Editing to clarify based on private conversations that this is not a personal or direct attack on @mindysan, but rather a critique of this often-used rhetorical argument.
Every time the subject of football comes up, especially around tragic circumstances, people trot out this tired old argument. They think they’re defending the players, but in reality it’s just another form of fetishization and weaponization of Black men.
Do you think that this young man is a victim? That he was “subjected” to something? Do you think that he was ignorant and didn’t understand the risks involved? Do you think that this degree-holding, charitable, mother-loving son was duped by Roger Goodell? Or the University of Pittsburgh?
Do you even know his name without looking it up? Because I promise you the entire city of Buffalo spent all last night and all of today with his name on their lips in prayer. And so did Cincinnati. In fact, they held vigil all night at his hospital. And donated over 4 million dollars to the charity he founded before he even got drafted. Before he even got a single dime from the NFL, he was giving it away so that poor kids would have something to open at Christmas.
He and every other NFL player that you so blithely dismiss as victims or suckers spent their entire lives training for their moment. They put extraordinary work in on the field, in the locker room and in the classroom ensuring they could be their best self. They spend their entire lives looking up to amazing athletes like Derek Thomas and Jerry Rice in hopes of one day accomplishing something even remotely close to what they did.
And you know what; they’re fucking proud of it. They love this game with all its flaws and know the risks. These aren’t suckers and dupes, they’re athletes with more dedication than can be mustered spending hours and hours on BBS. And so many of their friends didn’t make it. And they’re painfully aware of that fact.
L’Jarius Sneed’s brother was murdered last season; his only male role model, the last of his lineage to spend time in prison. He was the last because L’Jarius is the generational change and football is his ticket to be that. It is totally fucked that Black men have so few options in America, but I’m not about to shit on their dreams because I project my hangups onto their dreams.
I’d encourage everyone on this thread to actually go and read about this extraordinary young man. Look at his proud, strong face and dare to think of him as a sucker or a victim. Because I promise you he is not and your concern isn’t helping him heal one single bit. He’s not an abstraction, he’s a real human living his dream. I’m sorry it’s not yours, but I doubt that he and his family care much right now.
DB Damar Hamlin #3 with his momma who is very, very proud of him and by his bedside as we speak.