Bakersfield College has launched a series of live Facebook discussions with the Danny Morrison Show. In episode #8, Morrison discussed how the world of sports has been managing the Black Lives Matter movement and the response of it. The panel included BC’s Athletic Director and Dean of Kinesiology, Reggie Bolton, and BC’s Head Football coach, R. Todd Littlejohn.
The discussion started with examples of athletes who kneel during the National Anthem in a mode of protest. Some people had criticized them without knowing why the athletes did not stand to the National Anthem.
“Nothing is more American than a person exercising their right of speech”, Morrison said in his introduction.
In the discussion, Morrison pointed out that it seems only Black people are the ones receiving criticism for in the sign of protest, while in white people case, when they protest the reaction is different.
According to Morrison, the NBA is going to display messages supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and are going to play the Black anthem instead of the National Anthem as a sign of protest against the issues that BLM is facing.
He said that this was something that he never seen before and that he is happy with the support that the BLM movement is receiving.
Breonna Taylor and Freddie Gray was brought up in the discussion. Taylor was a 26-year-old African-American emergency medical technician, who was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department. Gray was a 25-year-old African-American who suffered a spinal injury while in police custody a week before. Both were an example of police brutality. Morrison said that if you don’t feel offended by the injustice that happened in those cases, you should not be offended by the BLM movement at all.
He also mentioned his love for Bakersfield College, and he likes to go to the BC’s games all the time.
Morrison mentioned the case of Kobe Bryant, the basketball player who died in a helicopter crash, as a tragedy to the world of sports.
R. Todd expressed that he had respect for Bryant and that his death was painful for him as a coach. Todd and Bolton agreed that the most painful part of Bryant’s death was the death of his daughter, Gigi, as well.
The memory of Bryant’s death leads the discussion to something that always happens to the Black people. The panelist biggest worry is the younger boys and girls who need to face that reality.
Bolton mention that they might have lost a lot of people, but that loss makes space for more people to have the opportunity to succeed. However, he is afraid because the situation is completely frustrating for the African-American community.
‘’That is one of the things that we missed in school; the Black American history,” Bolton said.
The discussion then talked about the Black people who were killed by the police without a reason. They mentioned the case of Jacob Blake, a black man who was shouted seven times in the back. Morrison said that Blake was not it a threatening position, but a surrender position.
The three of them agreed that something like that is awful, no matter the color of the skin. “It is just awful, and any human should be treated like this,” Todd said.
Todd and Bolton expressed happiness because the BLM has reached a lot of people. Bolton said that it is good that everyone is using their platforms to express support to the movement and emphasizes the importance of “listen and transform your heart.”
They said the best way that non-black people could support the BLM movement is by using their platforms to spread the word. People can “unlearn racism” and change.
Bolton and Todd agreed that is a good thing that the fight against racism has more power now with the arrival of social media. They said that the protest is completely different in 2020 than how it was before. However, there are still a few things that need to be fixed.
“Be open and courageous to start difficult conversations,” Todd suggest. “If people are willing to dialog, then we can change. Everything starts to be open-minded. Nobody wants to be judged on their ethnicity.”
The talk ended with Todd, Bolton, and Morrison encouraging the public to be open-minded and to always fight for what is right.