For the second year in a row and following the horrific shootings in Dayton and El Paso, social justice warriors have politicized the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Champ Bailey and Ed Reed exploited their Hall of Fame platform to position gun violence and racism as America’s biggest issues. A year ago, Hall of Fame inductee Randy Moss wore a tie politicizing the deaths of several African-American men. Carron J. Phillips, a social justice writer for The Shadow League, championed all three former NFL stars as "true patriots."
Phillips dismissed the call for "thoughts and prayers" that typically accompany tragedy in America. Words and actions will always be more effective, he said.:
"That was made very clear over the last 48 hours as this country is once again reeling from the damages of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that left at least 29 people dead, and even more injured, on the same weekend that Champ Bailey and Ed Reed highlighted how gun violence and racism are America’s biggest issues during their Hall of Fame appearances."
Reed (appearing in photo above), a defensive back who played 11 seasons for the Baltimore Ravens in his 12-year pro career, appeared at the Hall of Fame game in a t-shirt bearing the faces of black victims who, according to Phillips, "died from police brutality or gun violence. It’s impossible to ignore the images of Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Sean Bell, Eric Garner, and Freddie Gray on the shirt of one of the most beloved and respected football players of all time.''
Bailey, who also played as a defensive back ―10 years with Denver and five with Washington ― directed a strong message at white people:
"When we tell you about our fears, please listen. When we tell you we’re afraid for our kids, please listen. When we tell you there are many challenges we face because of the color of our skin, please listen. And please do not get caught up in how the message is delivered.
“Yes, most of us who are black athletes are black men first. Understand this, the things that make us great on the field — our size and our aggression — are the same things that can get us killed off the field. I believe if we start listening, there’s no telling the progress we can make. All of us are dads, sons, brothers, your friends. We all understand that if we can’t get our friends to listen, then no one will. And to my black brothers, if you do not have anything positive to say about our social challenges, please keep your mouths shut.”
Phillips writes that today's Hall of Fame events reminded him of last year’s ceremony when Moss went social justice warrior in Canton, Ohio and wore a tie during the ceremony that included the names of Rice, Martin, Garner, Gray, Bland, Sterling, Greg Gunn, Akai Gurley, Paul O’Neal, Walter Scott, Akiel Denkins, Michael Brown, and Brandon Glenn. Moss said then:
“We all have kids. We’ve watched Spiderman before. Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, ‘With great powers, comes great responsibility.’ So, you asked me about my tie. We all know what’s going on. You see the names on my tie. Being able to use a big platform like this here at the Hall of Fame … What I wanted to be able to express with my tie is to let these families know that they’re not alone. I’m not here voicing; but by these names on my tie, at a big platform — it’s the Pro Football Hall of Fame — there’s a lot of stuff going on in our country. I just wanted to let these family members know that they’re not alone.”
Phillips blamed the government for allowing the violence to take place: "In the past week, at least 32 lives have been taken due to mass shootings in this country. And at the core of all those acts of terrorism was hatred and the inabilities of our government to institute safer guns laws.
"This past weekend politicians in power were tweeting solemn messages while black football players were doing the work."
Phillips closed his call for gun control by writing, "Never forget who the true patriots are."