Colin Kaepernick takes a knee to protest police brutality, and some folks tell him to “stick to sports.”
Pro athletes address the elephant or the elephants in the room, such as racism and socioeconomics, and some folks tell them to “stick to sports.”
Journalists such as Jemele Hill call out the “leader of the free world” for his compliance with white supremacy, and some folks tell her to “stick to sports.”
When people say “stick to sports,” in my estimation, the message is clear:
“Your entertainment value is all that matters. You can sing, you can dance, you can play sports. That’s all. When you open your mouth to speak about things that make me uncomfortable, I don’t want to hear what you have to say.”
That is, of course, patently selfish.
Still, I wonder how people would respond if an elected official of prominence talked about sports during a political stump speech?
The above commentary just happens to be from President Donald Trump. Why he would feel the need to pander — I mean, campaign, to his base when a possible bid for re-election wouldn’t be on the table for another few years isn’t even the most important concern here.
Where are all of the folks telling Kap, Jemele and pro athletes to “stick to sports”? Shouldn’t they be telling Donnie J to “stick to politics”?
Needless to say, I don’t subscribe to a narrative that says “stick to politics” or “stick to sports.” People are complex. Politics are complex. Hell, life is complex.
I also don’t subscribe to deliberate hypocrisy.
If you run on a platform of “Make America Great Again,” yet you discourage the First Amendment freedoms of athletes (or anyone else for that matter), especially as they speak to deep-seated social issues, you are not only unpatriotic and un-American.
You are on the wrong side of history.
I salute individuals such as Kaepernick, Hill, LeBron James and Stephen Curry for sticking to their convictions. Their sticktoitiveness extends beyond their competitive fire. Alongside Kobe Bryant, these NBA greats not only represent some of this generation’s greatest basketball players, they represent the idea that we should not allow ourselves to be placed in a box because of our profession or what we profess.
Continue to stick up for what you believe in. And keep sticking it to the man.