Visit The Barber?

By: S. Davis

Funny how in the aftermath of the Michael Vick interview with Jason Whitlock people are now jumping behind a guy that was maligned for his play as a quarterback and the decisions he made on and off the field of play. So he’s the one to rally behind as it relates to Colin Kaepernick’s abilities under center? Oh the lines people draw….

Vick had to ingratiate himself to any and all who would listen. Furthermore he needed the vetting of Tony Dungy just to get the ball rolling on his NFL career when he was released from prison. His advice to Kaepernick was genuine and I feel that he was doing it for the greater good of the quarterback’s future – but you have to view it from Vick’s distinct point of view. There were steps to take; he had a list of objectives he needed to meet in order to earn his desired result: employment in the National Football League. His whole existence – as far as the NFL is concerned – is to redeem himself in the eyes of the power brokers. Even now, as a retired player, he’s still on the redemption tour when doing goodwill for his  youth camps and outreach for his commitments related to charities involving animals. These are the lenses in which he’s viewing Kaepernick – and the barriers he’s facing in resuming his career.

It is not even close to being in the same universe.

Football is my favorite sport but I personally may go without my favorite way to kill time – until Kaepernick is signed or he retires. So people who have taken lives, although not through convicted murder, can line up on Sundays. You can beat your wife and assault other human beings, drive drunk and kill animals but someone who happens to be African-American QUIETLY protests and that’s the line? That’s the transgression that the league deems as too extreme?

We can’t have that in our game!

How odd is that? Why don’t white people, by and large, understand that the American experience isn’t the same for everyone? It isn’t.

Hey, white people do you remember that tiny, secret, work-exchange program called slavery. It happened. No matter how much you want to forget it. Listen this isn’t a diatribe against white America but we all view this country based on our experiences. Your worldview is built upon those experiences – and the black experience is not remotely close to those who happen to be in the majority in America.

Why the hell are white people so sensitive about the truth of this country? This ridiculous stance the league is taking against Kaepernick is proof.

Vick needed a fresh start. He was convicted of a crime and went to jail. He needed to make things right and be redeemed. There was a legitimate stigma and baggage that followed him. He had a mandate to be presentable to the 32 owners and general managers in the league.

Kaepernick carries no such baggage and, no, he doesn’t need to visit the barber. He doesn’t need to apologize. He doesn’t need to seek redemption. He didn’t do anything wrong.

On the “Dan Patrick Show” yesterday Vick was thoughtful and apologetic. “I think it was taken out of context in regards to what I was trying to convey, but I only want to help Colin Kaepernick. I’m not a general manager, I’m not the guy who makes the decisions on getting him signed, and I’m truly sorry for what I said. I think I should have used a better choice of words. Obviously we all know his afro has nothing to do with him not being signed.”

Why isn’t he signed to a contract yet? It’s the end of July. There are not 32 quarterbacks in the league fit to start. Kaepernick was a handful of plays away from having a Super Bowl ring on his hand. He had 16 touchdowns against four interceptions last season when possessions/turnovers is the most important facet of football. There’s not a single job for him?

Outside of the game, he’s an activist donating time and money to the causes that inspire him. If Tom Brady led the exact silent protest I wonder how he would be viewed, covered and dissected. I know the answer, he’d have a church erected in his honor and the country would cite him as the coming of a new deity. People already worship him as if he is one.

If whites protest an issue that draws their attention they’re viewed as passionate and true Americans whereas any protest involving African-Americans (and other minorities) get labeled as malcontents, mobs, and breeding a dangerous element. It’s shameful and the media covers things in such a way where it’s normal for them to pass those adjectives out.

This country was started on a rebellion. Americans wanted freedom of expression, clear of tyranny and rule from Great Britain. America protested. America fought. American gained its independence and in that same vein mandated that its citizens do the same. Yet a quarterback staging a quiet and personal protest against the National Anthem – which was penned by a slave owner and anti-abolitionist – is wrong for exercising his right? What he’s doing couldn’t be more American in nature.

He doesn’t need to apologize. He doesn’t need to seek redemption. He didn’t do anything wrong.

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I’m Just Black…Don’t Kill Me

By: S. Davis

I don’t like to write with anger. There are obvious reasons why but the last few days in America make it damn near impossible. So now it’s not safe to reach for my wallet…ok. How can I provide my identification without being pumped full of bullets?

We surrender and we die. We raise our hands in the air and you still shoot. I tell you that I can’t breathe because you’re putting pressure on my throat and I die. I’m fleeing arrest – and maybe I shouldn’t have run, I get that – but that’s no reason whatsoever to kill me in a hail of bullets that all enter my back.

Do you want us to leave your country? Because I honestly feel you still want us in chains, subservient and asking permission to look you in the eyes while we shine your shoes and press your clothing. Still, in 2016, we aren’t given the same respect as human beings. Pets are treated better in this society than the African-American male. That’s not a hyperbolic statement! An animal is treated badly and there’s such a vicious reaction and sympathy but a black man is gunned down by authorities and thoughts are expressed such as, “Well, he should’ve complied with the officer” or “Why did he talk back to the police?”

What’s the excuse now? “We feared for our lives” is the common response. Fear? When you have the advantage in numbers and the benefit of the doubt in the justice system? You’re afraid? You should feel emboldened to keep the status quo in this country alive and well. I can’t even see straight right now, I’m seething.

Race relations in this country aren’t better; not at all. They’re far worse than at any time since the Civil Rights Movement. You shoot, we die, there’s outrage, it soon evaporates and then another African-American male is riddled with bullets while the world feigns concern and then the news cycle just motors forward. Race will always be a problem in this United States of Racist America. The country was founded on it and that stain can never be washed from the fabric. That needs to be understood before we can mend relations going forward.

We need authentic understanding, dialogue and action. Cops don’t have to kill but they’re trained to use lethal force in almost every instance when tensions are on the rise. Apparently death is the only way to remedy conflict of any kind. I get it. Why can’t training be altered? Is that impossible? Can you just stop pretending to protect and serve and just put on the white hoods already? At least cut out the pretense of justice and get right down to your true nature.

All Caucasians aren’t racists, obviously, but a good portion of their population doesn’t care about race because they say it doesn’t factor in their lives. That’s part of the problem as well. Hey racists, you do know that whites had important roles in the Civil Rights Movement, the abolishment of slavery (this does NOT include Abraham Lincoln) and all the protests currently? Ignoring race and color only exacerbates the problems for everyone in this country. Look at the faces in anger gathered together in the crowd, they’re not all brown and dark tinted.

The problem is too many whites in America just don’t give a shit about anything outside of their bubbles. They don’t feel that they’re part of the larger issue because they have black friends to prove they are clearly not racists. (Because having a minority friend is the end-all to these issues, right?)

I don’t feel American at all today and looking at that flag makes me want to fucking puke. Dialogue is full of shit, action is needed. A(nother) black man will be killed very soon…and America will do nothing about it.

My heart goes out to those in mourning today. My prayers go out to the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. My heart goes out to the families of those officers that died in Dallas. It’s just more tragedy…on top of tragedy. It’s savage, disheartening and not a single answer will come out of it.

Land of the free…