It’s Time For Me To Speak: George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, and Sports

by Davis Allen

To be honest, this was a blog I never saw myself writing. Through the course of my 26 years on Earth, and dating well before me, the black individual has been subjected to racism. Most recently, George Floyd, a black man, was ruthlessly murdered by a white police officer who’s name I shall not mention. Once again, a black man died at the hands of a white police officer due to police brutality. What led to this? He allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill at a local convenient store. Why does that have to lead to a man to be forced on the ground and have the weight of a grown police officer pressed down on his neck? The shame about all of this is that it’s nothing new. We’ve seen this before. What is new is that I’ve finally decided to say something.

As I stated in the second sentence of this paragraph, I’m 26 years old. During that span, there have been numerous slayings of black men and women at the hands of the police or white individuals that chose to take matters into their own hands (Treyvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbrey, just to name a few). There have been riots. There has been outrage. There have been protests. There have been calls for change. All of these things happened in my life, and I’ve remained quiet. Why? Here’s how I’ve always viewed it.

My parents raised me to respect everyone. No matter their beliefs, ethnicity, race, religion, or social status, I was raised to treat those how I want to be treated. With that, I also try to see the best in each person. Also, in case you’re reading this and have yet to meet me or see a picture of me, I’m white. I also come from a privileged background that includes living in a nice home, having the nicest baseball equipment, my parents buying my first car and paying for my college education, and having season tickets to Tampa Bay Rays games and Florida Gator football games. Life’s been good. With that being said, I do not know what it is like to be black in America. I’ve seen the stories, heard the songs, read the articles, and watched the movies that involved black oppression and white prejudice. But I’ve stayed quiet because given my background, I have always believed that I do not qualify to speak up. I did not feel that it was my right to speak on this matter. “What do I know?”

George Floyd, and the events afterward, have changed that for me. I was on Twitter and saw a post from Joe Burrow regarding the killing of Floyd.

He wasn’t alone. Athletes of all sports and races came together and shared a similar message. I cannot explain exactly why, but I felt this message. I will never know what it is like to be a black man in America, but that does not mean I have to be silent, and when I am silent, that doesn’t mean I cannot listen and understand.

Sports are a wonderful thing. Sports, and those who participate in them, have the power to put things in perspective. Forget about the politics. We are a team. We work together. I remember I had a listener come up to me at an event that told me “I understand you love sports, but absolutely no one gives a shit about it.” Well, my friend, that’s your opinion, but I disagree.

Have you seen the Graffiti Bridge lately? It’s a beautiful sight. People peacefully gathering together, both black and white (and I’m sure other races), coming together to share in the message that enough is enough: Black Lives Matter. They absolutely do.

Before I conclude this blog post, there is something I want to be known. I completely support our law enforcement. I’ve come to know members and leaders of the Pensacola Police Department, Escambia County Sheriff’s Officer, and the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office. They know they meaning of “Protect and Serve.” I appreciate how they have handled the peaceful protesting in our community. Tomorrow, PPD, along with Mayor Grover Robinson, will be attending tomorrow’s peaceful protest at Graffiti Bridge.

I saw this post on Facebook that was made by Shane Drye. I had to share it. Let’s work for more of this in future.

Pensacola, Florida. Two men met. Two men shook hands. Two men hugged. And everyone agreed: black lives matter.

Posted by Shane Drye on Sunday, May 31, 2020

The thoughts and views expressed on this blog are those of Davis Allen.

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