A march that started out at the LIRR Wantagh train station and went thru residential streets got testy, as marches and homeowners exchanged heated words. No arrest were made, and no one hurt
Be careful what you ask for, A State of Chaos without Police, by Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com
The nation is gripped in the throes of protests from the disaster of police killings of people of color. Throughout the country, and yes, the world, protesters demand change.
The list is long and varied depending on the source, but one demand is constant, the redesign of police departments as we know it today.
Without a doubt, the few very bad apples of policing are truly dangerous people. Likewise, some protesters and criminals are also very dangerous people. However, the vast majority on either side strive to live within the guidelines of the law. Police are faced with enormous demands to their sanity and well being every day.
Perhaps the answer to these senseless acts of violence is to have a National Protocol installed on a local level for police on the street. This would involve routine and reoccurring inspection of officers, including updated interviews, psychological testing, record review of complaints, and their social media accounts. This could determine who is and who is not fit for employment in sensitive areas.
However, the idea of defunding police departments and replacing them with community based patrols is a hazard, and misleading to the public on many issues. How would community members, without training and knowledge of tactics and weapons deal with murderers, rapists, arsonists, gangs, organized crime, the mentally ill and terrorists?
The idea is somewhat like the inmates controlling the asylum. Furthermore, there is no clear path of how monies taken from defunding police would truly get to the people in need, instead of go- betweens. Certainly, people of color need better access to quality health care, schools, and a more just social system.
Both parties in this situation need to respect each other. Police need to have a better means to deal with communities in danger, and those communities need to trust and respect the cops so that all can learn from this current debacle.
Sadly, there’s little common sense being said, but a lot of hot rhetoric. If we cant love and respect each other, then we need to have the means so that we can all deal with each other with cooler heads.
Taken to the extreme, if police are pulled off the streets, or greatly reduced in manpower and resources, the next possibility is a constant presence of state police and National Guard. Conceivably, though very unlikely, the military might be brought into play. So folks, then we are talking about a police state to make sure the wheels of civilization as we know continue to roll. Is that what we really want? I think not. It’s time to come to the table with real, workable ideas that respect both sides, and insures the progress of the American Way of Life, before it blows up in our faces.
Sports Media Must Take A Serious Look In the Mirror, by George Willis, The New York Extra/The NYExtra.com
We have spent weeks watching and listening to our nation and the world march in protest against what happened to George Floyd and the social injustices that have plagued our communities and specifically African-Americans.
Politicians, activists, athletes, educators, protesters, and counter protesters have been scrutinized, terrorized and jailed for their efforts and opinions on what is needed to bring about change.
The media with its cameras, microphones and on-air commentators have followed the different narratives and ramifications. Even our sports pages–normally shielded from political and social unrest–have been forced to join the discussion as they chronicle the actions and tweets from athletes, coaches and professional sports organizations, concerning #BlackLivesMatter.
The Red Sox, the Yankees, the Giants, the Knicks, Drew Brees, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James have had their actions and words dissected for their level of sincerity and plausible action. Now it’s time for those asking the questions to be scrutinized, too.
Our sports departments at newspapers and major sports on-line websites around the country need to take this opportunity to check themselves and make a change. Editors and those in charge of hiring need to take a timeout and ask themselves whether they’re going to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Right now, the lack of diversity–real diversity—in sports journalism is appalling and getting worse.
I say this after completing a 23-year run as a general sports columnist at the New York Post. I have been a sports writer for 37 years since earning a diploma at New Mexico State University. I have been the first black sports writer and the first black beat reporter at a few different stops along the way and had hoped our sports world would be covered by a more diverse media by now. By that I mean more women and more people of color and varied backgrounds.
Instead, today’s sports staffs on daily print and on-line are largely all white males, charged with dictating the news and coverage of athletes of multiple racial and ethnic backgrounds.
This is not about on-air television talent where the heavy presence of retired African-American athletes turned broadcasters offers a smokescreen of racial balance. True diversity goes beyond those you see on pregame shows. I’m talking about producers, columnists, beat writers and insiders, those that create the stories that are talked about on television and talk radio.
I can add to the chorus about how what happened to Floyd sickened me. I can speak to being barred from playing in a coaches golf outing at a country club in Tennessee because I was black and about how a group of policemen swarmed me and my Cuban-American friend in the car I was driving in New Jersey and ordered us out because we “matched the description” of someone who committed an armed robbery.
I also grew up knowing good cops and detectives, who were admired and respected for the way they protected and served. I also think restoring Police Athletic Leagues around the country is one step in the right direction.
Having more diversity in sports journalism is important, too. The fallacy of being impartial observers has allowed the sports media to bury its collective head to anything not involving a ball. That can’t happen anymore. Opinions matter, websites matter, those who write words and shape stories matter.
According to a 2016 ASNE Diversity Survey, the percentage of minorities in the overall workforce at daily print and on-line organizations was 17 percent, 5.3 percent of which were listed as black. It’s only gotten worse with fewer newspapers and fewer jobs.
Diversity in those who cover sports at its basic levels matters now more than ever because athletes male and female are no longer going to shut up and play. They’re going to be black, brown, and gay and utilize various platforms to be outspoken about what they see and feel. They’ve gone beyond talking about the next game and trusting the process. They won’t be kept in their place. Those who cover them will need to understand them, not just quote them.
The plea here is for publishers, sports editors, managing editors and those that hire and fire to do better; to look harder for diverse talent; and to care about what your staff looks like. Editors also need to challenge their writers to think beyond the final score and learn who they’re actually writing about. If not, then you’re part of the problem and not part of the solution.
George Willis spent 23 years as a sports columnist at the New York Post after working previously at the New York Times, Newsday and The Memphis Commercial Appeal. He is the author of the “The Bite Fight: Tyson, Holyfield and the Night That Changed Boxing Forever,” and co-author of the NY Times Best Seller “Unnecessary Roughness: Inside the Trial and Final Days of Aaron Hernandez.”
This Sunday May 31, 2020 around 1pm, approximately 1000 people gathered at the Staples shopping center on the corner of South Oyster Bay Road in Plainview, NY to protest the recent death of George Floyd that occurred while under restraint by PO Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis.
The masked protesters displayed various signs of protest and chanted throughout the march “I can’t breathe”, “No justice, no peace”, “Justice for George”, “Black lives matter” and “Say their names”. This was done in a calm and orderly manner following the sidewalks along South Oyster Bay Road. Police presence detoured traffic around the area and kept the right lane in front of the demonstrators clear. Passing cars beeped their horns in support, a few even had a bullhorn. There also was an anonymous young man offering free drinks and snacks. This protest included people of various ethnic backgrounds, black, white, the young and the old alike peacefully united for the same cause.