Andrew McCutchen

Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, Anquan Boldin offer solutions to US racial inequity

Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, Anquan Boldin offer solutions to US racial inequity

Steve Kerr joined Gregg Popovich, Anquan Boldin, Demario Davis and Andrew McCutchen to co-author an op-ed offering concrete solutions to address some of the problems raised by protesters across the country.

To achieve a more equitable justice system for people of color, the op-ed says police need to be held accountable for their actions.

“When these killings occur, we tweet, we write letters, we make videos demanding accountability,” Kerr et al. said. “We protest and we vow to change hearts and minds so that our young men can run through the streets without fear.

“And soon after, we see another officer kill a black person, usually a man, and usually without consequence. Where, we wonder, is the ‘accountability’ allegedly so important when it comes to arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating young people of color?”

The problem, Kerr et al. say, is that police supervisors simply don’t have the power to take away a bad officer’s badge.

“Among the greatest obstacles to cleaning up our police departments are police union contracts, which hamstring officials’ ability to fire officers who engage in bad and even deadly behavior,” Kerr et al. said. “Those contracts, nearly always negotiated behind closed doors, have clauses that determine how misbehavior may be disciplined. Many contracts prevent departments from investigating reports made by anonymous civilians. They allow officers accused of serious misconduct to review the complaint and the evidence before making statements to investigators, ensuring that they can craft their story to best explain whatever the evidence will show...

“In the rare case that a department pursues disciplinary action, many contracts require arbitration, which almost always results in reduced sanctions. In a survey of data compiled from 37 police departments in 2017, The Washington Post found that of 1,881 officers fired since 2006, 451 appealed and received their jobs back — nearly 25%.”

RELATED: Mitchell Trubisky breaks social media silence to support George Floyd protests

The op-ed says these contracts are renegotiated every few years, so if you’d like them to change it’s not hopeless.

“In Philadelphia, for example, the mayor renegotiates the police union contract next year. In Minneapolis, it is renegotiated every three years and is in negotiations now. We must demand that our elected officials remove terms explicitly designed to protect officers from investigation and discipline if we are going to have accountability and safety.”

The second suggestion the op-ed makes is doing away with “qualified immunity” for cops, which protects them “from legal liability for even the most outrageous conduct,” unless a legal precedent has been set with “basically identical facts.”

They elaborate by saying “qualified immunity” can be used to protect cops from wide-ranging accusations.

“One court, for example, found an officer had qualified immunity after he let his dog maul a homeless man,” Kerr et al. said. “In another case, officers who tried to steal $225,000 while on the job received immunity.”

Again, the heart of the matter for Kerr, Popovich, Boldin, Davis and McCutchen is accountability.

“Citizens face consequences for breaking the law and harming others; our government should make sure officers are no different.”

RELATED: Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts calls black leaders 'you people,' apologizes

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Phillies reportedly willing to meet Bryce Harper's price tag

Phillies reportedly willing to meet Bryce Harper's price tag

MESA, Ariz. — We may finally be nearing a resolution in the Bryce Harper free agency saga at just the right time.

Spring training begins in earnest Monday with position players officially reporting around the league and Harper may not be far behind.

USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale reported Sunday evening the Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly willing to meet Harper's price tag and give him more than the $300 million, 10-year deal the Washington Nationals offered before the season ended:

Keep in mind, Nightengale is not reporting a done deal and the key word is Harper "appears" to have found a team willing to meet his price tag in the Phillies.

But this is one of those "big, if true" situations that portends a potential conclusion to Harper's 3.5-month free agency tour.

The Cubs ruled themselves out of the Harper Sweepstakes back at the very beginning of the offseason due to a bloated payroll for 2019 and a budget that doesn't have the room for the salary Harper is about to make.

The Phillies have been rumored to be in on Harper from Day 1 and owner John Middleton famously said his team may spend "stupid" money this winter. They've been very aggressive this offseason trying to build around a young core and improve upon thhe 80 wins they put up a season ago.

The Phillies have already signed Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson and traded for Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto in the last couple months while also giving ace Aaron Nola a long-term extension.

Adding Harper to the mix would be a huge boost to the Phillies' chances in what is shaping up to be a very competitive National League East.

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How the Phillies' signing of Andrew McCutchen might affect the Bryce Harper sweepstakes

How the Phillies' signing of Andrew McCutchen might affect the Bryce Harper sweepstakes

LAS VEGAS — The Philadelphia Phillies have been believed to be the favorites to sign Bryce Harper for more than a month.

So what are they doing signing Andrew McCutchen to a three-year deal Tuesday? And does it make for some sort of seismic shift in the Harper sweepstakes, of which the White Sox are particularly invested?

The short answer to that last question appears to be no, though not everyone is in agreement on that. Some on Twitter are floating the idea the McCutchen signing might take the Phillies out of the running for Harper, and that's a decently logical conclusion if for no other reason than the two guys play the same position. But there appears to be a greater consensus that the Phillies aren't going anywhere when it comes to Harper.

Of course, that makes a lot more sense because Harper and McCutchen are on two totally different levels at this point in their respective careers.

McCutchen is a corner outfielder now after years of playing center, but the 32-year-old is well removed from his string of four consecutive top-five NL MVP finishes. Last year with the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees, he slashed .255/.368/.424 with 20 homers and 65 RBIs. He's a veteran, no longer a guy to build a team around, which is obviously what Harper is.

For the Phillies, this could merely be the beginning of their "spend stupid" strategy this offseason. After all, they acquired shortstop Jean Segura in a trade with the Seattle Mariners, and it didn't knock them out of consideration for Harper's fellow mega free agent Manny Machado.

As for where this puts the White Sox, the guess would be it puts them in much the same place they were before the Phillies made this move. One report has these two among three potential finalists for Harper, the other team being the Los Angeles Dodgers. One could even argue that the Phillies' signing of McCutchen improves their pitch to Harper, increasing their chances of contending for championships right away. The White Sox, meanwhile, are selling the bright future of highly rated prospects.

And so the Harper drama gets another wrinkle.

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