Who I Choose To Be

Is my silence…agreement? Is my lack of action…cosigning? These are things that have crossed my mind with many of the ongoings of society these days and lately I have had this whole NFL thing on my mind heavy. Should I watch, should I not, am I okay with what I am seeing or am I truly fed up? Took some time to sort through it all but I have finally figured out what I myself need to do. As I say a lot and something I got from Jay-Z, I know it’s much bigger issues in the world but I first have to take care of the world I know because how can I help anything or anyone if I am not right within myself first and foremost. What point is having a voice if I am not going to use it somehow, someway?

Over the past few years the NFL had already begin to fall out of favor with me, there had been numerous things that had happened from domestic violence cases to concussion and health issues of former players and this season things just have reached a boiling point with me. I never claim to be an activist of any sort, I don’t align myself politically to much of anyone or anything…I tend to have my thoughts and views about politics but I keep them to myself because I am not in the business of arguing my personal opinions and that’s what folks like to do in regards to politics and religion. But at some point everyone reaches a level to where you have to say enough is enough and you have to do something, to stand for something, morally.

Watching NFL games every week through the fall and early winter were a part of the fabric of my being since I was like 12 so getting to this point today, I could never have seen this coming but again the morality in me won’t allow me to continue to support a product that doesn’t do right by many things that I truly care for. With the way things are currently constructed I can’t continue to watch the games or enjoy them the ways I used to and won’t until I feel that things are right, better or at the very least progressing in a better direction. I know my lack of viewer support, product support and things of the like are very small in scope but me, on the inside, can’t and won’t feel right if I keep being a part of this as it is currently.

Colin Kaepernick is being black or whiteballed for standing up for something, for refusing to show pride in something that represents a country that oppresses minorities and instead of anyone of these folks speaking on the ACTUAL issues that he knelt for in the first place they have turned it into Trump, disrespecting the flag/military/vets and all this other foolishness. You have owners like Jerry Jones saying that if players don’t stand they won’t play, the commissioner saying that everyone SHOULD stand, but no words on the inequalities, no words on the injustices, nothing…not a drop. So you are going to force the players to do something that they are not contractually obligated to do with threats? That’s nice, sounds like a lot of freedom of speech and equality there within the NFL workforce as well LOL Why not speak on some of the horrible sights I have had to see and explain to my children of black men and children lying dead in the street on the news, I mean that would go a long way to show that you are standing with your players…oh and let’s speak on that for a second. That whole debacle that Sunday 2 weeks ago was an absolute travesty and what really sort of sent me over the edge because I knew #1 that it was all just fluff, those owners don’t care about yall and why any of this came about, they just don’t want their bottom line being messed with because as you see they have already begun to do an about face to that locked arms, standing in solidarity BS. To me I saw it as “hey, don’t talk about our slaves” sorry just calling it how I see it and now with this whole “stand or you don’t play” threat all I hear is “look spook, you do as you are told, follow Massa’s rules or face whatever consequences I see fit”. It was insulting seeing the owners out there, these same people who had been ridiculously silent to EVERYTHING going on previous to calling the players “sons of bitches”, I mean the Lions owner said hey if yall do this I’ll give yall some money for that…wait, WHAT! That’s not how this works fam, give money to aid or do things to help because it’s the right thing to do, not to coerce players to do what you want in regards to protesting or taking a stand for something.

It was at that point last week where I started to say, this isn’t for me right now, shoot I do that with other things I have watched or supported, just turned it off or stopped buying it so why should the NFL be any different if I don’t agree with any of it. And again my little bit of dollars won’t make a dent in anything but it will help me to feel a bit better about my decision making each week. It’s been on my mind for a while now as I said so this is probably a bit overdue but I feel the need for ME to do something. I am not calling to arms everyone else, I honestly don’t care how you go about it but this is what I am doing until I feel things are improved all the way around not just with this Kaep getting a job or at the least a damn workout situation but with people like Greg Hardy or that kicker the Giants had, whose domestic abuse cases really disturbed me, maintaining employment until public pressure caused otherwise. These issues speak of a much larger problem but I can’t continue to be a part of it because I have children I am trying to teach certain things to and how do I look supporting such things. I have a wife that I value, how can I root for a league that will allow guys that domestically abuse, sexually violate and just overall look at women at times as inferior, it’s just hard for me morally so I am choosing to step away for a bit. May not be forever, may not be for long, but for right now this is where I am at with it. I have returned my Madden 18 game as well since that is a part of them and I just can’t allow that to be in my pocket either. It was hard to return it to Gamestop yesterday, probably harder than not watching the games during the week but I have to stand for something as I said yesterday. Going to miss playing with my brothers as we had a fun league but I hope that they understand my stance on this and whether they agree or not just respect how I feel about it. Won’t be sporting any merchandise, removing my affiliations from social groups and networks that are tied to the Titans and the NFL, I just can’t do it right now. Gonna be tough on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays but I will manage, it’s a tradition that’s going to be hard to break but at this time in life, I must. I am going to start sharing my thoughts and concerns with various sponsors and their willingness to endorse and ignore these issues as well and again maybe it will help, maybe it won’t but I have to do it.

I know these players are put in tough positions and I don’t and will never ask of them to do more than what they are on my television to do but those that go the extra mile, those that are doing things to try to help this matter by kneeling, raising a fist, staying in the tunnel, even those that choose to stand I salute them. For the guys like Malcolm Jenkins, Beast mode, Richard Sherman, Eric Reid, Michael Bennett etc. to the media personalities such as Shannon Sharpe and the guy that has to me made the ultimate sacrifice, Colin Kaepernick, I commend you men for using your voices to speak for those that either can’t speak up or maybe worried about speaking up about things. You men are helping to make a difference and when I look at my children who will in time inherit this crazy world we live in it’s good to know that there are some that care about us, about those of us who may only have 10 people hear them. For the families that lost loved ones behind police brutality, for the people scared because justice isn’t a fair reality in their world, I thank you for them.

My football Sundays used to be a thing of peace to me and my well-being but because big issues exist it has been tainted for me, each week I have to watch a camera pan the sidelines at the beginning of games or hear post game questions about why these guys are kneeling when they have told you time and time again why. Watch pre-game shows and they have specials segments dedicated to speaking about anthem protests and not about the reasons why Kaep took a damn knee in the first place. Shoot Jemele Hill recently was suspended for just speaking her mind, speaking facts, but see they don’t want that to happen because then they have to address things that are uncomfortable for them to talk about, they have to face the reality of what goes on in those neighborhoods they choose to avoid. These things won’t be fixed in comfort, it’s going to take people facing the ugly truths about things, things that many have conveniently overlooked, myself included. Problems exist everywhere and the fights are not just fought here through the NFL, the NBA has some issues I’m sure as does every other major sports entity. Corporations have these same issues, communities have them, I mean we can go on and on about all that and argue about why choose to boycott this and not that, but what’s that ultimately going to do…nothing, so I am not here for that. This is MY choice, as a man, as a father, husband etc.

Again my voice is a small one, may not carry much weight, may not make much of a difference but it will to me and I am who I have to look in the mirror at each day and I like to be comfortable with my decisions and I am much more comfortable on this side of this fight than the other. I am sure in the Civil Rights era and many other times throughout history many didn’t believe their decisions to not do this or that would make a drastic difference but sometimes you just have to do what YOU yourself feel is right. Me taking this time off from the NFL isn’t going to change things and I am sure they can afford to lose me or maybe it will, maybe my voice will help someone else and then so on and so forth and my 1 decision could turn to 5,000 decisions and then maybe someone will listen but I believe in what’s right and I have to do what’s right by me ✊🏾

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