Don’t count Brian Urlacher among those in the sports world rallying around Jacob Blake.
Urlacher, a Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker and Chicago Bears legend, is under fire for a controversial Instagram post. The post in question referenced Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was shot by police earlier this month.
What did Urlacher say, and how is the sports world responding? Let’s take a look.
The shooting of Jacob Blake had a major impact on sports
Wisconsin police shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, seven times in the back on August 23.
The incident had a profound and unprecedented impact on the sports world. Four professional sports leagues — the MLB, MLS, NBA, and WNBA — all canceled games because of player-led boycotts.
The movement began when players from the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their game against the Orlando Magic. Teams from other leagues soon followed suit.
Numerous NFL and college football teams canceled practice on Thursday, August 27.
As transcribed by ESPN, Mets first baseman/outfielder Dom Smith — who is Black — explained his feelings on recent events during a recent press conference.
“I think the most difficult part is to see people still don’t care. For this to just continuously happen, it just shows the hate in people’s hearts. That just sucks, you know? Black men in America, it’s not easy. Like I said, I just wasn’t there today, but I’ll bounce back, I’ll be fine.”
Smith knelt for the anthem before a 5-4 victory over the Miami Marlins on August 26.
Brian Urlacher had a controversial post about Jacob Blake
Chicago Bears legend Brian Urlacher has a different public take on things than Dom Smith — or most active sports figures, for that matter.
In a recent Instagram post, Urlacher compared the NBA’s boycott to Packers legend Brett Favre honoring his father in a Monday Night Football game.
“Brett Favre played the MNF game the day his dad died, threw 4 TDs in the first half, and was a legend for playing in the face of adversity. NBA players boycott the playoffs because a dude reaching for a knife, wanted on a felony sexual assault, was shot by police.”
The post appeared on Urlacher’s Instagram story, meaning it will disappear on August 28 if it is not deleted.
Urlacher’s post referred to an arrest warrant issued in Kenosha County on July 7. According to Snopes, the warrant contained “charges of third-degree sexual assault, criminal trespass, and disorderly conduct, all of which were additionally designated as acts of domestic abuse.”
Snopes added Blake is “accused of having entered his ex-girlfriend’s home in Kenosha, without her permission, on May 3, 2020, before sexually assaulting her, taking her car and debit card, and making two ATM withdrawals of $500 each.”
Snopes disproved an internet rumor that Urlacher’s sexual assault involved a child.
Brian Urlacher received his fair share of criticism for the post
Brian Urlacher’s post received mixed reactions on social media.
Several NFL media members openly criticized Urlacher’s words. Clarence Hill Jr., a longtime Dallas Cowboys beat writer who is Black, tweeted Urlacher was “showing his former teammates his true colors.”
“That locker room ain’t as anti-racist as coaches and players like to romanticize it to be,” Hill wrote.
Mark Lazerus, a senior writer for The Athletic, called Urlacher’s post, [s]ome seriously ignorant s–t.”
In an expletive-laden tweet, Ricky O’Donnell responded to Urlacher’s post with, “I’ve never seen a more convincing case against fandom.”
A popular Chicago radio sports station, 670 The Score, posted Urlacher’s comments. Some Bears fans shared their disappointment in the replies.
“Never meet your heroes….or follow them on social media,” one fan wrote.
“The @ChicagoBears must disown him,” tweeted another fan.
Not all fans took that stance, though. Some praised Urlacher for speaking out for what he believed in.
“Good for him!” wrote a Twitter user. “I didnt think I could like Urlacher any more than I did. Proud of him”
According to Pro Football Talk, the Bears issued a statement late Thursday night.
“The social media posts in no way reflect the values or opinions of the Chicago Bears organization,” the team said.