Who’s the Jackass?

Fallout over the issues surrounding race and policing continues. Last night the Minnesota Lynx, the current WNBA champions, played a home game. They decided to use the opportunity to come out in favor–I think it is fair to say–of Black Lives Matter. As a result, four off-duty Minneapolis police officers who were providing security walked off the job. Considering this a local story, I wrote about it last night, shortly after the incident happened, on the web site of the think tank that I run:

Tonight the Minnesota Lynx played a home game. They took the opportunity to express solidarity with Black Lives Matter and to dramatize allegedly wrongful deaths at the hands of policemen. Off-duty Minneapolis policemen who provided security for the Lynx walked out in protest. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has the story:

Four off-duty Minneapolis police officers working the Minnesota Lynx game at Target Center on Saturday night walked off the job after the players held a news conference denouncing racial profiling, then wore Black Lives Matter pregame warm-up jerseys.

Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, praised them for quitting. “I commend them for it,” he said. …

Asked if other officers will fill in for those who quit, Kroll said, “If [the players] are going to keep their stance, all officers may refuse to work there.”

The three-time WNBA champions wore black shirts that read “Change starts with us, justice and accountability” and on the back had Philando Castile’s and Alton Sterling’s names along with “Black Lives Matter.”


At a pregame news conference, Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson said the players were “wearing shirts to honor and mourn the loss of precious American citizens and to plead change for all of us.”

“We are highlighting a longtime problem of racial profiling,” said forward Maya Moore, the 2014 WNBA MVP.

For once, police officers stood up for themselves. It is good to see:

Kroll criticized Lynx players for their position, citing the “false narratives” in the past two years in which some allegations of police misconduct in the killing of black people was later refuted. “Rushing to judgment before the facts are in is unwarranted and reckless,” he said.

He is right, of course. But Governor Mark Dayton preceded the basketball players in an unwarranted and reckless rush to judgment. Not just policemen, but those of us who believe in fair play need to stand up against the current tide of uninformed anti-cop hysteria.

The story didn’t end there. Today, the Mayor of Minneapolis, left-winger Betsy Hodges, struck back against her city’s police officers:

In a statement on her Facebook page, Mayor Hodges wrote, “Bob Kroll’s remarks about the Lynx are jackass remarks.”

“Let me be clear: labor leadership inherently does not speak on behalf of management. Bob Kroll sure as hell doesn’t speak for me about the Lynx or about anything else.”

Betsy Hodges

Betsy Hodges

The city’s Chief of Police, Janeé Harteau, issued a more measured statement, and the basketball team itself was rather conciliatory:

“The Lynx organization was made aware about the concerns of the off duty Minneapolis police officers,” the team said in a statement issued Monday night. “While our players message mourned the loss of life due to last week’s shootings, we respect the right of those individual officers to express their own beliefs in their own way. … We continue to urge a constructive discussion about the issues raised by these tragedies.”

Similar episodes are probably occurring around the country. Much could be said about them, but for the moment, this thought comes to mind: I don’t think liberals, who so often live in a like-minded cocoon, have any idea how many people disagree with them.

Sports teams are not in the business of alienating their customers, so I assume the Lynx’s management didn’t think that attributing the deaths of two black men to “racial profiling,” while advocating “change” in the clear context of approval of Black Lives Matter, would be controversial. But Black Lives Matter is extremely controversial, and on balance, I would guess, unpopular. It certainly deserves to be.

Mayor Hodges is in a different position. The city of Minneapolis has driven out just about everyone who isn’t on the left, so perhaps there is no price to be paid for calling the man who heads the union that represents the city’s own police officers a jackass–possibly the first outburst of anti-labor sentiment on the part of a Minneapolis official in many years. But I suspect that even within her jurisdiction, Mayor Hodges would be surprised at how many people are not on board with the left-wing narrative about race and the police.