ESPN's Mark Jones says he'll refuse police protection Saturday for his own safety

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·4 min read

ESPN play-by-play announcer Mark Jones will refuse the standard police protection for his Saturday college football game, he said on Twitter.

The tweet came in the early hours of Thursday after the officers who shot Breonna Taylor were not charged in her death. Jones is working the game between Army and No. 16 Cincinnati at Nippert Stadium in Ohio.

ESPN announcer says police can ‘take the day off’

Jones, who is Black, said in the tweet that he’ll tell the police officer he “can just take the day off.” He said it was for his own protection from police that he didn’t want the security detail.

Jones wrote:

“Saturday at my football game I’ll tell the police officer on duty to ‘protect’ me he can just take the day off. Fr. I’d rather not have the officer shoot me because he feared for his life because of my black skin or other dumb ish. I’m not signing my own death certificate.”

There are no fans allowed at the Cincinnati game except immediate family members of players and coaches. It will lessen the need for police protection.

Jones answers to old tweets about police

Mark Jones in a suit ahead of a game.
ESPN announcer Mark Jones said he won't use police protection this weekend for his own safety. (Photo by Icon Sportswire)

People dug up old tweets by Jones about police and he replied to a few of them.

In 2011 he wrote he loved police escorts because it cut down on travel time. On Thursday he added the caveat that he rides with two white co-workers “who’d take a bullet for me.”

And he explained a situation while in Syracuse in 2018, when his bag fell out of the SUV by crediting a Black man who found and returned it.

Jones has worked at ESPN since 1990 and currently does play-by-play for the NBA and college football. He broadcasted games for ESPN from the NBA bubble, where players regularly spoke about Taylor and walked out of games to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

Jones argues for defunding the police

Jones argued for defunding the police in separate tweets late this week. He wrote that police have never saved or helped him, but have pulled guns on him. “I could do without em,” he wrote.

In another tweet, he said his late uncle was the first police officer on the Toronto police force and experienced “countless amounts of stories of racist police in his own police force.” Jones grew up in Toronto.

A Kentucky grand jury on Wednesday indicted one of the three officers who shot into Taylor’s apartment in March. They reportedly were executing a no-knock warrant, but the state attorney general refuted that. Former Louisville detective Brett Hankison was charged with wanton endangerment for shooting into a neighbor’s apartment.

The sports world immediately reacted to the news and players have spoken about Taylor and the ruling to media in the days since.

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