Chris Long showing white solidarity with black athletes in social issues.
(ThyBlackMan.com) When the New England Patriots won Super Bowl LI over the Atlanta Falcons, there was an obvious connection to the Patriots to the White House even before they won the game. Superstar quarterback Tom Brady is friends with U.S. President Donald Trump, Trump received a letter of encouragement from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, and Trump also has a positive relationship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
With the Super Bowl win, the Patriots will likely be the first sports team to have the opportunity to visit the White House as a championship team with Donald Trump as U.S. President. However, several Patriots are declining the invitation to go the White House due to Trump’s presence. One of the Patriots not going to the White House is defensive end Chris Long, who is the only white player to decline the invitation as all the other players to decline have been black. Long’s actions definitely set him apart from other of his athletic counterparts.
When Donald Trump won the U.S. Presidential election, one of the interesting sports-related reactions to his election is whether large numbers of athletes would skip attending the White House as has been tradition for championship teams to do in sports. After Super Bowl LI, outspoken tight end Martellus Bennett was the first Patriots player to say he would not accompany his teammates to the White House because of Trump’s presence. He has been joined by other Patriots teammates, with most declining the White House visit due to Trump being the current U.S. President.
The only white player on the Patriots to decline visiting the White House so far is Chris Long. It was a surprise because Long had played for a perennial NFL losing team, the Rams, all of his career before joining the Patriots in 2016. After enduring years of frustration with losing, it would be understandable that Long would take in everything that goes with being a Super Bowl champion but he has turned down the White House invitation.
Earlier during the 2016 NFL season, Chris Long also made a strong statement regarding political and social issues about Colin Kaepernick’s protest and actions during the National Anthem. He told USA Today,“When somebody takes a stand, I think that a white person like me, who has a certain privilege, I should listen and support that expression.” He did not join the protest himself but he did articulate that his perspectives are influenced by his race while acknowledging white privilege.
He showed some solidarity with black peers through his words and is showing solidarity through his actions by not visiting the White House because a number of his black teammates take issue with Trump. This is important because solidarity is a vital and important part of social movements when people of different backgrounds join together when a marginalized group is being subjected to injustice.
Staff Writer; Mark Hines