People say that sports and politics don’t mix, but what about when Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fist wearing a symbolic black glove, what about Colin Kaepernick taking a knee to protest the injustices for African Americans?
The truth of the matter is that sports and politics have always been an inseparable couple. That is never going to change, nor should it. These players have a platform to use, and they should be using it.
In light of Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times at point-blank range with his kids in the back of the car, athletes from every major sport in North America are once again taking a stand. The NBA, NHL, MLS, MLB, NFL, among others including tennis matches have all stopped working to eliminate the distraction of sports and force people to pay attention to what is important, even if just for a day. The injustices faced by people of colour in the world are far more important than a basketball or soccer game.
CFL players, with the season already being cancelled, haven’t had the opportunity to take a stand like their brothers and sisters in other sports. That doesn’t mean that the players of the CFL have been silent on the matter. In fact, many of them have been very vocal.
“We in the CFL stand with our players and athletes across North America when they say and show with their actions and concern, that black lives matter,” said Randy Ambrosie, the commissioner of the CFL in a statement on Twitter. “We will continue to work with [the] CFLPA to fight [against] racism in all of its forms. #BlackLivesMatter.”
“Sports and politics have ALWAYS been intertwined,” said Justin Howell of the Ottawa Redblacks. “Players are now more cognisant of the platform they possess and the power their voices yield. This movement is about human rights. Stop deflecting and start listening… We are contributing members of society just like you. We pay taxes, we vote, we fundraise, we volunteer, we are active in the community.”
Chad Geter shared his disappointments with certain members of the Saskatchewan Roughriders fan base after seeing some comments.
“I’ve been seeing some Saskatchewan fans comment on the Black Lives Matter movement and racisms and it’s pretty disappointing,” said Geter.
That Tweet was quickly followed up with a couple of other comments from Riders players and personalities.
“Very disappointing,” said Jordan Reaves
“Clearly you haven’t lived here long enough, Chad,” said Rod Pederson. “[It’s] sad, but maybe change will happen here.”
Milt Stegall chimed in on the situation too.
“If you don’t stand for anything, you’ll fall for anything. Big ups to the Milwaukee Bucks,” said Stegall.
Lastly, Dave Naylor had this to say.
“For those who say that stopping games changes nothing, here's the very least it does: forces us to talk about why games aren’t happening,” said Naylor.
The intention of this article is not to bash anyone's fanbase or citizens of a province, but rather it is meant to act as a mirror. Take a look into that mirror and ask yourself what you can do to help. That’s something we have done at the 13th Man Podcast.
Right now, we are currently running a #ChallengeRacism initiative. Below, you will find a link that will take you to our Redbubble store. Should you decide to purchase a product, all proceeds will be going to a charity that will be determined at a later date. If you have suggestions for what that charity could be, please send us a DM on Facebook or Twitter, or hit the contact tab on this site and fill out the email form.
Here is also a link to our Black Lives Matter of the 13th Man Podcast we recorded after the George Floyd murder. Derek Dennis, Justing Renfrow and Farhan Lalji joined us to talk about what could change to make the world a better place.