I’m not a football fan, but…yes, let’s take a stand against racism

I commend the football players who take a stand against racism. I have never supported the NFL, nor been a Vikings fan. When Croatians were excited that I was from Minnesota, I could barely remember what sport the Timberwolves played. The research revealing the high incidence of sexual violence and football players added to my dislike of football. I am saddened by how many ex-athletes have life-long physical and mental health issues. Their experiences either on the field or in the spotlight can have debilitating long-term effects. The issue of concussions is a travesty. It shows how greed and ambition trumped the welfare of players. Despite their wealth and fame, were still pawns in the great monetary game of sports.

I am opposed to how much money these athletes and their managers and owners make. Caretakers, teachers, essential workers, and other educated people in our society make so little. Working class people have to struggle so hard to get basic healthcare or schooling. It isn’t just that I don’t usually enjoy watching these popular sports. Once in a while I do enjoy a game if kind of forced to watch because of a situation. But I also oppose them for political and social reasons.

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But what the NFL players and owners are doing now is worth commending. They are using their visibility to take a stand against racism. Our lousy president’s continued, childish Twitter responses reveal his racism and his inability to understand more than one side of an issue. The tweets also reveal how he doesn’t want us to think about his failing presidency. His rhetoric about peaceful protests against racism in juxtaposition to his tweets about some Nazis being nice people is shameful.

He is frustrated by the inability of the Republicans to repeal the ACA. Plus, he is on a dangerous path with North Korea because of his insistence to take things personally. This man is incapable of being a unifying, democratic, diplomatic, and conciliatory leader. In response to Trump’s horrific, racist rhetoric the NFL players and owners have bravely continued to peacefully exercise their right to protest racism in our country in an extremely visible setting.

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I adjure the NFL players who have so much wealth and visibility to also use their power and influence to take a stand against racism. This is work toward a a more racially and economically just America. Some already have and currently do philanthropic work. I hope more of them follow suit. But members of the NFL kneel to protest racial injustice. They lock arms to show solidarity with those who choose to practice their right of free speech. These are brave moves that come from their hearts and probably after much personal consideration.

Their actions raise awareness about the racism of the White House, our president, and of institutions and far right groups across America. These actions of protest may spur others to action as well. Our flag and national anthem symbolize the freedoms we hold dear in this country. These are freedom of speech, of protest, and of the press. Unlike Trump, these players  do not insult veterans or families of veterans. America is far from being a equitable country, and if this is how some want to make a statement about the very real injustice in our land, I commend them for it.

Victims, Heroes, Survivors: Sexual Violence on the Eastern Front During World War II. PhD dissertation.

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