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On the new Mandingo…

My friend and former wrestling tag team partner Donté posted a link on Facebook to an article a little while ago. Before I share the article I want to share my initial reaction. This is what I commented to Donté: “ oh for…. you’re fucking kidding me…. I mean, wow…..” that was my initial reaction.

My second reaction was to hit the share button myself and not actually write a blog about it other than to say “I am just too annoyed and upset about the idea of this to even write a blog. So I’m just resharing it with a link to what Donté said.” And then I found that I was already automatically writing a paragraph of bitchiness.

Ok, so first, let me share what happened. It seems that because he joined in the NFL kneeling protests this weekend some 25,000+ (at the time of my writing this) Baltimore Ravens fans have signed a petition asking for the removal of Ray Lewis’s statue in front of the Baltimore Ravens’ stadium. Sigh…

To quote Donté, “So he was cool enough to have a statue when he was just alleged murderer.. But, he takes a knee nah dog. Smh.”

I’m going to stick with my “you’re fucking kidding me!”

Here’s the deal. I am not a Ray Lewis fan. I am a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I grew up squarely in Cleveland Browns territory. It is fundamental to my identity to just be automatically predisposed to hating the Baltimore Ravens. And that’s even aside from other issues with Ray Lewis. Fuck Ray Lewis.

That said, if you think this is the reason to remove Ray Lewis’s statue… fuck you! Seriously… go fuck yourself. Fuck you so much more than fuck Ray Lewis. Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you… and I’ll tell you why.

I’ve been pretty clear about my stance on Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem. I support it. It’s important. If you don’t understand why it’s important, well… you’re not going to. I get that. Keep not understanding and bringing more attention to the issue. For all the boneheaded dumbassness of the President, he did a net good thing by turning this from a protest of like 10 people to a protest of about 200 people. So awesome.

But that’s not why you should go fuck yourself.

No, you should go fuck yourself specifically if you think that THIS was the camel’s back for pulling down Lewis’s statue. See, for those of you who don’t follow sports, On January 31, 2000, four years into his seventeen year football career, Lewis and two of his friends got into a physical fight with two other black men that resulted in the other two men being stabbed to death at a nightclub during a Super Bowl party. Lewis eventually took a plea deal (obstruction of justice) and flipped on his friends, both of whom were tried and eventually acquitted for the murder. He went on to become Super Bowl MVP the next year and kept playing for another decade. In 2014, two years after he retired, the team put up a statue in his honor. Baltimore loves Ray Lewis.

Or loved him.

But no… apparently 25,000+ people think that kneeling down during the national anthem is a greater offense than being an alleged murder suspect. Remember, Lewis’s friends walked. Lewis pled guilty to obstruction. Literally, Ray Lewis is the only person on earth who has ever been convicted of a crime in relation to that murder. But that was forgiven because he was a hell of a football player.

But apparently he isn’t allowed to have a political opinion 5 years after retirement.

Look, I don’t care how you feel about kneeling during the national anthem. Ok, that’s not true. I do care… and if you have a problem with it, you’re a fucking idiot. But really, as I said before, it’s because of your idiocy that this is getting press. You are what makes this an effective protest.

But don’t pretend this is a moral outrage. It’s not. Ray Lewis played 17 years with the Baltimore Ravens. He is a two time Super Bowl champion, one time Super Bowl MVP, thirteen time Pro Bowler, and as much as it pains me to say, one of the greatest linebackers that ever played the sport. He is football royalty. He is an easy first round ballot pick for the NFL Hall of Fame. And because of that, he without a doubt deserves the statue in front of the stadium that frankly, he fucking built. That said, there is not a single fan in that city who doesn’t know that he was a suspect in a double murder. Even if he didn’t kill them himself, he was involved in the fight that led to their deaths. HE FUCKING ADMITS THIS! HE TESTIFIED TO IT!!! But I maintain that the two things are unrelated. No matter how awful a person he may or may not be outside of football, he is without a doubt one of the greatest to ever play.

But no, the petition to remove the statue stems from his protest, not his involvement in a double murder. The petition even says “I will not stand for that kind of disrespect towards our country, especially from a legend such as Ray Lewis.” In other words, the petition writer believes that Lewis has even less right to his opinion because of how good a football player he was.

And that’s the problem. You may not believe in Colin Kaepernick. You may not believe in #BlackLivesMatter. You may have a faulty understanding of what the flag represents or how long it has been a tradition to have the players stand for the national anthem (answer, eight years… in other words, only since the last three of Lewis’s career). You may have such conviction for your misled patriotism that you’re now willing to boycott the NFL (and I don’t believe you… you can say whatever the fuck you want, no football fan is missing their team in the playoffs over this). You may think that #BlackLivesMatter is a racist movement because “all lives matter.” You may think all of this is stupid and you may not understand any of it.

Understand this… if you are offended by Lewis’s statue BECAUSE of his kneeling and not because of the rest of his personal history, then you DO NOT believe “all lives matter” and specifically you think black lives don’t matter at all. What you believe is that you want to see a bunch of dumb giant black men crashing into each other for your entertainment. And you don’t care if they literally kill each other off the field. You just don’t want to think that they might have personal opinions that might differ from what you believe. You don’t want them to have opinions at all. You aren’t mad at Ray Lewis because he knelt. You’re mad at him because the nigger didn’t dance when you told him to dance. You’re mad at him because when you said jump, the nigger didn’t ask how high? You’re mad at him because the nigger reminded you that he might be more than an animal that fights other animals for your amusement.

I have on many occasions said that I completely support the rights of white supremacists to march, to carry their nazi flag, to fly the confederate battle flag. I stand by that. If a white player wants to scream “white power” as they take the field, I actually won’t try to stop him. I won’t be a fan. I might bitch about him. But I support his right to do it. And I mean this. I said before that Donté and I were tag team partners. We were part of a group that we called Affirmative Action, a reference to exactly what it sounds like. And if you’re a part of wrestling, then you need to just accept that there is going to be no shortage of white wrestlers with southern gimmicks wearing confederate flag inspired outfits. I might not agree with it, but I never had a problem with any of them. I STILL support their right to stand up for something I don’t believe in… even in the name of entertainment.

You might say “all lives matter” but if you’ve signed this petition… If you have ever said “they can protest on their own time” (something that clearly people also don’t REALLY believe)…if you have a problem with this at all… then you DON’T think all lives matter.  You DON’T think their lives matter. And you sure as hell don’t think black ones do. Or at least they don’t matter as much as your comfort level of being able to pretend you’re a patriot while stuffing your face with fucking nachos.

Go fuck yourself.

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