Since this is a sports blog, I don’t really get political too often. I do at times, when it’s necessary. At this time, it’s absolutely necessary. Right below this is four bars from a rap song. I suggest you read it carefully, and genuinely think about the message:
Those lyrics come from B.o.B.’s song “Peace Piece,” a song that I feel everyone should listen to, given the current state of Charlottesville, VA, and the rest of the United States.
If you haven’t seen, you don’t watch the news nor have a Twitter. White supremacists have been marching through and chanting things such as “blood and soil” and threatening students of UVA that are protesting racism.
And let me be clear, they are not the “alt right,” they are fu—– white supremacists.
Now, I’m not going to sit her and pretend that racism isn’t wrong and shouldn’t be condemned, because it should. It’s disgusting. However, we also need to remember that people do have the First Amendment right to be racist. That’s kind of the point of the freedom.
However, there is a limit– such as the threats and actual violence that’s going on right now, but I digress.
What really did me in throughout all of this was something small I saw on social media today. I saw folks on the Twitter-sphere telling LeBron James to just “stick to basketball” and not get involved in the political climate. And it’s not just directed at him, it’s directed at guys like Colin Kaepernick and other athletes that take a stand (or a knee) on sensitive topics.
What people don’t realize with this sort of ridiculous rhetoric is that when you say “stick to sports,” you’re essentially saying “stay in your place, boy, your opinion doesn’t matter (much like black lives).”
And that’s just plain wrong. Just because LeBron doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t voice his opinions. He’s an American, and he has the same right to speak his mind as everyone else.
I’m sure you wouldn’t tell the Charlottesville white supremacists to just “stick to construction,” or “stick to medicine,” or “stick to (insert profession here).”
In fact, LeBron should speak out. He should get people involved that pay attention to his basketball career, because then maybe people will finally listen. This country was built on the backs of millions, black and otherwise, all sharing one thing, disenfranchisement. The legal and social acts of being made lesser. And in my opinion, the easiest way to disenfranchise someone is to take away his or her voice. Even though it’s unlikely that LeBron will ever be oppressed given his millions upon millions in career earnings, there is a large community of Americans that still just see him as another “ni—- in that Benz.” So, no matter how good he is, he’s still viewed as lesser and would still struggle more than his white counterparts in the U.S.
Also, without the ability to air grievances, how is the oppressed supposed to rise up?
Telling others not to speak out would be the equivalent of telling someone that’s standing on your foot that you’re okay, despite a large pain in your foot. A very simplistic simile, but you see how basic the root of the argument is, right?
In addition, the oppressed are NOT responsible for getting themselves out of that circumstance, it’s up to the oppressors to break the chains. By this I mean, it’s up to the person doing the “foot-standing” to get the hell off someone’s foot.
I guess my point in all of this is that if you don’t want your athletes speaking out on social issues, maybe we shouldn’t give them social issues for which they feel the need to speak out.