As we await the conclusion to one national catastrophe that has put a halt to life as we know it, we are caught by another gut punch that has us on another standing 8 count. From Ahmaud Arbery to George Floyd, when will enough be enough?
As a former football player and coach, my mantra has always been; no other team sport teaches a young person important life lessons that they can use throughout their lifetime, than football.
There will be events during a persons life that have everlasting effects. September 11, 2001, The World Trade Center attacks. Barack Obama being elected the first African American President. Now we have the senseless murders of two African American men. While the wheels of justice seem to be moving in the right direction, some feel they are moving too slow. This seems to always be the case when it comes to injustices leveled at ordinary citizens.
While it took authorities more than 2 months to take action in the Arbery case, the embers had started to smolder. When George Floyd was murdered for the world to see, the fuel was added. Protests across the nation have started to take hold. While we all know the basis for the protests, there’s that underlying element that lies in wait, wanting to capitalize on the opportunity to loot and destroy. Frustrations overflowing are understandable and sometimes drastic measures are needed to get the attention of the powers that be….but;
We must find better ways to FIGHT THE POWER.
I am pleasantly surprised at the younger generations ability to be on the front lines of a struggle that seems to never go away. Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka, two of the top African American female tennis players in the world released statements that struck right at the heart of the matter. Athletes and entertainers have always carried a lot of weight in the African American community, so it is always a good sign when they speak up on our behalf.
Youth coaches in our community and around the country should take the time to touch on these issues with our young athletes. In the near future they will be the voices for our communities. How to explain to the youth that the very people they have been told are there to serve and protect may not have your best interest in mind is a slippery slope. I’m sure if you can install a game plan, having this type of discussion should be easy. The x’s and o’s of life come into play in times like this. If coaches and mentors truly mean that it is about the kids, this is the perfect time to put up or shut up. What these kids need more than ever is a model to show them the right way to stand up for what is right. It is our duty to do whatever we can in the time that we have to point them in the right direction.