Blackmans Street Today

Black athletes urged to stand up for their rights


By Hassan Hakim

( — If it seems like only yesterday a black person could lose his or her job for speaking up against injustice and racism, it’s because it was. For many black people, it’s a delicate and difficult part of everyday life. We worry about our families and responsibilities, maybe losing our home and cars or not being able to pay our children’s tuition.

Pro athletes must feel more pressure with extended family to support including their parents and adult siblings. Some pro athletes have money to burn while many others cling on to the last roster spot. But no matter how much money you make as a pro athlete, you can give your family pride by standing up for yourself and people who look like you including your family.

What you stand for is exemplified by what you’re standing up for and in some brave cases kneel for. You don’t have to be Colin Kaepernick, but you do need to say to employers who want your highlights but not humanity that they are investing in a person and not just a product. Success isn’t just how you earn money, it’s how you sleep at night after you’ve earned it.

Some of the biggest and toughest men shrink in life’s most- important moments. Black men and women who play professional sports should understand the world is watching and asking where is pride and that beating heart you so boldly pull your jerseys to the side to show? Is your proud family name on the back of your uniform worth standing up for? Did some one at some point in time stand up for you so you could make the salaries you command?

Are you upset about the injustices taking place in your country? Is there blood pumping through those veins or just league sponsored Gatorade? It’s time for something to fuel your soul and spirit, a cup of dignity to rehydrate your humanity. After your games are over with, you’re not just athletes you’re black people in America, and that is also a full time job with responsibilities.

Colin Kaepernick wasn’t just kneeling during the national anthem, he was standing up for himself during a national crisis. Colin Kaepernick sense of dignity and self worth are virtues in and on any field that we all should want on our resume.

Hassan Hakim can be contacted via email at




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