Black Lives Matter Cries Foul at Blue Lives Matter Ballpark Event

'Black Lives Matter' march, Charleston, South Carolina, America - 20 Jun 2015

-Image: Associated Press

Timing might be everything, but it is not always the only thing. Take, for instance, the story of the Staten Island Yankees, a minor league baseball club in New York City.

As all minor league teams do, the Staten Island Yankees fill their schedule with one promotional event after another. One of those events became controversial because of its timing and location in Staten Island.

Here’s the problem: The Yankees, of the Staten Island variety, held Blue Lives Matter Night to honor police officers on Aug. 9 — the first anniversary of the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

The event was organized by a charitable organization, Blue Lives Matter NYC, in honor of NYPD detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were ambushed and killed by a gunman whose only motivation was to kill cops on Dec. 20, 2014.

One of Liu’s relatives threw out the first pitch. Every fan at the ballpark went home with a “Blue Lives Matter” bracelet.

This was not the first time the team held an event honoring police officers. The Yankees had a Law Enforcement Appreciation Night on July 20. That was three days after the first anniversary of the death of Eric Garner. He is the man who died after being put in a chokehold by an NYPD officer.

The timing of Law Enforcement Appreciation Night might have been close to incendiary, but it was nothing like the reaction to the Blue Lives Matter promotion.

The Root, an online news publication that bills itself as “the premier news, opinion and culture site” for the African-American community, reported one of its readers sent an email complaining about the BLM event to Michael Holley, senior director of marketing and “fan experience” for the Staten Island Yankees.

“Wow, could this promotion be any more offensive, divisive and disrespectful. On the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, this is what the SI Yankees organization chooses to do? This is beyond poor judgment,” the reader wrote. “Did it occur to anyone at the SI Yankees how alienating this is to fans who have been deeply affected by the events that spurred the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, including those right here in Staten Island? ... I will no longer attend games, nor will I recommend them to others until an apology and amends are made for this utterly tasteless promotion. I intend to write the NY Yankees Front Office and the Baseball Commissioner’s office to lodge a formal complaint and urge others to do the same. You should know better, and be better. This is a disgrace to the entire Yankees organization.”