Last night seemed like a reprieve of sorts.
With all of the depressing news coming out of the sports world recently regarding the ever-widening gap of people standing, kneeling or sitting to bring light to societal inequities and injustice, and those on the other side screaming about disrespecting the flag and a need to "Make America Great Again", I thought I'd found a few moments to simply appreciate the games that we love being played at their very best levels.
The Kansas City Chiefs looked outstanding in knocking off the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots 42–27, putting to bed all of that nonsensical debate that permeated the airwaves over the last few months about Tom Brady and crew going undefeated this year.
Reminder: This is Kareem Hunt's first NFL game. https://t.co/ydnzxff5iF
Kareem Hunt, the rookie running back and third-round pick from the University of Toledo, was a revelation, compiling 246 total yards and setting an NFL record for the most yards from scrimmage in a players’ first career game.
He rushed for 148 yards, had 98 receiving yards and scored three touchdowns. In one magical night, and in his first ever NFL game, he went from an obscure rookie to perhaps a burgeoning legend in the making in one fell swoop.
At the highly anticipated U.S. Open semifinal in Flushing Meadows, Sloane Stephens captured a 6-1, 0-6, 7-5 win over the remarkable seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams in a 2-hour, 7-minute match for the ages.
Stephens, who missed 11 months with a stress fracture in her left foot before returning to play at Wimbledon this year, will now face 15th seed Madison Keys in an all-American final.
Relive the match highlights from Sloane Stephens vs. Venus Williams. Keep up with all the news from the front lines of the 2017 US Open: http://ms.spr.ly/6055rv9k9
Prior to calling it a night, I made the mistake of checking on some unread work emails that had landed in my inbox while enjoying my momentary escape from the daily madness, only to be shaken back to the reality of who we truly are as a sick and demented society.
A colleague had sent along a message that Charlene Sumlin, the wife of Texas A&M football coach Kevin Sumlin, posted a picture on Twitter of a racist note that had been received at their family home.
People of 2017: please tell me how any part of this is ok. And to the sender: did it occur to you that a child may open it?#orelseWHAT?
It's no secret that college football fans, and fans in general, are passionate about their teams. And plenty of coaches who've lost big games or struggled through tough seasons have heard the boos, along with the accompanying demands that they be fired. It's part of the territory that comes with coaching in big-time sports.
But oftentimes, the line between being passionate and a hate-filled bigot gets crossed. And it happens with more regularity than most want to admit.
Sadly, this is where we are as a society. The miscreant that sent the letter couldn't merely stop at being angry about the Aggies' 45-44 loss to UCLA at the Rose Bowl on Sunday. They went the extra step of calling Sumlin a nigger, then telling him to get lost. "Or else," they wrote.
Or else what?
That's a rhetorical question, because the disgusting history of how Black men have been treated in this country since we first washed ashore, and the demonic domestic violence and terrorism that has been perpetrated in the name of supremacy and oppression is what this person was referring to.
For every misguided individual out there telling people of color that they're fixated on race, and asking why we can't "simply move on," you have your answer right here.
"Earlier this evening, we became aware of a letter of unknown origin that was sent to the Sumlin family home," a statement from Texas A&M's President and Athletic Director read. "We unequivocally condemn this disgusting and threatening letter. There is no excuse for hatred and, as a community, we will not allow the ignorance of some to intimidate any member of our community. On behalf of all Aggies, our thoughts are with Coach Sumlin and his family, and we will do all that we can to ensure their safety. We are working with law enforcement authorities to bring the sender of this letter to justice. We stand with the Sumlins and will not accept this inexcusable act of hate."
In this climate of a rising tide of overt hate, we have yet another example of how people really feel in 2017. Remember all that nonsense about a "Post-Racial America" in the wake of President Obama's initial election victory?
It's time for people to truly see the moral fabric that has sadly, long been ingrained throughout this land's history. And it isn't going anywhere.
The hate and ignorance that has always festered here remains, and seems to be growing stronger and more bold.
It's time for white America to start asking themselves why THEY are so fixated on race, and why they cling to hate like a child does a security blanket.
Sumlin knows that his past few 8-5 seasons have not been good enough, that he sits on the proverbial coaching hot seat.
The UCLA football team stunned Texas A&M with a 34-point comeback in Sunday night's 45-44 win at the Rose Bowl. Quarterback Josh Rosen engineered the epic comeback, finishing with 491 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Bruins to victory.
Despite having a .667 winning percentage in College Station, which by the way is more successful than the school's so-called legendary icons in Bear Bryant, who won 63% of his games during his time at the program's helm, along with Jackie Sherrill's 64% throughout his tenure, Sumlin is aware that the fan base got spoiled during Johnny Manziel's magical run on campus a few years back.
Anything less than ten wins this year could be immediate cause for him to get fired. That's par for the course in coaching in the big, bad S.E.C.
@TAMUHighlights https://twitter.com/TAMUHighlights Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mp8iZAySN2M Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifPA933K5PY Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jQyR6jYxn4 Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYq1-E0E3AM
As CBS Sports football writer Barrett Sallee wrote, "There is absolutely no excuse for hate and ignorance. No football game, season, program or devastating collapse on national television should be a reason to send any angry letter to a coach's home, much less one as disgusting as this."
Let us forever be reminded of Sergeant Waters' last words in A Soldiers Story, amid his raucous laughter as he states, "They still hate you! They still hate you!"
Yes, Texas A&M lost a game in which they seemed to be in full control of, and Sumlin could very well lose his job this year.
But the threatening racist letter he received at his home proves something more profound. And that is that America didn't simply lose its soul. It never truly had one in the first place.