Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk

Kneeling:  Ryan Reaves, Jason Dickinson, Tyler Seguin, and Robin Lehner

These four players are the first to take a knee during the American and Canadian national anthems prior to a game in which they were playing. Matt Dumba took a knee at a game a few days prior to this, but he'd given a speech and was not playing in the game itself. Please note that Matt Dumba and Ryan Reaves are players of color.

Now, many on social media are saying all kinds of negative things about a guy (Tyler specifically)  who's trying to mature, grow, and learn in the wake of George Floyd's murder by supporting his hockey brothers of color. As an FYI and for what it's worth, there are only 43 players of color in a league of 700+ active players.

I know some people think it's political, but how is standing up for what's right and supporting your friends and colleagues political? I get that there can be and maybe are political aspects to the issues, but sometimes, there's just doing the right thing. Such as standing (metaphorically in this case) with those who are fighting for basic human decency.

These players are using the platform they have as popular professional athletes to bring an important issue to the attention of some who might not otherwise give it a moment's thought.

It's so important for those with white privilege, such as Tyler, Jason, and Robin to stand with those whose experience has been different and far worse. It's important for them (and the rest of us who also enjoy white privilege) to acknowledge there's been wrong done to a certain sector of our fellow human beings before people who don't understand that there's a problem can begin to change their perception.

No, Tyler (or Jason or Robin) shouldn't be traded. He shouldn't be fined. He shouldn't be unfollowed on Twitter or Instagram, but knock yourself out if it makes you feel better (as if he'd know, sheesh).
He certainly shouldn't be excoriated for standing up for what's right. Or for using this form of peaceful protest to advocate for change.

I was one of those outraged, uneducated people back when Colin Kaepernik took a knee back in 2016, thinking he was disrespecting the flag and those who'd fought and died for our freedoms. But what I forgot was that those who fought and died--well, they fought for our freedom and certain unalienable rights. Let's take a look at the First Amendment shall we...

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Yeah, that last phrase. People have a right to gather peaceably and to petition the Government to right its wrongs.

I hope I'll walk the walk when the time comes...

Have a great week.

No comments: