You knew that it wouldn’t take long before someone of note would be critical of Derrick Rose after wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt during last night’s warm up before the Chicago Bulls’ game against the Golden State Warriors.
Dan Bernstein, a prominent sports radio host, took to Twitter last night and expressed that he doesn’t think that Rose “understands what he’s doing” and even if he did, isn’t articulate enough to explain himself. Cody Westerlund, a sports editor for CBSChicago.com, noted that Rose was not available for comments after the game.
The point guard was paying a tribute to Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who was choked to death by an NYPD officer. “I can’t breathe” were the last words uttered by Garner and have become a rallying cry for protestors across the nation. On Wednesday, a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo in the choking death of the 43-year-old.
While many loved Rose’s on-the-court salute to Garner and the countless protestors of police brutality across the nation, Bernstein seemed to take a condescending tone towards Rose’s gesture. The sports news veteran started off by giving Rose credit for doing “something Michael Jordan has never had the guts to do.”
“He took a political stand — more important than any game’s outcome,” he said. However, his praise of Rose was muddled by his following tweets, which seemed to question the basketball player’s intelligence and ability to speak for himself.
The Chicago-based reporter received blowback from his tweets, none perhaps more poignant than from Jamilah Lemieux, the senior editor of EBONY.com.
Rose isn’t the first in professional sports to show support for the latest movement against police brutality against black men. Last Sunday, five players from the St. Louis Rams came onto the field with the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture. They were honoring Michael Brown and protesting the decision of the Ferguson grand jury not to indict the officer who killed him. The St. Louis County Police Officers Association demanded that the NFL and the Rams apologize, but both refused to do so.