Friday, August 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A police stop story that might surprise you

It's Kaepernick Week for the Bucs.

And a lot of things are running through my head.

I don't know the first thing about law enforcement. I know less about what it is to be African-American.

But I know what it's like to hear black men talk about coaching their sons and grandsons to keep their hands on the wheel if they ever get pulled over.

And I remember this story from a man I know.

He is 61. He is black. His story is 25 years old, but it seems fresh and relevant.

This isn't a crusade. It's just a story a man told me. It's just something running through my head.

The man was working in Kansas City, Mo. A good job. Respected. Soft-spoken. Deep faith.

His boss was working him like crazy. One time, the man didn't leave the office until after 2 in the morning. He headed home. He pulled off the interstate, made two or three turns and headed into a nice neighborhood. His neighborhood.

A police cruiser's lights flashed.

The man said the officer, who was white, told him he had been following for miles. The man asked why he had waited to pull him over.

The man said the officer asked for his ID and saw the man lived in the neighborhood. The officer asked what he did for work.

"I work at the stadium," the man said. That was all. He was annoyed.

He never felt threatened in any way. The officer wasn't belligerent. Neither was the man. He respected authority; his uncle had been an assistant police chief in Detroit.

But he could feel his anger building. The man was convinced — and is to this day — that he was pulled over for driving while black. A black man pulling into a white neighborhood. The mistrust was the problem, he thought. He still thinks that.

Something crossed his mind that night. He thought, "This is what happens to young black men. They go off, and they get shot."

The man said the officer told him he'd cut him a break, a $25 ticket for failure to signal a turn instead of a $75 ticket. The man said no, he'd fight it. The man said a judge reduced the fine to $5. The man said he'd appeal. The judge said a trial date would be set.

Well, the man forgot the trial date. Forgot the summons. Honest mistake.

The man said that six months later, there was a knock at his door. Police. He was arrested, handcuffed in front of his wife and their two young children. At the jail, he sat in the orange suit in a holding cell.

The man thought of his parents, both educators. His mother always told him to do what he believed in but be respectful. His father told him to do what you can but pick your fights.

The man hired a lawyer and went to court. He spent $600 on legal and court fees to erase a $5 fine.

He has come to know a lot of police officers. Two of them are in one of his Bible study groups. He knows their hearts, how much they care and the struggles they face in their jobs.

But he remembers John Carlos and Tommie Smith's Black Power salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. He thinks about human rights and doing what you can. There are all kinds of ways to make statements, to help. He thinks Colin Kaepernick has helped. People are talking.

The man who was pulled over that night in Kansas City enjoys a successful career. He is respected. He moved to Tampa Bay two decades ago. Still lives here.

Tony Dungy.

Martin Fennelly is a sports columnist for the Tampa Bay Times. Contact him at [email protected]

Comments
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Talking with Titans GM Jon Robinson

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Talking with Titans GM Jon Robinson

Rick Stroud sits down with Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson, who served as the Bucs' Director of Player Development under Jason Licht and was in Tampa Bay when the team scouted Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota prior to the 2015 NFL Draf...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Titans GM Jon Robinson sees playmakers everywhere for the Bucs

Titans GM Jon Robinson sees playmakers everywhere for the Bucs

Jon Robinson was in Tampa Bay when he and Bucs and general manager Jason Licht began assembling the team that came to practice with the Titans this week.The Titans GM still thinks highly of the players he helped the Bucs acquire, such as Kwon Alexand...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Catching up with the guy who’s been on both sides of Winston-Mariota

Catching up with the guy who’s been on both sides of Winston-Mariota

NASHVILLE — Jon Robinson knew being the general manager of the Titans meant almost every decision would pass by his desk."I got into this for football,'' Robinson said. "And now I'm trying to buy vacuum cleaners.''The Titans' kicker is Ryan Suc...
Published: 08/16/18
Bucs sign former Panthers DT Drew Iddings, waived Stevie Tu’ikolovatu injured

Bucs sign former Panthers DT Drew Iddings, waived Stevie Tu’ikolovatu injured

One Bucs player will be departing Nashville before the team does.Defensive tackle Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, a seventh-round pick from Southern Cal in 2017, was waived injured Thursday. Tu'ikolovatu suffered what is believed to be a triceps injury.The Bucs...
Published: 08/16/18
Titans cornerback flips after two interceptions against Bucs

Titans cornerback flips after two interceptions against Bucs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee cornerback Adoree Jackson was flipping for joy after a couple of interceptions defending Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and the rest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 18th pick overall in 2017 by the Titans, Jackson celebrated...
Published: 08/16/18
The best answer to the Winston-Mariota debate

The best answer to the Winston-Mariota debate

Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota? The great debate of Tampa Bay football.Who would you rather have? That is and always will be the burning question of Tampa Bay football fans.Winston and Mariota will be forever linked. For as long as they play, we wi...
Published: 08/16/18
How the Bucs did Luke Stocker a real favor

How the Bucs did Luke Stocker a real favor

NASHVILLE — Tight end Luke Stocker got to see how the other half lives.After being released by the Bucs last Nov. 28, Stocker signed a two-year contract with the Titans and enjoyed one of his best months in pro football.Stocker played in t...
Published: 08/16/18
Ali Marpet making move to left guard appear easy, and a big pay day awaits

Ali Marpet making move to left guard appear easy, and a big pay day awaits

NASHVILLE — Ali Marpet's move to left guard, his third position in as many years, has been pretty seamless. A big reason for that is his close relationship with left tackle Donovan Smith.Both came to the Bucs as second-round picks in 2015, Smit...
Published: 08/16/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota share practice field

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota share practice field

The Bucs are in Tennessee for joint practices with the Titans, so Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota — drafted first and second overall in 2015 — are sharing the same practice field.What do they think of each other? Also, how did the Bucs ...
Published: 08/16/18
Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota meet again. Sort of.

Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota meet again. Sort of.

NASHVILLE — Here at the intersection of Marcus Mariota Place and Jameis Winston Way, the quarterbacks of the Titans and Bucs continued to go in different directions.During the teams' joint workout Wednesday, the quarterbacks never got closer th...
Published: 08/15/18