Former Indianapolis Colts offensive lineman Joe Staysniak has been suspended one week without pay from his local radio show after “insensitive” comments regarding police brutality and the Confederate flag.
Staysniak’s co-host on WFNI-1070’s “The Fan Morning Show with Jeff and Big Joe” Jeff Rickard addressed the issue on Friday’s show, per the Indianapolis Star.
“Joe, quite frankly, had statements that were very insensitive to a lot of the folks that are out there fighting for their rights and feel like their voices have not been heard,” Rickard said. “And it’s time for them to be heard in the wake of the George Floyd murders.”
According to the Star, Staysniak blamed black people for being targeted by police and argued that the Confederate flag was not racist. He also said that kneeling in front of the American flag amounts to treason, per the report.
‘Stop being a victim’
During a conversation about George Floyd’s homicide while in custody of the Minneapolis police on Wednesday, Staysniak said that black people need to stop playing a victim role.
“I'm going to stop being a victim," Staysniak said of what he believes black people need to say. "Well, you know, get an education, you know, get a second job,” he continued on how he thinks black people can stop being victims.
Staysniak’s father and brother were both police officers, according to the Star. He cited lessons from his dad on how black people should avoid trouble with the police.
"My dad used to tell me one thing," Staysniak said. "Don’t put yourself in a situation where police are called.”
‘Are turn signals working?’
When Rickard read a statistic that black people are six times more likely to get pulled over than a white driver in some parts of Indiana, Staysniak said this, per the Star:
“OK, and then you have to look at why," Staysniak said. “Is that racism or is that the time of day? Is that the car they’re driving? Are lights out? Are turn signals working?
“It comes down to a cultural thing too. Are we putting ourselves in a situation where we don’t need to be? Again, when we have multiracial police officers, cell phones out. ... It just becomes harder and harder to believe you are being targeted like that.”
When a caller who identified himself as black challenged Staysniak’s stance, Staysniak told him to take more responsibility.
“You're denying anything,” Staysniak said, per the Star. “You're denying responsibility, denying anything that could be on your part that has to go toward making this better.”
On Friday, Rickard read an apology issued by Staysniak.
“I am really sorry for the pain and hurt that I caused by my comments this week,” the message read. “Discussing on air the riots that are happening around the country, I shared views about systemic racism that did not give the proper and due attention to the horrible injustices experienced regularly by African-Americans in our society.
“I did not stop to consider that my own experience being raised in a family of police officers is not the same as the experiences of so many in our community and in our country. For this I apologize.”
Staysniak played six seasons as a guard in the NFL from 1991-96, three of them with the Colts.
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