Some things are simply more important than sports

Flyers warmup at Wells Fargo Center

I will never understand. There are things that I take for granted daily that automatically separates me from my roommates. A simple trip to Wawa to grab a coffee or a typical drive to my morning or night shift could be a death sentence for someone else. All because another person does not have the same skin color or share the same ethnicity as I do. I cannot understand, but all I ask is that we do a better job to try.

In trying, that means compassion without compromise. Life is about making sure the person next to you has as much as you do. It is the standard of common decency. That is something that transcends how much money you make and your status. It costs nothing to be decent.

As a sports writer, what I am striving to achieve in my life depends on leagues being active. When the NBA, MLB, WNBA, MLS, and NHL decided to dismiss their games today, I was proud. Think about that. As a fan, sports are nothing more than a distraction from life, but a lot of people were genuinely upset that tipoff, first pitch, or faceoff were postponed. Take it from me, someone who is trying to make their life revolve around sports; we all have greater concerns than sports.

Fifty-two years ago, social injustice reared its ugly head in an infamous moment. Tommie Smith and John Carlos both raised a black-gloved fist during the United States national anthem. International Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage ordered Smith and Carlos suspended from team USA and banished from the Olympic Village. The Olympic Committee refused, so Brundage threatened to ban the entire USA track team. It was that threat from Brundage that expelled Smith and Carlos from the Olympics.

All those years ago, athletes used the international stage to project racial equality. People attempted to silence them. Fifty-two years later, every league is using its platform to support the ceasing of racism. It cannot be ignored anymore. Nothing has changed in over half a century and it is a gigantic problem.

After George Floyd was murdered by the police, the world took a stand. If the protests made you uncomfortable, good. That is a microcosm of the day-to-day life for black men and women. Protesting means getting the attention of the people who have ignored alarming issues for a disgusting period. It is a time to be angry and demand change because the eight bullets that Jacob Blake endured cannot be erased or justified.

Hate and racism are learned baggage. Baggage is carrying someone else’s incorrect influence because you do not know any better. Not knowing any better is no longer an excuse. Removing sports from the public reach was correct because, in this climate, we have failed to have our priorities in order. As a sports fan, especially one starving for a Philadelphia Flyers Stanley Cup championship, I do not deserve that until I know my friends and ohana are safe.

I will never be able to truly feel and understand prejudice. What I do know is that I can choose to not enable hate. I am a person first that, for better or worse, is a part of the human race. In sports, the team that plays as a unit wins a championship. This is me putting my best foot forward because I’m tired of seeing the world around me hurt.

Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre