Right here firstly, I have to admit that I’m nonetheless reeling at what I noticed occur Wednesday afternoon in our nation’s Capitol constructing. I’ll by no means recover from the sight of People preventing different People for management of our revered temple of freedom. It was unhappy past perception.
Nevertheless it additionally renewed my resolve to make use of any discussion board I’ve to talk to my fellow People, particularly the younger folks, in regards to the significance of preserving our cherished freedoms, particularly the need of a free press to talk reality to energy.
I’m pleased with the best way that such information organizations as The New York Occasions, The Washington Put up, MSNBC, and CNN have stayed true to their rules and beliefs even whereas below assault from the forces that may strike down our democracy in favor of a dictatorship.
They’ve proved that good journalism remains to be alive and nicely within the age of social media. Our universities and schools now should undertake the formidable activity of educating younger folks easy methods to discover good journalism amongst all of the imposters that appear to dominate the web.
A number of weeks in the past, I devoted this house to lauding considered one of my former employers, Sports activities Illustrated, for giving its Sportsperson of the Yr award to 4 athletes who’ve stood up for social justice and compassion.
So final week, when Mark Story of The Lexington Herald-Chief kindly despatched me a poll to vote for the newspaper’s Kentucky Sports activities Determine of the Yr award, I made a decision to comply with SI’s instance by voting for athletes and coaches who’ve excelled of their sports activities, actually, however who even have stood up for social justice and equality.
Listed here are my high 5 picks:
Rhyne Howard, College of Kentucky ladies’s basketball participant. Moreover being an All-American on the courtroom, she was a extremely seen spokesperson for the “Black Lives Matter” motion.
Mark Stoops, UK head soccer coach. His group gained one other bowl recreation, however he set himself aside from others in his career by letting his group boycott a observe to protest police violence towards unarmed African-People. He additionally led a group march throughout campus to advertise social justice.
Scott Davenport, Bellarmine males’s basketball coach. Moreover closing BU’s historical past in NCAA Division II with a last standout season, he led this system into DI as a member of the ASUN Convention. He talks to his gamers usually about doing the suitable issues, each on and off the courtroom, and that features getting concerned in group causes and actions.
Jeff Walz, College of Louisville ladies’s basketball coach. A local of Ft. Thomas, Ky., and son of former UK quarterback Roger Walz, his group was a nationwide championship contender and he continued being a spokesperson for ladies’s rights.
Dana Evans, U of L ladies’s basketball star. Like UK’s Howard, she excels each on and off the ground. She is the epitome of a Jeff Walz participant and a frontrunner in additional than simply basketball.
I’m positive there are numerous others and that makes me each joyful and hopeful. The sports activities world doesn’t exist in a bubble. I’ve all the time believed that extra athletes, particularly these within the skilled ranks, ought to spend much less time counting their cash and extra time being a pressure for good in our society.
Till the previous few years, most of sport’s advocates for social justice and equality have been African-American. I’m speaking about Jesse Owens, star of the 1936 Olympics in Hitler’s Berlin; Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s coloration barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947; Invoice Russell, who led San Francisco to back-to-back NCAA basketball titles in 1956 and ’57; and American sprinters Tommy Davis, John Carlos, and Lee Evans, whose bowed heads and clinched-fist Black Energy salutes on their victory stands turned the 1968 Olympics into extra than simply an athletic competitors.
And, after all, there was Louisville’s Muhammad Ali, who used his discussion board as world heavyweight champion to encourage folks of coloration around the globe. When he refused induction into the U.S. Military in 1967 on ethical grounds, it made him without delay probably the most beloved and hated athlete on the planet.
The newest reform motion started, kind of, when San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee throughout the pre-game enjoying of the nationwide anthem, a silent and peaceable protest towards police brutality.
He misplaced his job with the 49ers due to the ensuing furor, and has struggled to discover a new house ever since. However at present, even many who as soon as seen him as a villain now perceive and recognize his message.
Fortunately, much more white athletes appear to be becoming a member of their black teammates within the struggle for justice, freedom, equality, and voting rights. Coaches even have sided with their gamers towards the forces that may deny them their freedoms assured by the Structure.
And allow us to say this to our excessive faculties and schools: It’s important to make civics lessons a required a part of any curriculum as a result of it’s the easiest way to eradicate the ignorance about our system of presidency that so many People have demonstrated in recent times.
I imagine lessons additionally needs to be taught about racism and why it’s so improper. We now have not made almost as a lot progress in that space as many people believed earlier than the police killings of unarmed blacks that galvanized the nation final summer time.
The excellent news is that there isn’t a downside America can’t clear up if we tackle it with a unity of will and function. We have to make all of the discuss “coming collectively” extra than simply empty rhetoric. We should come collectively for a typical trigger as we did when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941.
I hope and pray the sports activities world could be a chief on this battle. I feel the gamers and coaches will discover they are going to receives a commission for this in methods way more vital than cash.