FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Shooting of Steve Foley

“This one stinks like a beached whale.” That,s how Philadelphia Daily News sports columnist Bill Conlin described the police shooting of San Diego Chargers star linebacker Steve Foley. Foley was shot at 3:30 A.M. Saturday night in front of his home by an off-duty police officer named Aaron Mansker. Mansker, who has been on the force since 2005, followed Foley and a friend in an unmarked police car for more than 20 miles without once calling for backup or identifying himself. Upon reaching Foley’s home, Mansker shot him three times: in the leg, arm and chest. Please take a moment to digest the scenario. At 3:30 in the morning, in an unmarked car, an off-duty cop followed Foley to his home and shot him. As Conlin wrote, “Did this officer fail to charge his cell phone? Amazing how by day, with TV news helicopters overhead, a stoned crazy can lead a scary, high-speed chase through half of SoCal with no shots fired. But by night, one off-duty cop can go from one end of his large county to another and end up using his gun in an apparent solo bust. Charles Bronson lives.”

On Sunday, the sheriff’s department issued a statement that Foley’s car, driven by his friend, had been driving erratically, “weaving at high speeds.” The statement failed to mention just how Mansker happened to be in position to follow Foley and why he didn’t so much as send a smoke signal for assistance. The statement also didn’t address Foley’s recent–and scalding–history with the San Diego police force.

In April, police arrested Foley for multiple crimes including resisting arrest, battery of an officer, and public intoxication. Last week, the DA dropped the case and cleared him of all charges. And now Foley’s shot. “Stinks like a beached whale”? More like a beached Bull Connor.

The Chargers, in craven fashion befitting a team owned by the odious Alex Spanos, have now put their ace defender on the “non-football injured reserve list.” This means Foley has “forfeited” his entire 2006 salary since “the injury occurred in a non-football capacity.” But did it?

A case can be made that what happened to Foley was very much a function of football. It seems that the combination of large Black jocks draped in conspicuous wealth is proving to be an irresistible ambrosia for police officers that dabble in racial profiling.

Over the summer, Wizards All-star Gilbert Arenas was arrested for getting out of his car in Miami to speak to a policeman arresting his friend and teammate, Awvee Storey.

The Cincinnati Bengals have had so many run-ins with the police this summer they are being called “the Cin-mates.”

The Portland Trailblazers, which the sports radio wits–on loan from the Algonquin Round Table–call “the Jailblazers”, even held a meeting where the team was advised to avoid cooperation with police. An August 23rd article by John Canzano in the Oregonian revealed the details of the 2003 meeting where team president Steve Patterson, told his team, “Remember, the police are not your friends.” Canzano wrote, “That 2003 meeting was a seminar on traffic stops and probable cause given by a group of legal consultants the Blazers hired. The consultants instructed team personnel on what they should do in the event they were ever pulled over in a traffic stop or sought by detectives for questioning in a legal matter. If police ask you if you’ve been drinking, ‘No matter what the circumstance, say no,’ they were told. If police ask you if it’s OK to take a look inside your automobile, say no. If they ask you anything at all, those in the room were advised, the answer is always no.” Canzano’s piece is a critique of the Blazers’ meeting. His conclusion is, “[The fact] that the Blazers have assumed an adversarial position with the men and women who are here to serve and protect is disappointing. It’s weeks like this one that we wish the seminar had been on civil behavior and not civil rights.”

But it’s not the jocks that need the discussion on “civil behavior” It ain’t Peyton Manning getting cuffed, shot, and maced. This is the unspoken reality racial profiling being played out your morning sports page. As the ACLU wrote as part of a recent study, “Is racial profiling real? Most Americans think so. A July 2001 Gallup poll reported that 55 percent of whites and 83 percent of blacks believe racial profiling is widespread. And the reports of thousands of racial and ethnic group members across the country add credibility to the perception that racial profiling is real. These are stories from all walks of life, not just hardworking everyday people, but celebrities, professional athletes, and members of the military…”

When former Georgia Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, was arrested earlier this year after a confrontation with Capitol Hill police, her lawyer, said, “Ms. McKinney is just a victim of being in Congress While Black [CWB].” Well, let’s add being a “Jock While Black” to the list. Or maybe just call it BWB: Breathing While Black. At this point, that seems to be Steve Foley’s most obvious offense.

DAVE ZIRIN is the author of “‘What’s My name Fool?'”: Sports and Resistance in the united States. Contact him at dave@edgeofsports.com

 

 

More articles by:

DAVE ZIRIN is the author of A People’s History of Sports in the United States (The New Press) Contact him at edgeofsports@gmail.com.

Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
Nicky Reid
The Councils Before Maduro!
Gary Leupp
“It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby”
Jon Rynn
What a Green New Deal Should Look Like: Filling in the Details
David Swanson
Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?
Dana E. Abizaid
On Candace Owens’s Praise of Hitler
Raouf Halaby
‘Tiz Kosher for Elected Jewish U.S. Officials to Malign
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Deceitful God-Talk at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast
W. T. Whitney
Caribbean Crosswinds: Revolutionary Turmoil and Social Change 
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Avoiding Authoritarian Socialism
Howard Lisnoff
Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Anti-immigrant Hate
Ralph Nader
The Realized Temptations of NPR and PBS
Cindy Garcia
Trump Pledged to Protect Families, Then He Deported My Husband
Thomas Knapp
Judicial Secrecy: Where Justice Goes to Die
Louis Proyect
The Revolutionary Films of Raymundo Gleyzer
Sarah Anderson
If You Hate Campaign Season, Blame Money in Politics
Victor Grossman
Contrary Creatures
Tamara Pearson
Children Battling Unhealthy Body Images Need a Different Narrative About Beauty
Peter Knutson
The Salmon Wars in the Pacific Northwest: Banning the Rough Customer
Binoy Kampmark
Means of Control: Russia’s Attempt to Hive Off the Internet
Robert Koehler
The Music That’s in All of Us
Norah Vawter
The Kids Might Save Us
Tracey L. Rogers
Freedom for All Begins With Freedom for the Most Marginalized
Paul Armentano
Marijuana Can Help Fight Opioid Abuse
Tom Clifford
Britain’s Return to the South China Sea
Graham Peebles
Young People Lead the Charge to Change the World
Matthew Stevenson
A Pacific Odyssey: Around General MacArthur’s Manila Stage Set
B. R. Gowani
Starbucks Guy Comes Out to Preserve Billionaire Species
David Yearsley
Bogart Weather
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail