“I can’t breathe.”
Unfortunately, that is not a new statement. Six years ago, the same statement was met with the same fate as Eric Garner said his last words in New York City. Later in the season, the late Kobe Bryant and other NBA stars wore black t-shirts with white letters that had Garner’s last words written on the front.
In the past week, those words were again spoken as George Floyd was held down until he could no longer breathe.
If you made it this far in my column without exiting, thanks. I understand there is a “just stick to sports” crowd. Maybe you are reading this and you are one. I hope you continue to read.
You see, I don’t like to write articles like this. I would rather write a sports story of an athlete throwing for 300 yards and three touchdowns, running for 200 yards, or kicking the game-winning field goal. However, as a human being, watching a fellow image-bearer murdered on video, it sparks something.
When I see people selfishly loot innocent people’s businesses, wrecking their lives it draws more of those same emotions. Let me make this clear: Not the protesters, but looters. Selfish looters. Not peaceful protesters such as the ones in Petal, MS this weekend.
Kobe Bryant was not the first to make waves in protest over something. Charlie Morton and Moses Fleetwood Walker were doing it back in 1883. Fullback Leonard Bates and “The Bates Seven” at New York University were doing it in 1940. The list could go on for quite some time.
America, we can do better. We have to.
We can’t just be reactive. We have to be proactive. Hear me: we have to be proactive.
We have to demand justice while showing kindness. I’m a white, 30-year-old man and I have never walked in an African-American man’s or woman’s shoes. However, I can cry with them. I can demand justice peacefully with them. I can be proactive with them.
Eric Garner and George Floyd can’t breathe anymore. Their breath was taken.
It would be an injustice if we wasted the breath we do have to be silent and stick to sports. It would be an injustice if we wasted our breath arguing over left or right issues while another person is murdered or injured, whether that be a civilian on the street or officer doing their job correctly.
Don’t waste your breath.