Is it Time to Stop Playing the Games

Athletes should be applauded for bold stance to boycott games

Athletes decided to return to sports today, but I am not sure that was the best decision for their cause. I never thought I would utter such words.

Politics don’t belong in sports. Sports is supposed to be a way for people to escape from the problems of world for a few hours each day.

As a 37-year old Caucasian male these are beliefs I have long held; and it would be easy to maintain that position today, however, things feel different now.

Athletes should be applauded for trying to do something different to drive change. They have been playing games while voicing their concerns for well over a year now, but what has changed? Jacob Blake’s case would say not much.

Continuing to boycott games may not have done much. Federal and local government officials have seemingly ignored the outcry from athletes and community leaders. Instead they have condemned kneeling during the National Anthem and focused on the few rioters who mask their law-breaking ways as protesting. And the NBA, MLB and MLS commissioners/owners don’t have the power to force change on their own.

However, many owners do have deep pockets and influence in their communities. Might these owners feel more pressed to act if games are not being played — and their bottom lines are being impacted? Could athletes engage community leaders while owners persuade government officials and police leaders to come together and have real conversations about change?

Real conversations mean being flexible and not taking extreme positions; like de-funding the police or claiming changes to the police force are unnecessary. These two sides are unwilling to listen to one another and consider a middle ground, which leads to fruitless conversations and hate. Real conversations involve talking about changing the way police officers are trained? They include talking about ways to change a culture where police officers protect one another — even officers they know are breaking the law?

Historically sports have brought our country together during difficult times. The 1983 Miracle on Ice team, the 2001 Yankees, the 2013 Red Sox…. and many, many more. But those moments where it felt like America was trying to recover together, whereas now we are seemingly a nation divided. Different times require different measures. The athletes who are taking this cause personally knew this cause required a different effort.

That is what the athletes did by stepping aside, even if it was just for a brief period. It was an effort to highlight the issue and unite the country around a cause. It was inspirational to watch athletes from different sports, ethnicities, cultures and political beliefs stand together to fight an obvious problem. It is something our Republican and Democratic officials could learn from.

The idea of sports stopping again during a pandemic frightens me, but not nearly as much as innocent people continuing to be killed; and our country continuing to be divided by hate. If stopping the games could help in any way count me in.

Maybe instead of arguing with the athlete’s stance — people could work together to help them obtain their goal. Doing so would get us back to just talking about the games a hell of a lot faster than telling them how dumb they are being ….and yes, I am requesting the same from you Mr. President.