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A message to those who don’t fully understand racism in 2020

There were recent “Black Lives Matter” demonstrations in cities across the United States. Since sports is still some time away, here are my personal thoughts on them, and why it also matters for many athletes of color.

Hollywood George Floyd protest Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The day was Monday, June 1, 2020. I was attempting to telework, but my mind and certainly my heart was just not there.

My normal routine of goofy jokes to others had disappeared and the true emotion of fear was settling in. I text my brother then. It isn’t out of the ordinary to text him, but my specific message to him was. Our conversation wasn’t jokes or a sports related topic per usual.

You see, my brother lives in Georgia and works in Atlanta not too far from the protests and riots that happened recently. He is a Black man. I text him asking if he went to the office that day hoping he had said no and stayed home. He was at work.

I wanted my brother to be home because I didn’t want him to be caught up or even remotely close to what was happening. I was scared for his life.

As strong as he is in all aspects, I’ve never had to worry about him because I’ve always known he was alright. I mean he’s my big brother.

But last Monday, I worried and possibly drove myself crazy hoping he wouldn’t become another Black man murdered by those sworn to protect us. For the first time, I feared for his life and that new feeling was gut wrenching and frightening.

Removing myself from social media was and still is a fight that I can’t seem to win because I want to make sure everyone I love and care about is okay while also staying informed of everything that’s going on. And realizing the tears I’ve cried for days within the walls of my residence weren’t just for those I knew, but for every Black man, woman, and child out there fighting for justice and peace. For every Black death and murder we’ve witnessed simply because of the color of our skin.

It’s sickening. It’s painful. It’s uncalled for. And quite frankly, I’m so tired of it.

George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Tamir Rice. Trayvon Martin. Oscar Grant. Eric Garner. Philando Castile. Samuel DuBose. Sandra Bland. Walter Scott. Terrence Crutcher.

Read those names. Read them again. Say them out loud! And understand that all lives do not matter. If they truly did, then why are Black men and women constantly a hashtag every year?

In other words, that’s why we use the term “Black Lives Matter.”

Understand that racism in this country never left no matter how much you may brush it under the rug or turn the other cheek. And understand that the protests and riots happening in this country and around the world is the only way can you seem to truly comprehend our agony and pain as a race.

Remembering as a kid in elementary and middle reading about lynchings and different murders of Black leaders and trying to imagine living in that time period was scary.

But honestly living now is just as bad. To watch mothers and fathers give their children “the talk” about what to do when pulled over or questioned by the police in hopes they’ll make it back home in one piece without being harassed should never be needed.

No one should have to worry when you leave your home if you’re coming back or not. Unfortunately, that is how many Black people and their families feel today.

Who knew that in 2020, racism would still be a never-ending issue? Who knew that we would be fighting for respect and the right to be unapologetically Black?

That’s right. Unapologetically.

It shouldn’t take police brutality and racial injustice for you to learn and educate yourselves on what’s going on. And for the record, it is not our job to educate you either.

It is our job to fight for justice and protect our own.

Our reasoning and message is very clear.

So when will you understand?