The Black Lives Matters Effect, Part I: The Tenor And The Blogger

Singing the right lyrics also matters, you boob...

Singing the right lyrics also matters, you boob…

One thing you have to say for Black Lives Matters: it is good at making people make asses of themselves. “Late Night” host Seth Myers was yesterday’s example, but there are oh-so-many-more, and much worse.

For example, in the pre-game ceremonies of the Major League Baseball 2016 All-Star Game in San Diego, a Canadian tenor, apparently driven to distraction by the reverential treatment given to a group that promotes race hatred and a color-based standard for law-enforcement, snapped while performing the Canadian national anthem. Remigio Pereira, a member of  the vocal group The Tenors tapped to sing the anthem, held up a handwritten sign that read “All Lives Matter” altered the lyrics in the line “With glowing hearts we see thee rise. The True North strong and free” to “We’re all brothers and sisters, all lives matter to the great.”

This doesn’t fit the music, and is even worse than the real lyrics, which is quite a feat. Of course, Remigio was unethical to do this, expropriating an event that had nothing to do with Black Lives Matter, nor race, nor politics to make his own grandstanding statement (come to think of it, baseball does have something to do with grandstands. The stunt was disrespectful of everyone—his hosts, Major League Baseball; San Diego; the captive audience in the stadium, the TV audience, Canada. It was also a breach of trust that directly and perhaps fatally wounded his group, which immediately suspended him (Can we say F-I-R-E-D, Tenors? Sure we can) and issued an abject apology.

The statement was not unduly disrespectful to Black Lives Matter, however, which has shown itself to be unworthy of respect, as all divisive hate groups are.

The Black Lives Matters effect is wide-ranging, however, as this episode shows. It not only makes Canadian tenors irresponsible, but sportswriters too. Over at NBC Sports online, baseball blogger Craig Calcaterra couldn’t perceive the unethical nature of a performer hijacking a paid gig for his own purposes, but lectured his readers on the sin of using the term “All Lives Matter,” writing,

This may not seem terribly controversial to some, but in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement that has risen over the past few years, “All Lives Matter” has come to be seen as a reactionary response which fundamentally misunderstands — often intentionally — the purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement. And is used to belittle and marginalize the Black Lives Matter Movement. The phrase “black lives matter” does not mean that “black lives matter more than any other lives.” If it did, sure, maybe “All Lives Matter” would be a reasonable response. But “Black Lives Matter” is a response to a society and, particularly, police, which treat blacks as lesser persons and who do not face repercussions for harming and in some cases killing black people through excessive force. It’s “black lives matter too” — a necessary statement, sadly — not “black lives matter more.”


Craig used to be a baseball-blogging lawyer, and then gave up the law to write about baseball full-time. He’s a smarter and wittier baseball analyst than most, but his ethical instincts are, sadly, lousy, and I have come to the disappointing conclusion that the law is better off without him.

First, he ignored the bright-line unethical nature of the tenor’s (awful) rewording of the anthem and marring the performance of his group. Second, Craig’s analysis of “the Black Lives Matter Movement” is incompetent and counter-factual.  It was in December, 2014 when Smith president Kathleen McCartney apologized for using the phrase “all lives matter” after she was accused of minimizing the complaint of students protesting against excessive force by police against black citizens. That apology, I argued, was appropriate, because her context could be legitimately misunderstood. Since that time, however, we have seen the ugly side of the group Black Lives Matter. Its official rhetoric is incendiary, anti-U.S. and anti-white. Its claims of system-wide racism and oppression are excessive and intentionally divisive, its official view of how the justice system should work is an endorsement of the mob, and its influence on the African American community has led directly to the deaths of many police officers, including those in Dallas.

Calcaterra’s position was defensible before Black Lives Matter started demanding speech censorship and semi-apartheid on college campuses, and engaging in activities like terrorizing white Dartmouth students trying to study in the campus library. It may have been reasonable before Black Lives Matter protesters chanted “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon,” a call to murder police—and one which has been heeded—in rallies.   I might have even given Craig a pass before Black Lives Matter worked to spark deadly riots in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray, which in turn led to unethical indictments of six Baltimore cops without sufficient investigation or evidence. (Remember the law, Craig?) All of that has happened, though, and we can read the words on the Black Lives Matter website that mark it as a hate group.

Craig is a bit of a knee-jerk leftist, so perhaps his sloth in recognizing how toxic this “movement” is for black and white is, if not excusable, understandable. After all, the Democratic National Committee is still on record as endorsing the hate group, as is the President, and one should be able to expect more responsible conduct from them than a baseball blogger.

All, however, are victims of the Black Lives Matter Effect, and we, citizens of an increasingly divided nation, are their victims.

18 thoughts on “The Black Lives Matters Effect, Part I: The Tenor And The Blogger

    • Marty Brennaman happened to be there that night do the game on the Cincinnati Reds radio network. His response was: “I’ll tell you what… she ought to be put in jail for that rendition of the National Anthem.” It is ironic that her performance was also in San Diego.

  1. Jack,
    You’re starting a new series already? Were you ever going to finish parts 3 and 4 of the Supreme Court cases?

  2. Disgusted. Most crossover musicians have strong, if not very educated, opinions on a lot of things, but they keep them to their twitter feeds which folks can read or not as they choose (Celtic Woman’s 13 soloists have over the years tweeted opinions on the atom bomb being a crime, Obama being the greatest thing since the Easter Rising, and a brilliant “come on, America, do away with your guns!”). However, polarizing opinions don’t belong on the stage, where people are paying to hear the MUSIC, dummies, not your opinion on this or that. It’s also not smart business, but that’s not really an ethics question.

  3. What I find grossly offensive, as a black man, is how often the lecturing on on how “society and, particularly, police, which treat blacks as lesser persons” comes from white folk, who are essentially, telling me about my experience, and assuming that everyone who uses the phrase “All lives matter” are whites who are ignorant of the “black experience”.

    I believe in the phrase “All lives matter”. Furthermore, according to a fall 2015 Rasmussen survey, so do a majority of blacks: “Thirty-one percent (31%) of black voters say black lives matter is closest to their own views…Eighty-one percent (81%) of whites and 76% of other minority voters opt instead for all lives matter, and 64% of blacks agree.”

    A message from one black man, to people like Calcaterra: Stop. Stop trying to help by speaking for blacks, stop trying to lecture whites like they’re ignorant children, and stop assuming that blacks all share the same experience or engage in monolithic group think.

    • Chris, I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your presence. I am white, and it has long mystified me as to how white people should be more familiar with the ‘Black Experience’ than black people. Of course, that’s only white celebrity’s. Those of us who have grown up with, gone to school with, lived and worked with, been in the Armed Forces with and been shot at with as a consequence, black people obviously know nothing about the culture.

  4. As I was watching that, I winced… You don’t do that to the anthem. We’ve just come off a controversy that had Trudeau’s government rewrite the anthem from “In all our sons command” to “In all of us command” because it was seen as more inclusive… despite being grammatically vulgar and historically revisionist. It’s our anthem dammit, don’t fuck with it.

    I have to admit wondering how many Americans watching understood in real time what was going on though. I’m caught wondering if he knew he was committing career suicide, or if he thought no one would notice.

  5. I haven’t been following the anthem controversy: Black Lives Matter, invited to participate in an LGBT pride parade in Toronto ten days ago, stopped the parade by sitting down and setting off smoke bombs, and forced the parade organizers to endorse their demands. Have the dots been connected between the parade and the anthem incidents?

  6. I heard Pereira’s version of “Caruso” on Youtube and he is certainly a fine singer. I’m sure that his career will not be damaged much by his decision. The other tenors can unfriend him on Facebook, but I’m sure that he will sell plenty of tickets in Texas at concert venues.

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