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Here Comes The Peanut Gallery Criticizing The ESPY 4

I knew it was only a matter of time.

I knew it was only a matter of time. Because that’s how these things play out. At some point, it becomes more about someone’s demands of what others should and should not be doing, as opposed to simply falling back and playing their position. 

The New York Daily News published a column on Friday afternoon, As Colin Kaepernick kneels during national anthem, NBA stars who started the conversation remain silent . The premise of the piece is that LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade talked a good game when they took the stage at the ESPY’s to plead with their contemporaries to educate themselves and speak up on the issues of police brutality and social justice during this trying time in America.

For those of us who felt that this generation of the most visible pro athletes was ill equipped to deal with speaking out on this country’s racial toxicity because of a lack of connection, concerns about corporate acceptance and building ones own brand, it’s been refreshing to witness this evolving awakening of modern day athletic activism.

Before Colin Kaepnernick took a knee during the national anthem, the ESPY 4, in the wake of Alton Sterlings shooting death, made a powerful and bold statement that things would not be business as usual moving forward.


And it certainly has not been. Kaepernick’s protest is spreading like wildfire, forcing a dialogue and conversation that needed to happen long ago. It’s made many people proud and reinvigorated. It’s also made many uncomfortable, which is the very nature of what protest is supposed to do. It’s meant to shake things up and scramble the accepted status quo, forcing a reexamination of where we are as a country and we’re we need to be.


Whether you agree or not with the method of his statement and the stage that he used, you cannot argue with the effectiveness.

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And so what happens when the momentum builds, when other athletes in other sports join in, when the message begins to spread like wildfire under a sincere effort to galvanize an entire nation into saying enough is enough?

You have diversionary tactics now coming into play, the most obvious being one that’s been around as long as time immortal: divide and conquer.


In the midst of this burgeoning movement, here comes the peanut gallery calling out the ESPY 4 for being momentarily silent.

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(Photo Credit: USA Today)


Are you kidding me? So, because James, Anthony, Wade and Paul have sat back to analyze, study and formulate a vision on how best to move forward from their individual and collective strength within the NBA and larger societal landscape, they’re now being called out.

It’s idiotic in its ridiculousness.

“But the athletic elite that is the ESPY 4 has yet to join this fray, content to keep raking in dough despite residing in an NBA that, under Adam Silver, has consistently fostered players to speak out on causes,” Ebenezer Samuel writes in his Daily News column . “And its hard not to wonder whether all the silence from Anthony and Co. is because the war has changed, whether the ESPY 4, all tremendously business-savvy, really just always wanted this to be the businessmens war that its not.’

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I learned long ago that you often make an ass out of yourself when you operate on assumptions as if they’re facts. I’m convinced that this is what’s happening here. I was also taught long ago to stay out of another man’s pockets, that it was a foolhardy exercise in jealousy.

“Two months later, those powerful voices seem conspicuously and bafflingly silent, content to let a backup quarterback drive the conversation that they started,” Samuel writes. “Two months later, it is Colin Kaepernick who has staged a Star-Spangled Banner protest that has no end in sight, and it is Kaepernick who has emerged as the bold epicenter of a growing athletic movement to end police brutality and black oppression in this nation.”



I’ve seen this type of instigation play out in junior high school. And to see it here is beyond irresponsible. So, because Kaepernick is a backup quarterback, and he’s emerged as the epicenter, it’s now open season in calling out others who’ve pushed this whole issue to the forefront?


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(Photo Credit: USA Today)

Kaepernick did exactly what the ESPY 4 implored him and others to do, get educated and speak out. And to say, now, that James, Anthony, Wade and Paul need to be called out for “doing nothing”, the audaciousness of the arrogance in that assumption is appalling to me.

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Don’t fall for the okey doke, folks. We’ve got enough issues that need our attention. We don’t need some cat running through the junior high school playground gossiping and instigating some manufactured beef, on some, “You got the shell-toe adidas first!!! How you gonna let him come to school with the red hi-tops when you started it?” It’s beyond ridiculous. 

The ESPY 4 handed the baton off for others to run with. And I’m certain they’ll be heard from again in terms of where we take this next. 


As my friend told me this morning, “Statements and symbolic gestures shouldn’t be underestimated, but they are just the start of what these guys do on a regular basis. Activism, both political and charitable, is part of their daily lives.”

And now we have to stomach some of these fools out here spouting off at the gums like Mfufu, on some, “What have you done for me lately, Eddie!!!???” 

So the next time someone brings some nonsense like this into the discussion, please do me a favor and tell them to have a seat. Because this a conversation for grown folks, not people prone to ill-informed gossip and childish instigation. 

Ali

Alejandro “Ali” Danois is the Editor-in-Chief of The Shadow League. His features “Humble Beginnings”, and “Rocky Flop” were mentioned in the Best American Sports Writing Anthology as among the country’s most notable stories of 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Ali is the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Boys of Dunbar, A Story of Love, Hope and Basketball, and he served as a Producer on the ESPN Films 30-for-30 documentary “Baltimore Boys”.

Follow him on twitter @alidanois