Last Fall, social awareness intersected with professional sports with a profound and unifying message not seen since the 60s and 70s. Now, a collision looks inevitable.
Atlanta Hawks forward Thabo Sefalosha’s fractured tibia might be the break to finally bring about systemic change in police and abusive power.
Conflicting reports in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown at the hands of police officers – as between the police and third party witnesses – ultimately led to a divided country. In both cases, reports detailed by the police officer ultimately prevailed. Neither officer involved was indicted for criminal activity.
The same feelings were rekindled after the Walter Scott incident when video surfaced conflicting former North Charleston, South Carolina officer Michael Slager’s account of the incident. Most were outraged by Slager’s shooting Scott eight times in the back, as he ran away.
Now, the worst nightmare to status quo has emerged in the case of the validity of police reports.
Thabo Sefalosha is a Black European NBA basketball player with the means to challenge the police accounts of what landed him in jail on the night of April 8.
According to the criminal complaint against Sefolosha, an officer arrested the Hawks player and teammate Pero Antic after they refused six times to comply with his request to disperse from the crime scene. According to the complaint, an officer “observed the defendant Thabo Sefolosha run in an aggressive manner towards the direction” of another officer.
What other people are saying is an entirely different story.
According to Si.com, witnesses and sources, while officers were dispersing dozens of people near the scene, one officer focused on Sefolosha, “and then he continues to track him down the block like a D-back tracking a receiver.”
At the time, the source said, Sefolosha and Antic were walking down the block to get into a car that would take them back to their team hotel. The source said Sefolosha did not run toward the cop as the complaint said. Rather, the source said “Sefolosha turns to him and asked in substance what the officer’s problem was with him.’” At this point, the source said, Sefolosha and the officer got into an argument, which led to Sefolosha’s arrest for obstruction of a governmental function, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. The arrest took place at the corner of 10th Avenue, more than 120 feet away from the scene of the stabbing at 1OAK night club.
If the sources account is proven to be true, that will be two high profile cases where police accounts were fabricated to protect their inability to protect and serve properly.
What will only make matters worst for the New York Police Department is a video has emerged from the incident. Sefalosha suffered a broken fibula and will be out for the entire playoffs. He is not going down quietly.
Neither is The NBA Players Association. They have opened their own investigation into the matter. There is too much money for this to go unnoticed, and if Sefalosha’s words don’t worry the NYPD, they should:
“I would like to begin by expressing my gratitude to my family and friends, the Hawks organization and my teammates. This has been a difficult time for me and I truly appreciate the support I have received from everyone. I am extremely disappointed that I will not be able to join my teammates on the court during the playoffs and apologize to them for any distraction this incident has caused. I will be cheering for them every step of the way and will be diligent in my rehabilitation.
“On advice of counsel, I hope you can appreciate that I cannot discuss the facts of the case. Those questions will be answered by my attorney in a court of law. “I will simply say that I am in great pain, have experienced a significant injury and that the injury was caused by the police.”
Are there certain police officers that lie, cheat and steal?
Are all police officers evil?
The one thing we can hope is that the Sefalosha incident will help to shine a light on police brutality in America. We need to stop giving police officers carte blanche to wield deadly force at any notion of violence, intended, imagined or otherwise. Maybe then we can finally get back to all police officers actively protecting and serving the public rather than themselves.
In the NBA, the show must go on. The playoffs begin this weekend and the Atlanta Hawks are the number one seed in the East with Golden State holding down the top spot in the West.
If you had to take a second look at what was just written in the paragraph above, you’re not alone.
In the west, the Warriors ascent to the top is starting to come into clearer focus after news broke about the shooting prowess of Steph Curry.
We’ve all seen him on the court. He is probably the most exciting basketball player ever to not spend most of his time above the rim. The latest will be talked about in NBA lore for eons to come.
ESPN senior writer Tom Friend was at the Dubs practice when he probably heard nothing but the subtle silence of ball tickling nylon. Curry, according to legend, connected on 77 straight three pointers.
Out of 100 shots he made 94.
For you math wizards, that is 94% from three point.
The current career free throw record is 90%.
Only 7 schools (Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Penn, Princeton, Duke, Notre Dame) have a higher graduation rate than Curry’s three point percentage on that fateful day.
You have a better chance of finding your remote control in your couch cushions than Curry’s feat of accuracy.
The rest of the NBA better watch out, because it’s raining in NorCal, and the Splash Brothers are playing Mother Nature.
Photo Credit: Associated Press/Andrew Kelly
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