Shut up and listen

Chris Van Kleeck, Sports Writer

On Feb. 18, 2018 ABC reporter Laura Ingraham tells NBA superstar LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” on live television in response to James speaking out on police brutality. Fast forward two years, Drew Brees on live television speaks against former NFL Quarterback, Colin Kapernicks’ kneeling during the 2016 NFL season. Ironically, Ingraham defends Brees saying, “He is allowed to have an opinion.” The difference? Quite simple. Brees is a white male whose opinions did not make Ingraham and many others happy. James is a black male speaking out against issues that people like Ingraham aren’t ready to talk about nor accept. Well, time’s up.
On August 26, history was made. The NBA, WNBA, MLS and MLB all postponed games protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake. It started when the Milwakee Bucks were set to face off against the Orlando Magic; the Bucks never came out of the locker room, cancelling the game. Following the Bucks’ gesture, sporting events all across the country would be canceled. NBA games between Oklahoma City and Houston, and the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland; three WNBA games; MLB games between Milwaukee and Cincinnati and Seattle and San Diego; and five MLS matches. It has become more than a game, more than sports, more than simple entertainment. Often we put these athletes under a microscope and forget they are first and foremost human beings and if people are angered by athletes taking a stand against the evils and indignities of this world, simply because they want to watch a game, it’s time to reevaluate the morals, values, and priorities for all of America.
In times where not a single game is promised to any of these athletes due to COVID-19, players’ jobs are at jeopardy, and some are even actively battling for their respective championship; players should be applauded for the maturity and bravery shown, putting equality and justice before the games they are paid millions to play. Why put your body on the line night in and night out to entertain a country that is actively showing how little they care about you?
The notion thought by many like Ingraham is that these protests and voicing of opinions are an attack on white people. Honestly, if you look at the problem with an open mind; it’s a whole lot bigger than just the amount of melanin in your skin. These athletes, activists and brave men and women who are fighting are not out for anybody. They are simply looking for justice, equality and support in a system that has neglected them from such since it was created, and if you take these cries for help as an attack, andyour first thought is to protest their protest, you may want to take a step back and see who the real problem is. Enough with telling athletes to just “play your game, and do your job.” No more demanding these human beings to just shut up and dribble, run, kick, throw, catch… no. How about you shut up and listen.