The President vs. The Protest

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Eddie Castro Sports

I’ve been in love with sports for as long as I can remember. I’ve had the ultimate pleasure to combine my love of sports and my talents of writing to build a 7-year tenure here with Our Time Press. This past week was the most emotional week in the world of sports in quite some time. It was not due to a player’s milestone, it was not due to a record being broken by a team.

It was revolved around an individual who is supposed to be our country’s leader. The start of this past week, Warriors superstar Steph Curry said that he would exercise his right not to visit the White House. When he was asked about his decision not to go, he (Curry) simply said, “I don’t want to go. That’s really it. That’s the nucleus of my belief”. Donald decided to take Curry’s comments and respond via social media (Twitter) tweeting, “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!” Trump was not done with his Twitter antics criticizing the National Football League for having players kneeling during the National Anthem, calling for any team owners to fire any “SOB” caught down on one knee during the “Star-Spangled Banner”. His (Donald’s) comments have opened the eyes of many athletes, coaches and owners throughout sports. Backing up Stephen Curry was superstar LeBron James, widely considered the best basketball player on the planet, Spurs future Hall of Fame Head Coach Greg Popovich and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. James said, “The people run this country, not one individual. And damn sure not him”. During his media day press conference on Monday, James referred to Trump as “That guy who is trying to divide us”. Coach Popovich called Donald’s comments “disgusting” and “comical”.

Before free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick made it a trend to take a stand to raise awareness about social justice, it was athletes like Paul Robeson, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson and Arthur Ashe who attempted to use their platform not to create controversy, but to simply point out a matter that is an ongoing situation in this country. Kaepernick was willing to make sacrifices, willing to take any heat if it simply meant to find a way to stop racial inequality, police brutality amongst other tragic incidents that happen too often throughout the country. For him using his profession as a symbol and a platform to promote justice for matters that have been injustice, he (Kaepernick) does not have a quarterback job in the NFL currently, all for choosing to be ambassador for a topic he believes in. Yet, we have a president who is supposed to “lead” on Twitter at 3 in the morning with his concern being who to invite or not to invite to the White House? Meanwhile, situations like preventing this country from getting into a nuclear war with North Korea, incidents in Charlottesville, the deaths of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown and the disasters that are occurring in Houston, Florida and Puerto Rico seems to go unnoticed to him. Those states, cities and the Virgin Islands is a part of the United States, correct? People’s houses have been swept away, some are without air conditioning, food and water. This is what he should be working on.

Disrespect for the American flag was not Colin Kaepernick’s intention nor anyone who simply wants to make a difference. All he did was highlight a topic and a matter that needs to be discussed, to create a conversation regarding unity and social equality. The president’s behavior is unacceptable. I understand that the topic regarding race is the elephant in the room. It may be a touchy and uncomfortable topic for some people, whether they share the same views as me or not. That’s the beauty of our country. We have the right to say what we want to say as long as the people, no matter what race or background, have an equal measure when they raise their voice. Popovich said it best, “There has to be an uncomfortable element in the discourse for anything to change, whether it’s the LGBT community or women’s suffrage, race, it doesn’t matter”.

I’m using my platform to be a voice for everyone, for all people of different races and backgrounds. Especially for the youth. I should not be having a conversation with my nephew when he gets older about how to stay alive, God forbid he ever gets pulled over. That’s why we’re trying to raise awareness to act before a tragic or controversial scenario is something we have to face.

The president needs to direct his attention to the situations that matter. Sports is one of the many things that keeps people in this country and other countries united, not divided. Let’s create a brighter future for the people that the past can be proud of, and youth can have something positive to look forward to. At the end of the day, we the people, are taking a stand and that’s the opening gates and path to get this country what it rightfully should stand for!

Sports Notes: (Basketball) Basketball star Carmelo Anthony’s time in New York has come to an end. The Knicks agree to trade the All-Star player to the Oklahoma City Thunder. (Baseball) Congratulations to Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge who broke Mark McGwire’s single-season rookie record hitting his 50th home run of the year.