Speaking only for themselves

In a unique twist on the old saw about it’s what’s on the front of the jersey that matters, not the back, LSU advises its student-athletes of its support for them to publicly express their opinions regarding the Alton Sterling case — as long as they don’t wear LSU gear or use LSU branding when doing so.

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27 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, SEC Football

27 responses to “Speaking only for themselves

  1. One can certainly understand why the university doesn’t want to be associated with any controversial and unsubstantiated allegations that there is a racial component to policing in America. Police encounters with citizens are treated the same without regard to issues of race:

    See exhibit A: white guy with assault rifle
    http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2014/06/dash_cam_footage_from_open_car.html

    Exhibit B: Black 12 year old with a pellet gun
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2014/nov/26/cleveland-video-tamir-rice-shooting-police

    Exhibit C: black 18 year old with a knife
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2015/nov/24/chicago-officials-release-video-showing-police-killing-of-laquan-mcdonald-video

    Exhibit D: unarmed black man running in other direction

    Exhibit E: unarmed black man accused of selling cigarettes
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2014/dec/04/i-cant-breathe-eric-garner-chokehold-death-video

    Move along. Nothing to see here. No university profiting millions off the labor of its football teams, where roughly 85% of those teams are comprised of African Americans, should have to risk associating themselves with divisive and unsupported rhetoric regarding the issue of race and policing in America. It’s really just not fair to the university to put them in that position. Surely LSU can be associated with something less controversial like, for example, being David Duke’s, founding head of the LSU chapter of the White Youth Alliance, alma mater.

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    • Sorry, but I don’t see anything contemptible in this. These kids are speaking for themselves, not their school. Hell, I give LSU credit for its suggestions to them on how to approach the matter with some degree of maturity, which might enhance their public credibility in doing so.

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      • Why is it necessary to disassociate themselves from the message by suggesting that they take off thier LSU shirt first? If they had a pro-Trump student athlete who was going to speak at a Trump rally do you think they’d send him/her a message not to connect themselves with the school in any way? What would Fox News do if they did?

        While the message from LSU could be worse for sure, I can’t understand why it matters what anyone is wearing when they utilize their rights to speak and neither should the owner of the copyrigh/trademark. To me it smacks of: say what you want but keep us out of it. Hardly a full throated support of the students political and speech rights which should be neutral both as to message and messenger.

        My read is that they fear that a black player in a LSU shirt making a statement about police brutality and race would risk their money supply. Why risk standing up to boosters who don’t understand the first amendment when you can more easily control your slav…oh I mean “student athletes?”

        In the end, the issue as underscored above really shouldn’t be controversial at all. We have a criminal justice and race problem in this country. Rather than being cowards about that we should be working towards eliminating those obvious disparities.

        Personally I like this suggestion as a good start: https://youtu.be/4WJ_5OtyfDo

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        • Former Fan

          It would be silly to let those kids speak for the university by having university apparel on about anything without prior approval from the school. Its a business and whatever those kids say could cost them a TON of money and bad press. Its smart business and smart politics for LSU to let the professional media handlers speak for LSU.

          The minute the kid graduated, and was not playing a team sport as a representative of the school, that “representation” goes away. They can wear what they want to wear when speaking.

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          • It would be very silly for the school to act as if those players had any political and speech rights wouldn’t it? I mean that would almost be a concession that a university is a place of freedom, learning and a respect for our constitution when we all know it’s simply serves as a site for football games.

            Say what you will but we all know a message from Leonard fournette AKA star LSU football player has more impact in the public sphere than an anonymous complainant. As such, that status and its attendant symbols are as much a part of the message as anything else.

            Can I ask Trump to remove the Commander and Chief sign when he says things I think are bad for business or the country? Does the message have just the same weight when he speaks for us and then when he speaks just for himself? Can’t we draw a line between those things he says as president and those things he says that couldn’t possibly represent the country as a whole? Can we do yat in advance? This tweet comes from Donald J. Trump, private citizen…. Or is that title inextricably tied to anything and everything he does so long as he holds the position?

            The school gave these guys the status they have and for better or worse, it’s a two way street.

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            • Former Fan

              They have speech rights. But they don’t have the right to speak while representing LSU or implying they are representing LSU. If they were students only, and not being compensated by LSU, then LSU would have no say at all. But so long as LSU allows them to be representatives of LSU on the field, they have a say in how the students use LSU apparel when they speak.

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              • They ARE representing LSU at all times. They just want to pick and choose when its apparent to the public. Whether they get caught reading Mein Kampf, smoking weed, running for a TD or beating their girlfriends, they are representing LSU. LSU decided the kid was a person who they wanted to represent the school. They can’t simply decide what things that they want to be associated with and what they don’t. Misconduct can lead to disassociation, but in America, speaking one’s mind is, at least so far, not considered misconduct.

                And again the status of being a football player at LSU has political power that can be exploited if the player chooses to do so. Wearing the accoutrements of that status while speaking is inextricably tied to the power of the speech, a fact that is not missed on those who wrote the memo.

                The NCAA would argue with your use of “compensation.” Does a pell grant recipient get their speech restricted? How about a person going to school on a federally subsidized loan? How about a student at a public university whose tuition is subsidized in part by the taxpayers? Is the difference between market costs and actual costs “compensation” to the student?

                Your distinctions are meaningless and frankly weaken your argument. They simply fall into the constant refrain that football players are to be considered different in every way that benefits the existing power structure and in no ways that benefit or promote the interests of the student athletes themselves.

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  2. Former Fan

    As an employer, I agree completely with the school not wanting the players wearing school colors when speaking out about anything that might have a hint of controversy. I don’t allow any kind of political shirts to be worn at my business by employees. We (the management team) don’t care what you believe or what you do on your own time or how you dress on your own time. We do care that our customers care about many things. We are not about to allow our employees to offend our customers while wearing our apparel, or representing our company, or while on the job. If they want to do those things, do it on their own time, without our company associated with it in any way. A customer walks into the business, they get a professional environment free from controversy unrelated to the business and if that doesn’t happen, I get a new employee.

    IMO, this is another reason the kids should be paid. What other student would get that kind of email from a school?

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    • Rules for private persons and entities and public universities are different. The first amendment applies to GOVERNMENT not to IBM.

      In short Roger Goodell could sit on Kaepernick and only risk the whims of the market and the players union. If a public university did the same it’s unconstitutional.

      If LSU wants to craft a message nuetral set of regulations about speech and student athletes that they think can pass strict scrutiny analysis, all I can say is good luck.

      If a player wants to wear his LSU jersey while playing NWA and a tribute to Alton Sterling there’s not a damn thing they can legally do about it. And any hint of retaliation would risk legal action.

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      • Former Fan

        LSU didn’t limit their speech at all. They can say what they want, but not while representing LSU. Since they represent LSU on the football field, and wear the colors there, and the insignia, LSU has said they cannot wear those things while speaking because it is implied they are speaking for LSU. It was a very wise decision. The students sill have all the free speech granted to them by the constitution without dragging LSU into their political forays. IMO, the solution is perfect.

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        • Got Cowdog

          Exactly, Farmer Fran. 🙂 Beat me to it.

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        • That is part of the speech. Their status contributes to the power and impact of the message. If you don’t think so you need to explain that shit to the numerous advertisers who pay millions to athletes to cash in on their efforts to sell nearly everything imaginable.

          If Nike values, to the tune of millions, Michael Jordan’s status as guard for the world champion Chicago Bulls because it has clout in the market place of ideas, I’d suggest you trust them on that.

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          • Former Fan

            Ah, so a teacher can speak freely of Jesus to all her students since her status as a teacher is part of her speech and contributes to the power and impact of the message?

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            • I think that there’s an competing constitutional interest involved there, right? Perhaps you were high or otherwise absent when the Establishment Clause was discussed in school.

              If the school is a private school the answer is yes. If its a public school the answer is no. I’m sorry that those idiots 200 plus years ago wrote a document that conflicts with your “points.”

              If the public school teacher wants to spend non-work hours on Jesus while wearing a Clarke Central High School shirt, I doubt the administration will be heard to complain. In fact, I can’t imagine any person with a functional cerebral cortex saying that a teacher can’t go to a catholic church while wearing something associated with her school.

              But surely Clarke Central High doesn’t want to be associated with something as controversial as rampant child rape and the church’s treatment of the abused and the abusers does it?

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              • Former Fan

                tell that to the Altanta fire chief who was fired for a book he wrote off duty for off duty purposes. Thing is, the teacher can’t say what she wants with the school backing precisely because the school is government. Ditto the kids wearing LSU apparel as representative while using their position of LSU representatives to add power and authority to their speech.

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      • Got Cowdog

        Random guy at protest wearing a Leonard Fournette LSU jersey? No problem. Two players wearing their jerseys to identify themselves as players taking a position implies said position is that of the team. Problem.

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        • I know that would be an implication for really intelligent people but surely we can discount that as a factor.

          Did any-fucking-body think that that Kaepernick’s protest was endorsed by the 49er’s? If you did you’re a frigging moron and you therefore need not be a factor in the discussion. Everybody knew Colin spoke for Colin and only Colin despite the fact that he was in fucking uniform at the time.

          This is about control, pure and simple.

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          • Got Cowdog

            It certainly is. It is about controlling brand representation. I don’t allow my staff to wear their ” Got Cowdog? Livestock Services and Distillery” coveralls unless they are on the clock, because I don’t want a national audience to see my brand represented on an episode of “Cops”.
            Jokes aside, I have no problem with the school’s position. I have an issue with what Kaepernick did because of when he did it, not why he did it.

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            • You being a private employer have every right to enforce such a policy. However, when you act as if these guys are employees and that LSU isn’t a public entity, a status which has constitutional implications, you miss the point entirely.

              Also by making it about what you agree with or don’t agree with you again miss the point entirely.

              The only fair position is to have the same one no matter what is being said. If UGA sent a memo out stating that players must remove their uniforms being kneeling with their fellow members of the FCA, I’m guessing we’d have an entirely different response to such a policy.

              It isn’t popular beliefs that need protecting. Its the unpopular ones. The fact that “police officers kill too many black men unjustifiably” is unpopular point of view is a sad commentary indeed.

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              • Got Cowdog

                Ok. Perhaps I am missing the point. Here goes:

                LSU’s Athletic Association is no more a public entity than UGA’s, which is a private non-profit. As compensated members of the staff players are subject to the entities wishes as far as how the brand is represented.

                Whether I agree with the reason for it or not, a public event that people pay to see is not the place for demonstrations, whether of faith or disapproval, peaceful or otherwise. Kaepernick’s not standing for the anthem was far less annoying to me than Tim Tebow’s constant passive aggressive evangelizing. It’s the principle of the thing. I paid to see a football game for crying out loud, not a tent revival.

                The Police shooting any one is unpopular, justified or not, especially to the shootee. “Police officers kill too many black men unjustifiably”, how many is too many? Is there a bag limit? How about this statement; “There are too many unjustified police shootings.” No, that won’t work, it’s not inflammatory enough without the racial implications. In a fatal police shooting, somebody made a mistake and somebody died. I don’t get people attaching a skin color to the grief, pain, and remorse on both sides of that terrible equation.

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                • First, the idea that the AA is like a private corporation and not a state entity is laughable. UGA takes private donations too ya know. Why is the AA subject to sunshine laws,a matter debated frequently right here? Because it’s fucking PUBLIC. You can have your own opinions not your own facts. If your opinions are not based in facts then they are of little value.

                  Second watch Laquan McDonald get shot (video above) and tell me where the “mistake” is. Same thing with Walter Scott. They were shot and killed on purpose for no reason whatsoever. And if there was no video the cops would have gotten away with it. The other officers were not in error when they falsified the report. The investigators were not mistaken when they destroyed evidence.

                  Also, why was the white guy with the assault rifle not shot by mistake? Why did they coax him down while he waves his weapon and grabs his crotch? The point of that video is that things can be handled correctly if people of good will act with decency and common sense rather than shoot first and ask questions later.

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                  • Got Cowdog?

                    Had you figured for a deeper thinker. My bad, have a good one!

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                  • Derek your a sad man with too much time on your hands.Your immediate assumption that cops are racist bigots is as bigoted and prejudiced a statement as I’ve ever heard . If a mandated police officer has complainant’s from the public about a person in front a business harassing patrons with a gun that he was legally prohibited from owning because he is,or was ,a convicted felon, selling CD’s that are quite likely bootlegged and several callers say he is armed than you as a public servant have a duty to check it out in response to these complaints. As a police officer you have a right to not get killed on the job and a duty to come home to your family. Your source of information is totally biased and slanted . If you want to learn about police shootings in America I recommend that you read a long well researched article in The Guardian that reveals that most people shot in America by the police are in fact white. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database. In the month that I looked at(Dec 2016) 85 people shot in America by the cops roughly 15% were black (which is roughly in proportion to numbers in the general population) . . Every one of the cases your citing,with exception of the kid with a pellet gun which I acknowledge is a true tragedy, a black man was violating numerous laws and stupidly thought that they could simply refuse to comply with the lawful commands of an officer who was just going to arrest them BUT they resist their own arrest and the matter gets escalated and shots are fired.. As a public service from Chris Rock. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2plo4FOgIU I have no intention of engaging in a long debate with you on this subject because I have a family ,job and …Oh I don’t know a life…. . but understand that your perception of cops shooting black men for no reason couldn’t not be any further from the truth if you tried. Speak your mind but not own my time.

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                    • Chris Rock should have included having a white lady around to tell the cops to go fuck themselves: https://youtu.be/6DK8R3HxDsY

                      You’ll notice these officers are black. I don’t think ALL cops are racists and I don’t think only white cops are an issue and I don’t think EVERY issue with the police has a racial component, but many do. I distrust power, period. I love how wingers hate everthing government can except policing for which they will give an unquestioned free hand.

                      Personally I think many cops of all stripes abuse their power. They also know what they can and can’t get away with. One thing they can’t get away with is fucking with people in power, so they don’t. They fuck with people they think they can get away with fucking with.

                      If you’re poor and powerless your very likely to be confront abuse by cops.

                      Btw: with respect to Laquan McDonald i’m sure that anyone who violates the law deserves not only their fate (death) but it’s perfectly cool for the cops to falsify their reports to cover up murder. Why not? If he didn’t want to be shot down like a dog he should have been white, drunk and disorderly and carried an assault rifle.

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  3. 92 grad

    I like the way tiger woods used to handle himself when asked a question by media that was political or controversial. He simply said “I’m just a golfer, ask me about golf”.

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