Former National Football League star and sports pundit Marcellus Wiley criticized the National Basketball Association’s plan to paint “Black Lives Matter” on courts in Orlando, Florida, and allow custom nameplates for players when the league resumes games in late July.
“It’s not a good idea,” Wiley said while discussing the issue on the sports talk show “Speak For Yourself.”
“There’s a problem when you start to go down this road of freedom of expression, freedom of speech and how much social space is allowed for those who don’t support in that same space.”
Players’ union president Chris Paul added that the league and union were discussing allowing players to wear personalized messages “linked to social justice” on their jerseys instead of their last names.
“We know what identity politics does. It divides and it polarizes,” Wiley said.
“No matter how you want to look at it, that’s just the effect of it no matter how great the intentions are. And we all know the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
The Columbia University graduate and former ESPN analyst added that he doesn’t know how many people have actually read the Black Lives Matter mission statement but a couple of things jumped out to him.
“And I’m a black man who’s been black and my life has mattered since 1974,” Wiley said.
“And this organization was founded in 2013. I’m proud of you but I’ve been fighting this fight for me and for others a lot longer.”
He said that his family structure is “vitally important” and his mission in life is “being a father and a husband.”
“How do I reconcile that … with this mission statement that says, ‘We dismantle the patriarchal practice. We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement,'” he said.
He said that he already knew the statistics about children from single-parent homes versus two-parent homes and the higher likelihood of children from the former of committing suicide, living in poverty, dropping out of high school and ending up in prison.
“I knew that. You know why I knew it? Because a lot of my friends didn’t have family structures that were nuclear like mine, and they found themselves outside of their dreams and goals and aspirations,” Wiley said.
He also criticized the Black Lives Matter mission to eradicate white supremacy.
“I’m on a show that I’m hosting along with another black guy who’s hosting with me who replaced another black guy, and that’s just one example of it,” Wiley said.
“So, I understand. I respect your space. I respect what you’re protesting for. But will you respect others who don’t support that same protest?”
CORRECTION, July 3, 2020: As originally published, this article incorrectly stated that the problems more often associated with children growing up in single-parent households occurred more frequently among children raised in two-parent households. We altered the wording of this article to correct that.
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