“What will it take?” one player pleaded.
“For one of us to be murdered by police brutality?” Another asked rhetorically.
“What if I was George Floyd?” They are queried one after another before reciting a litany of George Floyds – Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner et al.
Then one player declared: “We will not be silent.”
It was raw. It seemed organic. I hoped it was sincere.
But last week it was performative at best.
Among the demonstrating players – including Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins and Odell Beckham Jr. – to name a few – were Washington’s Chase Young, a sports illustrated FanNation writer praised for fearlessly taking a stand as a rookie.
Commanders fine Jack Del Rio $ 100K for Jan. 6 ‘dust-up’ comments
But since Young’s defensive coordinator, Jack Del Rio, made the start of last week a controversy for himself with a tone-deaf response explaining the importance of a tweet explaining the importance of congressional hearings in the Jan. 6, 2021, Attack of a mob of Donald Trump supporters on the US Capitol, Young and his black teammates have been deafening in their quietness. What has made their self-muteness piercingly painful is that Del Rio equated to Jan. 6 protests to protest police lethality unleashed on Black people, which Young and other Black Washington football players pronounced they would speak out on forever.
This moment is why the attention paid to political activism on the part of Black professional athletes – at least the men – is wildly inordinate. As a lot, they are not that deserving. I haven’t forgotten that the vast majority didn’t demonstrate Colin Kaepernick’s protest, save for a weekend when spurred by Trump’s verbal assault of their mothers. And Black players take up seven of every 10 roster spots in the NFL.
Black women’s pros, on the other hand, have shown no such trepidation about standing up to authority, even when it is diametrically opposed to their best interests. Black players for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream proved as much forcing out by former Senator Kelly Loeffler, a Georgia Republican, as a co-owner after she wrongly accused the Black Lives Matter movement of antisemitic and fomenting violence across the country.
I ‘m not remiss to criticize the Brothers of Black Women pro athletes if I’m going to harangue those for whom they do toil so little when the time demands they do so much more. I should also share some smoke for White NFL players who didn’t criticize Del Rio for dismissing as a “dust-up” the Jan. 6 riot against the lawful certification of President Biden’s election, a riot that directly resulted in five deaths.
The Post reported Saturday that Del Rio shut down his Twitter account. On Friday, Coach Ron Rivera announced the team fined Del Rio for $ 100,000 wondering why the Floyd protests – which eventually forced the toppling of the monument to Washington’s racist team founder, George Preston Marshall, outside RFK Stadium – were not being investigated like what. happened at the Capitol.
But I’m not as mad with Del Rio – who voiced his opinion, no matter how absurd – as with the black players, who said they would no longer see something and say nothing when it comes to lethal policing of us and our own – And then did just that. What happened to all that energy, represented by two summers ago by Dwayne Haskins, the team’s first-round quarterback hopeful who died tragically two months ago, in post a post to his Twitter page From Floyd protest in downtown DC?
NAACP calls for Jack Del Rio’s job after Jan. 6 ‘dust-up’ comment
It ‘s not all their fault. I am uncomfortably reminded that they are products. They’re a system of products, the athletic culture, one in which they’ve been inculcated for so long that their learned allegiance is to the authority of any coach rather than any principle. To wit, Washington defensive lineman Jonathan Allen said last week when asked about Del Rio’s comments: “At the end of the day, you can make a difference and still respect each other. I feel like that ‘s what our country is about. That ‘s what our team’s about. So, I mean, I personally, I don’t care about his opinion as long as he shows up every day and works hard. That ‘s what I want from my defensive coordinator. “
And what of Jason Wright, the franchise patted himself on the back for making the first black president of an NFL team? What is the face of the team that has suggested its racial justice efforts?
How about the Black Engagement Network team promoted just one year ago? As Rivera announced then, its mission is to “… work with organization executives and provide leadership to support, educate and racial equality initiatives across communities across the Washington, DC, metro area where our employees live and work.”
Anyone heard from the town hall program put the club together then, which said it consisted of six Black employees, including senior executives Doug Williams and Malcolm Blacken, as well as Jennifer King, whose team celebrated last season as the first Black woman to serve An assistant position coach in league history? Of course not.
It should not be necessary to have a scheduled news conference or media availability to make a comment – not when a coach is conflating an investigation into a violent assault on black people reacting to democracy so determinedly as an existential threat. The Black Women on the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx didn’t wait to ask how they felt about the police killing of Philando Castile. When they met the media, they made his death, and nothing else, the public’s business.
Washington’s minicamp is scheduled to open Tuesday. Let it be an opportunity for its Black players and officials to redeem themselves.