(Photo Courtesy of PLL)
It happened again.
Last weekend a black father, Jacob Blake, was shot seven times in the back by police officers in Kenosha, Wis. right in front of his his young sons who were sitting in the back seat of the car. A 31-second cell phone video and the name of the officer, Rusten Sheskey, who pulled the trigger is all that the public fully has 100% confirmation on at the moment. And while we still don’t know the full story, it is said that Blake was breaking up a fight between two women prior to the officer pulling a gun and firing seven times into his back, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
The tragedy that happened to Mr. Blake is not an isolated incident and is just one of numerous incidents of black men and women being victims of police brutality and racism in America this year. Furthermore, the case of Jacob Blake is one of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of acts blatant disregard for the lives of black people in America since the countries founding.
No matter what you want to believe, Jacob Blake should be able to walk right now. And if he was white, he would be. Furthermore, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubery, Laquan McDonald, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Tami Rice, Philando Castile, Emmitt Till, and hundreds more should be alive and with us right now. But they aren’t. And if anyone of them were white, they would.
The events last weekend led to protest in Kenosha, Wisc. and around the nation, just like the incidents of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubery earlier this year. In addition, the incident involving Mr. Blake led to the Milwaukee Bucks electing not to play their playoff game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. That move prompted widespread protest of games and practices across professional and college sports, in addition to individual teams and players speaking out against racial injustice, hosting meetings, and starting the process of making significant moves to create change in this country.
This historic movement by athletes will, no doubt, go down as one of the most significant events pertaining to social justice in history. Everyone knows that the the 1950s and 1960s was the time of the civil rights movement. Whether you realize it or not, this is the civil rights movement of this generation. One could even argue that the civil rights movement never ended and what we are living through right now is just another heightened point in the movement. Honestly, either take is pretty accurate.
While many players, teams, and leagues took a stand against racial injustice over this past week, one question remains. When will lacrosse join in and do the same?
Multiple teams, players, and owners have spoken out and take action. And that is great. It is progress. But unlike earlier in the year when the George Floyd incident took place, the lacrosse community has been significantly quieter.
So I ask y’all. Why?
Why were so many of y’all willing to call for George Floyd’s murders to be brought to justice, post a black square on social media, and say that you want change back in June but you can’t speak up now? Why? What’s different?
Sure, the case is different. But the demands are the same, and it goes way beyond the most recent incident. What people are calling for now is actual tangible action. We’ve done enough talking. It is time for action and the larger lacrosse community must be part of that action. If you can’t understand that after all that has gone on this summer, you likely never will. Y’all keep saying that you want lacrosse to be one of the big boys, but when it’s time to act like one of the big boys many of y’all run and hide.
Even when some of the most prominent lacrosse players in the world continue to call for justice, many of y’all sit quiet and keep your mouth shut like there is not a problem in this country, world, or this game. If you cheer for them out there then you must cheer for them out here.
Lacrosse, why? I just want to know. What is your problem? Why do have to be so racist and ignorant? Why? Who raised you? Who taught you to hate and not love? Why are you in 1920 when the rest of the sports world seems to be in 2020?
As previously stated, it is certainly not everyone in the game. But there is a pretty good amount of y’all that have really shown your true colors over the past week. And to be honest, it isn’t one bit surprising. That’s the saddest part about it, too.
Many fans and players were angry about the PLL saying Black Lives Matter, allowing players to wear “BLM” patches on their jerseys during the championship series, and haven’t been very supportive of players fighting for change. We have seen high school, club, and college coaches make racist social media post. And that’s just scratching the surface. The fact is, many in the sport have let their racism show loud and clear this summer. And quite frankly, anyone with those thoughts or beliefs needs to be expelled from the game.
Many in this game believe that change within the game needs to happen. Lacrosse needs to become more diverse and be more accessible to more people around the globe. Every person should have the opportunity to enjoy this great game. But to take lacrosse to the next level and ensure that those lofty goals can be reached, the game must change in drastic ways. And like it or not, that includes speaking up and taking action against racial injustice, whether it has anything to do with the actual game played on the field or not. This is much, much bigger than the game, folks.
Putting up a statement isn’t enough anymore. We need action. We need more people in this game, which is predominately white, to speak up and take action against systemic racism in America, the world, and the game itself. The time for talking is over. If you don’t want to be part of the long overdue and must needed change to not only make our society but our sport better, then get out.
Black Lives Matter. Today, tomorrow, and every day.