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“Just Go Away” – Speaking Out Against Leo Roth’s article

Op/Ed By Jason Muhammad –


Jason MuhammedDear Mr. Roth,

In response to your article, Can’t They Just Go Away, I would like to say the following:

There are a number of things that I would like see “Just Go Away” – like blatant racism disguised as patriotism.

Mr. Roth, Black people in America wish that the negative conditions in which we live, and the racism and systemic poison of white supremacy would go away. You, however, want someone who calls attention to this problem to go away, as if he was the problem.

So, you’re mad at the fireman for breaking down the door, but ignore the flames burning inside of your house?

It was just a few years ago when Collin Kaepernick was being celebrated at the Rochester Press Radio Club Awards Dinner.

You were most likely there, as was I.

The young quarterback gave a wonderful public interview to Scott Pitoniak, and all was right with the world.

Mr. Kaepernick was soft spoken, eloquent, and humble.

I guess I’m wondering what has actually changed other than the topic of his conversation.

Your memory, as well as your loyalty, is selective.

You cheered another Rochester Press Club Award recipient, Muhammad Ali.

And, when he passed, great proclamations were made claiming that what had endeared him to so many was the unpopular and political stance he’d taken, in spite of the consequences it had levied onto his boxing career.

I wonder what you said about him during the actual time of his protest. Did you want him to “Just go away?”

Mr. Kaepernick was also recognized by the San Fransico 49ers’, receiving the team’s most prestigious award, the Len Eshmont Award.  It is an award voted on by the players for the teammate who best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, a member of their 1946 founding team.

If Mr. Kaepernick was not a problem for his own teammates, how has be become a problem for you – one that needs to “Just go away?”

Why does talking about the very real injustices faced by very real people in this country offend you so? Why do you align speaking out against what one views as wrong, with actual crimes or acts of wrong?

The more people attempt to place Mr. Kaepernick in a negative light, the more I am reminded of a time when the mistreatment of Black people was blatantly the norm (as opposed to the more subtle and clandestine ways of modern times), and it was actually illegal for the victims of injustice to speak to the contrary.

You do realize that even the most superficial look into history would place you and those who think like to you on the side of men who did not want the minds of their slaves to be occupied with the frivolity of reading, writing, and critical thought, because there was cotton to pick in the fields, don’t you?

Think that over.

Mr. Roth, is there an appropriate way for Black people to protest mistreatment that you would find more acceptable? Clearly, burning the property they rent from others to the ground is dangerous and unacceptable.

Marching and chanting disrupts the flow of traffic, and interrupts “good” and “law-abiding citizens” from getting to their places of employment. It’s also very loud and creates noise pollution. Sit-ins used to be the way to go, but, again, that can be very disruptive to a place of business.

I personally thought that silently taking a knee, disturbing no one else, and striving not to make a spectacle would be the way to go.

But, apparently, that too, is offensive.

I mean, is there a Best Practices in Protest text book you could recommend so the victims of abuse and oppression, no matter what type, severity, or circumstance, may study it; so that their cries for help and their desires to be treated the way YOU desire to be treated could be better received by those who do not acknowledge that there is a problem in the first place?

You spoke with such expertise on the matter, I began to draw the assumptive conclusion that you were in fact the author.

Mr. Roth, there are very real problems in American society. Your desire to ignore the problem, because it disturbs your enjoyment of sport and play, is far from an appropriate response.

And, I know that you, and many other sports reporters and commentators, wish that athletes would stick to sports, and leave politics and social commentary alone.

I wish that you would take your own advice.

Better yet –  “Just go away.”

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(Disclaimer: The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of the Minority Reporter.)