ESPN commentator and former two-division world champ Timothy Bradley laid bare his sole on ESPN’s comeback boxing card last Tuesday night. In the mighty shadow cast by the “Black Lives Matter” protest movement, the respected fighter recounted an experience from his personal life that highlights the problem of racial profiling in American law enforcement.
Good day gone bad
“We were getting ready for school early in the morning, I went outside and asked my son which car you want to drive in today, which car you want to go in” Bradley recalled of that particular day. “It was a car that I had been fixing for a little while and I haven’t driven in about three years. And I knew he was going to say that car, but I was a little skeptical to get in that car because I knew the type of attention it would get. But I got in anyway because I want to see the smile on my son’s face.”
Stopped for no good reason
Bradley then recalls the sinking feeling in his gut as he saw “not one, not two but four officers” pulling him and his son over as they made their way to school.
“I turned around, I looked at my son, my heart was pumping 100 miles an hour,” Bradley said. “I told my son, ‘Look at me. Do exactly what I tell you to do right now. Don’t say anything at all. Keep your hands up high.’
“I didn’t get apprehended once they figured out who I was. And as we continued to drive, my son asked me ‘Dad, why did they pull us over?’ And I said, ‘son, they pulled us over because of the color of our skin and the type of car that we’re driving. That’s the truth, son,’ ” Bradley said. ” ‘Let me tell you something that my dad told me thirty years ago. He told me that, because of the color of your skin, son, you already have a strike on you’…And I told my son at four years old. I said, ‘you might not get it now, but you will get it later.’ My father shared this same story with me 30 years ago and I just shared that with my son a year ago.”
Necessary to speak out
Some will protest statements like this on a sports broadcast as unneeded or, at least, unwanted political talk. Sports, they will argue, should be an oasis from the stress of political debate and dialogue. But are such issues as fairness and equality really “political?”
Fairness, justice, and equality shouldn’t be considered political issues.
It’s only right that someone like Bradley, who has achieved so much over the course of his life and has been a role model in every sense of the world, should speak up. Him sharing that snippet of real life is what’s needed for people to understand the problem. Clearly, not everyone in this country has the same perspective of the issue based on their life experiences. And that, in and of itself, is indicative of the problem.
Kudos to Timothy Bradley for speaking his mind when he definitely did not have to.