For US sports fans who bother to point their noses overseas, a few might find the extra-American practices curious. As soccer opened up these past days in Europe, players taking knees.
In watching English soccer this week (League Two playoffs Thursday and Swansea City today) I noticed a few things. I’ve certainly noticed before: no national anthem. New now: the minute’s pre-game applause for the National Health Service, for what they are doing to combat the pandemic. Also, the universal taking a knee: players of all colors/colours, plus coaches and match officials.
After his goals today, Swansea striker Rhian Brewster fetched a shirt from the bench. The tv feed didn’t get a clear view, but somebody passed it on to the guy for his social media feed:
So many threads begin as the world heads to its future.
Pro athletes playing in empty stadiums: temporary and not for long, we hope. “Long” will be months, I suppose. The rest of 2020. My worry is with further mutations and outbreaks, and it might stretch into 2021.
New heroes: health care workers. Overtaking guys with guns. That might be a nice trend: medical wear overtaking camo, and stethoscopes instead of badges. I like the minute’s applause for the folks tending the sick and staffing the front lines against the disease. Hint: when they call in sick it means they are really sick.
I hope the stance against racism goes deeper than knees, shirts, and ritual gestures.
The struggle against racism, like sports and medicine, requires commitment, dedication, discipline, and teamwork. Some of these things work against the lazier strains of libertarianism, social media character limits, fake news, and doing-it-the-way-I’ve-always-done-it.
Looking ahead, a real crime to avoid is doing nothing.