Editorial Roundup: Mississippi

Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:

___

Oct. 13

The Greenwood Commonwealth on New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas:

Four months ago, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas didn’t hesitate to knock his teammate, Drew Brees, when the quarterback said he believed kneeling during the national anthem was disrespectful.

Brees got a lifetime’s worth of criticism for his remarks. Thomas was among the bashers, writing on Twitter, “He don’t know no better,” and, “We don’t care if you don’t agree and whoever else how about that.”

Criticism is part of life, but it’s unusual when a sports star calls out a teammate in public. Brees promptly apologized — both publicly and to his teammates, and Thomas later tweeted that he had accepted it.

Still, there was something bothersome about the way Thomas vented in public about a good man who blindly waded into a minefield.

Maybe this is a generational reaction, but why not just call Brees privately and chew him out for being insensitive? Is there no resisting the impulse to spout off on social media every time something bothers you?

Thomas was on top of the football world last year. In the summer of 2019 he signed a five-year, $96 million contract with the Saints.

He then proved his value by breaking the NFL single-season reception record. But he has had nothing but trouble during the 2020 football season. He only caught a couple of passes in the Saints’ season opener before injuring his ankle late in the game, and he has not played since.

He was scheduled to return Monday night, when the Saints hosted the Los Angeles Chargers, but got held out of the game as a disciplinary measure. There were reports that Thomas punched a defensive teammate during an altercation in practice last week.

Respected NFL reporter Peter King wrote in his weekly Monday morning column, “Hearing a lot about this, including the fact that teammates backed C.J. Gardner-Johnson in the practice dispute, and that this is a suspension more than another week off to rest an ankle injury. It’ll be interesting to see if Thomas works to get back in the good graces of the team, or if this remains an issue for whatever reason.”

A couple of thoughts here. First, Thomas’ teammates are giving him a nice break by keeping the dispute in the locker room instead of babbling about it on social media — although King’s report that Saints players took the defensive back’s side is fascinating. It implies that Thomas acted rashly.

Also, Brees worked hard to regain the trust and confidence of his Black teammates, and it’s now Thomas’ turn. If it’s true that he lost his temper, smacked a teammate and removed one of the NFL’s best receivers from Monday night’s game, he might want to consider a gentle public apology — something along the lines of what Brees did this summer.

People who are still mad at Thomas for the way he spouted off about Brees may think, “He don’t know no better.” The Saints receiver, in fact, needs to show everyone that he does.

Online: https://www.gwcommonwealth.com

___

Oct. 11

The Daily Journal on a referendum about the design of a new Mississippi state flag:

Three statewide referendums will be on the Nov. 3 ballot, and leading up to the election, we are breaking down each referendum. This week we’re focusing on the proposed state flag.

The commission selected by Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and Gov. Tate Reeves chose the design from more than 3,000 submissions.

Mississippians have a say as to whether or not the “In God We Trust” flag will become the new state flag. Ballot measure 3 will display a picture of the proposed design and ask voters to either indicate support of adopting the design as the new flag by voting “yes,” or opposition to the design by voting “no.”

If a majority of voters approve the design, the Legislature will then vote whether to formally adopt the design as the new flag. If a majority of voters reject the proposal, the commission will reconvene to work on a new design to appear before voters sometime next year.

This referendum will appear at the bottom of the ballot, so, regardless of whether you choose to vote for the flag or not, it is important that you look over the entire ballot so you do not miss this item.

Scott Waller of the Mississippi Economic Council told the Daily Journal, “The whole purpose is to make sure that people understand that they have an opportunity to be part of history. When you think back at this, history was made when the state Legislature retired the old flag. We have a second opportunity to make history by voting this in as the new flag.”

The Mississippi Economic Council is currently running a campaign through social media ads, yard signs, etc. to encourage voters to adopt the new design, and in our region, leading up to the election, you can see the flag outside of the Union County Heritage Museum in New Albany.

You have a choice. Please be sure to review the entire ballot on Election Day to ensure your voice is heard.

Online: https://www.djournal.com

___

Oct. 9

The Vicksburg Post on a recent shooting in Vicksburg, Mississippi and proposal to declare a restaurant in the city a nuisance:

When is enough, enough?

For the city of Vicksburg, the Vicksburg Police Department and those longing for a safe and stable community, it would appear three people getting shot and a days-long search for the suspect is enough.

In recent years, LD’s Kitchen — for one reason or another — has appeared on the police reports far too many times. Whether it is the fault of the owners or not, the establishment has become a problematic itch to local officials that simply will not go away.

During a press conference Thursday, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. announced a proposal that would declare the establishment a nuisance.

Flaggs not only cited the hundreds of police calls and visits to the property during the past year, but also cited the level of violence that has at times erupted from the large groups of people who have gathered at and around the establishment.

The last straw, it seemed, was Tuesday’s shooting, where three people were shot, one critically, just after 11 p.m.

One of the victims was a security guard working that night. Not only can the city allow such a nuisance to go unchecked, but especially one that is located next to a playground and a park that is a showcase piece to thousands of visitors each and every year.

In addition, the management of LD’s has long been warned and penalized for past security failures. On two separate occasions, the establishment has been temporarily shut down by the city until it agreed to stronger security measures and steps to control patrons. It appears those efforts were not strong enough.

No one likes to see government at any level overreach in its authority, but in the case where the public wellbeing is involved then stronger measures should be both allowed and utilized. Pushing this issue to the point of declaring LD’s a nuisance was not the first option, but it is the last.

By taking this step, city leaders have served notice not just to LD’s, but to any others who might not take seriously the need to provide a safe and secure environment for their customers or their community. The precedent has been set.

Online: https://www.vicksburgpost.com/