This past Monday night, Cleveland Browns tight end Seth DeValve became the first white NFL player to kneel during the national anthem before a game, joining his Black teammates in a knelt circle of prayer.
Well, although his African-American wife is "proud" of him for taking the stance he did, she wants to remind everyone that Black players began the protest and continue it today, so DeValve shouldn't be made into "some sort of white savior." And he certainly didn't legitimize the protests from NFL players at all.
Erica Harris DeValve makes those points and more in a post she wrote for VerySmartBrothas.
"On Monday night, I walked into FirstEnergy Stadium having absolutely no clue what was going to happen during the national anthem," she started explaining. "When it began, I saw a group of Browns players kneeling and was proud. A few moments later, I noticed that No. 87 — my husband, Seth — was among them, and I was even prouder."
She added: "That moment reconfirmed a few things that I knew: that the many in-depth conversations about race that Seth and I had — that every interracial couple must have had — resonated and took root with him; that he knew this was bigger than just one-on-one chatting with me over dinner or coffee, and that he gets it, beyond a simple desire to be protective of me as his wife."
That being said, Erica isn't having any notion of her husband being painted as a "white savior" in this equation, further explaining that, "I would like to push back against some of the attention he’s been getting that portrays him as some sort of white savior to a movement that was started and has been carried on by black football players for about a year now."
While she's grateful for the praise that DeValve has received for his silent protest, she reminded everyone that "a black man literally lost his job for taking a knee, week after week, on his own," adding, "Colin Kaepernick bravely took a step and began a movement throughout the NFL, and he suffered a ridiculous amount of hate and threats and ultimately lost his life’s work in the sport he loves."
She hopes people view DeValve's kneeling not as something that is "legitimizing this movement," but yet that "he chose to be an ally of his black teammates."
Indeed, he did, and said as much after Monday night's game, as reported by Cleveland.com.
"The United States is the greatest country in the world. It is because it provides opportunities to its citizens that no other country does," DeValve said. "The issue is that it doesn't provide equal opportunity to everybody. And I wanted to support my African-American teammates today who wanted to take a knee. We wanted to draw attention to the fact that there's things in this country that still need to change."
And the fact that the 24-year-old is married to a Black woman adds to that feeling.
"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 continued.
Well, you're doing your part, Seth. And your wife, Erica, along with us are proud of you.
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(Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)