I didn’t see it as it happened. My first time viewing it was on Twitter as I was sitting on the train. A young Black man was sitting across from me as I pulled it up on YouTube so I could see the video. I shared it with him. He hadn’t seen it either. Neither of us could believe our eyes. The entire staff in one movement took a knee. It brought tears to my eyes. It was what I had been waiting to see. Even if was for just a moment, a small moment, it felt like, finally, someone got what needed to happen. It wasn’t just Black men taking a knee. It was the entire team. White knees next to black knees.  And Jerry Jones…stunning. We kept looking at each other and shaking our heads. Jerry Jones? The Cowboys? As I got up to get off we both agreed it was a great way to start the day.

Last night on Monday Night Football the entire Dallas team including coaches and owner Jerry Jones got down on one knee prior to the playing of the national anthem.

It was the first time I saw any white man take a knee on the playing field since Trump’s remarks.

It may be that I missed it or it may be that not a one did. My instinct tells me that not a single white player felt the need to get on his knee in solidarity with his fellow players until the Dallas Cowboys arm and arm went to the ground.

I recognized that other teams linked arms and stood next to each other. I saw their commitment to each other as a team. I watched as they proudly stood up to their pathetic President who had called their fellow teammates sons’ of bitches.  It was moving, but it wasn’t enough. White players needed to take a knee. They needed to show Black people that they get it; that they get how damned different it is to be a Black American in the United States of America. But they didn’t.

For most of the owners, their response to Trump’s remarks was in the context of his divisiveness.  They danced around the fact that he was attacking Black players.  Not one mentioned the inherent racism in his remarks. Not one. Not a one took the moment to own up to the failure of the league to hire Kaepernick and their own role in the “divisiveness” of the NFL.

The playing field is often referred to as a leveler as talent usually determines one’s destiny unless of course, you step out of line. Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job because he dared kneel in silent protest of the killing of Black people by police.  Hooking arms is easy.

Truly standing up for what you believe, being a hero takes a different level of patriotism.

Kaepernick is a hero.

President Trump is an ugly human being, a racist bully with nothing but hate in his heart. It may be that his words will cause some to look to their own beliefs about what being a patriotic American means. Our founding fathers made sure that our right to free speech, to protest was in our founding document. The U.S. Constitution does not protect the flag nor our national anthem. It protects our right to a viable and living democracy, one that can only endure when every American’s right regardless of their race, religion or gender to be heard is inviolate.

White privilege must end. It is should start by acknowledging racism. Calling it divisive is to be afraid to name it for what it is -ungodly, inhumane behavior that no one should ever excuse or defend.

-Jan Harrison




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