My feelings about this business of not standing for the national anthem reminds me of the story about the two men who go to their pastor to settle an argument. One makes his case and the pastor says, “You’re right.” The other makes absolutely the opposite case and the pastor says, “You’re right.” They both look at each other and then yell at him, “We totally disagree with each other how can we both be right?!?” The pastor replies……”You’re right.”
While I lean towards not disrespecting the flag or the country and I think the “pig socks” are stupid no less insulting, I also am white and have no grievances against ” the system,” at least none that are so historically ingrained that it would take major surgery to get them out.
I also stand with Patrick Henry. His “I don’t agree with what you saying, but will fight to the death for your right to say it” is part of the bedrock of our national foundation. Freedom of speech can be trying when people are obnoxious, obstreperous, down right stupid, or dangerous sounding. But having a just little bit of freedom is like being just a little bit pregnant. ‘doesn’t work that way.
Thus I think the professional race car driver Tony Stewart who said Colin Kaepernick should be more grateful because he was raised by two white parents is an idiot and doesn’t get it period.
As for “The Donald” someone should ask Mr. Trump how many truly great contributors to our society would have been lost had they believed the answer to their anger was to “…go find another country….”
Nor does it matter one whit that the poor mother killed in a drive by shooting in Chicago, Nykea Aldridge, was Dwayne Wade’s cousin. She’s another dead black Chicagoan who has left behind another baby who will be raised with little or none of the joy of knowing her mother. What matters is that she is another murder statistic dropped atop Chicago’s already staggering number of them.
On the other hand the other jerk who said Kapernick’s pay check should be enough to make him a happy camper is maybe at the very, very beginning of what could be the right track. Yogi Berra said, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” Well we seem as a nation to be getting pretty close and we ought to think about what to do when we get to that fork.
I will repeat what I have said once before in this blog when I was talking about Michael Jordan’s gift to both a law enforcement organization and a civil rights organization. Money, liberally given and wisely used, that doesn’t come from or isn’t controlled by the government could be an idea that moves us towards a solution.
As staggering to many as are the Chicago death stats, so are the amounts of money paid to professional athletes. I know all the arguments why the command so much and if fans are willing to pay insane amounts of money for seats to games to watch a few stars supported by guys making millions for hitting 235, grabbing 2.3 rebounds a game, or averaging 3 yards a carry so be it. Life is short and a lot shorter for contact sport athletes.
But dream a long with me for a moment as I do a “what if…?”
What if all the professional athletes of color and as many of their good-hearted white teammates as can be mustered, made a commitment that hurt a little and put it into a foundation, like some individual athletes have? Let’s call it for the moment, “Athletes for Equality in America.” And further more then took out a life insurance policy or drew up their wills to include a gift to that foundation on their death, they could create something with the intellectual and political power of the Ford, or Rockefeller, or Carnegie Foundations. Staff the quality of those working at the top foundations, research/think tanks, and universities could be hired. Great things could be done without regard to the vagaries of politics, who’s in and who’s out, who cares and who doesn’t. It would be a ship with it’s own captain sailing under its own flag.
Many crooners have covered the song, “Dream a long with me….I’m on my way to the stars.” And like many things this could just be a dream.
But if a Michael Jordan, or Venus Williams, or any of the other numerous athletes who have shown great business acumen along with the garnering of great respect, brought along key names from all major sports then it isn’t a dream.
It’s a call to action.