By ELY SANCHEZ, Columnist ¦
Everyone, I’m new to the game. New to this whole “giving a damn about history” thing. But now’s the time and I’m ready to speak up. My goal is to open a dialogue — the very same reason many of these NFL players are currently sacrificing everything in order to bring to light a true injustice happening across the nation.
Why now though? Great question. This is not a movement Colin Kaepernick devised on his own. Even beginning with his initial protest, he got permission from an Army Ranger who wrote an open letter to him suggesting that he take a knee. Kaepernick, as well as other players taking a knee, are some of many players in sports who just so happened to use a template set by previous movements. Even during WWII, four-time gold medalist and international badass Jesse Owens, who willingly ran for the United States in track, would eventually return home from the 1936 Olympics with no guarantees of his future prosperity. Owens would face opponents who continuously reminded him that even his own country was practicing a similar form of segregation, and that he should protest against it by not running at all. Our U.S Olympic Gold medalist would come home and eventually find work taking on menial jobs just for speaking out against injustice.
Some players care to take a stand, while others are too busy scoring touchdowns and parading around the end zone selling whatever product they can. But should the player live in a constant state of fear of simply offending the personal consumer? It’s as if many of these players now side more with their corporate sponsors than with the community that is purchasing many of their products. Yet, with even NFL Executive Vice President Jocelyn Moore stating that the issues raised by Kaepernick “deserve our attention and action,” many people still deem this movement an act of defiance. Kaepernick’s grievance against the NFL accuses many owners of conspiring against him in order to keep him out of the league because of the player protests during the national anthem that he started. I guess we all have to wait to see what will happen now that an arbitrator has allowed the case to proceed to trial, and denied the NFL’s request to throw the case out.
In the meantime, put on your Nike gear and stand up for what you believe in. Let’s support the activist athletes who use their sport to take a stand.