Civil rights leaders are launching a social media campaign to try and put an end to the disturbing “knockout” game trend. There have been 10 reported instances in NYC alone of the knockout games, which insists of trying to knock an unsuspecting victim unconscious with a single punch. Al Sharpton and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons are trying to make the hashtag #sayNO2KO a trending topic on Twitter and have teamed up with the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding for the campaign.
“This knockout game is not a game. It is vicious. It is ugly. It must be stopped,” said Sharpton in a video message. Meanwhile, Simmons was slightly less diplomatic with his choice of words. “This knockout game is some bulls**t. it’s terrible,” he said. “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?” The knockout game is for cowards.”
Sharpton became the first prominent black figure to acknowledge that many of the reported knockout games involved black teenagers targeting white victims and urged for a call to action. Referring to the games as “insane thuggery,” Sharpton wrote in a column for Huffington Post that the games are “unequivocally wrong. 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.”
The civil rights leader also called for community leaders and citizens to help put a stop to the problem. “This is not a ‘game; it is inhumane behavior that has no place in our country or the world,” he wrote. Diversity is one of the greatest strengths of this nation, and we must respect one another in a way that preserves and further develops this diversity. Therefore, when an injustice happens to anyone, it is the duty of all to speak up. Silence is akin to tacit acceptance.”