At the risk of being accused of trying to “cancel” Hall of Fame Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher (the first question would be, “Cancel him from what?”), it’s important to highlight a comment he made Thursday that has triggered a Twitter trend trifecta of Urlacher, Brett Favre, and former teammate Lance Briggs.
Said Urlacher, on Instagram: “Brett Favre played the MNF game the day his dad died, threw 4 TDs in the first half, and was a legend for playing in the face of adversity. NBA players boycott the playoffs because a dude reaching for a knife, wanted on a felony sexual assault warrant, was shot by police.”
Apart from the nonsensical comparison of Favre, who chose to play through a personal tragedy that had no broader societal significance, to the repeated shooting in the back of Jacob Blake (a/k/a “a dude) by police, Urlacher takes refuge in the reckless whatabout? narrative that many have adopted in the aftermath of the latest video that shows, to anyone with a fair mind and a human heart, the use of lethal force when other non-lethal means for subduing a suspect were readily available.
Jacob Blake wasn’t reaching for a knife. He had a knife in the car. (News flash: Plenty of people have knives in their cars.) And as noted earlier today on our Twitter page, regardless of whether someone has previously committed crimes or currently is suspected of committing a crime, no one should be able to exercise the power of judge, jury, and executioner over any American citizen without due process.
The actions of the officers who shot Jacob Blake strike directly to the heart of the concerns first raised by Colin Kaepernick in August 2016. Persons who have the ability to use lethal force must know when and where to use it, and more importantly when and where to not use it. No effort to cast aspersions on Jacob Blake’s history justifies the unloading of a clip into his back without due process, not under the circumstances shown in that video. And anyone who thinks it does should never be a police officer.
I didn’t want to address Urlacher’s remarks. The problem, however, is that way too many people seem to agree with him. And if in a moment like this we aren’t willing to stand up and shout what’s right and what’s wrong, when will we ever do it?