When I starting going through mobbing at a job, my great aunt told me about the story of crabs in a barrel. She explained to me that the folks in current job didn’t want me to advance in a field they weren’t willing to put the work in, or didn’t have the skills, to get. As Dr. Melody T. McCloud, MD puts it, “When you do your thing, remember…you will have “haters”; but never let people get you off track. Sometimes even family members will become jealous and try to derail your efforts and destroy your spirit.” It happens when people believe there is not enough to go around. It can also happen when people plain just don’t want to share aka greed.
Enter in the National Football League, Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid, Malcolm Jenkins, and Jay Z. Each one of these guys can be seen as crabs. Some crabs are trying to reach for top with the right potential; others the potential is questionable and still others are destined to be at the bottom pulling those with potential from the top. Not to be confusing, all of these individuals have power some to greater extent than others. However, power doesn’t stop the crab syndrome. In some cases, it seems to make the situation worse. Or, paraphrasing Bishop TD Jakes in this week’s sermon, money doesn’t equate to righteousness.
In the past, we have seen folks lynched, bitten by dogs, and forced into concentration, or internment, camps. We have seen segregated schools, restrooms, and restaurants. We have seen women denied the right to equal access to sports, jobs and pay. Now, we have Black men gunned down in the streets by police. Women are still fighting for equal pay and to destroy stereotypes. Today at times, we have to fight the fear of leaving our houses because we may not return due to a terrorist or gunman attack. Children, today, not only have to fight to learn but sometimes to stay alive in school. Being a minority or a woman can be hazardous to your health if stopped by the police due to police brutality (e.g., Eric Garner, etc) or sexual assault by police officers.
Our sports’ heroes remind us that they face the same issues off the field and lead us to our better humanity beyond our pain. Colin Kaepernick took a knee to bring attention the current social justices. To stab him in the back or insult him is an insult to those whose social injustices he sought to shine a light upon. Jay Z, who once publicly stated he supported Kaepernick, has now not only insulted him but those who have faced social injustices.
When asked about the situation, Jay Z stated we have “moved passed kneeling.” Well, no, Jay Z, we have not. As long as people are being denied the right to immigrate here, we still need to kneel. As long as people are being shot for being the “wrong” ethnicity or race, we need to kneel. As long as we have children dying at school and police brutality, we need to kneel. As long as there are still chalk lines being drawn and white sheets covering bodies in the streets, we NEED to kneel.
Kneeling isn’t inaction. It is a reminder that we still have work to do. We need to have intense conversations to find peace and understanding. We need to question authority and yet respect it but not idolize it. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, , “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends,” and “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” There’s enough to go around. All the big fish in a little pond stuff needs to end, and we need to remember the sacrifices of those before us like Malcolm X and MLK, Jr. and not spit on their graves.
“You’re the one living the sermon. In the wilderness . . . 40 days . . .all of it. Only you. . . .You can get out there and hit. You can get on base and score. You can win this game for us. We need you. Everybody needs you. You’re medicine, Jack,” said Branch Rickey to Jackie Robinson. I cannot express this enough: sports IS medicine. And we all need that medicine whether we like it or not:
Well, Jay Z, Players Coalition and the NFL, you are not the ones living this thing in the world of sports . . . you are not taking the punishment on the field except the Players Coalition . . . you are not the ones whose pocketbooks are being depleted because you are not the ones risking it all by taking a knee. Wilson, Reid, Kaepernick, and others deserve to be involved. Stop being crabs and make room for others to assist in this fight for social justice. This is a fight for all of us.