the Staten Island Yankees held a “Blue Lives Matter” matter event during their game against the Brooklyn Cyclones. Staten Island is also home to the late Eric Garner, who died at the hands of a New York police officer. The events comes off tone deaf at best and highly insensitive at worst.
Blue Lives Matter is an organization dedicated to helping the families of law enforcement officers in their time of need. It’s an organization that does good, noble and important work. However, the juxtaposition of their name against the Black Lives Matter movement is unnecessary. The Black Lives Matter movement is rooted in the lack of accountability concerning the unwarranted police brutality African-Americans face in this country.
Dozens of police charities exist to help police officers and their families, which renders the phrase “blue lives matter” as unnecessary. This is the basic argument underneath the criticism by many in the black community concerning the “blue lives matter” phrase.
The Staten Island Yankees, a New York Yankees minor league affiliate, could have held this event on any date during the season. Honoring police officers is a worthy and noble idea, but doing so on the backdrop of the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death is really quite unfortunate. The SI Yankees explained their reasoning to the Huffington Post:
“It was a very unfortunate coincidence. [Blue Lives Matter] wanted the matchup against Brooklyn, because the attendance is usually better. This just happened to be the only Sunday [the SI Yankees host the Cyclones] in August.” Holley said.
When asked to clarify earlier comments that he’d be “thrilled” to entertain a “fundraiser to support the fallen on all sides of any conflict,” — specifically if the SI Yankees would be open to a “Black Lives Matter Day” — Holley said, “We’re definitely open to any type of fundraiser to support people in the community.”
The event did raise money for the family of two fallen New York City police officers. Let’s just hope next time the SI Yankees hold an event of this kind, they consider all the events surrounding them first.