British police sabotage Hillsborough football tragedy inquiry

This video from Britain says about itself:

EPSN/BBC: Hillsborough #JFT96

27 April 2016

Finally aired in the UK at 9pm on BBC 2 on Sunday May 8th 2016, without much additional material.

“American sports network ESPN, as part of its 30 for 30 series of sports films (under a new “Soccer Stories” subdivision), aired the documentary Hillsborough as a co-production with the BBC. Directed by Daniel Gordon, the 2-hour film chronicles the disaster, the investigations, and their lingering effects; it also included interviews with survivors, victims’ relatives, police officers and investigators. Hillsborough aired the first time on 15 April 2014, the 25th anniversary of the disaster. The documentary was unable to be shown in Great Britain upon initial release due to the 2012 High Court inquest still being in progress and the UK’s jury tampering laws; the documentary contains previously unreleased security camera footage from the stadium the day of the disaster. However, upon the inquest verdict the BBC announced they would air the documentary, with additional footage from the inquest and final verdict.”

Source: here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

132 coppers stonewall Hillsborough probe

Saturday 24th September 2016

A TOTAL of 132 police officers and staff have not assisted the Hillsborough investigation despite being asked to do so, the coppers’ watchdog revealed yesterday.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said 64 officers from South Yorkshire Police and 68 from West Midlands Police have been approached for a witness statement but have not provided one.

The watchdog is looking at whether offences such as conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and perverting the course of justice were committed in the aftermath of the 1989 tragedy.

IPCC deputy chair Rachel Cerfontyne said: “Some [officers and staff] were unable to provide an account for reasons such as poor health; others have not responded to our contact and there are a number of individuals who couldn’t be traced.”

Ms Cerfontyne pointed out the IPCC can compel serving police witnesses to attend an interview, but not retired officers.

United States sports people’s anti-racism protests, not just Kaepernick

This video from the USA says about itself:

Megan Rapinoe Hindered in Bid for Second National Anthem Protest

8 September 2016

The Washington Spirit prevented Seattle midfielder Megan Rapinoe from kneeling again during the national anthem by altering its pregame ceremonies.

By Alan Gilman in the USA:

NFL football players spread protests over police violence, racism

20 September 2016

Following San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protests of racial oppression and inequality by refusing to stand at attention during the national anthem, many other National Football League (NFL) players have joined in similar protests during the first two weeks of the regular season.

Kaepernick, who is biracial and was adopted and raised by his white parents, began his protest in August during preseason games. He explained his actions by stating, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

There were widespread denunciations by police organizations and right-wing politicians and media pundits, denouncing his actions as unpatriotic, if not treasonous. There were a few cases of supposed “fans” burning his jersey. These efforts failed to stifle the display of political and social opposition, as support for Kaepernick among NFL players, other athletes, and the public has instead increased.

Many players throughout the NFL’s first two weeks of the season have engaged in similar protests and Kaepernick’s jersey has now become the NFL’s number one seller, even though this season Kaepernick, a starting Super Bowl quarterback in 2012, is a back-up this year.

In the regular season’s first two games Kaepernick has continued to kneel during the anthem and has been joined by teammate Eric Reid, while teammates Antoine Bethea, Rashard Robinson, Eli Harold and Jaquiski Tartt have stood with raised fists.

Miami Dolphins Arian Foster, Kenny Stills and Michael Thomas have taken a knee during the anthem in their first two games. Foster, who last year publicly described himself as an atheist, said the main purpose of their demonstration is to create a healthy dialogue on issues of systemic racism such as education, the prison system and police brutality toward minorities. “If somebody is telling you they don’t feel like they’re free, why wouldn’t you listen to them?” he asked.

Jason McCourty and Jurrell Casey of the Tennessee Titans kissed their hands and raised their fists after the national anthem before this week’s game in Detroit. Both players had raised their fists during the anthem in Week 1. Casey explained their gesture was “a small symbol showing we are looking for equal opportunity in this world, and we just need justice for all the things that’s going on around here.”

Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos took a knee during the anthem for the second week in a row, despite having lost two commercial endorsements for his first protest. “I’m not against the military. I’m not against the police or America,” Marshall said, according to the Denver Post, “I’m against social injustice. Kaep, he’s using his platform how he wants to use it, to reach the masses. We have freedom of speech. But then we use our platform, and we get bashed for it. It’s almost like they want us to only go with the grain. And once we go against the grain, it’s an issue.”

Other players who have continued to raise fists during the anthem include Robert Quinn of the Los Angeles Rams, and San Diego Chargers Joe Barksdale and Chris Hairston. A number of other players, including Martellius Bennet and Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots, Jeremy Lane of the Seattle Seahawks, and Marcus Peters of the Kansas City Chiefs engaged in similar anthem protests before their games in Week 1.

All of these players are African-Americans in a league whose players are 70 percent black.

Anthem protests have also occurred at various high school games throughout the country. In Seattle at last Friday’s game players and coaches from Garfield High knelt in unison before their game against West High, with several West High players also joining. Garfield Coach Joey Thomas said his players decided to kneel after talking among themselves about Kaepernick and social injustice. “How are you killing these African American males on camera and we can’t even get a day in court?” he asked.

Many other high school players throughout the country have engaged in similar protests and players in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Alabama are facing suspensions for their symbolic protests.

This issue has been absent during this season’s college football games only because in most college games the anthem is played before the teams take the field.

Outside of football, Megan Rapinoe, a member of the US women’s soccer national team, has been kneeling during the anthem as a gesture in solidarity with Kaepernick and others protesting social inequalities. “We need to look at all the things the flag and the anthem represent and all the things it means, and is it protecting everybody? There are people who don’t feel as protected as I do every day. I know it’s a time-honored tradition. Especially in a sports environment, it’s something the country is very passionate about, but there is a bigger conversation here that is more important than sports.”

Rapinoe, longtime advocate for LGBT rights, is also one of five players named in an equal-pay complaint filed against US Soccer and was a vocal critic of the artificial turf used during the 2015 World Cup.

… What virtually all victims of police violence have in common is their social class, as almost all are members of the working class, particularly the poorest and most oppressed sections of the working class.

Kaepernick and other NFL players who have been protesting police violence have demonstrated personal courage and have shocked the authorities, including both the billionaire owners of the football teams and their highly paid media partners.

For the time being, taken aback by the scale of the protests and the open support for the players from many fans, the NFL has hesitated to retaliate. For how long this will persist is unclear.

Fox and CBS, which have billion-dollar contracts to broadcast NFL games on Sundays, and NBC, which broadcasts Sunday Night Football, seem to have adopted a policy of ignoring the protests, giving virtually no attention to them this weekend, although more athletes were involved than in Week 1 of the season.

Since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem before National Football League (NFL) preseason games began in August, in protest of racial injustice and police brutality, his actions have continued to gain support throughout the first three weeks of the NFL’s regular season: here.

TULSA POLICE RELEASE VIDEO OF FATAL SHOOTING OF UNARMED BLACK MAN “Terence Crutcher, 40, was shot and killed Friday after officers responding to an unrelated call spotted his vehicle stalled in the middle of the roadway, Tulsa World reports. The police department earlier said Crutcher refused orders to put up his hands, but the footage appears to show him walking toward his vehicle with his hands above his head.” [Chris D’Angelo, HuffPost]

USA: The Racial Wage Gap Between Black And White Workers Is Getting Worse. Pay for black workers lags behind that of white peers more than it did in 1979. 09/20/2016 05:00 am ET: here.

Lesbian United States soccer player’s solidarity with Colin Kaepernick

This video about the USA says about itself:

Gay Soccer Star Kneels in Solidarity With Kaepernick

7 September 2016

By kneeling during the U.S. national anthem, Megan Rapinoe stands up for justice and shows her solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.

Colin Kaepernick’s jersey became the top-selling jersey on the National Football League’s official online store, after he protested racial injustice and police brutality in the U.S., but the San Francisco 49ers quarterback said Wednesday he was donating all the proceeds he receives from the jersey to communities affected by injustice and racism: here.

Update, 12 September 2016: here.

Solidarity Demonstrations Take Over NFL Opening Weekend. The movement has spread across the league following Colin Kaepernick’s lead: here.

Alabama Pastor Allen Joyner Says People Who Don’t Stand For The National Anthem Should Be Shot: here.

US war veteran supports footballer Kaepernick’s protest

This video from the USA says about itself:

Veteran Says He Stands With Kaepernick’s Sit-Down Protest

30 August 2016

Thom speaks with caller Robert, a veteran, who supports Colin Kaepernick‘s protest.

More NFL Stars Join Kaepernick, Protest US National Anthem: here.

Making a Stand by Sitting Down: Black Athletes and the Flag: here.

‘WHAT WHITE FANS DON’T UNDERSTAND ABOUT BLACK ATHLETES’ “Just earlier this year, Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor was looking to buy a gym and the employees called the police on him. This happened after he signed a contract extension worth $28 million last season.” [Rolling Stone]

Kaepernick’s Jersey Sales Skyrocket to Become Top-Selling: here.

American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick protests police killings

This 29 August 2016 video from the USA is called Colin Kaepernick On Why He Sat During The National Anthem

By Alan Gilman:

Professional football quarterback Colin Kaepernick protests US police killings

30 August 2016

Prior to last Friday’s preseason National Football League (NFL) game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers, 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem to protest police killings of African Americans in the United States.

Kaepernick is a 28-year-old biracial man who was raised by the white parents who adopted him. His action was particularly courageous because the former Super Bowl starting quarterback is fighting to maintain his football career after losing his starting job last season. Drafted in 2011, he had been one of the most promising players in the NFL during his time under former coach Jim Harbaugh.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Kaepernick went on to add, “This is not something that I am going to run by anybody, I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

After Sunday’s practice Kaepernick addressed the media reaffirming his position and that he will continue to sit during the playing of the national anthem before games until “there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent in this country—is representing the way that it’s supposed to.”

When asked if the pending presidential election had anything to do with the timing of his actions, Kaepernick responded, “I mean, you have Hillary [Clinton] who’s called black teens or black kids super-predators. You have Donald Trump who’s openly racist. I mean, we have a presidential candidate who’s deleted emails and done things illegally and is a presidential candidate. That doesn’t make sense to me, because if that was any other person, you’d be in prison. So what is this country really standing for?”

… the athlete has … been subjected to rabid denunciations aimed at silencing any political dissent.

The media has regularly shown fans burning his jersey and highlighted the statements of more politically backward football players. TJ Yates, an injured quarterback of the Houston Texans, tweeted, “It blows my mind how many people hate the country they live in.” Matt Hasselbeck, former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst, tweeted, “Easy way to make sure you’re NOT the starting QB on opening day. #Sept. 11.”

These are not the sentiments of broad layers of the public who are angered by police killings and indifferent to or disturbed by the endless promotion of patriotism and militarism at professional sporting events.

Several players defended Kaepernick’s right to express his opposition. Russell Okung, an offensive guard with the Denver Broncos, stated, “Kaepernick is well within his rights to do what he did. I’m not saying I agree, but I do understand why he felt morally obligated in his acts.”

Kaepernick, who addressed his team on Sunday, has won the respect of his teammates, even from those that disagree with his position. Center Daniel Kilgore said, “When it came out, honestly, I took offense to it,” Kilgore said. “But after Kap stated his case and seeing where he comes from, I stand with Kap.”

While Kilgore said he disagreed with Kaepernick’s decision to sit, he said, “I stand with Kap when he says enough is enough against crime, violence, discrimination and racism.”

The National Football League has not, at least until now, taken any action against Kaepernick. The 49ers released a statement praising what the anthem represents but recognizing that Kaepernick’s boycott matched up with “such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression.” Kaepernick’s coach, Chip Kelly, said he had no right to tell any player how to honor, or not honor, his country. The NFL responded by indicating that players are encouraged but not required to stand for the anthem.

Over the last number of years there have been increasing protests by athletes over police killings. In December 2014, St. Louis Rams pass receivers Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Jared Cook, Kenny Britt and Stedman Bailey entered the Edward Jones football field using the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture popularized by protests over the police murder of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The players said they wanted to express their solidarity with the people of Ferguson, the St. Louis suburb that had been put under siege by police and National Guard troops.

Athletes have also spoken out against militarism and war. In May 2011, the day after Obama’s announcement of the killing of Osama bin Laden, Rashard Mendenhall, the 23-year-old star running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers football team, tweeted: “What kind of man celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side.”

Mendenhall’s comments—which were bound up with his religious convictions and skepticism in the government’s version of the 9/11 events—were immediately seized upon for a rabid campaign accusing the football player of being disloyal and contemptuous of the 3,000 Americans killed by the terrorist attacks. The fraternity of cable television sportscasters—who, with few exceptions, generally appeal only to the base instincts of sports fans—demanded that the NFL block athletes from having access to Twitter and social networking sites.

Shortly afterwards, sports apparel maker Champion fired Mendenhall, who had recently signed a four-year contract and had been a sponsor with the company since his NFL career started in 2008.

In 2004, Toronto Blue Jays baseball player Carlos Delgado [a Puerto Rican playing for a Canadian, not US team] refused to take the field during the playing of “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch. The song became a tradition after the events of 9/11, but had since been ended at several MLB stadiums with some teams only playing it on weekends and holidays. Delgado, who was strongly against war, including the ones that were currently being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan, felt the playing of the song was a political stand in itself that went against his beliefs. No action was ever taken against Delgado.

During this year’s Major League All-Star game, the Canadian-based vocal quartet The Tenors sang the Canadian anthem (there is one Canadian team in the Major leagues) at San Diego’s Petco Park. During a solo, Remigio Pereira changed the words of O Canada from, “With glowing hearts we see the rise, the True North strong and free,” to “We’re all brothers and sisters, all lives matter to the great.”

Pereira also brandished a sign with the words “All Lives Matter,” inviting scorn from a plethora of prominent Canadians. The Tenors labeled him a “lone wolf” and kicked him out of the group. He later apologized.

Possibly the most well-known political demonstration during the performance of a national anthem at a sporting event occurred during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico, when two Black American athletes each raised a black-gloved fist during the Star-Spangled Banner at a medals ceremony.

John Carlos, the bronze medalist in the men’s 200-metre race, and Tommie Smith, the gold medalist, performed the Black Power salute while on the podium to shine a spotlight on racial inequality in the US.

They were booed and forced out of the games by the president of the International Olympic Committee at the time, Avery Brundage, and suspended from the national team. The third man on the podium, a white Australian named Peter Norman, was vilified by his home nation for wearing his Olympic Project For Human Rights (OPHR) badge in solidarity. The OPHR was an organization formed to protest racial segregation.

The ritual of playing the national anthem before major sporting events dates back to the 1918 World Series. The US had entered the war 17 months earlier, and in that time some 100,000 American soldiers had died. The war had strained the economy and the workforce, including baseball’s. The government began drafting major leaguers for military service that summer and ordered baseball to end the regular season by Labor Day. As a result, the 1918 Series was the lone October Classic played entirely in September.

Hence a tribute that began to “honoring” the victims of the slaughter of World War I has developed into today’s militaristic ritual of opening sporting events by playing the national anthem accompanied by military honor guards, enormous flags, and often climaxing with fighter jets performing flyovers as fireworks go off.

Professional sports teams were paid tens of millions of dollars between 2012 and 2015 by the Department of Defense for patriotic tributes at professional football, baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer games, according to a November 2015 report published by Republican Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake.

Kaepernick’s protest was an act of personal courage. His actions, like those who have engaged in similar acts in the past, must be defended against the right-wing promoters of nationalism, militarism and state repression of political dissent.