Following a week where NBA players walked out to protest racial injustice and force impactful change, Yahoo Sports senior NBA writer Vince Goodwill explains why it’s not on Black people - or Black athletes - to enact progress in this country.
VINCE GOODWILL: This generation of Black athletes has accepted the responsibility of being statesmen and activists for awareness. But they are not your salvation.
- Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action. So our focus today cannot be on basketball.
VINCE GOODWILL: With one actionable move of inaction from the Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA stopped, and the rest of the sports world followed behind. And in the background, you could hear a segment asking, go farther, take it further, do more, sacrifice more, despite being in a restricted bubble quarantined away from family and friends. Sacrifice more. Be willing to give up everything you've rightfully earned. The world asked that, knowing there is no proof that the sacrifice will actually lead to fulfilling simple requests, like, you know, not killing unarmed Black people.
- We keep loving this country. And this country does not love us back.
VINCE GOODWILL: Black athletes don't need your pity. They don't need your scorn or even your ears. Your action is more important, allies. Do something.
August 28 is a marked day in American history. King's March on Washington where he gave the "I Have a Dream Speech," August 28. The death of Emmett Till, August 28. Jackie Robinson breaking the color line, August 28.
So to paraphrase Damian Lillard's jersey, how much more? Can black exceptionalism change hearts? Possibly. But that places the burden of proving your humanity to those who don't consider you humane.
MUHAMMAD ALI: I never talk about who's gonna stop me. There ain't nobody gonna stop me.
VINCE GOODWILL: Black athletes, Black people can shake the world, but the world doesn't move until the people in power put their foot on the gas. How many times have you heard, Black women will save us? Be it those Black women in the WNBA, or those Black women out in the world. That's a burden they accept. But one you cannot place on their shoulders.
Just because they stand up, doesn't mean everyone else should sit down. So it must be said. It's not on Black people, Black athletes to save the world.
Dr. King gave his speech 57 years ago. Emmett Till would be 79 years old today. Considering we love saying life comes at you fast, things are moving slowly.