Thank you to Lions running back Reggie Bush for making a statement and making a difference and getting people to debate. Thank you for taking the heat and not apologizing.

Bush made a simple gesture by wearing a t-shirt during Lions pre-game Sunday that said “I can’t breathe” but he made a powerful statement because people noticed and they felt the need to comment and spark debate.

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The video of a police officer choking out New York resident Eric Garner is reprehensible. I don’t care that Garner protested the arrest or raised his voice. He should not have been treated like an animal and he should not be dead.

There is a rage in the black community that must be suppressed and there is anger among some white police officers that must be addressed. It is a bad and deadly mix.

If Eric Garner were white he would be alive today.

If Michael Brown were white he’d be alive today to tell his story to a grand juror.

Let me explain to you why.

The life of black males is not as valued. You can see it on the video tape when Garner was choked out. He said 11 times I cannot breathe. The officer did not let go of the hold until it was too late and none of the other arresting officers told him to let go.

And when he lay in the middle of the street nobody tried to resuscitate him. They let him die.

I felt like I was in the street dying like Garner. This video really affected me.

A black male is 21 times more likely to be killed during an arrest than a white person.

Here is the second part of this deadly mix. Black males are angry. They are more likely to be stopped and searched, whether they committed a crime or not. And yes I acknowledge that we commit too many crimes but let me give you my experience.

When I was younger I knew I was being followed in stores. I was young and black and a part of me understood that. I never stole but I knew people that did. I did my shopping and moved on.

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Now let me explain where the anger comes in. I am 55 now with a family, two jobs and harbor the same conscious that I have no right to something that does not belong to me. I think I earned the benefit of the doubt.

But late last spring I was in a major department store and there was a security guy pretending not to be looking at me. He was a little too obvious. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and move to another department.

He followed me. And I was shocked how angry I became. I felt heat coming from my neck. It was a rage that shocked me. I never expected it. But I questioned why he did not follow the other 25 shoppers that were in the store at the time.
“Really,” I said out loud.

The man disappeared.

When the police pulled me over for speeding and running a red light I did not get angry. I knew I did something wrong. I accepted my punishment. The anger came when I knew I did nothing wrong. Garner became angry because he felt he did nothing wrong. And let’s assume he sold individual cigarettes in the streets. That’s a capital crime?

This problem will not end any time soon because we are debating the wrong things.

You want to talk about Garner resisting arrest, which I disagree with. He told the officer to leave him alone but he did not resist arrest.

You want to talk about people committing crimes although Garner very well might not have committed a crime.

The debate should be how can we get white police and black males to trust one another? How can we diminish the rage inside black males that I admit remains inside of me?
How can we get police to view black life the same as white life?

That is where the debate needs to begin and end. But it has not started yet which means we are headed for another incident that will split us among racial lines again.

Some of you are upset that Bush brought attention to this subject. I am not. We cannot continue to ignore issues and professional athletes need to make statements because quite often they are the only people the public listens to.

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Foster can be reached at Terry.Foster@cbsradio.com. Twitter: TerryFoster971.