Derrick Rose Within His Right To Raise His Voice, Express His Feelings

Derrick Rose

A part of Derrick Rose seems to fear he could have easily have been Eric Garner. Even more than that, the homegrown Chicago Bulls star seems to have internalized it’s even more likely he could have been one of the other teens from his Englewood neighborhood to have died over time at the hands of law enforcement without so much as having rated a mention in the media.

Rose fears seem as real as they were once justified. So when you hear people like longtime sports reporter Dan Bernstein taking him to task and essentially attacking him as too inarticulate to speak from his heart about an issue that has the whole country riding an emotional roller coaster, you’re left to wonder from where his inner-most thoughts spring.

Rose donned an “I Can’t Breathe T-Shirt” during warmups before the Bulls’ Saturday night game against Golden State, hoping to bring even more attention to the recent senseless chokehold killing of Garner at the hands of NYPD. That phrase is said to be the very last words the Staten Island resident uttered as he was being held face down on the pavement by overly-aggressive officers.

Even though much of confrontation was caught on videotape, a grand jury shockingly decided not to criminally charge any of the officers involved, setting off protests in Garner’s home state and all across the nation.

Derrick Rose sought to add his voice to the issue and lend his support to the grieving family by wearing the shirt. And, for whatever reason, Dan Bernstein simply wasn’t moved by his actions.

I just wish DRose could talk, or really understand what he’s doing,” Bernstein tweeted soon after Rose took his courageous stance. “I don’t think he does. If DRose felt strongly and deeply enough to make that statement, he should be able to say why.”

Covering for the Bulls for at least a part of the veteran guard’s career as he has and given the way Rose has often worn his heart on his sleeve, you would think Bernstein might be open to granting him the benefit of the doubt when matters of sincerity are in play.

The truth is Derrick Rose’s actions over the last several years where his city is concerned almost foretell the measures he took last Saturday night at the United Center. Quite simply. Rose bleeds for his community. It’s why he recently donated $1 million to a local non-profit that runs an after-school program for teens; it’s why during troubled times across the city he’s stepped forward and offered to pay funeral costs for youths tragically killed in senseless violence, including the 2013 slaying of six-month-old Jonylah Watkins; it’s why he’s been on hand and taken part of several anti-violence, gang prevention campaigns across the city.

Just as all those instances did, the Eric Garner tragedy simply seemed to hit home with Derrick Rose.

“I’m not saying all cops are bad or anything,” he said. “I’m just saying what happened… is uncalled for, and I don’t want my son growing up being scared of the police or even having that thought on his mind that something like that could happen.”

None of those seemingly heartfelt gestures or explanations seem to matter much to Dan Bernstein, whose discontentment for Rose has long been chronicled by none other than the reporter himself.  He once castigated the league’s youngest MVP in history as someone “who has sold a phony reputation as a humble, team-oriented kid.” He added “the quiet superstar is quiet not because he is naturally self-effacing, but because he is bad at talking.”

How much more literate Dan Bernstein thinks Derrick Rose needs to be to have the right to say he too is bothered by some of the recent actions taken by police against young men who look like him remains as big a mystery as the question of what provoked him to express himself in the way that he continues to where the homegrown star is concerned.

author avatar
Glenn Minnis
Glenn Minnis is an XN Sports NBA contributor. He has written for the Chicago Tribune, ESPN, BET and AOL. Follow him on Twitter at @glennnyc.