Former NFL player and two-time Super Bowl champion Ray Lewis criticized the Black Lives Matter movement for allegedly being silent on rising rates of Black-on-Black crime in a video released on his Facebook page.
Lewis opined, “Why do we always find ourselves the victims, and now we have the separation once again that we’re being victimized because of one bad White cop, two bad White cops, three bad White cops, killing a young Black brother. But every day we have Black-on-Black crime, killing each other?”
He quoted a series of crime facts: “In Chicago alone, the murder rate has soared 72 percent in 2016 — 88 percent in the first three months of 2016 compared to the last year” and also mentioned the 29 percent increase in the murder rate.
Lewis went on to say, “I’m trying to ask the question to an organization of Black lives, if they really mattered, then why not riot now?”
As a result of the former Baltimore Ravens linebacker’s comments against Black Lives Matter, social media clapped back.
On Thursday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Tamika Mallory from the NY Justice League and Melina Abdullah, PhD, Professor at Cal State LA and Black Lives Matter movement member, responded to Lewis’ remarks.
Mallory, who has been on the front-lines of the Black Lives Matter movement, said before Lewis spoke about what he perceives BLM is or is not doing, he first must ask himself, “What is Ray Lewis doing?”
“How much have you been supportive of those of us who are on the ground who can’t necessarily get funding or jobs into communities?” said Mallory. “There are many, many ills in the communities that create this environment where violence exists, not just in Chicago, but in Brooklyn, in the city in which I live and cities all over this country.”
The activist continued, “It’s easy to make blanket statements and it seems like he wanted to show people that he was learning how to preach, but he should not have spoken” on the matter in such a way.
Mallory agreed that “more people need to care” about Black-on-Black violence, “But caring is not all we need, we need more people to do the work.”
“I would say to Ray Lewis — he should be organizing his buddies, his athlete buddies, to show up and get involved and help these organizations do the work,” Mallory said.
Later in her spirited response to Lewis, Mallory said, “If he wants to talk about people’s records and what people are doing, he should call the people on the ground and find out how he can be supportive. Otherwise, sit down, shut up, and continue to do whatever it is that you’ve been doing from the ‘ivory tower.’”
She also said Lewis is speaking on Black Lives Matter’s involvement with curbing inter-community violence “based upon what he has heard and what the enemy, in my judgment, has put into his mind.”
“He is playing a divisive game that we do not need, it’s not going to help us.”
Former federal prosecutor Laura Coates explained Lewis missed a vital point in his critique of the Black Lives Matter movement, saying, “You can still be opposed to state-sanctioned murder and homicide and killing and also be vehemently opposed to Black-on-Black crime.”
“They’re not mutually exclusive,” Coates said.
Melina Abdullah challenged Ray Lewis and other athletes to get involved in the struggle to end inter-community violence and police brutality: “If you have a piece of the work that you want to carry, we want you to carry that work.”
She added, “We’re in a state of war, we are in a state where Black people are being assailed by every possible means and we need all hands on deck, including you, Ray Lewis.”
Watch Roland Martin, Tamika Mallory, Melina Abdullah, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss Ray Lewis’ critique of the Black Lives Matter movement in the video clip above.
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