International soccer matches have seen their share of racism, but many non-Black athletes have shown their support for their Black colleagues.


Anyone Can Stay Woke

Throughout the Civil Rights Movement and the Abolitionist movement, non-Blacks have sacrificed their “privilege” to help the cause of Black Americans and other people of African decent.

Unfortunately, it is as if the aforementioned movements did not get taken seriously until it involved White Americans losing their lives or their livelihood to help their Black brethren in their fight for equal rights and human dignity.

Nevertheless, those non-Blacks, specifically non-Black professional athletes, deserve credit for selfless dedication and unselfish concern for the welfare of others.

Therefore, would like to give props to five “woke” non-Black pro athletes who joined their Black-American and African counterparts in their fight for justice in America and abroad.

Chris Long—Of all the White NFL players to speak out against the White supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., very few were surprised that it included Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long.  The son of Hall of Famer Howie Long has long supported Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the National Anthem to protest police brutality of Black-Americans although he stated that his patriotism would not allow him to follow suit.  However, Long’s decision to put his hand on teammate Malcolm Jenkins shoulders as Jenkins raised his fist in protest during the “Star Spangled Banner” became just as powerful and set the precedent for other White NFL players to follow.

Seth DeValve—The Cleveland Browns tight end became the first White NFL player to take a knee during the National Anthem like Kaepernick did during the 2016 NFL season.  DeValve who has a Black wife wanted to shed light on injustice and police brutality because he will probably have children that do not look like him, instead looking more like his Black wife.  However, the Browns preseason demonstrators’ decision to kneel for the anthem was done to pray for the country after the turmoil in Charlottesville, Va., not as a protest against the United States.  After the demonstration, DeValve stated, “The United States is the greatest country in the world.  It is because it provides opportunities to its citizens like no other country does.  The issue is that it doesn’t provide equal opportunity to everybody.  And I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee.  We wanted to draw attention to the fact there’s things in this country that still need to change.”

Bob Cousy—Sports teams are often seen as a brotherhood. Therefore, when your brother struggles with racism it is hard not to become empathetic to his plight.  And when Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell dealt with racism in Boston and throughout the country, fellow Celtics legend Cousy began speaking out against racial bias.  Cousy’s humanitarian work has continued decades after his stellar basketball career ended from creating scholarships for minority students at Becker College to helping the less fortunate financially.  The “Cooz” also played a vital role in creating the first players’ union.  Cousy also served as a Big Brother for many years.  For his work, a Huffington Post writer named Cousy to his “All-Star Team for great players with a social conscience.”

Neymar—Unfortunately, racial taunts during international soccer matches appear commonplace for athletes of African decent.  So when Dani Alves had a banana thrown at him on the field in 2014, he took the power away from the bigoted fan by eating it.  That gesture went viral on social media with many soccer icons like Neymar posting pictures of themselves eating bananas online.  Neymar posted a picture with him and his son eating bananas with the caption, “We are all monkeys, we are all the same.  Say no to racism!!”  Comparing people of African decent to monkeys is a common racist taunt throughout the world.


Yao Ming—Basketball Hall of Famer Yao Ming endured his share of bigotry while starring at center for the Houston Rockets, but that seems to have only intensified his desire to do humanitarian work.  While Yao’s dedication to the community does not necessarily focus on Black civil rights, he has fought hard for the rights of animals on the continent of Africa.  The elephants of Africa are in demand by poachers from throughout the world who kill the large animals because of the high value on elephant tusks.  Yao is trying to do his part to save African elephants by persuading the Chinese government to give up its infatuation with ivory.  Yao stated, “Before [my visit to Africa], it was more of a number for me—how many tons of ivory, how much money comes out of this business.  Sometimes the number is cold.  After you visit Africa, it is very unique.  I felt that I built some kind of special connection with the animals.”

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