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Utah Royals try to sell cars to cops during Black Lives Matter

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The Utah Royals are fine holding promotions for cops during the Black Lives Matter Movement, which is not great. 

Chivas USA v Real Salt Lake Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

The NWSL had an undoubtedly successful tournament in Utah over the last month and a half. No cases of COVID-19 happened among players, staff, or coaches, we had exciting matches, and the NWSL got a bit of the spotlight.

Yes, there were questions around the playing of the national anthem, around some Utah Royals players standing and then dodging the media as Kelley O’Hara did. But the overall Challenge Cup went well.

Utah Royals FC and Dell Loy Hansen should be flying high right now.

And then the Utah Royals and the RSL organization decided to partner with Wasatch Front Ford dealers for a promotion, which seems like something that isn’t a big deal.

Until you get to the bit about this applying to police officers.

Over the last several months, since the murder of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement has reignited and swept through the country. Questions around the funding of police departments over the funding of public services, the use of force of police officers, and the overall militarization of the police in the United States have been brought to the forefront.

We’ve seen secret police in Portland, Oregon over the last weeks taking people in unmarked vans and police cars across the country, using excessive force without protection, and with impunity. It seems that a lot have forgotten the saying, does not stop at “just a few bad apples,” but says “just a few bad apples spoils the bunch.”

By lumping police officers with healthcare professionals, firefighters, paramedics, and “more” for this promotion, the Ford dealership, the Utah Royals, and the whole RSL organization is picking a side in the Black Lives Matter movement, if they understand it or not. They are saying to those who follow their social media accounts, for that is the only place I’ve seen this promotion mentioned, that they are just fine with the police officers of Utah.

I have no doubt there are good police officers in the country. I am the niece of a retired police officer who spent 20 years protecting those in their community. Support of an officer you know personally is one thing, but the support of a uniform that brings as much terror to some as it does protection to others is a problem. Not everyone in the United States has the same reaction to seeing police officers as Dell Loy Hansen would. Ask Abby Smith or Tziarra King if they feel as comfortable around a police officer on the street of Salt Lake City as they do a paramedic, and they likely would give a very different answer than Mr. Hansen.

Tziarra King herself had this Twitter thread talking about the Black Lives Matter movement back in May. The first tweet and the one King has pinned to her profile is here.

One of the most important things that the Black Lives Matter movement should teach white people is that our experiences aren’t universal. Our comfort or not, our respect or not, or our protection or not with police can not seamlessly translate from us to others. The white experience has been holding up as the default in this country for a very long time, since before there was a country to speak of. It’s time that white people stop for a moment and unpack why we lump police in with firefighters or paramedics, and why we assume seeing someone in uniform is a universally comforting experience when those same uniforms have brought so much pain to some.

Not all cops are bad; that is true, but with the system in which they all operate, that is more of a bug than a feature.

I hope in the future the Utah Royals and the RSL organization think a little more about their promotions. In the world of women’s soccer fans have a long memory.