“In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.”
— Angela Y. Davis
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. ”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
- The moments in and around the game that are bigger than the game itself.
- The speeches to teammates and fans that are larger even than the game itself.
- The moments when sports is used as a platform for bigger social conversations.
- The thrilling moments from your childhood that you never forget.
- The tender moments among teammates.
It’s why we watch. It’s why we play. It’s the stuff that rises up out of sports and settles down into us.
“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
— Elie Wiesel
We have spoken often in this space (I’m looking at you Muffet McGraw, Megan Rapinoe, Race Imboden, and – well – Megan Rapinoe again) and on this website (‘The Sports Revolution Is Being Televised’ (2014)) about the importance of athletes and those in the sports world using their massive platform and using their voices to speak out and lead on social issues.
Here we are again. Last week’s in-broad-daylight videotaped killing of George Floyd, a hand-cuffed, unarmed black man, by Minneapolis police has become a flashpoint for our country and set off waves of protests across our cities and towns.
We have been here before and over and over and over again:
Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Trayvon Martin.
The list goes on and on. What we need to do is everything we can – every single one of us – to ensure that we will not be there again.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Black athletes – like Colin Kaepernick, like Tim Anderson, like LeBron James, like Muhammad Ali – have been using their platform to speak about injustice for decades.
Many times they have been met with the “stick to sports” mantra. We still see this hurled around online today. This response is, of course, designed to shut down their speech, because it was making people uncomfortable, which…is the entire point. We should be uncomfortable in the face of injustice. We’d better be.
Too often, their white counterparts and colleagues have remained silent. Silence is not an option is we want change. As Bishop Desmond Tuto famously said “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
Today we are highlighting some of the high profile folks in the sports world who ARE speaking out loudly against racism:
The black community needs our help. They have been unheard for far too long. Open your ears, listen, and speak. This isn’t politics. This is human rights.
— Joey Burrow (@Joe_Burrow10) May 29, 2020
— Carson Wentz (@cj_wentz) May 28, 2020
I CAN’T BREATHE
— Jack Flaherty (@Jack9Flaherty) June 1, 2020
— Lucas Giolito (@LGio27) May 31, 2020
For those @Twitter users, like me, losing followers because you care, post and share thoughts, videos, reports of what is going on in our country right now, instead of just sticking to sports, don’t worry about it. As my mother used to say “Their Loss”. Keep being you. ❤️
— Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) June 1, 2020
This is why he is Pop. As he once told me- ‘life is short- you either stand for something or you don’t.’ He has always firmly stood for justice and equality, and given the rest of us the courage to do so too. https://t.co/IPHCyQa1B4
— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerr) June 1, 2020
— The Good Men Project (@GoodMenProject) June 2, 2020
Photo Credit: Instagram/@TimAnderson7 (Screen Capture)