- The Washington Times - Friday, August 19, 2016

ESPN host Max Kellerman said Friday that the Black Lives Matter movement has damaged its cause with its “controversial” political platform, a fiery left-wing manifesto that accuses Israel of “genocide.”

Mr. Kellerman’s comment came in response to an op-ed Thursday by former NFL cornerback Domonique Foxworth, who called on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to ‘say ‘Black Lives Matter.’ “

The problem is that Mr. Rodgers and others may now be wary of aligning themselves with the slogan since the Aug. 1 release of a political platform by the Movement for Black Lives coalition, a policy document that denounces Israel and calls for releasing prisoners serving time for drug and prostitution charges.

The platform is “going to be controversial,” said Mr. Kellerman, who hosts “First Take” with Stephen A. Smith.

“Here’s my problem with it. ‘Black Lives Matter’ as a slogan, as an idea I like very much. Black Lives Matter as an organization and movement has now put out a political platform, which includes ideas that maybe someone like Aaron Rodgers or others, white or black, wouldn’t be comfortable supporting,” Mr. Kellerman said.

“[T]he immediate release and retroactive decriminalization of prostitution and drug offenders and their records should be expunged? Maybe everyone’s not going to agree with that,” Mr. Kellerman said. “Divestment from Israel?”

Mr. Foxworth’s op-ed for the Undefeated, a sports and culture website, comes after rioting broke out Saturday in Milwaukee over the death of Sylville Smith, a 23-year-old armed black man who was shot during a confrontation with police by a black officer.

Mr. Smith took issue with the effort to draw Mr. Rodgers into the debate. The Green Bay Packers team is located in Wisconsin about 100 miles from Milwaukee.

“I understand Aaron Rodgers‘ name coming up in Foxworth’s column if you’re piggybacking directly off of what has transpired in recent days,” Mr. Smith said.

“But let’s keep in mind that the black man who was shot had a gun. We don’t know all the details because we may find out that there was some transgression that took place. We don’t know. But from what we know, there was a black individual shot. The officer who shot him was black,” Mr. Smith said. “What does Aaron Rodgers have to do with that?”

In his op-ed, Mr. Foxworth said that “the expectation of athletes to take a stand on social issues falls only on black athletes, as if we are the only athletes with a responsibility for the advancement of society.”

In a plea to Mr. Rodgers, he said, “So, please be the leader I believe you are, be the first white superstar athlete to accept some of the burden black athletes are currently shouldering alone. And say ‘Black Lives Matter.’ “

ESPN is hosting along with the Undefeated a 90-minute program Thursday in Chicago on “athletes, responsibility and violence,” described as the first in a series of conversations on “the confluence of sports and race.”

The wide-ranging Movement for Black Lives platform includes demands for race-based reparations, the break-up of large banks, voting rights for illegal immigrants, fossil-fuel divestment, an end to private education and charter schools, a “universal basic income” and free college for blacks.

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