The anniversary of Michael Brown’s death prompted marches and continued outcry about police brutality in Ferguson, Mo. Sunday, but the Staten Island Yankees used the day to push their own polarizing campaign dubbed “Blue Lives Matter.”
The minor league team is a Single-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. The group shows support to the families of police officers during their time of need, but the presence of a “Blue Lives Matter” agenda on the day Brown was shot a year ago left many questioning their true intention. Like the motto “All Lives Matter,” “Blue Lives Matter” invalidates the movement to end state sanctioned violence that disproportionately affects the Black community.
The charity was launched a year ago, the same time the “Black Lives Matter” movement began to spread beyond social media, Think Progress reports. On Sunday, wristbands were passed out and the families of Detective Wenjian Liu and Detective Rafael Ramos threw out the first pitch of the game. Liu and Ramos were killed in December of last year in Brooklyn.
In a written response to Staten Island Yankees executive Michael Holley, a reader of The Root highlighted just how insulting it was to overshadow the anniversary of Brown’s death.
Wow, could this promotion be any more offensive, divisive and disrespectful. On the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, this is what the SI Yankees organization chooses to do? This is beyond poor judgement. Did it occur to anyone at the SI Yankees how alienating this is to fans who have been deeply affected by the events that spurred the “Black Lives Matter” movement, including those right here in Staten Island? … I will no longer attend games, nor will I recommend them to others until an apology and amends are made for this utterly tasteless promotion. I intend to write the NY Yankees Front Office and the Baseball Commissioner’s office to lodge a formal complaint and urge others to do the same. You should know better, and be better. This is a disgrace to the entire Yankees organization.
In a statement forwarded to The Root from the reader, Holley said the Yankees put “a lot of though into whether or not to hold this promotion when Blue Lives Matter originally approached us.”
We at the Staten Island Yankees have been greatly affected by these issues along with everyone else in the St. George community. We all know that the protests in Manhattan and Brooklyn have stolen the headlines, but I truly believe that those that occurred here in Staten Island were the most heart-breaking – we all watched through our office windows as family and friends of Eric Garner stood in protest, notably with a lack of any sort of violence or, frankly, any sort of direction at times.
But the more we thought about it, it came to down to this: Blue Lives Matter is an organization that supports the families of those who have been killed in action. I can’t pretend for a minute to understand who is right and who is wrong when something like that happens, but I DO know that families should NOT have to suffer. And for that reason, anyone who wants our help in raising resources to help those in need in our community will always have our ear.
You can read Holley’s statement in its entirety, here.