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The day I finally agreed with Coach K

Even scarier: I am very ok with this astonishing development.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - East Regional - Washington DC - Practice Sessions Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

This week is rivalry week on the SB Nation network, and because of this I am sure that the title of this article is confusing to many. I can certainly understand any and all confusion, but I not only promise that my hate for everything that is Duke still runs extremely deep, but I promise that by the end of this everything will make sense.

It’s no secret to anybody that knows me or any Tar Heel fan that walks God’s green Earth that Duke head coach Michael William Krzyzewski and I have never seen eye to eye. I disagree with how he recruits, who he recruits, how he coaches, how he lets Cameron Indoor Stadium remain a gym from the 1920s, how he permits floor slapping, and much more. Heck, I disagree with how the man ties his tennis shoes. However, the day has finally come that Coach K and I finally agree on something, and it’s so incredibly important that I actually don’t mind admitting it.

This Friday Coach K released a video that was tweeted via Bleacher Report. I would like you to have a listen:

In this video, Coach K discussed the Black Lives Matter movement and how if we all acknowledged that racial injustice is a real issue in this country, then we could then begin to move closer and closer to true equality. Everything that he said in the almost three-minute video was blunt, powerful, and in ways uncomfortable. Not uncomfortable because he said something that was controversial, but uncomfortable because we as people have done an excellent job at training ourselves to avoid everything that is uncomfortable. Uncomfortable has been forced on us by the year 2020, so while we’re at it we may as well fix an issue that is centuries old.

In order to dive deep into what he said, I’d like to share a few quotes from it and add my own perspective into not only what he’s saying, but what we should take out of what was said. Here we go.

“Black lives matter. Say it! Can’t you say it? Black lives matter! We should be saying it every day. It’s not political, this is not a political statement. It’s a human rights statement. It’s a fairness statement.”

If there is anything about the Black Lives Matter movement that is extremely misunderstood, it is the fact that it really isn’t a movement that is trying to do something radical. It honestly shouldn’t even be an organization, because the goal here is to obtain something that should be the birth right to each and every American born on this soil: freedom and fairness. There are at least some of you I’m sure that believe that black men and women are born with these things, but I will tell you from personal experience that we are not.

Don’t believe me? Here’s something I would like you to try: I would like you to talk to five of the closest black people you have in your life, whether it’s someone from work, a friend of a friend, or maybe even a neighbor. Ask them if they can tell you three stories of racial injustice / unfairness that they have encountered in their lives. Ask questions to understand the situations if you must, but the goal is to take these stories, think about how each of these played out, what each party involved could have been thinking as it was happening, and then ask yourselves: is this really a political issue, or is it a human rights issue that still exists in America? My hope is that you will discover that the answer is the latter.

Nobody should be making this a political issue. No matter what your political views are, we should all be furious that there are things in this country set up to not only hold people back, but to potentially kill them. For some reading material on the issue, I recommend a book called “The End of Policing” by Alex S. Vitale. The title won’t sit well with some and I’m not here to say whether or not police should exist, but he has a lot of incite about why things are the way they are, how deep it runs, and potential solutions to solve the problem.

“The problem will not be solved and no problem will be solved unless you acknowledge the problem. Acknowledge it. If you acknowledge it, you have the duty to solve it.”

One common theme in just about every killing of a black person by the police is that we always find excuses as to why these things happen. Someone always resists arrests, says something wrong, had a criminal record, had a weapon, etc. The killing of George Floyd was over a $20 bill. That’s it. A man whose job is to protect the American people restrained and killed a black man over a phone call someone made because they thought a $20 bill was potentially fake. Doesn’t that sound outrageous when you say it out loud? It should.

Rather than focus on what someone should or shouldn’t have been doing, do this for me: put your loved ones in George Floyd’s shoes. Take a moment to realize that if your husband, your wife, your kid, or one of your closest friends went to that same store with that same $20 bill, this could’ve happened to them. If you think it would’ve happened to them, then you understand the problem. If you don’t think it’d happen to them, then you just learned what racial inequality really means. We have a duty to stop ignoring the issue, and to do something about it.

“Lord, help me choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong. We as a country have chosen the easier wrong for four centuries.”

One issue that manifests itself when people begin to realize that we really do have a racial injustice issue in this country is feeling like there’s nothing we can do, and therefore taking the “easier wrong.” It’s an easier wrong not to say/do something that stands up to racial injustice, it’s an easier wrong to be a contrarian on the online, and it’s an easier wrong to focus on all of the wrong things in general.

Here is the best starting point to helping everything that is happening right now: we all have to stop focusing on everything that protestors are doing wrong. Yes, there have been riots and yes there have been looters, but all of that is noise that drowns out the real problem at hand. I want to make it very clear that I do not condone the rioting, but also there have been many protests across the country that have been started and ended peacefully, because that’s all we want: peace. Yes, tensions are growing substantially, and rather than merely picketing protestors are demanding answers from our leaders. If we’re being real with ourselves, it’s that frustration that has forced a lot of change over the last month.

I am going to leave you with a clip from an interview with Tupac Shakur before he passed away, because in this video he in a nutshell explains why things have hit such a boiling point that the people have taken it upon themselves to take matters into their own hands by ripping down statues, knocking on governors’ doors, and yes, approaching the White House.

Coach K is done asking. I am done asking. We, as a people, should be done asking. Now is the time for things to change. Now is the time to step out of our comfort zones and do what we can to create change. We must finally stop choosing the easier wrong, and develop a habit of choosing the harder right.

Black. Lives. Matter.