- The Washington Times - Monday, August 10, 2015

A New York Yankees affiliate is being criticized for hosting a “Blue Lives Matter” event honoring police officers in Staten Island on Sunday, exactly one year after black teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri.

Playing off of “Black Lives Matter,” a movement that calls attention to police brutality against black people, “Blue Lives Matter” was launched less than a year ago to “help law enforcement officers and their families during their time of need,” The Huffington Post reported.

Before Sunday’s game between the Staten Island Yankees and Brooklyn Cyclones, the first pitch was thrown out by the families of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, two New York Police Department officers who were killed in an ambush shooting in December.

The timing of the event has been criticized by Black Lives Matter supporters who argue the team is trying to diminish their cause.

Staten Island Yankees senior director of marketing Michael Holley apologized for the “very unfortunate coincidence” of the event’s timing, adding that “our goal is to support those in need, and not to provide ammunition for the political and social battles that we are all facing.”



“We try our best to accurately represent the interests of our community, and this issue is so divisive that it seemed like people wanted us to draw a line in the sand. But the more we thought about it, it came to down to this: Blue Lives Matter is an organization that supports the families of those who have been killed in action,” Mr. Holley said. “This has been a difficult issue for us as we walk a thin line. Ultimately, however, I’m comfortable with the decision to support an organization that helps those in need, and I will continue to seek opportunities for the Staten Island Yankees to do so in the future.”

When reached by The Huffington Post on Monday morning, Staten Island Yankees president Jane Rogers said there was “never any intent to cause controversy or ill-will feelings toward anyone in the community or outside the community.”

“It’s how we treat any group that comes to the ballpark for fundraising efforts,” she said. “We do this constantly with many, many groups. It was never a matter of favoring one group over another.”

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