The world we live in continues to be divided as racism is a huge problem in our country and each of us has to take part in building the bridge towards peace. The sports world decided to do its part last night as all NBA Playoff games and 3 Major League games were boycotted by players .
Boycotting did not take place here at CitiField as the Mets beat the Marlins but on a night like this final scores mean very little to me. We live in a country with 2 pandemics-CoVID and racism and each of them are cold blooded killers.
As many of you know, I have covered sports for well over 30 years and the thing I love the most is color of your skin does not dictate your playing time–the skills you possess and the character you show always do. And covering the Mets the past few years, I have become very friendly with Mets first basemen/outfielder Dominic Smith whom I respect as a player but more importantly as a person.
He is honest, straightforward and cares about others the way God intended us to do. He shows that every moment I encounter him and in this pandemic world we can only speak via Zoom meetings and last night after a dramatic win over the Miami Marlins he opened up in a Zoom call about racism. His words brought tears to my eyes because I know that the words came straight from his heart.
As a white person, I can NEVER imagine what a black person goes through every day just walking down the street and the incidents Dominic has encountered give me a little idea of it. Hate exists everywhere in our country and yes we should not submit to it but at the same time we need to eradicate it.
As the Zoom presser went on, Smith was barely able to contain himself as we continue to see black people treated in the worst way in this country. I am not here to make any political statements, I am here to say enough is enough and I respect the players in the NBA and MLB for taking a stand that is long overdue.
The footage we have seen in the past few months is gut wrenching and indefensible and reminds me of a story in my teenage years. I grew up in the Bronx and was assaulted on a bus by three black teenagers for no reason and had to be stitched up in the emergency room.
Later that night I had the most important conversation of my life with my dad, He told me that I had every right to be angry but I should NEVER let an incident like this turn me into a racist. He told me what was done to me was inexcusable but to think about retribution was merely constructing a life filled with hatred and promised we I would encounter black people in my life that would inspire me. And caving in to that hatred would preclude me from those great relationships.
I thought about it and promised myself I would adhere to his advice and also figured out there would be people close in my life who would try to inspire me to use my unfortunate incident as a way to turn me into a man filled with racial hatred. And I knew that was not me–not the man brought up by 2 parents who fought against racism at every turn.
And that concept has given me a wonderful life opening up relationships with people like Dominic Smith and I feel blessed for that. But it also makes my skin crawl when he hear racist comments because it is not what this country should be about.
So please you can disagree with every sports opinion you have ever seen me write but open your heart to the distressed people in our country who are the victims of racism. They need our love, understanding and support. And I am sure My Dad who passed away this past April, will look down on us and be so happy.
Lets fight racism together–there is no grey area because you are either part of the solution or part of the problem. It is that simple. And much like CoVid each of us can play a role in beating this dangerous foe, But only if we do it TOGETHER.
Listen to Dom Smith Zoom interview from last night below.