ESPN: come for the video highlights, stay for the social justice lectures. There certainly isn’t much else to keep you there. If you were hoping for pregame analysis of the Celtics-Heat game on Wednesday, you instead got self-dramatic grandstanding from former NBA player-turned-analyst Jalen Rose.
A Kentucky grand jury had just declined to charge three Louisville cops in the accidental shooting death of Breonna Taylor (one faces lesser charges related to the incident.) As related by The Hollywood Reporter, Rose said:
I just want people to know that Blacks are hurting — and as we relate it to sports, that sports that are predominantly Black — the NBA, the WNBA and the NFL — players are performing with heavy hearts,” he began. “We’re still showing up to try and do our jobs. And I can’t lie to you all. I was looking in my closet like, “I am going to wear something fresh today because if I say something to get me fired, at least would look crisp.”
Got that? He spent extra time contemplating his closet full of expensive suits so he looked extra good on his lucrative soapbox. And brave truth-teller Rose expected viewers to believe there was some possibility that ESPN — ESPN! — might fire him for spouting exactly the kind of crap they love broadcasting.
Then he said, “Because when Kyle Rittenhouse in Milwaukee, as a 17-year-old kills two people and yet three cops aren’t directly charged for killing Breonna Taylor, it shows you how they feel about Black lives in America.”
No, it shows how little Jalen Rose cares about facts. The two cases couldn’t be more dissimilar. Rittenhouse is facing two first degree murder and one attempted first degree murder charge. There was no legal or moral justification for murder charges in the Breonna Taylor case.
Rose presumed to speak for black people. Before assuming that role, he might have familiarized himself with Kentucky law, the reasoning behind the warrant the cops were executing, and the events as they actually occurred in that apartment.
Or maybe he did and just doesn’t care what the truth is. Later, during a halftime report, Rose was asked to comment on something that happened on the court. “He been puttin’ in work for a young fella. But it’d also be a great day,” he said, his voice rising to a shout, “to arrest the cops that murdered Breonna Taylor!”
That’s the kind of fact-free sloganeering that marks the Black Lives Matter movement. And the kind of quality game coverage you get from ESPN.