Look, the headline says it all. And not just for baseball. Basketball. Football. Hockey. Hell, even tennis. When the National Anthem plays, kneel.
When Colin Kaepernick started kneeling, I didn’t like it. But I wasn’t supposed to. I’m white, middle class, coming from military parents, and someone who considered military service myself. But the more I listened, the more I understood. And I never thought that Kaepernick shouldn’t protest.
But more than ever, I’m seeing why people of all races, colors and backgrounds are angry, and why people are protesting. And it makes me angry. When I was in high school, I took part in the protests after the verdicts exonerating the police officers who beat Rodney King. 28 years ago. And things hadn’t changed for when Kaepernick and Eric Reid started his protests. And things still haven’t changed. There is not enough change in police departments to get rid of racism, stopping their prejudices, and adjusting use of force policies.
Unlike Drew Brees, and millions of people who take offense, this is not about disrespecting the flag, or the people who wear uniforms. But you know what? I feel disrespected by our country. We have a president who I’m ashamed of. We have politicians who make human rights into a “political stance”. We have a small amount of police and law enforcement officers who hate the people they are supposed to serve, and take out violence on them, and even if it’s a small amount, it’s too large and those LEOs who stand by and do nothing are complicit.
So when sports return, whenever that is, I hope players will kneel. I don’t care about the NFL changing its “rules” to prohibit it. I hope they do it anyway. And sure, that’ll be weeks or months after what happened to George Floyd, and the protests that have followed. But again, that’s the point. Keep it in the forefront. Keep it in the press. Remind politicians we still care and haven’t forgotten. And remind voters to get out and vote. Vote for the President, vote for congress, and especially vote for your state representatives, because that’s where a lot of law enforcement policy is made.
And yes, I want the Giants to do it. When the Giants return, it’s possible the Giants will have only one African-American player on the team: Jaylin Davis. There is a small chance they may not even have him. But I hope to see white players, players with strong voices such as Hunter Pence, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, and Buster Posey, kneeling as well to show support. As Richard Sherman pointed out about the white QBs and stars in his sport, “I’m impressed with the white QBs speaking up because those are voices that carry different weight than the black voices for some people. Which means the people who refuse to listen to a black athlete’s perspective will hear the same thing said from a white athlete, but receive the message much differently. So it’s awesome that more people are speaking out, because in sports, you really have a love and appreciation for your fellow man, regardless of race.”
So I hope more people speak out. And if you’re a fan…screw it, we should kneel too, if you can. With social distancing, there’ll probably be enough room. But let everyone know we still remember, and we still want change.