By Dr. John Huang
Just when the Covid-19 pandemic seemed to be trending in the right direction, America finds itself suddenly mired in a plague of a different sort. Deadlier than any unseen pathogen, the lethal sickness of racism has once again reared its ugly head.
There are few things in our country more divisive than skin color—decades of discord hidden behind a mirage of alleged improvements in social justice. The recent killing of George Floyd, however, has picked off the oozing scab and once again released the torrents of anger, indignation, and soul-searching indicative of a nation still steeped in prejudice and inequality.
Why can’t we all just get along?
I’ll admit, I have no earthly idea what it’s like to be African American, but that doesn’t mean I’m immune to the pain of oppression and discrimination. Like many others in my circle, I know it’s not right. I hate it, and I want to make it stop—but I don’t quite know how. So I suppress it.
I’m asking somebody to help me understand.
Somebody answered the call this morning on the radio show. UK associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, Vince Marrow, made a special appearance with Michael and Shannon to talk about the sordid state of the union.
“I think a lot of other people who know me, they know that I’m an outgoing guy,” Marrow said right as he came on. “I try to do the right thing. I love God, but ain’t nobody perfect. But I’m also a guy in the coaching world –I always address things if I don’t think things are right.”
I’ll never be able to walk in Vince Marrow’s shoes, but I want to be able to tread alongside him in meaningful ways. I personally don’t think burning cars and smashing storefronts is productive. But neither did I think that a peaceful kneeling during the anthem sent the right message either. Like I said, please teach me. It’s only through genuine relationships followed by proper discourse that true progress can be made. Once we understand, then we’ll develop the necessary passion to take a stand.
“You always follow guidelines, you gotta have rules,” Vince explained. “But sometimes, there are certain situations where you have to take a stand. If Martin Luther King wouldn’t have taken a stand–I even go back to when Jesus first came on this earth and if he didn’t take a stand on certain things–I wouldn’t be talking to you. Sometimes you have to take a stand, you have to march, but do it in a peaceful manner.”
I’ve been fortunate to have been a part of two segments of society where racial issues don’t seem to be as divisive—the sporting world and the military. It’s funny how the color of one’s skin doesn’t seem to matter as much when you’re sitting in the foxhole together, or battling against a common gridiron foe. All that really matters is that your teammate has your back.
So, let’s start by finding common ground. Coach Marrow and I are very different. You’ll never confuse one of us for the other. But we’re like-minded in our love for sports. It’s the one trusted platform that can bring us together and end this needless persecution once and for all.
“You have people–white, black, Asian, red, and brown–taking a stand on things because somethings you always need to change,” Vince emphasized. “I just want to pray for the state of Kentucky and for the world. God will prevail, and George Floyd–his death won’t be in vain. People better get on that side because it’s going to change.”
The Apostle Peter never played football, but he knew persecution firsthand. He had been jailed, threatened, and nearly beaten to death on several occasions. He had seen fellow believers killed and immense suffering within his community. So he wrote these words of instruction—which are still hauntingly pertinent two centuries later—to his early Christian teammates.
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
Racism is evil. We’re better than that. Be a blessing. Take a stand.
Prayers up for the United States of America.