I Can’t Breathe

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Scrolling through my TeamStream feed this morning catching up on the weekends sport, I came across the headline ‘Giants, Yankees Step Up for Fallen NYPD Officer’. The article went on to say that the NY Yankees will be paying for the education of  murdered NYPD officer Rafael Ramos’ sons, and that the New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, wore ‘a black strip on his left arm + a peace sign under the NY on his shirt in honor of slain NYPD officers’. While these gestures will in no way make up for the loss of life, they do show that sports teams are truly supportive to victims of heinous acts like murder, brutality and domestic violence. Or are they?

After the murders of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, many basketball and football players joined in the public outrage and showed their support of the fallen men. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose, Kevin Garnett and others wore the last words of Eric Garner emblazoned across their chests ‘I Can’t Breathe’.

LeBron James

What happened? The NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that although he respected the players’ stance, he would prefer the players to ‘abide by our on court attire rules’. He might as well have said ‘Yeah do it, it’s good that you have those views. But post it on your Instagram or Twitter. Don’t do it on the NBAs time. We have a brand to protect. Now drink your Gatorade and make sure the cameras see’. Images Tommie Smith and John Carlos come to mind.

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5 members of the St.Louis Rams including wideouts Tayvon Austin, Kenny Britt and Jared Cook, came out of the tunnel before kick-off, and made the ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ gesture in reference to the killing of Michael Brown. What did Missouri Police labelled the gesture as ‘tasteless, offensive and inflammatory’, also calling for the players to be disciplined. Disciplined?? These are grown men! No sorry… they used to call us ‘boys’. Almost forgot…

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And now 2 officers are murdered in New York, and sports teams are first on the scene to offer support.

So it’s not about looking after those affected by murder is it?

The police officers were killed in cold blood. They just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Paying for the education of the Rafael Ramos’ children is a wonderful gesture (Wenjian Liu had no children) and we all wish we saw more acts of benevolence like that in this world. Eric Garner was killed with the use of an illegal choke hold. He was the father of 6 children and 3 grandchildren. The Yankees, the Mets, the Jets, the Giants, the Nets, the Knicks, the Rangers and the Islanders are all professional sports teams in New York. No money. No apology. Don’t show any support for him at our games. We have a business to run.

It seems as though there is this undying loyalty shown towards law enforcement, where they can do no wrong in the eyes of America. They are enforce the law, and are above it at the same time. And it’s not even about race! It’s not like these 2 officers were white. But they are part of the police force. Law enforcement. There’s a reason why the word force is used rather than police team or law upholders. It means that the values they hold true, will be upheld by force. So go ahead and protest against what we do. Just know that your sports teams are on our side. Your favorite tv shows are on our side. Politicians are on our side. Speak out against us and we will force you to comply, even if it means death. We’ve got you in a choke hold.

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#icantbreathe

The tale of The Barber and the ummm…. Penis

Its Friday, Friday
Gotta get down on Friday
Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend

I have to be somewhere in a couple of hours so do I go to my regular guy and risk being late, or go somewhere a bit closer and definitely be on time? Many of you may think this is a no brainer but it’s not. You see I’ve been going to Andy my Nigerian barber for about 7 years now. We have a relationship. I have his phone number and he knows all the lumps in my head. How to shape my hairline so I don’t look like Lebron James.

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I decide to go to the guy who’s closer. Things can’t be that bad can they?

I arrive and to my surprise, the shop is empty. Excellent. But why is no-one there? Does everyone know something I don’t? At least I don’t have to thumb through year old copies of Now! and OK! magazine.
When the barber comes back from getting a drink from the shop round the corner (I’m sure this only happens in black owned hairdressers and barbers…) I tell him what I want and he starts to work. The usual small talk starts and I relax, trying to feel confident that my head is in good hands.

Halfway through he leans over and things get uncomfortable. I’m already annoyed that clearly he doesn’t realise that his trimmers are a bit too sharp but now I can feel his penis on my leg. The small talk stops.
Now I swear there must be a better way to cut my hair, but maybe the absence of anyone else confirms that others have suffered at the hands.. sorry, the penis of this barber. I move my leg, but he uses this as an invitation to more closer. It seems as though there is no escaping this penis. I just want this ordeal to be over now. I use every opportunity to rub my leg on the area of violation every time he walks around to the other side. My efforts to wipe off the disgust are futile. There will be no more small talk for the rest of my time here.
I wonder if he realises whats going on. I’m sure he does. How can you not? Is he so engrossed in his work that he doesn’t realise? Is he doing this on purpose? Is he enjoying this? *shudder*… I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one this has happened to though….

After the application of much-needed alcohol, I say thank you, check my hair and get my things. I’m grateful to leave, plus I’ll be on time for my appointment. The haircut itself was ok but not great. Plus the whole penis thing didn’t help.
Plus the music playing was terrible.
Plus he charges £2 more than my barber for a shape up.

Note to self: leave the house earlier next time.