MATTHEWS: Dangerous ‘cancel culture’ activism on the rise in aftermath of death of George Floyd

In this Nov. 6, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, right, is greeted by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees at the end of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif. As athletes and sports organizations around the world speak out against racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Drew Brees drew sharp criticism after he reiterated his opposition to Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem in 2016. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron, File)

If you’ve never been on the receiving end of cancel culture activism or otherwise don’t pay much attention to political news, you might not be aware that the dangerous practice is on the rise in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.

Floyd died in police custody on May 25 after now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes, according to the criminal complaint filed against Chauvin. For nearly three of those minutes, Floyd was unresponsive.

Chauvin is white; Floyd was black. Because of the racial make-up of the case, protesters led by Black Lives Matter activists have taken to the streets in cities across America ever since to march for justice for Floyd and against what they see as systemic racism in all parts of our society.

Floyd’s death was both senseless and tragic. But an unfortunate development in the weeks since Floyd’s death has been the resurgence of cancel culture.

Basically, cancel culture is when a mob of people, usually on the left, try to “cancel” or “void” a person’s accomplishments and/or livelihood because he or she says something that is allegedly offensive or not politically correct. The person says something the mob doesn’t like, and the rush is on to get the person fired or “canceled” for daring to keep an open mind or to otherwise think differently from the herd.

University of Chicago professor Harald Uhlig is one such person who has been on the receiving end of an attempt to serve a cancellation notice. Uhlig made the mistake of criticizing left-wing activist calls to “defund the police.” He also had the nerve to slam those who were looting and rioting in the name of justice for George Floyd.

For that, the cancel mob says Uhlig should be removed from his position as editor of the Journal of Political Economy as soon as possible. Apparently expressing opinions shared by a majority of the American people when it comes to calls to defund the police and condemning the despicable looting and rioting that happened during some protests did not go over well with some University of Michigan professors, who launched a petition to get him canceled from his distinguished position at the paper.

Popular New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was blasted by other pro-sports icons after he expressed his belief during an interview that he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country” by kneeling during the national anthem, as former NFL QB Colin Kaepernick and others have done to protest racial injustice. Both of Brees’s grandfathers served in WWII, something in which Brees takes immense pride.

“I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better and that we are all part of the solution,” Brees stated.

For this opinion, Brees was mocked and ridiculed to the point he apologized multiple times for alleged racial insensitivity. It still wasn’t enough for the cancel mobs, who will now boo him every time he takes the field for a game.

Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy had a great response to the backlash that followed Brees’s comments.

“[Brees] can’t be afraid to say that and we can’t be afraid to say, ‘Okay Drew, I don’t agree with you, but let’s talk about this and let’s sit down and talk about it,’” Dungy advised. “We can’t just say any time something happens and we don’t agree with it, ‘Hey I’m done with that and I’m done with this person.’ That doesn’t make sense. We have to be better than that.”


Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.