I first heard of Ryan Moats a few years ago after the Eagles drafted him to be the oft injured Bryan Westbrook's backup. He had some talent, but everyone in Eagle Nation knew that Moats couldn't read the Eagle's complex playbook. Still, he seemed like a decent guy, and I was glad to see that he landed on his feet after the Eagles cut him.
Fast forward four years, and Ryan Moats is in the news again. I didn't want to blog about this story last night, I wanted to really scrutinize the tape and get all the facts before I went on my usual "racism chasing" rant. Besides, I was too pissed, and when I am pissed I can't really focus on writing until I calm down a little bit. I am calm now.
Ryan Moats might not have been able to read the Eagle's playbook, but he sure got the playbook of life down pat. I watched his incredible restraint with that Dallas police officer (What the hell is wrong with these law enforcement folks in Texas? I guess, as someone commented on "Deadspin", it's still illegal to DWB in Texas), and all I could think was I could never do that. Sure, as a black man I know all the rules of survival when stopped by the po po, especially if I am on another planet like Texas. I know to keep my hands where they can be seen. I know to point to where my registration and insurance card is, and to tell the officer when I am reaching for it. And I know to dial my programmed home number in my cell phone (to get my home recording device) as the officer approaches my car, and keeping my cell phone on all times. I know to make sure I make a mental note of the officer's badge number and his name. And finally, I know to always show my pearly whites before my yes and no sirs.
I am sure that Ryan Moats knows most of those rules, too. And I am sure that the rules would have worked just fine if it was just a routine traffic stop for a real [or imagined] traffic violation. But this was no normal traffic stop. I don't have to repeat it. You all know the story by now. Ryan Moat's mother- in- law lay dying in the hospital and he was trying to get the family to see her one last time before she went to meet her maker.
Of course we also know by now that Robert Powell wasn't having it. This nig....I mean man in this fancy truck talking back to him had to be taught a lesson in how not to be uppity and to respect authority. What followed was painful to watch and listen to. But everyone of you who have been guilty of DWB can relate; and for you, I am sure it was more painful to watch than it was for others. I know it was for me.
Ryan Moats is lucky to be alive, he might not have learned the Eagles playbook, and it cost him a job in Philly, but learning the playbook of life might have saved his own, and allowed him to live to see one more training camp.
"I wish to publicly and sincerely apologize to the Moats family, my colleagues in the Dallas Police Department, and to all those who have been rightfully angered by my actions on March 18, 2009. After stopping Mr. Moats' vehicle, I showed poor judgment and insensitivity to Mr. Moats and his family by my words and actions, Powell's statement reads."
"Poor judgement"? That's what ignorance and racism is called these days? "Poor judgement"?I hear Mr. Powell is trying to reach Moats to personally apologize. Moats will probably take the call and tell the officer that all is forgiven. That's a part of the playbook,too. Always forgive and take the high road. If you are black in A-merry-ca, that's the part of the playbook that you have memorized: forgive and forget. That always works out. That is, of course, until the next officer Powell comes along, and there is a dashboard camera to see him.