I am sure in my 41 years that I have been guilty of racism in some way.
I can unequivocally say that I have never engaged in any outward, aggressive, physically, or emotionally racist activities in my life.

But, I can also say, that any time I’ve felt anxiety in neighborhoods I was unfamiliar with or ever fell into the all too comfortable trap of believing stereotypes, I was just as guilty of racism as if I had engaged in something that was much more visible and easily identifiable.

Despite this, I have a very clear awareness of who I am, who I should strive to be, and the example I want to set for my children. That is a person of acceptance, honor, and ultimately a person of kindness and love. 


You may be asking, isn’t this a Philadelphia Eagles blog? What does any of this have to do with the Eagles?

To me, ignoring everything that is happening in our country right now would be amazingly insensitive.


This is only my second post with PHLSportsNation and I originally had another idea that was much more lighthearted, but that didn’t seem right especially after I saw this tweet from a local Philadelphia sports talk radio host.

http://twitter.com/AngeloCataldi/status/1268125498502242304


Basically, in the midst of chaos, pain, and sadness Angelo Cataldi came out with a poorly thought out ‘stick to sports because we need that more’ hot take. Now, I listen to sports talk radio all the time and whether it’s politics, protests, or both the one message that is quickly derided by most of the hosts is the ‘stick to sports’ angle. It’s cheap and baseless and usually filled with anger.

Male and female athletes are, above all, human first. They experience life a little differently than most of us, but that doesn’t mean they don’t feel pain, get angry, or have opinions. It’s a shame that a local host took something so often used against him and picked it up as a flag.


Thankfully, it wasn’t long before some current and former Eagles called him out. Like Jeremiah Trotter, here…


And, Desean Jackson here…

http://twitter.com/DeSeanJackson10/status/1268346249163542536


Both players are fan favorites and came out strong in opposition to Angelo Cataldi’s hot take, but it is particularly Desean Jackson’s response that is perhaps the most important. He asks Cataldi to ‘use his voice for the influence of power’. This is the exact reason why more athletes should speak up. There are millions of people out there who are hurting, who are being hurt, and feel they don’t have a voice to speak to power.

Do you know who does have a voice? Athletes, teams, radio talk show hosts, anyone in a position of a power greater than the masses. To some, athletes are heroes.  Messages of support and empathy for the marginalized communities of this country from guys like Desean Jackson will go a lot further than if they were to come from a guy like me. The power and the reach their voices have helped spread the message. A 14-year-old kid, hearing his favorite athlete speak out against injustice, just might be moved to seek change herself or himself. If it works for one, it may work for many.

Malcolm Jenkins has been a force in the sports world for his determined stand against hate.  He no longer wears the midnight green, but that didn’t stop him from joining the protesters in Philadelphia last week.  And, he was not afraid to call out the current quarterback of his new (former) team, the New Orleans Saints. If he didn’t have access to the spotlight, how many would hear him? He could do anything with the voice and platform he has now, but he chooses to use his power for change, a change we need.


If you need proof look no further than his response to reporters gathered at his locker two years ago (almost to the day), where he doesn’t even have to use his voice to make a statement. 


Whether it’s on Twitter or Instagram, many other athletes in this town have also stepped up with messages for change, and you’d do well to seek out messages and threads from former and current Eagles greats Brian Westbrook, Ike Reese, Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Jason Kelce, Jeffery Lurie, the list goes on. These are people using a voice that is louder than most to promote change. These are players and an organization that our younger generations look up to and will listen to.


Why should they ‘stick to sports’? They shouldn’t.

We need change and if one person hears their call and does something positive with it then you can add a W to the win column. 


It’s a long road and if you’re one of the folks saying ‘stick to sports’ you need to ask yourself why? What is it that you don’t want to hear? We’ll get a lot farther if we listen to each other.


When discussing his past indiscretions, Beastie Boys member Adam Horovitz has said:

“I’d rather be a hypocrite than the same person forever.”


There is no shame in changing your mind, your beliefs, or your attitude about something, especially when that change is good and just.

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