Civil rights icon Andrew Young blasted Black Lives Matter and predicted its demise if it didn't change courses politically. The former Georgia congressman, mayor of Atlanta and ambassador to the United Nations invoked the name of his one-time close friend, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., while telling a group of college football players that members of the group were wrong to react with anger and emotion to social injustices, CBS Sports reported.
"These young people got angry and not thoughtful, and that's dangerous. It's not being militant, it's being stupid," Young said in the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Tuesday. "Dr. King used to say in order to be free, you've got to overcome the love of wealth and the fear of death. If people can't buy you out or scare you out, then you can be free. But losing your temper, for me, is probably the worst sin."
Young offered a football analogy to the young players in attendance. "You see people get emotional in games and do something stupid, and it costs you 15 yards and maybe the game. That's true in life," Young said.
The new crop of civil rights activists might need to look to the past in order to make any progress in the future, Young told the players from the University of Washington and the University of Alabama, who were in Atlanta to compete against each other in the Peach Bowl on Saturday night.
"I think we were successful [in the Civil Rights Movement] because we had a long time to think through what the problem was," Young added. "I was nine years old when I first saw Thurgood Marshall argue a case in Louisiana. That was in 1941. It was 1961 before I joined with Martin Luther King. There was 20 years of preparation leading to what we did. So all of the ideas had been thought out, there had been case law, and we knew specifically what to do."
Young joined his fellow civil rights leaders C.T. Vivian and Xernona Clayton in addressing the group.
Tuesday's message was one Young has said before, but not to a group of younger people who may not be familiar with the plight Young's generation faced in pushing for equality. "You don’t get angry with sick people; you work to heal the system," Young told the Washington Post in August of last year. "If you get angry, it is contagious, and you end up acting as bad as the perpetrators."
While some leaders and activists from the civil rights era of the 1960s have been critical of Black Lives Matter and its tactics, others, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, have defended the social justice movement.