It is the start of preseason football and if anyone thought that this year we could get through the season without any incidents they were wrong. We are barely into the season and already anti-American football players are up to their antics. Seahawks’ defensive end Michael Bennett has decided to pick up where Colin Kaepernick left off and protest during the National Anthem. Now, Raiders budding quarterback Derek Carr has stepped into the limelight about these protests and what he did has brought a hush over the crowd.
The start of preseason football sadly coincided with a huge racial riot after white supremacists and violent alt-left groups clashed in Charlottesville, Virgina last weekend. So, because of that particular incident football players that are paid millions of dollars are protesting their racial inequality. Sounds insane, right? It is but this is the brave new world that Barack Obama built. At any rate, while football players were taking a knee to protest and also raise a fist in the air one football player wanted to make a statement as well.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr simply put his hand on the back of AP Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack and it was not an accident. Carr wanted to show the world during these racial tensions a message of unity and love.
Derek Carr had his right hand on Khalil Mack's shoulder for the whole anthem pic.twitter.com/amlhCTp2Ah
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) August 20, 2017
Derek Carr is a budding star NFL quarterback. Khalil Mack is the reigning AP Defensive Player of the Year. Together, their statures afford them a large following.
On Saturday, they hoped to lead.
Carr placed his right hand atop the back-neck area of Mack’s jersey throughout the national anthem before the Raiders’ 24-21 exhibition loss to the Los Angeles Rams. This was no accident, Carr said afterward. The gesture was intended as a message of solidarity amid racial tension in the United States.
“Any kid, any family, any adult that follows us or looks up to us, we knew their eyes would be on us,” Carr said. “We wanted to show them that it’s OK for a white kid and a black kid who come from two different neighborhoods to grow up and love one another and be best friends.”
Carr, 26, said the two are “not protesting” the anthem.
“We’re not doing anything like that,” he said. “What we wanted to do is show all the kids that look up to me, that look up to him that white kids, black kids, brown kids — blue, green; it doesn’t matter — can all be loving to each other. That’s what me and Khalil are. We’re best friends, and we love one another. The only reason we did that was to unify people and unify the people that look up to us.
“Obviously, we see what’s going on in the world. And obviously, everybody pays attention to the national anthem nowadays. We just said, ‘This is the best time to do it while still honoring our country,’ because I love our country more than anything. We’re free to live here and play this game. But we’re also free to show each other that we love one another. That’s the only message we were trying to send.”
There were other demonstrations during Saturday’s anthem.
Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing similarly placed his right hand on fullback Jamize Olawale’s jersey. Outside linebacker Bruce Irvin raised a fist with his right hand. For the second straight week, running back Marshawn Lynch sat on the sideline behind his teammates who stood.
Similar scenes have arisen on other NFL sidelines.
On Thursday in Philadelphia, Eagles defensive end Chris Long placed his hand on the back of cornerback Malcolm Jenkins’ jersey, as Jenkins raised a right fist in the air during the anthem. Long is a native of Charlottesville, Virginia, a city that saw white supremacists and counter-protesters flood its streets a week ago. A neo-Nazi man was arrested under suspicion of driving a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.
On Friday in Seattle, Seahawks center Justin Britt placed his hand on defensive end Michael Bennett’s shoulder, as Bennett sat on the sideline bench during the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
Carr and Mack saw their opportunity on Saturday evening. The practice of using the anthem to promote racial equality in the United States originated in the Bay Area last August when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first sat and then knelt when the anthem was performed.
Politics are a topic of conversation in many workplaces.
An NFL locker room is no different.
“It comes up, really, when something in the world happens,” Carr said. “Obviously, we get the news when we get in the locker room; we see our phones or something like that. It’s not something that we go around and only talk about, but it is something that comes up. And at the same time, I’m not a politician. I’m not trying to be a spokesperson or anything like that.
“All I’m trying to show these kids is I love everybody. And all Khalil was trying to do is show these kids that he loves everybody as well.”
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) August 20, 2017
This is the sort of message that should be taking place on the sidelines of this great American sport during these tenuous times. Instead of football players focusing on the negativity of the past it should be shifted on how we can make it better by coming together as Americans. Of course, there are horrific things that happened in this country, but we are no longer there and have moved past those atrocities. The focus now should be on how far we have come as a nation and stand together against those that seek to divide us again.
Thank you, Derek Carr, and Khalil Mack for showing this display of unity on the field and off. Hopefully, more players will adopt this show of comradery instead of looking for more ways to divide us all.
H/T [For The Win]
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