Two days ago, no one had ever heard of Jaden McNeil, a student at Kansas State University. Today he’s a martyr with a burgeoning social media platform.
On June 25, McNeil tweeted a politically incorrect, insensitive joke about Minneapolis murder victim George Floyd being drug free the past month.
The tweet was a tree falling in the woods until Kansas State football players with actual relevant platforms in Manhattan, Kansas began tweeting that the university must take action against McNeil. The tweets of the football players condemning McNeil extended the reach of McNeil’s tweet, caught the attention of the media and eventually turned McNeil into a cause celebre and martyr for free-speech advocates and critics of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Kansas State president Richard Myers weighed in on the controversy Friday morning, vowing over Twitter: “The insensitive comments posted by one K-State student hurts our entire community. These divisive statements do not represent the values of our university. We condemn racism and bigotry in all its forms. We are launching an immediate review of the university’s options.”
This is the true definition of White Power. An inappropriate tweet from one white child can hurt an entire community? The irrational thought of one white person carries that much weight in America?
The people giving the tweet that level of importance are the true supporters of systemic anti-black racism. Those people just gave Jaden McNeil a platform from which to preach. He now has more than 28,000 Twitter followers. Conservative influencers are rallying in support of McNeil.
Jaden McNeil Matters.
Should he? Does his vilification and potential expulsion from Kansas State advance the cause of social justice? Or does it increase the racial divide?
I have little interest in defending McNeil. He claims to be a Christian on his Twitter bio. His tweet is inconsistent with the values of his faith. But I don’t place a high value on McNeil’s thoughts. They don’t hurt, threaten or offend me. They’re easily dismissed as the typical stupidity of a college kid.
Trust me, the students and administrators at K-State looking to remove McNeil from campus say and do stupid and inappropriate things, too.
When you take a step back and evaluate what’s really going on across college campuses as it relates to Black Lives Matter it’s all just a disingenuous athletic recruiting strategy.
The mayor of Tuscaloosa, Alabama told reporters this week that the absence of Alabama football in 2020 could cost the city as much as $2 billion. People have pushed back on that number, saying it’s exaggerated.
Regardless, small towns like Manhattan, Tuscaloosa and Durham, North Carolina have economies based on high-profile college football and basketball teams.
The reason every coach and university is shouting as loudly as possible that Black Lives Matter is because what they really mean is Black Football and Basketball Players Matter. Social media has convinced black athletes that support of BLM is a litmus test for bigotry.
Any coach who dares to stray from a BLM talking point risks demonization as a closet member of the KKK. Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Bama’s Nick Saban both have taped videos supporting BLM.
In order to protect its recruitment of black football and basketball players, Kansas State’s administration is looking for a way to publicly destroy Jaden McNeil.
McNeil will relish his infamy and martyrdom. Our racial divide will widen. And everyone will continue pretending that George Floyd’s lost life means a thousand times more than Mekhi James’ lost life.
Never heard of Mekhi James? Never seen a celebrity influencer reference Mekhi James when tweeting “Say His Name!?”
Google Mekhi James, just another three-year-old child caught in the random gang crossfire commonplace in major cities. His life apparently didn’t matter.