America is finally coming to grips!

NASCAR / Chris Graythen Bubba Wallace has led the way for NASCAR’s racial reforms.

 Honestly, 2020 has been like a long dream. Coronavirus pandemic, 115,000 Americans dead since March 1. No games played since March 12—NBA, NHL, NCAA, MLS and MLB never even started. Then George Floyd is murdered in full view by four Minneapolis police on the streets at 38th and Chicago.

America’s social shift or social reality awakening happened when Americans had no games to watch or go to, no movies to attend, no arts, no concerts, no clubs or bars. We were forced to stay at home in COVID-19 isolation.

Protest marches, violence every day since Memorial Day. Fifty percent of the protesters are White. Things appear to be changing in real-time with an admission that America is racist and has discriminated against Black people for 400 years. The NFL, the most popular game on earth, is leading the way.

The NFL admits they were wrong three years ago and should have supported the players’ fight for racial equality, justice and Black Lives Matter, committing $250 million for social justice causes. June 19, better known as Juneteenth, is now a holiday for players.

The Vikings and Wilf Family ownership is donating $5 million to social justice. The Vikings (social justice committee) also unveiled a social justice plan that includes a $125,000 gift establishing the George Floyd Legacy Scholarship.

The Twins story is tied to Calvin Griffith. The Pohlad ownership, the richest in MLB, has committed $25 million. “We condemn racism in all its forms and we are committed to helping to enact meaningful change.” One NBA owner committed $100 million for social justice causes—the only Black owner in sports, Michael Jordan.

The Arizona Cardinals will support its players’ protest including kneeling during the anthem. Houston Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brian has said he will take a knee during the national anthem next season with his players to protest racial inequality and police brutality.
Three years ago, no Vikings players took a knee in support of Colin Kaepernick.

NASCAR’s three national series supports the only Black driver, Bubba Wallace, who asked that the Confederate flag be banned. Two days later they banned the Confederate flag at NASCAR events.

That’s a start, but 1700 Confederate symbols still remain in the U.S. That flag is the most racist symbol on earth. Do you know how many Black men and women have died at the hands of KKK and flag-waving racists? Confederate symbols have been used to consciously intimidate and remind Black Americans of the pain delivered by the preservation of slavery.

Powerful wealthy Whites, powerless poor Blacks, two different views and life experience. Universities are dropping lots of sports programs. Why? Football and basketball programs drive university revenues. Schools can’t make money with student athletes playing in empty stadiums with no fans.

America has a birth defect. Our culture is everywhere. It’s being packaged.

Sports returning and starting up games is not easy for owners because the coronavirus was not in the contract. Owners and players finally really see each other. For the players starting up again, patience is a virtue in team sports. In individual sports like golf and tennis the players are independent contractors—here’s the money, come and get it.

Institutionalized racism is a culture in this country, in politics and media. It’s the way they do business. Four hundred years of racism is coming out on the streets, and people are saying, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has a message for White people: “White people need to make change in their lives. This is not one man’s story. This is almost every Black man’s story, which is why the problem is ours.”

About Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald is a longstanding contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday and Friday at 9:10 am, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.

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