What is one of the most disrespectful actions as an athlete you can take? What is taking a knee? Why do I feel like this would be a Jeopardy question???
Today, I was educated about a new fundraising opportunity, taking a Pledge for 10. My significant other notified me on the recent news from Philadelphia Eagle, DE Chris Long (tweet him @JOEL9ONE) and his new foundation. As I sit here, I think about how noble a cause Long’s ideal is. He has already donated a 6 game check to Charlottesville, VA and under privileged children and their future education. Now he has gone one step further and donated his entire season check to those who are underprivileged in all the cities he has called home as a result of his participation in the NFL. He is playing for free.
Currently, we can all attribute the protests in the NFL to one member, Colin Kaepernick, and his voice against the oppression that stems from racism. What calls my attention to Chris Long’s cause is actually the lack of race. For those who don’t know, Long is Caucasian. I sit here and think about that statement. A member of the NFL who is not black, speaking up for ALL underprivileged youth is awe-inspiring. We sit here in a world that has dealt with the racial divide in recent months, but in this instance we have a white American standing for those who are under-privileged and in need of financial assistance. I along with my fellow brothers and sisters who are apart of this movement aren’t racially divided, we are “white”, see problems with the anger towards the movement of bringing real change to our society.
If you have followed any of the news of the protests by NFL players recently, this has been politically charged as well a racial divide. This in itself is a problem, but today I was reminded that other people feel the way I do. They see the injustice in education and poverty as racially biased, and that what we as a country need to take a stand on. If Chris Long can make a statement, so can I.
Those who call the NFL players’ behaviors atrocious or a disgrace to those who have served in the military; I’d like to pose a sobering reminder as a Catholic. We kneel when we bless the Eucharist. For those who are not Catholic, blessing the Eucharist is a holy sacrament, honoring the life of the Lord given to the sinful. So much of these past protests have recognized the kneeling as a disrespectful action towards the troops who have died in their oath to OUR country. This ignorance has to be acknowledged and understood. Why not look at this protest as honoring, instead of a disgrace? We are one country, and I am certainly proud of my nation, most of the time.
I hope that this post finds resonance within your life. I hope that you find solace in the action of a fellow American. More importantly, I hope that this post provides hope that we can be the change in the world, and positively affect those who are less fortunate than our current living situation. The change begins with us, and once we impart our knowledge, we can truly make a difference.
Take Long’s action as a call to do better. That’s the only way we will make a difference to our society at large.