My last Famous Friday was on Cleveland Browns QB, DeShone Kizer, who two weeks ago was dreaming of winning the starting role. Since that time he has not only secured the starting position, but he’s achieved hero status here in Cleveland. Today’s Famous Friday features another kind of Browns hero (even though his wife asks that he not be viewed in that way), Seth DeValve.
Yes, my Dad played most of his NFL career with the Browns and, yes, I am still a fan despite their streak of losing seasons, but the choice of Seth DeValve really has nothing to do with those things. I chose to feature Seth DeValve because he took a bold stand against racism. Last week Seth was the first white player to join the social-consciousness protest started by Colin Kaepernick last year. Seth joined with several of his black teammates during the anthem to kneel in prayer for our country,
“And also to draw attention to the fact that we have work to do,” the 24 year old player who is in his second NFL season out of Princeton University said. Explaining that he didn’t want to offend anyone, Sean said, “It saddens me that in 2017 we have to do something like that, I personally would like to say that I love this country. I love our national anthem, I’m very grateful to the men and women who have given their lives and give a lot every day to this country and to serve this country, and I want to honor them as much as I can. The United States is the greatest country in the world. It is because it provides opportunities to its citizens that no other country does. The issue is that it doesn’t provide equal opportunity to everybody.”
Just a week ago Seattle Seahawks player Michael Bennett asked white players to join in the protests and Seth was the first to take a knee.
“We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there’s things in this country that still need to change. I myself will be raising children that don’t look like me, and I want to do my part as well to do everything I can to raise them in a better environment than we have right now,” DeValve said.
Some people have chosen to focus on the fact that DeValve has a personal interest in this issue because he is recently married to African-American woman, his college sweetheart, Erica Harris. And Seth did point out that the couple, who met at a Princeton church group, will one day have multiracial children. But Erica penned a response this week that asserts that her husband would stand up for what’s right no matter what race his wife was.
My sisters both won the Princeton Prize in Race Relations when they were high school juniors. That award was instituted by the Princeton class of ’66, which was almost entirely white. My family has always been inspired by that class and their selfless focus on racial justice. People like those in that class and like Seth and his wife understand that racial justice is just, and no matter what race you are that is something to work for.
Thanks, Seth for taking a stand… while taking a knee.
Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teens Co-President
Photo Credit: Heavy.com