As pulled up in my driveway today my son was leaving out on his bike headed to the corner store for junk food. I watched until he turned the corner without using his hands and i reminisced about how i use to do that. Jeffrey Jr is 12 years old and all i could say to myself was…”I love that boy.” I thank God for him. I am also worried about him. Worried about what kind of America will he grow up in. It is a familiar feeling that i recall from the numbness i felt after the Trayvon Martin verdict. I worry that at some point my son may encounter a law enforcement officer who has already prejudged him and might consider him a threat on sight. That is why i understood where Colin Kaepernick was coming from when he decided to protest and all of the other athletes that followed his lead. Kaepernick as you may know decided to kneel during the national anthem to protest acts of racial injustice in the United States before his NFL games. Locally several Miami Dolphin players joined the protests and have been publicly ripped for doing so. Some Dolphin fans burned team jerseys in retaliation last week in Davie. I wonder what the reaction will be from folks when we look at the recent developments in Tulsa and North Carolina. What are people going to say ? That there is no problem here ? What are they going to do ?
I get the feeling that these protests are not going away anytime soon. I expect NFL player protests to become louder and even more widespread. Clearly a new day has come in sports where athletes have decided to use their celebrity and collective voices to draw attention to a cause much as their predecessors did back in the turbulent 1960’s.
Something clearly is not right and all these athletes and others want, is to the see the situation addressed. Many may not like the method chosen but i guess that kind of is the point of a protest to make others uncomfortable. I admit i raised my eyebrow when i first saw what the players were doing in particular when it came to the national anthem. Everyone had an opinion . Well i wonder what the critics will say now to the family of the late Terrance Crutcher a father of four, whose death this past Friday is among the latest killings to draw national attention. Here is a man who was shot and killed as he stood beside his car with both arms raised . Apparently his car had broken down as he was on his way home from a class at Tulsa Community College his family revealed. Reminds me of another case right here in Florida when a musician who had car trouble was killed on the side of the road in a case that is still ongoing. It seems if you break down while black it could be a death sentence. I’m just saying.
I hope these athletes continue to draw attention to something that has been going on for far too long. Despite the threats and the financial backlash they have seen enough. I hope the detractors have seen enough too. Enough funerals, enough bloodshed and violence. I hope these protests lead to some conversation and eventually to results. I hope the day comes in America when my son can watch his son ride on his bike out of his family’s driveway and not have to worry that he may be viewed as a threat to others because of his skin color. I hope that all they can see is a kid and his bike.