Though the protests against police brutality and systemic racism have been shifted out of the nation's spotlight, they and the fight for significant and impactful reform continue forward. As an important reminder of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement and the work still to be done, The Players' Tribune today published a piece from Bucks guard Sterling Brown about his harrowing experience in Milwaukee with police brutality.
Titled "Your Money Can't Silence Me" – a reference to the $400,000 settlement from the City of Milwaukee that Brown and his attorney rejected last fall – the piece talks about why Brown turned down the offer and his personal recollection of the night two and a half years ago when illegally parking in Walgreen's lot was escalated by multiple police officers into a violent confrontation that ended with Brown being tackled, tased and arrested. The body cam footage from the incident – released four months after the arrest – did not show Brown being "combative" as early reports claimed, but instead showed several of the officers escalating the situation, utilizing excessive force and later mocking Brown while he was pinned and eventually tased on the ground.
Charges against Brown were dropped, while some officers involved during the incident were suspended for a brief time and one was fired due to racist posts related to the event.
"The city of Milwaukee wanted to give me $400,000 to be quiet after cops kneeled on my neck, stood on my ankle and tased me in a parking lot," writes Brown in his Players' Tribune article. "But here’s the thing: I can’t be quiet."
"I rejected the offer because I have a responsibility to be a voice and help change the narrative for my people. In order to do so I have to tell my story, so dialogue and conversations about police brutality can help influence and change a corrupt system. It goes deeper than me just illegally parking. A lot deeper. So here’s my story."
The piece goes on to detail Brown's depiction of events and the aftermath, the flaws with body cams and the current system, growing up with a dad who was also a police officer, as well as an impassioned argument for why he – and millions of others across the nation – continue to protest and use their platforms, big or small, to speak out against injustice and institutional racism. Why he can't simply "stick to sports," as the refrain often goes toward athletes who speak out on social justice issues or politics.
"The current movement has confirmed for me how important it is that we stand for something," he writes. "If we in the Black community want change, we have to go make it. And it’s gonna have to come from every level. The ground workers in the neighborhood every day, politicians, businessmen, entertainers and us athletes. We’re not just fighting for equality and justice, we’re fighting for our LIVES. We’re fighting so we don’t have to move with fear in a country we built. It’s crazy, but we’re fighting for what we already own. Our LIVES! Our FREEDOM!
"What I’m fighting for is bigger than me. What our fight for is bigger than us individually. Our fight for justice, equality, equity and respect will be heard and will be met. Our fight for our lives and freedom will no longer be up for debate!"
The entire piece is a powerful and essential read during this time of reckoning, so please head over to The Players' Tribune and read Brown's emotional, vehement words. Because while much has changed since the murder of George Floyd that sparked this current wave of protests and unrest, too much still hasn't.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.