December 2, 2020

Pro Athletes Use Facts, Stats and Data for Their Jobs — but Ignore Facts, Stats and Data When Denouncing ‘Systemic Police Brutality’

Reacting to the shooting of a Black man by a white Kenosha, Wisconsin, cop, a tearful Doc Rivers, the Black NBA Los Angeles Clippers Coach, held a postgame press conference.

Rivers said: “All you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear. We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot. We’re the ones that were denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung. We’ve been shot. And all you do is keep hearing about fear. It’s amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back. It’s really so sad. Like, I should just be a coach. And I’m so often reminded of my color. … It’s just really sad. We got to do better. But we got to demand better.”

“We’re the ones getting killed”? “We’re the ones getting shot”? “And all you do is keep hearing about fear”?

NBA superstar LeBron James made a similar comment: “I know people get tired of hearing me say it, but we are scared as Black people in America. Black men, Black women, Black kids, we are terrified. Because you don’t know; you have no idea. You have no idea how that cop that day left the house. You don’t know if he woke up on the good side of the bed. You don’t know if he woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”

Sports is a game of numbers, statistics and records. It’s one of the many things we like about it. Where are the numbers, stats and records that show the police engage in “systemic” brutality against Blacks? Why don’t the players and coaches who complain about police brutality employ the same use of numbers, stats, data, logic and reason to determine the truthfulness of the claim that cops are killing Black people because they are Black?

We argue over whether this player is better than that player or whether this team is better than that team. It’s fascinating to watch a coach of an NBA team dissect the game, stat sheet at his side, during the postgame press conference.

An ex-professional basketball player-turned-broadcaster responded to a critic’s complaint about the player’s “disappointing” NBA career. Given the expectations coming out of college about this player’s future, the critic argued that the player underperformed in his pro career. The ex-player responded that such a comment can only come from somebody who’s never played basketball at the highest level. Citing his career statistics, he surgically dismantled the critic’s case. For each of the three teams he played for, he said, his role changed. One team wanted him to be more of a scorer while another team wanted him to concentrate on defense, leaving the scoring to others. On his third team, he played an entirely different position with entirely different expectations. My career, said the ex-player, must be seen in this context.

When a player’s agent argues to management that his client deserves more money, the agent uses stats and data to make the case. In turn, the team relies on stats and data to make their case.

Any analysis of whether cops are killing Blacks because they are Black would begin with noting the approximately 50 million police-civilian interactions that occur every year. Out of these 50 million interactions, about 11 million people are arrested. In recent years, about 60,000 cops have been assaulted annually.

All of this resulted in about 1,000 people being killed by the police on average in recent years, with almost all suspects resisting with a weapon or resisting violently. Of the 1,000 killed annually, approximately 250 were Black and 500 white. The percentage of police shootings that involve a white cop and an unarmed Black suspect is less than 4% of the total. The percentage of white cops killing unarmed Black men who did not reasonably pose a threat is even smaller. Recall that Black suspect Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri, was “unarmed,” but his DNA was found on the office’s gun, indicating that Brown was attempting to grab it.

For perspective, 27 Americans on average from 2009 to 2018 died annually after being struck by lightning. And, as Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald explains, “A police officer is 18 1/2 times more likely to be killed by a Black male than an unarmed Black male is to be killed by a police officer.”

Is it too much to ask that sports celebrities, who parrot lines like “systemic” police brutality against Blacks, ask for facts first? Too much to ask them to then apply the same kind of logic and reason they must rely on in their own profession?

If they did so, they would learn the good news — that there is no evidence of “systemic” police killings of Blacks, and that the unfortunate instances should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Can training be improved? Of course. Would it be helpful if officers wore body cams? Absolutely. Let’s focus our energy on these things and set the hysterics aside.

Larry Elder is a bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host. His latest book, “The New Trump Standard,” is available in paperback from Amazon.com and for Nook, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @LarryElder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2020 LAURENCE A. ELDER

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16 Responses

  1. Spoiled/millionaire sickos .They should be afraid of BLM/ANTIFA and democrat run cities/states. Defunding police is part of their grand scheme of destroying America!!!!

    1. None of them say one word about Blacks killing Blacks! No one says anything about the babies, young children and teen blacks who are killed in street violence! Why isn’t anyone talking about protecting the innocents in the black neighborhoods?

      1. They don’t want to admit that part of their problems are caused by their own racism & criminality. They constitute 13% of citizens but commit at least 55% of the crime in the U.S. And I don’t think white people are behind most black-on-black killings.

        Just how much further would we be in solving our differences if all parties had sat down with both Tim Scott’s bill & the House bill, community leaders, police chiefs & police union heads, House & Senate leaders from both parties & Mark Meadows & AG Barr back in May after George Floyd?

        Except for BLM & anarchists, everyone agrees police reform & training is needed. Who’s stopping this discussion ? Democrats!! They don’t want to solve any problem until they get all the power & all the control.

  2. Hey if you don’t break the law then you won’t be in a position to get shot. it’s NO ones fault but your own if you are on the wrong end of police pistol. don’t break the law, Don’t be stupid when you get stopped for doing something wrong, Cooperate with the police and you will go home at night not to Jail of the Morgue. it’s pretty simple. if you are a Thug, Crook , Druggie, you will encounter the police sooner or later, if you don’t want to die, DON’T pull a Weapon on a cop. If you are a low life you belong in prison; Not on the streets with law abiding Citizens trying to live a good life.

    1. Why would ANYONE think they’re going to get away from 3 or 4 cops who are within 1-2 feet away from you?? You have to be intoxicated or slow-thinking, IMHAO

  3. I don’t know about the rest of you all, but I am really tired of this “BLACK PITY PARTY” !!! It’s always “poor pitiful me, the white man is always against me, I am so mistreated” !!! WHAT A BIG CROCK OF B.S. !!! The facts show that every time they bring this crap up, they are totally incorrect and it’s way past time for them to shut up and go abut their business. You NEVER hear of white people burning down their own neighborhood because a black cop shot a white boy, NEVER, because WE know that if he got shot, he most likely deserved it, the blacks cannot understand that for some odd reason !! you would think that they were all kin to each other just because they are colored !!! WHAT A BIG CROCK OF CRAP !!! BY THE WAY BLM AND ANTIFA ARE DOMESTIC TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS ALONG WITH MANY, MANY MORE AND SHOULD BE FEDERALLY PROSECUTED UNDER THE RICCO ACT AND DIS-BANNED AND THE LEADERS JAILED !!!

    1. Me too Randy! Fed up in fact. Le bron James is the most hypocritical athlete I have ever seen. Why dont they help out with their milllions and milliions their own black brothers? Stop the victimhood and get your butts out and work and be a good citizen!

  4. I agree with everything said above!!!! If you dont want to be in the USA GO SOMEWHERE ELSE, ITS THAT SIMPLE!!!
    ITS OKAY FOR THESE RICH PLAYERS TO USE SWEAT SHOPS AND BECOME RICH!!!!

  5. Don’t pull a gun or fight with the police with a gun or knife in your hand. Don’t try to grab a knife or gun when you are around police. Don’t do those things and police won’t have a reason to shoot you. I’m a 64 yr old White man and I know the Cities are dangerous. Esp if you are Old AND WHITE. I conceal carry like everyone I know my age. If I am outside and anyone, White or Black tries to attack me, I will shoot first and ask questions later.

  6. American Sports take America for granted. Make millions and takes a kness and dishonors the flag and their freedom.disrespectful.they only care of the money and think they are someone special.wont say anything bad about china slave labor but their will take their money.they can move to china and take a knee ,see what happens..

  7. THE FIRST SLAVE HOLDER IN THE USA WAS A BLACK MAN AND THE BIGGEST SLAVE HOLDER IN THE USA WAS A BLACK MAN AND IT WAS THE BLACK TRIBES IN AFRICA THAT RAIDED OTHER TRIBES AND SOLD THEM FOR SLAVES ALL WHITES DID WAS BUY THEM AND MADE LIFE BETTER THAN WHAT THEY HAD IN AFRICA.

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