When the 2019-2020 National Basketball Associate (NBA) season resumes next month, all three arenas at the Walt Disney World Resort will have the words “Black Lives Matter” painted on the sidelines. The decision, made by the NBA and National Basketball Players Association, is also being considered by the WNBA when their season resumes at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
But not everyone thinks it’s a good idea. On the FOX Sports 1 show, “Speak for Yourself,” former NFL all-pro defensive end Marcellus Wiley, said identity politics is a slippery slope.
“There’s a problem with when you start to go down this road of the freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and how much social space is allowed for those who don’t support in that same space, and that’s where I wonder where this is going to go in terms of identity politics. We know what identity politics does: it divides and it polarizes,” he said.
— Speak For Yourself (@SFY) June 30, 2020
Wiley also pointed to concerns over Black Lives Matter’s mission statement, which states its goal to “dismantle the patriarchy” and “disrupt the Western prescribed nuclear family structure requirement.” Wiley claims people have not taken time to read or understand BLM saying, “I don’t know how many people really look into the mission statement of Black Lives Matter, but I did, and when you look at it, there’s a couple things that jump out to me.”
Two things. My family structure is vital (sic) important to me. Not only the one I grew up in, but the one I’m trying to create right now. Being a father and a husband- that’s my mission in life right now. How do I reconcile that with what I just told you with this mission statement that says ‘we dismantle the patriarchal practice we disrupt the Western prescribed nuclear family structure requirement’?
Wiley went on to explain why BLM is detrimental to Black families and personal success. He said that growing up, he observed friends who didn’t have intact family structures and they “found themselves outside of their dreams and goals and aspirations.” Wiley cited data backing up his observations about children raised in a single-parent home: “[They] are 5 times more likely to commit suicide, 6 times more likely to be in poverty, 9 times more likely to drop out of high school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, 14 times more likely to commit rape, 20 times more likely to end up in prison, 32 times more likely to run away from home.”
Wiley also questioned BLM’s priorities. “It makes me scratch my head,” he said. “I see their mission is to eradicate white supremacy. In 2020 white supremacy is the mission?” Wiley asked in disbelief.
Wiley used his personal success as a black man in America as a testimony against the notion that white supremacy was a pressing issue in America today, “I am on a show. I’m hosting along with another black guy, who is hosting with me, who replaced a black guy, and that’s just one example of it.”
Seemingly anticipating the backlash he will receive for challenging BLM, Wiley noted, “I’m a black man who’s been black and my life has mattered since 1974 and this organization was founded in 2013, and I’m proud of you but I been fighting this fight for me and for others a lot longer.”
Wiley did show admiration for the efforts made by the players and BLM to advance racial justice. “I do want to give the players credit for their flex to even get this to be more than just an idea but something that’s going to be in reality,” he said.
He then challenged BLM to offer him the respect he offers their opposing perspective. “So, I understand I respect your space, I respect what you’re protesting for, but will you respect others who don’t support the same protest?”