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The Letter a Sports Icon Should Pen to All Americans

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP

Professional athletes, many being minorities, have a unique opportunity to spread a positive message about America as a land of opportunity that, while imperfect, has a calling and destiny unlike any in the world.

Such a message would bring hope, healing and encourage a “Yes, we can” mentality to millions of all backgrounds.

Instead, LeBron James and other professional athletes have collectively spread a false narrative that our nation is systemically racist and inherently bad. In so doing, they fuel racial tension, perpetuate a victim mentality and perpetuate civil unrest.

“By their fruits ye shall know them.”

The fruits of LeBron’s message cause and will continue to cause violence, lawlessness, racial unrest, and a “No, I can’t” mindset, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Are there no professional athletes with the courage to take the noble track of a more correct perspective? Are all sports icons so cowed into being “woke” that they’re powerless to speak the truth forthrightly? Is there a single player on the court, or in the field, ready to differ from teammates? Or, even at the zenith of fame, do athletes succumb to peer-pressure and groupthink.

Here’s an opportunity for the greatest players in sports to deliver a message of unity and healing. They could be the heroes we need and immediately effectuate great change.

Here’s the letter LeBron, or another hero-of-our-day, ought to write:

To my fans and others:

Where would you rather be?  

Seriously. We have problems, but I’m living proof that if you work hard and do everything you can to the best of your abilities, you can make it! 

You may be thinking. “I can’t be LeBron and don’t have his skills.”  Well, maybe you have other skills and talents, skills that I do not. 

If it’s not on the court, it’s elsewhere. Use those God-given talents, never give up and you will make it.  And guess what? The best place on earth to have that chance is right here in the USA. 

Even with the strife we’ve had, and still have, there’s no place I’d rather be and no place you will have a better shot. Compared with what our fathers and grandfathers had to go through, well, we have it made.  

I’m not saying it’s easy or that anyone’s going to roll out a red carpet. Everyone on the planet has struggles. Some are bigger than others, but we all have them. 

Moreover, they don’t go away!  

Even with money and fame, it’s best you learn to deal with them. Not tomorrow, NOW. Be the person you were meant to be and learn, today, to overcome hardships, setbacks, and difficulties because they never go away. None of this is designed to discourage you, but this is part of life. The sooner you learn to address life’s inequities, the easier and happier yours will be.

Another question: Do you think life is supposed to be fair? It isn’t! So if you’ve been dealt a bad hand, avoid self-pity. Guess what? Most people are dealt one. Of course, some have a paved road and seem to travel faster and further than you. So what? 

You’ll be stronger for dealing with all the bumps and bruises along the way.

Even hear of the parable of the talents? Some are given more than others but that’s not the point. It’s to do with what we have. And for those of you who have been given little, what a story you can tell when you make it!  

What a life you can live inspiring others. Nobody wants to hear about the guy who was born with it all and was expected to do great things. Ok, maybe some people want to hear about that. But the real stories, the great ones, are from those who had nothing and then achieved that God-given potential.

Am I proud to be an American? Yes! We were founded on great principles and, although those principles took time to implement, as a nation we have continuously progressed to the ideal that all men are created equal. And you better believe it!

You’re as valuable as I or any other person on the planet. We’re all God’s children, regardless of color, ethnic background, wealth, or poverty, famous or anonymous. Before identifying as anything else, know you are a child of God and he loves us all no matter what our circumstances, and me no more than you.

Is there racism in this country? Sure. But it doesn’t permeate society like it once did. Don’t assume people are against you because of their skin color. 

I’ve had people in my life of all racial makeups that have helped me to achieve my dreams. If you are sincere and work hard, most people will want to help you too.   

Remember that it took a coalition of Americans to get to where we are today. Slaves could not have freed themselves; it took a coalition, a team, to make that happen. More white men fought to set slaves free than were seeking to keep them in bondage.

America is not systemically racist. Here you’ll find people of all colors and backgrounds ready to respect and assist you.

Let’s work together, do the best with what we have, and heed Martin Luther King Jr’s message about judging people by their character – alone. Skin color is irrelevant.

What a game-changer this would be – overnight.

This would be a real use of power to promote love AND self-reliance.

I still pray that someone with LeBron’s stature steps up. In fact, he still could. But role models are few, and it would require breaking from the pack and possibly facing scorn.

LeBron, take that step!

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