It's about our community and our spirituality!

The Courage To Take A Hit


Living here in St. Louis, Missouri the fact that Rush Limbaugh could become one of the owners of the NFL Rams is demanding a lot of people’s attention.  It’s on the television news.  It’s on the radio.  And I have to confess that it’s caught a lot of my attention as well.  This is the third article about Mr. Limbaugh in about a week.  Hopefully, it’ll be my last, at least for a little while.  Considering the topic and how closely it impacts race relations, I seriously doubt it.

Last night I was watching the local news talking about the fact that many football players, black as well as white, have expressed their umbrage at the idea of Mr. Limbaugh becoming a partial owner of the Rams franchise.  DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, urged players to speak out against Mr. Limbaugh’s bid.  Even Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are throwing their hat into this ring.  Mr. Jackson and Mr. Sharpton couldn’t pass on a chance to score some high profile publicity and do their best to remain relevant in conversations about race.

A few Rams players were put on television to show how well of a job they are doing in their effort to remain out of the fray.  Running back Steven Jackson says he’s paying attention but doesn’t want to speak on the subject because he might to somewhere he doesn’t want to go.  Defensive end Chris Long said he didn’t even know Mr. Limbaugh was part of any group trying to purchase the Rams.  Supposedly, Mr. Long’s when asked his opinion was to ask was Mr. Limbaugh the guy on the radio.  When Mr. Long was reminded of Mr. Limbaugh’s statements about Donavan McNabb, Mr. Long replied that he didn’t care who owned the team.  He said his job is not to comment on that type of thing.

Mr. Long is probably the best example of why the Rams are winless this season and haven’t won a game in the past fifteen times they took to the field.  But he and the rest of the Rams players are also a very good example of why we as a national collective will never do anything to seriously confront racism or the promotion of racial insensitivity.  In order to protect their jobs these people are not willing to risk anything in this high profile struggle against a white man who doesn’t hesitate to make racially charged comments without fear of reprisal.  Why should Mr. Limbaugh fear any form of retribution when people are doing their best to look the other way?

Like the struggle against racism back in the civil rights era, the struggle against racism today requires people to take uncomfortable risks.  Mr. Long and the rest of the Rams could make a bold statement about our tolerance, or more appropriately our intolerance, for racism.  They could take a lesson from Harry Connick, Jr. when he recently had the guts to walk out on an Australian television show when a blatantly racist skit was performed for his approval.  In a surprising act of defiance Mr. Connick suddenly and publicly said he wanted no part in such racism.  And yes Mr. Connick upset a lot of people who are more than happy to laugh at and defend modern minstrel shows.  It wasn’t his job to take a stand.  He did it because he had the gumption to step out of his comfort zone.

I recognize the unfairness of the comparison.  Mr. Connick’s livelihood wasn’t on the line in the same way that Mr. Long’s could have been if Mr. Long spoke out against a potential buyer for his team.  But that’s when the real courage to stop and challenge racism comes into play.  It takes courage to say something like it may not be my job to challenge racism but I want racism to stop and I want to be a role model to others.  I might take a hit for my stand, but as a member of the black community I’m already taking hits by allowing racism to flourish and not doing anything to stop it.  What Mr. Limbaugh says is wrong and I want no association with him.

It’s not anyone’s job to confront racism.  It’s what people do when they want to make the world a better place.  Besides, confronting racism shouldn’t be seen as a job or an occupation.  Confronting racism should be considered a responsibility for anyone who wants to confront racism.  It says a lot to see the Rams players dodge such an easy challenge.  If this is any example of the courage they take on the field with them every time it’s game day, then it is no wonder the St. Louis Rams are winless.  I can understand when football players say that all they want to do is play football.  But I’m sure if they think about it, they would like to play football on a field with true racial equality and mutual respect.  That won’t happen as long as we have the mentality that it’s not our job to do something to try and make it happen.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Life, Racism, Rush Limbaugh, Thoughts

1 Comment »

  1. Rush can’t lose anything in this deal except his soul (if it isn’t lost already). He’s loving every minute of this. It translates into major advertising dollars and leverage for an even bigger contract when the radio show comes up again for negotiation. His ratings are through the roof as people tune in to see what he has to say day to day.
    It’s a horrible Catch 22. We can’t stand by and watch a divisive guy be an owner of a team that is probably going to have a majority of black players and yet if we do speak out against his bid, we build his empire and fan base. Oh well, at least the worst of it is over now that Checketts has kicked him to the curb-though I’m sure Rush will find a way to stay in the news a few more days.

    Comment by Carlton | Thursday, October 15, 2009 | Reply

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