All weekend, I sat with how the Raiders, from players to coaches addressed the protests around the nation. I’ve been a Raiders fan since the age of five. From Oakland to LA, back to Oakland and out to Las Vegas, this team runs deeply within my soul. For, any reason, yet one of those remains their previous approach to diversity and embracing a myriad of ethnicities. Tom Flores, Art Shell, even Vince Evans, spoke to a degree of inclusion. Yet, the statements from Derek Carr and the team fell so rather short. Yet, lost in all of the failures, Tyrell Williams illuminated his own bath and the racism he endured.
Whether fans wanted him on the team or not, Carr will start as the team leader, the quarterback. In his statement, Carr committed the face-palming faux pas of specifically mentioning the word ” ALL” To many, which refers to the AllLivesMatter reply to Black Lives Matter. If Derek Carr didn’t specifically mention the murder of a Black man, this would not stand out. yet, George Floyd, the victim of homicide via police was Black.
In all honesty, if Carr would’ve kept quiet. that would turn out better. Carr misses the mark, by trying to be all things to everyone. The statement feels rather tepid and rambling. It doesn’t mention the police, at all. George Floyd did not just ” lose his life”. A police officer, according to the autopsy and video, killed Mr. Floyd on the street, for the world to see. No condemnation of the rampant police brutality problem that goes unchecked. For all of his on-field inconsistency, Carr remains steadfast in his approach of being rather innocuous and refusing to call out an obvious situation.
Despite playing only one season for the Raiders, Tyrell Williams’ role looms large in 2020. Yet, one of his most important team contributions occurred off the field. In his Instagram post on Friday, Williams shares his story, growing up in rural Oregon. Williams, who is biracial went into clear and utterly sad detail. Through the post, Williams conveys a pain but ends the story with a message of love and hope.
While no clear way to communicate during these stressful times exists, the two aforementioned players took vastly different routes. Granted, as the leader, I’d expect the Derek Carr to speak with the fire of an Aaron Rodgers, or even Andy Dalton. Americans that look like the majority of his teammates are losing their lives, based on the color of their skin. Meanwhile, Tyrell Williams spoke from the heart, permitting the fanbase to peer into his backstory. Football, like America, resides in a very uneasy place. More players need to speak out with conviction. While sports can serve as a distraction, life seeps into the conversation. Sticking to sports isn’t what anyone should ever commit to. Raiders or not.