Last week a petition started circulating online that caught the eye of Trail Blazers fans.
Addressed to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, the petition demanded the City of Portland apologize to former Trail Blazer Cliff Robinson for a racial profiling incident from 1997.
Chris Young, who started the petition, wrote "In the summer of 1997 Portland Trail Blazer Clifford Robinson, his brothers, and friends were the subject of blatant racial profiling by Portland (Oregon) police. Robinson was seen entering his vehicle with paintball guns, the cops were called by someone that reported that Robinson and his party had assault rifles, and a public safety alert was broadcast on local and national media."
"Robinson's vehicle, along with its occupants, was subjected to a paramilitary-style blockade near the Portland waterfront, which was widely publicized," added Young. "Heavily armed Portland police did not find assault rifles in Robinson's vehicle for obvious reasons (there weren't any), however, they did locate remnants of cannabis in the vehicle. Despite the cannabis being outside of the reach of where Robinson was located in the vehicle (driver seat), Robinson was charged with possession of cannabis, presumably because of his celebrity status."
"This perception of our team is that we have a bunch of guys who are shady individuals,″ Robinson said at the press conference in 1997. "I don’t do anything but try my best to represent myself, represent the Trail Blazers and represent Portland on and off the court as best as I can.″
Uncle Cliffy, Cliff Robinson's marijuana brand, tweeted out the petition as well, hoping to help extend its platform.
Please sign this petition for a Blazer legend that deserves a long-overdue apology from Portland PD: https://t.co/aSxfmtmMe8— Uncle Cliffy (@UncleCliffySC) June 7, 2020
23 years after the horrifying incident, Robinson finally received his apology.
On Friday, June 12, Uncle Cliffy once again took to Twitter, this time to show the world an official statement that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler had sent Robinson.
Please see this msg from @tedwheeler. Racial profiling is wrong. What happened to @unclecliffy30 was wrong. And finally, after so many years, PDX has fessed up to what REALLY happened in 1997. Thank you to all that signed the petition! #BlackLivesMatter ❤🖤❤🖤❤ pic.twitter.com/OIsiyfVZEJ— Uncle Cliffy (@UncleCliffySC) June 12, 2020
Cliff Robinson, like so many Black Americans around the country, absolutely deserves an apology for any and every racial profiling incident experienced. While I was not Mayor at the time of the incident, it's still important for me to acknowledge those deep wounds that racial profiling incidents cause. I am working with urgency with our police bureau and our new police chief to make sure we reimaging the way policing has historically been done. That starts with training and awareness on racial bias. - Mayor Ted Wheeler
Wheeler owning up to past wrongs will not change what happened to Robinson in 1997, but it is a positive step in the right direction to heal the wounds and help end systemic racism.