Photo By Josh Olalde (other work can be found at josholalde.com)
August 14th, 2020
By Monty South
This week the “When the Lights Go Out” Podcast was hosted solely by Eli Elstein. However, due to the nature of the material covered in the “Response to Protests” podcast, we collectively thought that our own personal experiences would not give this subject the necessary perspective in order to fully explore the topic. As a result of this, Eli reached out to his good friend Branden in order to allow a Black American’s voice to be heard on this subject (keeping in mind that Branden cannot speak for every Black American, but is still a valuable voice that deserves to be heard.)
Normally this portion of the blog would be focussed on quickly talking about the information covered in different portions of the respective podcast. However, because this week’s podcast took the form of an interview, I would prefer to instead list some of the more interesting questions discussed on this podcast in order to make sure I am not misconstruing any of the information presented by Eli and Branden.
The questions discussed in this podcast include:
- Was Colin Kaepernick blackballed in the NFL, and if so, what evidence is there to support this?
- What are the impacts of Kaepernick’s protest and the work he has done off the field?
- What role can Kaepernick play in the NFL going forward?
- Why were other NFL players who were protesting with Kaepernick allowed to continue playing the NFL?
- Why did other players’ political statements not lead to the same result as Kaepernick’s kneeling for the national anthem?
- What changed in the past four years to change the paradigm surrounding the popular view towards protesting the national anthem with specific reference to the reaction to Drew Brees’s comments earlier this Summer?
- Is public shaming an effective way of monitoring the harmful statements that people make surrounding racial relations within the United States?
- Is there a difference between circumstances where players make political statements versus similar circumstances but with the owners or coaches making the same statements?
- When, if ever, will these protests and discussions not be required?
- Should NFL players create their own coalition to address these issues like NBA players have done?
- How much responsibility for addressing the issues with modern society should we put on professional athletes?
- What roles should college athletes play in these social movements given the platform they have when considering the personal risks they would be taking by doing so?
- How much stake should we put into the words and actions of athletes on political and social issues?
- Does NASCAR’s changes to their policies change their impact given their perception as a “White” sport?
In the previous podcast we did not have anything that we wished to correct prior to the release of the podcast. However, this time we do have one small detail we wanted to address. At one point in the podcast, Eli mentions that we would be publishing this podcast in September, however, due to the rate at which this specific topic can change we decided to push this podcast’s release up to get it out as soon as possible. In addition we would like to correct/add that Lebron James actually has 3 kids, Anquon Boldin played with Kaepernick and is on the players coalition, and the NHL also has a black players coalition.
There were many cogent and well articulated points discussed in this podcast that I agree with. Specifically, I completely agree that NFL teams did not sign Kaepernick as a backup despite his abilities to at the very least be a better backup QB than many in the league because of his kneeling for the national anthem.
I also agree that athletes should not have to be responsible for personally tackling the issues with society, but unfortunately, the national and local governments have been severely lacking in many areas such as education disparities. This has led to athletes, at least those who are willing to do so, almost being required to step in and help the communities that they came from to provide the basic services that the government is supposed to provide. While this also can be applied to owners and sports leagues as a whole, due to the financial contributions that cities are being required to make towards the construction and maintenance of stadiums and other facilities, I personally think that it is fair to expect sports teams and leagues to give back to their communities through aiding in some of the lacking community services.
While I have only mentioned two points I specifically agree with from the podcast, I found myself agreeing with a lot of the points that Branden made, and rather than just repeating them here I would highly recommend you listen to the podcast if you have not done so yet.
To conclude, I particularly agree with the closing point that Branden made on this week’s podcast. When it comes to current social issues, it is extremely important to keep looking to educate yourself, friends, and your family however you can. Perhaps the best way of doing so is to individually seek out resources on these subjects and to share these resources when you find them. The process of addressing social issues surrounding race in the United States has a long and storied past, and will probably have a long arduous journey that cannot be thoroughly addressed with one sweeping action.
In addition, please consider following Branden on Instagram @therealbwoody and on Twitter @ByTheWay_Im_BTW. He was a great guest and I think he deserves some pop for his appearance on the show.
Post and Podcast Sources
- TheUndefeated. (2016, September 03). Colin Kaepernick protests anthem over treatment of minorities. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://theundefeated.com/features/colin-kaepernick-protests-anthem-over-treatment-of-minorities
- Adande, J. (2014, December 10). Purpose of “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/12010612/nba-stars-making-statement-wearing-breathe-shirts
- Lowe, Z., & Shelburne, R. (2020, July 06). WNBA players to spotlight Breonna Taylor’s name on jerseys; ‘Say Her Name’ on warm-ups. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.espn.com/wnba/story/_/id/29418977/wnba-players-wear-jerseys-names-women-killed
- Fernandez Jul 3, G. (2020, July 03). NBA shares approved social justice statements for the back of players jerseys at Disney restart, per report. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/nba-shares-approved-social-justice-statements-for-the-back-of-players-jerseys-at-disney-restart-per/
- About. (2018, June 28). Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://players-coalition.org/about/