Tag: New York

Life Is Not Complicated, Protests Are

  • Los Navy picture

    There are certain issues I do not comment on because no matter my opinion, or how “right” I think I am, or how many facts I present to support my reasoning one thing is certain: the people who disagreed with me before my impassioned arguments will likely disagree with me long after I make my case. And that would bother me IF I were trying to convince people to see my side. I am not. I would be offended IF I needed people to validate my opinions. I do not. I am perfectly content knowing what I know, believing what I believe, and doing what I need to do to stand up for my convictions. Furthermore, I respect anybody who does the same, whether I agree with their point of view or not. Anyone who can express their unwavering, thoughtful, righteous support of any cause should be admired, not vilified. In a society where you are rarely sure what side of the fence people stand on, the ones who plant their feet firmly on committed soil represent a resolute minority more of us should emulate.

    22014619_10155972801961807_510501574_n

    For over a year, Colin Kaepernick has been that “minority”. For most of that time, he fought the battle alone; wordless; silent, save an explanation or two detailing why he chose this course of action.

    “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said, via NFL.com. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

    As of this writing, he has declined interviews, refused to rebut criticism and refrained from engaging in mindless Twitter wars. He is adamant that this is not about him and insists that this demonstration is bigger than football. His fight remains reticent while his actions ignite the vociferous fury of those who view his actions as dishonorable, disrespectful, and self-serving. And as a proud U.S. veteran who fought for the freedom Mr. Kaepernick now exercises I do not understand what the uproar is about. I’m inclined to believe his opponents do not either. I’m referring to those opponents who use the same freedom to demand the man’s head be served on a platter; opponents who use the very liberty he is being condemned for to call him (and fellow NFL players) “sons of bitches” and other crude appellations. It is the epitome of hypocrisy to crucify a man using the same nails you accuse him of driving into the U.S flag. How can anyone justify denouncing what they perceive as hate and irreverence, with hate and irreverence? Silent protesters against violence and social inequities impugned by adversaries spewing vitriol. Make this make sense.

    Even though he remains a lightning rod for profane attacks his willingness to compromise (not submit) is ignored. No one talks about the fact that in September Kaepernick met with former Green Beret and brief NFL long snapper Nate Boyer. After the discussion Kaepernick decided to shift from sitting to taking a knee during the anthem, saying “We were talking to [Boyer] about how can we get the message back on track and not take away from the military, not take away from fighting for our country, but keep the focus on what the issues really are. And as we talked about it, we came up with taking a knee. Because there are issues that still need to be addressed and it was also a way to show more respect to the men and women who fight for this country.” (Source: SBNATION). If we are going to denounce his intentions, tell the whole story.

    Colin Kaepernick is one man who, despite the risks (to his career, personal life and reputation), took a knee to protest the pervasive social injustices that has eroded the very fabric of civilized society. How many people can say the same? How many of those who stand in judgment of Kaepernick (and who agree with him) can say they are willing and ready to take the same risk for the cause? I personally will never ask anyone to do something I would not do myself. I also will not criticize someone for doing anything I have not.

    On Sunday, September 24, 2017 — after the NFL came under fire by the forty-fifth President of the United States, Donald J. Trump — over 200 of Kaepernick’s sports comrades joined him in his protest as a show of solidarity. After over a year of  silently protesting

    22053071_10155972802426807_508657478_n

    (largely by himself) to raise awareness about the dangerous plight of black men and women in our country, Kaepernick’s “voice” resonates; his purpose amplified by the boorish comments of the commander in chief and those who echo his dissent. Ultimately, it should not matter what catalyst sparked such widespread support. I’m just happy the dialogue has begun in earnest. It remains to be seen how long this united front will last and what, if anything, it will achieve. I do know when all is said and done, we must never forget that through it all (the name calling, the judgment, and the risks), Colin Kaepernick was never afraid to stand alone; he never faltered in his pursuit to address social injustice around the country. And for that I will always respect him.

Life Is Not Complicated, Derek Jeter…a man of integrity, discipline and consummate professionalism

Jeter Tips Hat Yankee Stadium September 28, 2014, one of the greatest athletes to ever play the game of baseball officially retired from the sport. During his final game in Boston, Derek Jeter removed himself after driving in a run with an RBI single as the Yankees defeated the Red Sox 9-5 at Fenway Park.

Jeter already had an outstanding moment days prior in his Yankee Stadium finale, when he played shortstop for the last time and singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. The Yankees won five titles with their Captain.

I am not going to detail Jeter’s iconic 20-year career as a New York Yankee. That would take a while. And yes, I know we have seen many legends leave the field of the sport they dominated to fanfare and celebration; trailblazers that made history whether it be in baseball, football, basketball, etc. However, there is something about Jeter that is unique and awe inspiring and that deserves the utmost respect. This athlete, throughout his career- both professionally and personally- remained a man of integrity, discipline and consummate professionalism. He retired after 20 years without so much as a blemish on his character. Jeter was a hometown hero in New York and clearly one of the most popular, recognizable, successful (and wealthy) men in sports, yet managed to steer clear of the foolishness and temptation that could have cost him his career; the kind of temptation and bad behavior way too many athletes (whether it be because of greed, ego, sense of entitlement or just plain ignorance) allow to senselessly ruin their lives. Now I don’t know Jeter; no idea what he does in the extreme privacy of his daily life. None of my business. What I do know is, you never heard about Jeter murdering his baby’s mother to avoid paying child support (Ray Carruth); never read about the Yankee Captain juicing up with (or linked to ) illegal steroids or HGH to enhance his performance (Mark McGuire, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, Jeter BoSox RespectSammy Sosa to name a few). He wasn’t turning up and shooting himself in the leg outside clubs and getting charged with criminal possession of a weapon (Plaxico Burress; still makes no sense to me). Nor did he find himself the subject of a disturbing, violent domestic dispute scandal (Ray Rice). My point is, Derek Jeter showed us all that it is possible to be blessed with the talent, the opportunities and the success that comes with being a celebrated athlete and still live a life that earned him the title of leader, role model and gentleman. Everywhere he went! Even in the midst of the “enemy” (the Yankee – Red Sox rivalry is serious!) Yet, the BoSox honored him at Fenway without any reservations. In the realm of team rivalries, that says a hell of a lot.

We don’t hear enough about the Jeters. In sports or in our everyday lives. We are so caught up in the drama of the bad boy we fail to recognize the accomplishment of being a good man (or woman). Some people worship brawling, cussing, out of order “Basketball Wives” and barely acknowledge the dignity, intelligence and accomplishments of a Michele Obama. We talk all day long about dead beat dads and trifling brothers and barely acknowledge the role men like my good friend and comic Eddie B,a single father and highly educated teacher and mentor, play in the lives of their children and family and friends. Those stories are not sexy to some people. Which leads me to say, you need to redefine your idea of sexy.

Girardi JeterAs someone who is extremely proud of the team he works with, I understand completely what Yankee Manager Joe Girardi had so say about Jeter’s retirement. I mean he got emotional just trying to put into words what it is like to manage/work with such a good dude. He said “It’s been a blessing to play along with such a great player. To manage a guy that is what you want in every player. What you want every player to care about. What you want every player to fight for. What you want every player to do.” I could not have said it better myself. When you have people you work with, that you lead or who you consider a leader or role model and can say to yourself “THIS is a person I can look up to”. “This is a person who is about their business, who takes care of home, who values their reputation and that of the people around them”. “THIS is the person who knows right from wrong and lives a righteous life because that is all they know what to do. No drama, no BS, no complaining, no excuses”. To be surrounded by THESE people will inspire you and encourage you to be your best. If you look around you, and either cannot find more than a handful of people who light a fire under your ambition, you may need to re-evaluate your circle.

Life Is Not Complicated

I work every day to live my life in such a way that when I take my last breath, I will be satisfied I made a difference and I was an inspiration; that I left something behind that will be meaningful to society; I did not shame my family, disappoint my friends or ruin my good name. If this is not your personal and professional objective, why bother? A life that matters, is a life well lived. Make your life matter.