This weekend is seeing reactions, protests, and instability stemming from the death of George Floyd while in police custody. While Derek Chauvin, the fired Minneapolis police officer who was captured on video restraining Floyd with a knee on his neck, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, the outcry from across the country and in Minnesota has continued to surge, with protests continuing to grow heading into the weekend.
While the number of images of buildings being looted and burned continue to increase, as well as the inconceivable video of Floyd’s death continues to circulate on social media, some celebrities and leaders have ventured into the discussion. On Friday, Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores released a statement through the team with his thoughts on the situation and how transparent and empathetic discussion is the way to turn division into cohesion and make changes that are needed.
I’ve had the privilege of being a part of many different circles that have included some very powerful and influential people of all different races and genders. The events of the last few weeks have brought some of the memories of those conversations back to light. I vividly remeber the Colin Kaepernick conversations. ‘Don’t ever disrespect the flag’ was the phrase that I heard over and over again. This idea that players were kneeling in support of social justice was something some people couldn’t wrap their heads around. The outrage that I saw in the media and the anger I felt in some of my own private conversations caused me to sever a few long-standing friendships.
Most recently, I’ve had conversations about incentivizing teams for hiring minorities. Again, there was some outrage in the media and talks that this would cause division amongst coaches, executives and ownership. I bring these situations up because I haven’t seen the same OUTRAGE from people of influence when the conversations turns to Ahmaud Abrey, Breonna Taylor and most recently George Floyd. Many people who broadcast their opinions on kneeling or on the hiring of minorities don’t seem to have an opinion on the recent murders of these young black men and women. I think many of them QUIETLY say that watching George Floyd plead for help is one of the more horrible things they have seen, but it is said amongst themselves where no one can hear. Broadcasting THAT opinion clearly is not important enough.
I lead a group of young men who have the potential to make a real impact in this world. My message to them and anyone else who wants to listen is that honesty, transparency, and empathy go a long way in bringing people together and making change. I hope that the tragedies of the last few weeks will open our hearts and minds to a better way of communicating and hopefully create that change.