Another nice gesture from the sports world in response to politics. Is it totally naive to think such things have any impact? What will the Rams do when they play next?
On the one hand, of course, racism is structural and deeply embedded in our society. No gestures from anyone is going to change that. Add to that, sports has its own racial hierarchies and biases that impact hiring, firing, perceptions, you name it.
But on the other hand, in our current world of polarization, can athletes uniquely wade into politics with some amount of trust crossing racial lines? I don’t know. My guess is that the further one wades, the more haters will start to hate. Will popular athletes lose such popularity when they take a stand (Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf), or they will retain popularity on singularly athletic grounds if they do (Mohammed Ali)? I at least hope the Rams try. The African Americans on the team are likely the only African Americans many whites living in St. Louis “know” and at least nominally respect. It’s worth a shot.