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How It's Done — Cops 'Fix' An I-Can't-Breathe Basketball Team

A story in three headlines. All it took was one little talking-to (sorry, "meeting") and the team's message was brought back in line. Now cops can "breathe" — and isn't that the point?
How It's Done — Cops 'Fix' An I-Can't-Breathe Basketball Team

A version of this piece first appeared at digby's Hullabaloo. GP article archive here.

A story in three headlines. All it took was one little talking-to (sorry, "meeting") and the team's message was brought back in line.

December 13, 2014:

Notre Dame women's basketball team wears 'I can't breathe' shirts

The Notre Dame women's basketball team wore shirts that read "I Can't Breathe" when it took the floor for pre-game warmups on Saturday.

The shirts, which have been worn by basketball players like LeBron James and teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, protest the death of New York man Eric Garner, who was killed by police earlier this year after an officer placed him in a chokehold. Garner, who was allegedly selling illegal cigarettes, was unarmed, but a Staten Island, N.Y. grand jury announced earlier this month that it wouldn't indict the officer.

The image above is from that practice session.

December 19, 2014 — One week later:

Notre Dame women's basketball team meets with police representatives

In the wake of their decision to wear "I Can't Breathe" T-shirts before a game last weekend, members of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team have met with police union representatives from South Bend, Mishawaka and St. Joseph County.

The meeting "provided an opportunity to share perspectives on recent events that have received local and national attention," according to a news release from the Notre Dame media relations office. ...

December 21, 2014 — Two days later:

Notre Dame women, police officers meet in united front

The Notre Dame women's basketball players were joined by area law enforcement personnel prior to Sunday's 64-50 victory over Saint Joseph's in a show of support and solidarity to ease tensions from a public stand the Irish women took eight days earlier in support of the family of Eric Garner.

What "tensions" you ask? These, from the second story:

But the move touched off debate and controversy, with many people accusing the team of making an anti-police statement. One Mishawaka police officer who runs a store in South Bend began selling T-shirts that say, "Breathe easy, don't break the law."

Welcome back to the "well regulated" middle class. You strayed, but now you're back, women of the "now cops can breathe" Notre Dame basketball team. But don't judge the team too harshly. This is a story about the cops, their need for control, and their little "meeting." Imagine the pressure.


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