Things are understandably somber on the sports television shows this morning in the wake of a historic and painful night in Minneapolis and other cities, where civil unrest played out in the streets, sparked by the killing of George Floyd.
Jalen Rose shared his thoughts on the moment during Get Up.
"I wish America loved black people as much as they love black culture," Rose said. "There's so many times it gets cherry-picked, it gets piggybacked but only when it's convenient. And sometimes it happens in entertainment and athletics. We're not here designed only to entertain. We're actually living and breathing human beings that have a multitude of intelligences, work ethic, discipline, talent. We've overcome a lot just like so many other races."
He then touched on the long and horrible track record this country has dealt its African-American citizens and how change is only going to come with allies across the racial spectrum.
"Lock in step with us," he implored. "Protest with us. Post with us. Not just when it's convenient, when it can be uncomfortable. The image of Colin Kaepernick taking a knee before a football game during the national anthem is the exact one that we see in Minnesota when the guy was laying on the ground for over eight minutes handcuffed with a knee to his neck."
Whether he intended to or not, Rose hit on the very reason the stick-to-sports argument is especially hollow. His point that a certain segment of society sees black athletes only as conduits of entertainment and not as fully human makes the idea of escapism through sport just a further manifestation of a vicious and demeaning circle. How can you care about someone as an athlete without caring about them as a person first?
Speaking only for myself, it's humbling to realize all I've been too privileged to ever consider. Listening to Rose and those who can speak from personal experience seems the first and easiest step in any positive progress.