Seattle Seahawks tackle Michael Bennett says it’s time a ‘white’ superstar speaks out in support of the protests against social injustice. I don’t think it will help, and here’s why.
Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett spoke out this week, saying “It’s time for a white guy to join the fight against social injustice.”
If he’s looking for more headlines, I agree.
If he’s looking for a solution; if he’s looking for a catalyst for true change…he’s barking up the wrong tree. Just more noise, more rhetoric, and more politics. And frankly, I don’t think it’ll make a difference!
In the first place Mike Bennett gives far too much credence to the impact of professional athletes, black or white. Their shelf life is simply too short, unless you’re Peyton Manning, with a historic career. The typical jock has people’s attention for about the time it takes to make them money on Fan Duel. Beyond that…what have you done for me lately?
And second, the issues of social injustice that Colin Kaepernick protests cannot be treated with a broad stroke, or a generalization about society with a focus on police brutality. The actual numbers simply don’t support his argument.
Look…these are critical times. And these are critical matters. And if I could respond to Mike Bennett or Colin Kaepernick this is what I’d say.
Social injustice in America isn’t a general thing, it’s a personal thing. And the only solution lies with individuals and what they do from the moment they’re able to consider the options available to them…as Americans. And, will they make a good decision as to what they do with their life?
Education is a key. It always has been. And despite the arguments about the adversity faced by inner-city kids, the distraction and dangers of gang mentality, poverty, and deprivation, the ultimate issue again is a matter of personal choice…and the commitment to pursue that choice, no matter what it takes. What this points to, of course, is the breakdown within the home…of no dad or father figure there to give support and sound direction. So, you grow up hanging with your friends thinking there’s comfort in the wrong kind of numbers.
It’s what M.L. King talked about when he said not to judge on the color of one’s skin, but by the content of one’s character. Absolutely true. It is what distinguishes people; it’s what makes them mutually appreciated, aside from their obvious physical differences.
But what Kaepernick and Bennett will not accept is that character is a generational matter, and it takes time. It’s a thing that must be taught by the father figures that do not presently exist…the example being Kaepernick, whose own birth father abandoned him before he was born. He was adopted and raised in a two-parent home. There were good choices made for him to have come as far as he has. He is, after all, a professional athlete, paid millions.
The type of justice and opportunity they cry out for cannot be dictated. It will take the work and decisions of an entire generation of people who choose to follow in the steps, and the example, of other successful African-Americans in every walk of life…doctors, lawyers, teachers, coaches, businessmen, and even politicians.
The kind of justice they seek will not come by simple protest and conversation – by simply making others aware. It will come by individual action, choice, and the selection of a path less destructive than putting one’s self in harm’s way – of being a minion of the streets!
No athlete, black or white, all-pro or third string backup, is going to make a difference for the oppressed for which Colin Kaepernick demands attention. It’s a difference that only the individual at risk can determine. It’s about the content of his character, the uniqueness of his skills, and the respect gained as a result of his actions.
There’s just too many examples out there to believe otherwise – more poignant examples than that of people being shot by the cops. So kneel, raise a fist, and protest all you want. The best white athletes of all time can’t make a difference…Peyton Manning, Larry Bird, or even Mickey Mantle. Never could.
People are the only ones who can make a difference. A choice of character and contribution, over chaos!