clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Joe Burrow is right

Don’t look away.

Heisman Trophy Presentation Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

There is no hiding from this.

There is no sticking to sports.

Even if Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow didn’t speak out against the injustice done against George Floyd, it would still need to be a part of our lives. The more we, the collective WE, avoid it, the worse the problem gets.

For too long, the population of the country we so boisterously tout as the greatest in the world that isn’t Caucasian has been playing from behind. It wasn’t solved when slavery was outlawed. It didn’t disappear when the Civil Rights Act was passed. It didn’t vanish when Kendall Jenner did her useless Pepsi ad.

It doesn’t end until the people who aren’t affected by systematic racism become as outraged as the people who are. Nothing else will change if the people in position of power continue to dance around the subject like it will dissipate after a period of time.

Joe Burrow will never have to worry about living his life the way people of color do. America doesn’t have a history of enslaving, segregating, or having innate prejudice against white people. He’ll never have to worry about his kids walking around his neighborhood getting shot by paranoid white males. He’ll never have to concern himself when cops pull him over for speeding.

He’ll never have to fear for his life if he’s suspected of forging a check at a grocery store. Perhaps George Floyd didn’t either, before his neck was pinned against the pavement by the officer who was taken into custody many hours and days too late; an officer who had a rap sheet of wrongdoings in his career.

Floyd’s death now appears on an obituary of wrongful police-related deaths the length of a CVS receipt. The travesties that have occurred in the last handful of years remains fresh in our minds, and Floyd’s unnecessary and blatantly criminal demise is far from the only one. Only when the people we care about speak out and give voice to those that have none will widespread change begin to unfold.

Joe Burrow is doing his part.

If you dislike the sentiment of Burrow’s tweet, what does that say about you? What is so bothersome about the concept of treating people of color the exact same way white people are treated? The literal interpretation of Black Lives Matter in itself is not enough. What is stopping a country as diverse and powerful as the U.S.A. from displaying true equality to people of every race?

Burrow claims this isn’t a politics issue, but what he means is that it isn’t a partisan issue. This is politics, because basic human rights that are written in 244-year old ink in the Declaration of Independence apply to all of those who live in the country that document was signed in.

Burrow understands that his race doesn’t need constant validation and assurance. The country he’s allowed to thrive in doesn’t have a generations-long crisis of police brutality towards his race and the race of those who remain in power.

This is Burrow’s team, and this is Burrow’s message. And he, nor we, will apologize for it.