You’ll be amazed at what the ACLU called the ceremony. Though probably not shocked, because this is the kind of thing the ACLU does
A ceremony honoring law enforcement, military and first responders before a high school football game Friday night drew criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey because of an underlying “frightening message.”
The ceremony was held before a highly-anticipated Shore Conference clash between two topped ranked teams in the state, Middletown South and Toms River North.
The ceremony, organized by Middletown police Deputy Chief Stephen Dollinger, featured State Police Pipes and Drums of the Blue and Gold, state and local mounted units, military personnel from all branches of service and officers from surrounding police departments and sheriff’s units.
It also honored the Linden police officer who was wounded in a shootout withAhmad Khan Rahimi, who is accused of bombings in Seaside Park, Elizabeth and New York City.
And here’s where the ACLU had a fit
Dollinger told the Asbury Park Press before the event that the ceremony was also meant to respond to pro athletes who have taken a knee during pre-game performances of the national anthem, most notably by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“It’s OK to stand up for social justice, inequality and reform,” Dollinger told the newspaper. “It’s another thing to not stand up for the national anthem.”
The ACLU of NJ really didn’t like that anyone would dare use their 1st Amendment Rights to respond to others engaging in their 1st Amendment Rights
“As initially described, the event appeared to honor police officers, veterans, service members, and first responders,” the ACLU wrote to the district. “According to press reports, however, the event is being used to intimidate and ostracizepeople who express their views about systemic racism and social just.”
“Law enforcement officers are sworn to protect the constitution, and it is a disservice to the students and players that an event that should focus on them, their families, and their communities is being used to send a message that people who express concerns about disparities in the criminal justice system are unwelcome, disloyal or unpatriotic,” the letter states.
Jasmine Crenshaw, an organizer with the ACLU-NJ, said the event sends a “frightening message” that law enforcement will not tolerate people expressing their views on the nation’s “history of unequal treatment and systematic oppression.”
“Entrance to one of the biggest sporting events in the area should not require that someone accept an atmosphere that suppresses political protest,” Crenshaw said in a statement. “The magnitude of this event chills the belief that police should be held accountable when they abuse their power or discriminate against people of color, and pressures student athletes to act as props of the police.”
Free speech for me, but not for thee. It’s simply typical of people nowadays to turn the amplifier up to 11 on everything, and overly magnify everything.
Really, though, can we simply watch sports without political messages? Personally, I don’t want to see them either way. Just let me watch a game.