Fans Who Want Saints to “Shut Up & Play Football” This Season Will Be Disappointed

Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Saints, YouTube

If somehow you missed it or still haven’t noticed by now, the United States of America currently is experiencing a full-scale cultural revolution — as our nation has now entered into a significant point in time in which the very way that we live and function as a civilized society — will dramatically be changed forever.

That dramatic change is going to directly impact everything that we do moving forward into the future, including the way in which we enjoy activities such as watching the sport of Pro Football and the NFL; but for a large segment of New Orleans Saints fans who would prefer to see their team just “shut up and play football” this upcoming season, they’re likely going to end up being extremely disappointed.

That’s because a handful of Saints players such as linebacker Demario Davis, defensive end Cam Jordan, wide receiver Michael Thomas, running back Alvin Kamara, safety Malcom Jenkins, and offensive tackle Terron Armstead among several others; are fully engaged in ensuring that multiple aspects of societal change will be implemented through long-overdue social justice; specifically an end to the systemic racism that has adversely affected Black citizens and people of color for centuries.

The ongoing protests of the past 3 weeks which have been championed in particular by the “Black Lives Matter” movement, have led to a monumental shift in how race-relations are now being seen and viewed throughout the country; following many decades of mistreatment that have further been perpetuated by the use of excessive force and brutality by a handful of police departments throughout the nation.

Photo Credit Abdul Aziz

It was the murder of Minnesota resident George Floyd and the subsequent arrests of the 4 Minneapolis police officers responsible for his death, that initially led to the protests which have since gripped both cities and even small towns from coast-to-coast.

But unfortunately things have gotten even worse now with the controversial shooting just yesterday morning of Atlanta resident Rayshard Brooks; who was shot in the back 3 times after attempting to flee from two members of the Atlanta Police Department.

Brooks’ death has sparked even more additional outrage, as it has only served to further emphasize the much-needed reform of the American criminal justice system and specifically the manner in which arrests by police are conducted while attempting to apprehend persons that have been accused or suspected of involvement in acts of possible criminal activity.

Whether you personally believe this latest incident was justified or not (Brooks was shown on video resisting arrest and had managed to out-wrestle one of the officers of his taser, which Brooks then fired at the officer as he attempted to flee), it has placed even more scrutiny upon the way in which African-American citizens and people of color in communities nation-wide, are being treated by law enforcement.

Further video of the incident released earlier of the officer’s body-camera suggests that the shooting was yet another disturbing instance of excessive force — and if the methodology of pursuit in which the officers in question utilized was truly warranted — since Brooks certainly didn’t deserve to be killed in what should have been a simple public intoxication charge / arrest (Brooks was found “passed out” drunk in his car at a Wendy’s Hamburgers drive-thru).

And given the inevitable backlash that this latest killing is expected to add to an already raging and out-of-control political fire that seemingly is burning even hotter than ever before, you can definitely believe that all (if not more) Saints players than the ones mentioned above, will be using their public platforms as well-known professional athletes to continually advocate for change.

Unfortunately however, not all loyally-devoted Who Dats / Saints fans share in that sentiment, and a sizable portion of supporters of the Black and Gold have made their personal feelings rather clear on a variety of Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; that they are not thrilled about the likelihood that the team’s upcoming 2020 Season will largely be overshadowed by the current state of events in the weeks and months ahead.

In other words: there are more than just a few Saints fans out there who would like to see the team and all of its players, to simply “stick to sports” — or in this particular instance — to just “shut up and play football”.

However, that very same segment of Saints fans are going to very likely end up being tremendously disappointed; and not only just because of their political views, but mainly because several of the Saints players themselves have been impacted personally by what’s occurred over the course of the past several weeks.

We won’t bother rehashing the much-publicized events that led to the controversy that surrounded Saints “living legend” and starting QB Drew Brees last week, but several of Brees’ teammates are (and have always been) very proactive in wanting to see significant changes made throughout American society.

Perhaps the most intriguing and notable player to experience that personal impact in recent days is 4th year superstar RB Alvin Kamara, who as we noted in our article in which we suggested the overwhelming need to end and eradicate  systemic racism against African-Americans and persons of color, himself was the recipient of a hateful comment by an alleged Saints ‘fan’ who told him to “go back to Africa”.

Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Saints, YouTube

Kamara has shared many of his personal thoughts and feelings about the current state of affairs regarding race-relations and social injustice, previously on his personal Social Media accounts.

Within the past week in particular, Kamara has taken a very personal interest in the sport of auto racing, specifically NASCAR and that sport’s notable decision to remove the display of the Confederate flag — long viewed as a blatant symbol of racism — from all of its racing events permanently.

Kamara has given his full support to NASCAR driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, the one and only African-American driver on the NASCAR racing circuit (for those Saints fans who are interested, they can view the NASCAR racing event later today in Miami, Florida that Kamara is expected to attend personally).

Wallace himself is actually a devoted fan of the University of Tennessee football program, where Kamara played two seasons of college football for the Volunteers prior to entering the NFL after he was selected by the Saints in the 2017 NFL Draft.

While Kamara’s support for Wallace isn’t likely to affect the Saints organization or the team’s on-the-field performance in any critical way, it will be seen or portrayed negatively by a handful of Saints fans that vehemently disagree with any of the team’s stars becoming actively involved with all of the various social issues that have basically been RIPPED WIDE-OPEN and exposed by the tumultuous events of the past month.

That said however, it’s very important to keep in mind that no matter which “side” that you consider yourself to be on politically. or regardless of however you might actually feel about any of these controversial topics personally, that our nation — in spite of all of its various shortcomings or fatal flaws — is STILL a nation that was founded on the principle of FREEDOM for ALL of its citizens.

And that freedom and the basic human rights that come with that principle, apply to everyone and not just a certain segment of the population because of their skin tone and the idea or misguided belief that they’re somehow SUPERIOR to people of another background or heritage.

As it’s clearly stated in the very opening line of the Declaration of Independence that was written nearly 250 years ago: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”.

Photo courtesy of the New Orleans Saints, YouTube

That observation by Thomas Jefferson still applies all of these centuries later, and it’s meant for each and every single one of us, no matter if you’re Black or White, Latino or Asian; gay or straight; Baptist or Catholic; and wealthy, poor, or in the “middle class” money-wise in your personal banking account.

The bottom line is that the Saints players — no matter whether you think they should just “shut up and play football” or not — have every perfectly legitimate reason to freely express themselves in this time of crisis that has evolved into a critical juncture in our nation’s storied history and ultimately (as it is already), will soon lead to an entire cultural revolution.

Now the only question is: can YOU as a supposedly loyal and devoted Saints fan, actually be okay with that???

Barry Hirstius is a semi-retired journalist, who has worked previously as a sports editor and columnist. Barry is a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the Saints while attending their games as a young boy during the early 1970’s, uptown at the old Tulane Stadium. He is also the proud Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity. Follow him on Twitter: @BarryHirstius

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