Yes, I will be watching the NFL this season…

This blog post may come as a surprise to some.

Many of you have watched me take a stand against injustices I see and encounter. Many of you have read my thoughts about what has been happening in this world. Many of you know I have no problem expressing how I feel about certain situations. So many of you may have been expecting a different blog title than the one you received.

Listen, everyone knows I love football. Not just like. I love it. Always have. Always will. Youth. Middle school. High school. College. NFL. I love it all. It is an escape for me. It is a place of solace in this crazy world. It is something I look forward too every September. And they are the reasons why I will be in front of the tv tonight.

Let me be clear. My love for the game is not greater than the desire I have to see things change in this world as well as effect change. However, here is the reality. The National Football League has long been a corporation that expects its employees to behave a certain way, follow certain protocols and always put the interests of their team, first. No different than most businesses, right? Well the difference here is the NFL has long been a corporation that rarely practices what it preaches. It wants to protect the shield but it has not been willing to do what needs to be done to make sure the shield is presented in a continuous, positive light.

Take a look at the facts.

The NFL has had an issue with drugs for years. Instead of addressing it head on, they initally tried to ignore the problem in hopes that it would go away. However, it did not so they were forced the deal with it.

The NFL has had an issue with its concussion protocol for years. Instead of addressing it head on, they tried to ignore the problem in hopes that it would go away. However, it did no so they were foced to deal with it.

The NFL has had in issue with domestic violence for years. Instead of addressing it head on, they tried to ignore the problem in hopes that it would go away.However, it did not so they were forced to deal with it.

See a pattern here?

Instead of using its voice to be a prominent opponent of these issues, the NFL decided long ago that the overall image of the shield was more important than the people behind it.

Listen, I get it. Again, it is a business. However, it is disappointing to routinely see one of the most powerful locomotives in this world routinely being reacticve instead of proactice.

Still, knowing all of this has not deterred me from watching the product that has been put onto the field. I love it and I do not ever see that changing.

Do I wish that it would? Absoluely. Did I consider boycotting? Sure did. Am I suprised at the blackballing of Colin Kaepernick? Absolutely not.

I am hoping that the NFL will learn from its past handlings of major controversies. The movement Kap started will not be ending anytime soon. If anything, its picking up even more steam and instead of trying to ignore it the NFL would be wise to face it head on. Deal with the injustices that not only plague our society but the National Football League as well.

The NFL is a well oiled machine. You would have to actively boycott it for years to make even a small dent in the profits they accumulate. And if you really want to make a noticeable dent, then the boycott would have to extend beyond the league and into the pockets of their partners as well – DirectTV, Gatorade, Verizon, Nike, Papa John’s, etc.

In the meantime, we all can do more in our own communities to deal with the injustices that surround us on a daily basis. Mentor some youth. Attend city council meetings. Volunteer. Hold community events that promote unity. Speak out against racism, sexism, classim, all the isms. Run for office. If we are going to make real changes that have a lasting impact then it starts in our communities. Lets all do our part to ensure that happens.

I plan to continue my efforts during football season.

 

Til next time…toodells.

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My problem with Dabo Swinney…

If I did not learn anything else in 2016, I learned that in times of controversy people’s true colors will shine brightly.

Enter Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney.

Before September, I was a fan of his, I guess. I had nothing against him. I liked his story. I liked the fact that he was an underdog and had been counted out numerous times. I liked his positive energy, his upbeat attitude and the fact that he always gave credit to God for his many blessings.

I liked what he stood for until he provided me with his opinion surrounding one of 2016’s most controversial figures, Colin Kaepernick.

Like the majority of coaches around the country, Swinney was asked to give his opinion regarding the manner in which Kaepernick had chosen to express his disgust regarding the unjustices plaguing black people and people of color in this country. Swinney’s initial response was that he would not discipline a player who decided to take a stance by not standing for the national anthem even though he thought it would be a distraction. Distraction huh?

Strike one.

Swinney further explains that he believed there is a right way to do things and he did not think two wrongs made a right. According to him, he would foresee the “distraction” as divisive. Divisive huh?

Strike two.

To drive home his failed point, Swinney begans to paint this picture of “luxury” that have been afforded to black people that leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. never got to experience-things that were just a dream to him. He reminded us of the fact that President Obama is a two term president, that interracial marriage is now legal, that there are black head coaches, quarterbacks, CEOs, NBA owners, etc. He ends with suggesting that if this country is so bad then “some of these people need to move to another country.”

Strikes three, four, five and six.

If you have been following my blog closely the past two years then you know how much my gears grind when people who look nothing like me try and tell others and myself how we should think, feel and act. Or how we should feel grateful that we now are able to experience “luxuries” that my grandparents could not. I do not care what your title is, where you are from, how much money you make or what side of the bed you sleep on, you do not have the right to tell me how I should react to the lopsided amount of injustices being dished out to people of color every hour.

Now that I have done a little research, I guess I should not have been surprised at his words considering the fact that a few years ago Swinney, who will receive a $400,000 bonus for winning the championship, said he would quit coaching football if players started receiving compensation “because there is enough entitlement in the world as is.” I think I am out of strikes.

As a Christian, I have a problem with Christians like Dabo Swinney who give God all the praise when millions are watching but when the numbers are few, the love he preaches about is not evident in his words. There is no love in telling people to leave who want to see things change for the better in this country. There is no love in being a leader of young men while suggesting that any form of protest against wrongdoings constitute as a “wrong.” There is no love in reminding black people how far we have come without acknowledging the backward steps that are being taken by those in power. There is no love in not supporting compensation for young men and women in a billion dollar industry while making $5.1 million a year off the backs, legs and arms of these young men. To some, this may seem like a stretch and I can almost guarantee that those who think that will not look like me.

Honestly, I would like to be all excited about Clemson’s win. I would like to be all hip hip hooray for the ACC. I would like to be able to call up one of my best friends who is the only Alabama fan I know and offer up a mound of trash talk. Unfortunately, I cannot. To revel in Alabama’s loss is to celebrate Clemson’s win and with Dabo Swinney roaming the sidelines it is impossible for me to do. Although, I am extremely excited for DeShaun Watson. Class act all the way.

However, that is where my excitement stops. I have long accepted the fact that some people will say whatever they want to and seemingly still be rewarded in spite of. One thing I do know for sure is that the Good Book was spot on when it says you reap what you sow. From one Christian to another, Dabo you have been gifted a unique opportunity. Do not ruin it because you choose to not take the time to understand. As a Christian that is exactly what you should be doing. The love you speak about should be evident in your thoughts, words and deeds.

Remember, God is watching.

 

Until next time…TOODELLS.

 

Kaepernick’s “sit in” stands out…

“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

Or in this case, sit.

Enter Colin Kaepernick. Unless you have been on a boat in the middle of the ocean with no wi-fi then you are already familiar with the controversy Kaepernick has immersed himself in. Call me crazy but I honestly am stunned by the amount of attention this has gotten. I took a break from social media for a few days last week so I really did not get caught up on all the backlash, until yesterday. And that is when my head started spinning with thoughts I was eager to record.

I was going to make this one of my paint a picture, extensive vocabulary posts but I am beyond that because I am so over the foolishness. There are kids being killed in our streets in broad daylight and you all are more concerned with an NFL player not standing during the National Anthem? There are kids committing suicide due to bullying and you all are more concerned with an NFL player not standing during the National Anthem? There is a ticking time bomb campaigning to add President of the United States to their resume and you all are more concerend with an NFL player not standing during the National Anthem? There are 28 million people uninsured in this country and you all are more concerend about an NFL player not standing during the National Anethem? There are young black men who are buried in cemeteries across the country because a trigger happy police officer used him as target practice and got away with it but you all are more concerned about an NFL player not standing during the National Anthem? There are 2 million plus homeless veterans, you know the people who you have used to support your argument regarding Kapernick’s decision, but you all continue to be more concerned about an NFL player who did not stand during the National Anthem.

Miss me all the way as far as left as you can go with that foolishness.

See. Here is the “real problem.” We are tired. We are tired of inequality. We are tired of having to work twice as hard to get a fourth of what we deserve. We are tired of racism. We are tired of our actions being dissected. We are tired of our movements being misconstrued. We are tired of institutionalism. We are tired of being ostracized. We are tired of a justice system that leaves behind more injustices in its trail.

And when we get tired, we take matters into our own hands. Sometimes, things are not handled in the most effective way. However, you cannot to continue to expect every reaction to be peaceful when peace has not been afforded to us. I am over people who do not look like us trying to tell us how to think, feel and act. WE ARE NOT PUPPETS.

Colin Kaepernick did nothing wrong. Absolutely nothing. I find so much irony in the fact that there are so many talking heads, including current and retired NFL players who NEVER condemn the issues plaguing our country, who feel the need to chime in regarding his action while failing to realize they are doing the same thing Kaepernick did – taking advantage of the First Amendment right.

The flag he “disrespected” is a symbol. That symbol is supposed to represent the freedoms that all Americans are “entitled” to. The freedom that Kaepernick used that is supposedly afforded to him. The freedom that the brave men and women of our armed forces fight for daily. It is that freedom the flag represents – the freedom to agree or disagree, hedge your own beliefs and express your thoughts whether we agree with them or not. Remember this is supposed to be a democracy not a dictatorship.

Or is it?

From my vantage point, Kaepernick should be commended. It takes a brave, courageous man to willing face adversity head on when there is so much at stake. Thanks to him, even I have learned some things I did not know – ie. the third stanza of The Star Spangled Banner glorifies slavery. Great. And you want me to be OK with that? Well, I am not and I never will be.

Until more people in this country are willing to address the issues head on, you know the issues Kaepernick pointed out very clearly while speaking to reporters at his locker – you know the ones the talking heads keep ignoring, then we will keep riding this merry go round. I truly believe love can drive out hate but only when it is given the opportunity to do so. Are you willing to do what it takes for love to have a chance at winning? Actions speak louder than words. What do yours say about you?

My ‘Untitled’ Peyton Manning Piece

Hmmmm, where do I start?

Do I start with naming the countless records he holds? Or do I start with by highlighting his career with the Indianapolis Colts then proceed to his career with the Denver Broncos? Or do I start with the way he revolutionized the game of football?

Or do I just start with what today means to me?

I think that is a good place to start.  Continue reading “My ‘Untitled’ Peyton Manning Piece”

Super Bowl 50 is set…..My Panthers vs. My Peyton

{Source: Google Images}

 

{Source: Twitter}
{Source: Twitter}

A few months ago, right after Peyton was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, I started a blog post. The topic was going to be about how we may have just seen one of the greatest, Peyton Manning, take his last snap behind center. I couldn’t do it though. I couldn’t bring myself to write the blog because I knew if anyone could dig deep and get back on that field, it was Peyton Williams Manning.

Look who was right :-). All I heard all was week was Peyton can’t beat Brady. Peyton can’t throw. Peyton has no chance. Wonk wonk wonk. “That’s why you don’t listen to they. They don’t play.” Ain’t that right, D. Wade? At 39 years young, Peyton is headed back to the Super Bowl and his opponent is my beloved Carolina Panthers. Yes, I had a great Sunday!  Continue reading “Super Bowl 50 is set…..My Panthers vs. My Peyton”

A chat with Andre Boyd, the man behind #NotRayLewis

On Halloween, I received a text. At the time of receipt, I was fully engaged in trying to cheer my beloved North Carolina State Wolfpack onto victory against the number one team in the country. I quickly glanced at the text and said to myself, “I’ll check it later once I get stationary.”

November 1. I finally settled in to catch up on what I had missed that weekend. I soon found out there was a party going on and I was beyond fashionably late. The internet was all abuzz. My social media feeds were filled with people talking about it. The unexpected was happening.

Andre Boyd had gone viral.

Continue reading “A chat with Andre Boyd, the man behind #NotRayLewis”

The University of Missouri Wake-Up Call

I can admit. Before yesterday, I was clueless as to the racial tension that had arisen at the University of Missouri.

Normally, I am on top of injustices that are important to the Twitterverse(that place where you find out what is REALLY going on in the world before mainstream starts reporting, if they do, on it). My timeline is filled with people who I consider to be movers, shakers and activists.

As I was preparing to watch yesterday’s game between my beloved Carolina Panthers and the Green Bay Packers, Twitter alerted me that multiple accounts had retweeted a picture that was tweeted by University of Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel. I immediately opened my feed to see one of the most powerful images I have seen in recent years; the Missouri football team and coaches linked up, arm in arm, in solidarity. The tweet: “The Mizzou Family stands as one. We are united. We are behind our players. GP.”

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Continue reading “The University of Missouri Wake-Up Call”