It has been a strange week for all of us. I sat down to write my column for this week and was thinking of ideas and the only thing that I wanted to write about was the Presidential election. That seems to be the thing that matters right now and the stunning election results has stunned this nation and left many gasping for air. Certainly, the result on Tuesday was like an earthquake in our country.
When you step out of the box or maybe your comfort zone, you are often told to stay in your lane on social media, especially if you cover sports. This week it was difficult for anyone to stay in your lane especially after the election of Donald Trump as our 45th president of the United States last Tuesday. This election season was long and terrifying at times. It was never a good look for our nation and I can only imagine what other nations thought looking at us as all this went down.
There are many reasons why Hillary Clinton lost and Donald Trump won. They were both very flawed candidates and that is not even debatable. This column is not a breakdown of the politics of it. Where she went wrong. What he did right. How did we get here? We are such a divided nation right now and it appears like it will get worse before it gets better. On TV, there are daily marches in uproar against the President-elect. I went down to the 5th venue protest this past week and it was not paid protesters, it was men and woman of all ages that were scared and worried after listening to Mr. Trump's divisive rhetoric on the campaign trail.
I don't know what the next four years will be like. But I do appreciate when athletes voice their opinion on the election regardless of whom they voted for. I loved what Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovic and Stan Van Gundy had to say because we all know what people have been thinking about this week and it is important for everyone to be able to voice their opinion, no matter who they voted for.
However, I don't appreciate the fact that Colin Kaepernick didn't vote, after all, our elected officials can help bring about real change in our communities. He is fighting for social injustice and I have no issues with him taking a knee during the national anthem. I believe that is his right as an American citizen. With that being said, his decision not to vote, was a mistake. After all, we are democracy, which literally means rule by the people. When he states, “Both are proven liars and it almost seems like they’re trying to debate who’s less racist.... You have to pick the lesser of two evils, but in the end, it’s still evil.” Certainly, you can feel that way, but deciding not to exercise your vote does not help to bring about the change that he seeks, you can certainly feel it undermines his message. If he wants real and tangible change, you need to work in the community and you need to vote as well as it does send the wrong message to everyone that has listened and watched his protest. If you want to be a leader, you need to lead.
I also think Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban came across very poorly during this election season. When he admits that he was not aware that it was Election Day and said, "it was so important to me that I didn't even know it was happening. We're focused on other things here." Now, Saban is a smart guy in football and life. The idea that he had no idea that we were electing our next President is silly. He knew, but he did not want to talk about it for whatever reason. He is a leader of young men and in doing so, needs to send the message to the young men that he coaches at Alabama. He is smart enough not to address it, but if he thinks it makes him look good that he is just focused on football, it does not. He is a leader of young men and his apparent singular focus on football is silly.
I expected more of Kaepernick and Saban. I think we need to start listening more and I do think it is important for our athletes to speak their mind. With how divided our country appears to be, now more than ever, it is important not to stay in your lane.