Jack Flaherty

Just because sports is coming back doesn’t mean these conversations stop and that there’s no call for action,” Jack Flaherty said of the pushback against police violence. “It means we actually need more call for action.”

Jack Flaherty, the St. Louis Cardinals pitching ace, has caught continuous hell from many so-called members of Cardinal Nation for his unabashed support of Black Lives Matter and finding way to end systemic racism in America.

The crazy talk includes fans saying the Cardinals are doomed to have an unsuccessful season because they dared to wear Black Lives Matter shirts on Opening Day in late July. Others are saying they hope Flaherty fails on the mound or that they refuse to watch the team – now and forever.

I can just imagine the hate that Flaherty must have to put up with on Twitter and social media.

At 9:38 a.m. Monday, Flaherty responded on Twitter to Kenosha, Wisconsin, police shooting unarmed Jacob Blake seven times – an act that was captured on video: "go ahead. try and explain how 7 rounds in his back makes sense," he wrote.

On Monday night, Flaherty took the mound against the Kansas City Royals and allowed just one hit over five inning and no runs. The Cardinals won 10-3. Following the game, while wearing a Kobe Bryant L.A. Lakers jersey, Flaherty spoke of his excellent outing and then the Blake shooting.

“I woke up and saw that this morning, and that was tough,” he said.

“That was tough to watch. And it didn't really make sense. It still doesn't make sense."

Blake's family said he is in serious condition, but is paralyzed. Flanagan said he is praying for his recovery.

“I mean, you get seven rounds fired into your back like that, [it] just doesn’t really make sense. You just kind of wonder what’s going through everybody’s head there in that kind of situation," he said.

“It just continues. I mean, just because sports is coming back doesn’t mean these conversations stop and that there’s no call for action. It means we actually need more call for action. We need more people to continue this conversation, continue to bring light to events like this. What would have happened if somebody hadn’t filmed it? Just thoughts and prayers with him and his family right now.”

All St. Louis and Missouri should be so proud of this young man. It's a pity that we know this is far from the truth. There is praise for the Portland Place McCloskeys and scorn for Flanagan. It's ugly, but I'm not surprised. 

‘We're terrified’ 

After his 30-point, 10-rebound effort helped the Los Angeles Lakers easily defeat the Portland Trailblazers on Monday night to take a 3-1 lead in the best of seven NBA playoff series, LeBron James had a much more important thing to discuss with the media.

“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,” James said in response to Kenosha, Wisconsin police shooting unarmed Jacob Blake in the back seven times.

“If you’re sitting here and telling me that there was no way to subdue that gentleman or detain him before the firing of guns, then you’re sitting here and lying to not only me, but you’re lying to every African American, every Black person in the community,” James said.

“Because we see it over and over and over."

Kenosha is less than 40 miles south of Milwaukee, and Bucks star George Hill said the latest shooting by police of an unarmed Black man makes the bubble in Orlando and playoff games meaningless.

“We shouldn’t have even came to this damn place, to be honest. I think coming just here [to finish the season in Orlando] took all the focal points off what the issues are. But we’re here, so it is what it is,” Hill said.

“We can’t do anything from right here, but I think definitely, when it’s all settled, some things have to be done.”

It's not just Black athletes who immediately spoke out after the Blake shooting.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers quarterback, said in a video the latest incident "hits home."

"There's a systemic (racism) problem."

Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, who scored 51 points in a playoff win over Denver last weekend, shared his fury on Twitter by writing, "F THE GAMES AN PLAYOFFS. THIS IS SICK AND IS A REAL PROBLEM. WE DEMAND JUSTICE...THIS IS WHY WE DON'T FEEL SAFE.!!!!"

Tyrann Mathieu, safety for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, wrote on Twitter, “Damn they shot that man 7 times.... why can’t 3 officers subdue one male? I truly need answers y’all comment on everything else......”

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden released a statement on Monday saying, "“This morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force,” he said. “Those shots pierce the soul of our nation.” 

Blame the Big Ten Black man 

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren has at least 14 bosses. He reports to the various presidents and chancellors of the 14 Big Ten universities, and it was them, not Warren, who cast the votes that mandated no fall sports at the respective schools.

Why is Warren being vilified by many parents, coaches and players for a decision that was not his?

Parents have protested outside of Big Ten headquarters. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields' poorly written online petition demanding that players be allowed to make their own choice whether to play or not had collected more than 300,000 signatures as of Tuesday.

Warren is catching all the heat. But the men and women that voted to postpone the fall sports seasons have not divulged how they individually voted.

This is another example of "Blame the Black Man."

Warren is an easy target because of the color of his skin. It would be wise for Fields and other Black players to realize the position that Warren is in is not of his own doing.

He is no different from Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League.

Goodell runs the NFL office, but the 32 NFL franchise owners who are his bosses run the league. For example, if a team owner announces that he will release any player that kneels during the anthem, Goodell cannot do a darn thing about it. He might disagree with the decision and try to convince the respective owner to not take that path. But he's powerless to forbid that owner's decision.

The same is true for Warren.

"The vote by the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) was overwhelmingly in support of postponing fall sports and will not be revisited,” Warren wrote as pressure mounted on him.

“The decision was thorough and deliberative, and based on sound feedback, guidance and advice from medical experts.”

Warren also continually warned all involved throughout the summer that there was a real chance there would be no fall sports as COVID numbers continued to grow in every Big Ten state. He was ignored – until this actually happened.

He also has formed a Return to Competition Task Force that includes presidents, chancellors, sports medicine and college medical personnel, athletic directors, head coaches, faculty athletic representatives and senior women administrators to plan for the return of fall sports.

Warren is a scapegoat. Maybe the better term is a Black sheep.

It's sad, but it's a reality in 2020. 

The Reid Roundup 

Hey, Dallas Cowboys. Pass on safety Earl Thomas. There is something up that's not good with this guy.

Erik Moses has been named president of Nashville Superspeedway, making him the first Black person to hold that position at a NASCAR track. Closed since 2011, the track is scheduled to hold a NASCAR Cup Series event in June 2021.

Tiger Woods told ESPN that he misses fans at PGA Tournaments. “Obviously, the energy is not anywhere near the same. There isn't the same amount of anxiety and pressure and people yelling at you and trying to grab your shirt, a hat off you.”

The St. Louis Blues were dispatched by the Vancouver Canucks in their opening round playoff series in six games. I read several comments from Blues fans saying officials didn't allow the Blues to play their "heavy" style of hockey. In another sport with other players, these fans would be replaced the word "heavy" with "thuggish."

With several NBA head coaching jobs open and the Big Ten putting basketball on hold until at least January, Juwan Howard says he is staying at Michigan.

Here’s something so crazy it makes sense: There are rumors that the Brooklyn Nets are trying to lure San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich to that franchise.

Alabama coach Nick Saban says he wants football this fall “for the players” and not for the money. Yeah, right.

 Alvin A. Reid was honored as the 2017 “Best Sports Columnist – Weeklies” in the Missouri Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest and is a New York Times contributor. He is a panelist on the Nine Network program, Donnybrook, a weekly contributor to “The Charlie Tuna Show” on KFNS and appears monthly on “The Dave Glover Show” on 97.1 Talk.” His Twitter handle is @aareid1

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