WE matter

BLACK LIVES MATTER has been the battle cry for all those part of the movement and those protesting after the grand juries in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner case failed to indict the officers involved.

Soon after we saw five of the St. Louis Rams raise their arms in the “don’t shoot” pose showing their solidarity for the protestors in Ferguson.  Recently, Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls) and Reggie Bush (Detroit Lions) wore shirts that read “I can’t breathe” the last words Eric Garner said over and over before he died.

Can sports and social issues mix? Yes and they should.

Athletes have always been aware of what’s going on in the world and have taken a stance on issues that matter to them hoping to bring on change.

During the 1968 Olympics the black power salute was an act of protest by two African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos during their medal ceremony.  We have also seen Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and Bill Russell play active roles in the civil rights movement.  Then last year the Miami Heat all wore hoodies in protest of the killing of Trayvon Martin.

But there are people who don’t get it – they just want their athletes to be about sports and nothing else.  But isn’t that hypocritical?

When the NFL acknowledges breast cancer awareness and all the athletes wear pink everyone is on board.  When the league acknowledges our troops and has surprise reunions during halftime of a game we all appreciate those moments.

Those issues are deemed safe and they do not make people uncomfortable so those get a pass.

But as soon as you bring up “race” or “racism” then some folks freak out and don’t want to have a real honest discussion about either.  But those same fans have to recognize that two of the most popular sports leagues NFL and NBA have mostly African-American athletes – no escaping that one.

So it should not be a shock that those same men can relate to Michael Brown and Eric Garner and want change for the better.

Athletes have influence and why not use that influence for good.

We all have to remember that not only do black lives matter – we all matter.