Athletes expected to shut up and play ball

Crazy Faith Ministries

The accusation from the president of this nation that the Black athletes who have chosen to kneel to protest racism marks a disrespect for the flag is as ludicrous and ignorant as it is wrong, and the decision of the NFL to acquiesce to the spirit of the president and make it a requirement that all players on the field must stand, reveals the master/slave relationship which has always been the case between white and Black people.

The players are being treated as property – the property of the owners – with no rights, and the owners, like overseers, have only one thing in mind: to become more rich off the labor of Black bodies and enrich not only themselves but the NFL. The president’s suggestion that those who kneel should not play sports and should perhaps leave the country, revealed as well not only his racism but also the racism that is in the core of this country

He apparently does not know and/or does not care that it was Black people who built this country and who are responsible for the establishment of this nation’s economy as the wealthiest in the world. He also does not know, apparently that Black people have fought in every war in which this country has been engaged, but have been treated as second-class citizens once they returned home.

It is not the flag they are protesting. It is the putrid, rancid system of white supremacy, which has robbed them and Black people in general of their rights as American citizens.

Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, has been quoted as saying that slavery never ended; it just evolved. Black people – both men and women – willingly and eagerly fought in America’s wars, believing with every fiber of their being in the principles this country espoused but which were for the most part denied to them. They sacrificed as much as their White soldier counterparts, but instead of being honored once they got home, were again relegated to the metaphorical back of the bus, back to “their place.”

The sacrifices they made have meant nothing to the white supremacist power structure.

Their post-service treatment is difficult to swallow, but what is even more problematic is that too many people – White and Black – do not know the humiliation Black service people suffered when they returned to the United States.

Dr. Adam Robinson, who served as the 36th surgeon general of the United States, wrote recently about the plight of an African American soldier who, returning from a tour of duty, died of a broken neck in a Tulsa jail after being tortured for 51 hours, begging for food and water. He had been arrested in a motel as he suffered a mental breakdown. He needed medical care, not to be arrested.

Adams also recalls that Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers “survived the Battle of Normandy but died in a 1963 Civil Rights battle, killed by a Klansman,” according to The Baltimore Sun.

The stories of the horrific treatment Black soldiers received after serving this country in war are legion. White people resented them and were frightened that, upon returning home, they would upset the “way of life” put in place by white supremacy. They needed for these heroic Black soldiers, who fought for this country and its flag, to understand their place. Many were beaten and/or lynched or killed while still in uniform. The perks afforded White soldiers, including low-interest mortgages and loans to start businesses were denied them. Banks would not lend to them.

And still, when the next war came, Black people enlisted.

It is disingenuous for the president and in fact anyone to suggest that kneeling in protest of white supremacy is evidence of a lack of patriotism. To the contrary, protest against injustice is how this country came to be. It is cruel and flat-out racist for those same people to suggest that those who protest might need to “leave the country.” The white supremacist system still wants Black people to remain “in their place;” in the words of Laura Ingraham, many White Americans want African Americans to “shut up and dribble,” and forget how this country has treated and continues to treat them, according to NPR.

There are not enough words to express the outrage that comes with being continually insulted and put down by racists who will deny to their dying day that they are in fact that they are just that. But the prayer is that in these times, when the president is pushing racist rhetoric and ideas that African Americans will continue to stand up for the rights and dignity that this sick system of white supremacy has never been able to offer to a group of people who have fought to the death for a country that does not respect them.

Rev Dr. Susan K Smith is available to preach, and give workshops or hold seminars on the issue of how religion and politics have been ineffective in destroying racism. She is working on a book on the subject at this time. To book her, visit, or visit


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