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Sharpton, fellow community figures speak out against ‘Knockout game’

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Credit where credit is due. On Wednesday, Al Sharpton formally spoke out against the “game” of Knockout and launched a social media campaign urging that “players” find some other outlet for their pent-up hostilities.

According to CBS New York, Sharpton, joined by National Urban League president Marc Morial, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, and Jewish leader Rabbi Marc Schneier, has recorded a series of brief YouTube videos with the message that “The knockout game is not a game.”

[Sample video here]

Sounding uncommonly rational and civic-minded, the civil rights leader also distributed a news release that reads in part:

These kids are targeting innocent people, and in many cases specifically targeting Jewish folks. We would not be silent if it were the other way around, and we will not be silent now. This behavior is racist, period. And we will not tolerate it.

He never comes out and identifies the perpetrators of the game by race, but baby steps.

Simmons has also recorded videos denouncing the “game.” In one he opines somewhat indelicately:

This knockout game is some bulls**t. I mean, it’s terrible. I mean, how come you all want to hit people that look like they’ve got on devotional clothing and might not hit you back? Why don’t you hit somebody that might hit you back? I mean, the knockout game is for cowards.

The group has asked people to join them by sending the following message through social media:

End the #knockoutgame #sayNO2KO join the @FFEUny to end the violence +bigotry. Knockout #gameover.

Of course this initiative creates a dilemma for bleeding-heart liberal bloggers like Slate’s Matthew Yglesias, who has asserted that Knockout is an urban myth perpetrated by the conservative media establishment. Do he and his ilk stand pat in their insistence that the game is a sham? And if so, does he need — plan — to explain to Sharpton et. al. that they are fools who have been duped by the vast right-wing conspiracy?

Stay tuned for answers.

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