(a praise poem for the conscious and brave athlete)

By Lloyd C. Daniel

Not so long after slavery, in the early 1900s, when Black people were being lynched in wholesale fashion, Jack Johnson challenged Jim Crow, defeated numerous “Great White Hopes” and became the Heavyweight Champion of the World. He was Right.

When Althea Gibson, who was criticized for speaking out while standing in the spotlight, gracefully and without hesitation proved on the court herself Right.

When Paul Robeson, a true Renaissance man, who had been an All-American college football player, went on to sing songs of freedom, in their native language, songs of liberation to the peoples of the world. Even though the F.B. I. took his passport and threatened him with prison for using his international platform to spread honest, truthful and dynamic criticism of the lack of real democracy in the United States, he never buckled. He was Right.

When Jackie Robinson had to endure the name calling and threats, we knew that, despite the opposition, he was on a freedom ride. That was why we yelled at the top of our lungs, “Slide Jackie, Slide!” He was Right.

When John Carlos and Lee Evans, in the Olympics, showed their gloved clinched fists, hailing the fact that, against all odds, we will resist. They were Right.

When Muhammad Ali refused to be called Cassius Clay proving he was a free a man, who would not be a part of the imperialists plan and that he was already one of God’s soldiers for the common man. He was so Right.

When Kurt Flood bumped heads with the millionaires, receiving death threats hate mail, phone calls and racist hater’s stares, stood firm for himself and all the other players. He was Right.

In the 21st Century, when Serena Williams ignored the boos and jeers then went on to dominate and Cripwalk for years and years. She was Right.

When Beyonce, at the Super Bowl, coached us into formation, we didn’t get mad,
cause we knew she was just trying the save the nation. It was an historic night. She came across jammin’, beautiful, sexy, thoughtful and Right.

And when Kapernick chose not to go along to get along we understood, that just like the SNCC students, sometimes you have to sit down to take a stand. He was Right.

Gordon Parks, who was also right, once said that in this life everyone has a right to choose their own weapons. Which ones have you chosen?

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