Updated: May 31
By LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
In an era filled with greedy politicians, diabolical corporate interests, and chicken-shit athletes, ready to cower and hide when their platform & reach could be used for good, when the ability of their voice to penetrate through our society's "everything all the time" insanity is most needed...many take their money, run to their mansions on the hill lock all doors, and turn out the lights.
They ain't home...
Well...Joe Burrow is.....
The former LSU champion and current Bengals rookie is taking a stand on what he believes to be true, what he knows to be right, using his reach and the magnetism of his voice to instigate the healing process for this nation...
Nobody, in their right mind, could watch the footage of George Floyd being murdered by the Minneapolis Police Department and refrain from feeling sick to one's stomach, emotionally outraged, terribly sad inside like a dark coven of horror has overtaken your spirit...there is nothing worse than wanting to look away from something so ghastly...but knowing that looking away is the very action which makes you complicit...as if your own knee was buried deeper and deeper into the base of Floyd's neck...just another silent murderer.
Martin Luther King once said "Silence is betrayal..."
This was a man uniquely aware of the silence among wealthier members of the African-American community during the Civil Rights era, men and women who could've helped the cause exponentially at its apex for change. Even Muhammad Ali had to be drafted himself before he spoke out about what the Vietnam War was doing to the black community....
Somewhere in Southeastern Ohio around the mid-2000s', a teacher taught a class about "silence equaling betrayal" and it seems a bushy-haired student, looking like an extra from American Pie, got that message...and years later, when he found himself enabled with a platform to affect change 15 years later, he wasn't going to stay silent.
Joe Burrow didn't look away...
Just as he stood there on the Heisman stage, as many expected the usually brash, swaggering G.O.A.T to pat himself on the back, he instead spoke about everyone who put him in the position to fulfill his dreams, one after another (including Ryan Day from Ohio State). But then he went further, providing the moment which transformed Joe Burrow from a sports hero to an icon.
With tears in his eyes, he detailed the impoverished Southeastern Ohio region from which he hails...and then while neither pleading, begging or demanding, he looked us all directly in the eyes and asked us "how much does it take away from YOU to give to THEM?"
En masse, he influenced / inspired millions to donate overnight and through the next week...just in time for Christmas.
Now in 2020, leadership from on high is needed more than ever.
As we sit back and watch a divisive, careless president ruin our country (this is coming from a libertarian), an intolerable congress filling their bank accounts, anger and vitriol flooding the online arenas as the pandemic's horrific consequences (and hysteria) continues to keep us all isolated, nobody can look away from the truth now:
There's a hole in our country, cracks forming by the day.
This week was hell for poorer Americans, namely the African-American community still finding themselves murdered in the very streets they're protesting upon, the same streets they'd enjoyed barbecues and family events now find themselves stained in blood:
More police are continuing the killing, purely out of the "THEM VS US" fear of people they've been indoctrinated with since their time at the academy.
Mostly black athletes spoke out in disgusted anger & inspirational harmony: LeBron James, Stephen Jackson (friend of George Floyd), the list goes on and on...
...but Joe Burrow became the first iconic white athlete to give a damn when he tweeted about the horrors the African-American community has been forced to accept for centuries....no more.
Racism was never a black problem....racism is an ingrained white tragedy...there's never been any doubt about that...now racism can be found anywhere, from all sides...reacting to the violent, often fatal treatment they've faced at the hands of authorities, sometimes in public.
Joe Burrow, like most people possessing a conscience, felt compelled to speak:
Immediately, his impassioned voice was met with what I most expected:
"Fuck you, Joe! Glad you won us a ring, now see ya!" Said one tweet.
"YOU'RE FORGETTING ALL THE WHITE PEOPLE WHO GET KILLED. KNEW LEBRON WOULD BRAINWASH YA!"
"Good riddance....from a Tiger fan," came one simple, sad little response.
"Just keep focusing on that playbook, KID," @askidz said.
"Let's start by getting rid of Planned Parenthood, they kill hundreds of thousands a year," @YoungJyoung6350 posted.
"Stick to football, not a good look for you," said @Boudrea94912300.
Luckily, 99.9% of LSU fans encircled their champion and defended his American right to say what he believes to be true.
But it doesn't matter to Joe if you hate what he has to say...the truth will always be inconvenient for those who don't possess the stamina for a conscience.
In only 6 months, Joe Burrow has gone from great college football player breaking records to an insatiable, philanthropic force...a tag he vehemently eschews, anyway.
Joe doesn't like the credit or the spotlight, he's not speaking out for himself....
...but when every American was faced with the images from those cell phone cameras, unlike every cop surrounding Officer Derek Chauvin, Joe Burrow couldn't look away.
LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
COPYRIGHT 2020 UNINTERRUPTED WRITINGS INC
DEDICATED TO THE LIFE OF GEORGE FLOYD,
MAY HIS DEATH FINALLY STOP THE MURDER OF UNARMED AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEN & WOMEN
ALSO DEDICATED TO @dlorahll Harold...we love you sultan, we are here for you bro.