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The Voice of the Black Community

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Panthers defensive end Stephen Weatherly: 'All Black Lives Matter'
Respect worth beyond sports, entertainment
 
Published Wednesday, August 12, 2020 9:24 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | AP
Panthers defensive end Stephen Weatherly wants the same respect bestowed upon Black athletes and entertainers conferred among ordinary folks in lower-profile lives.

Sports are not the only way for a Black man to succeed in America.


Americans worship Black athletes on the court and field, but when they do not know what the ordinary guy walking down the street does for a living, a different perception is often attached.


Stephen Weatherly knows the pressure of having his worth as a person attached to his line of work. The Carolina Panthers defensive end signed a two-year deal in March after spending his first four seasons with Minnesota behind Pro Bowlers Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen.  


While Weatherly loves what he does, he wants the next generation to know their worth lies beyond football. The decal he intends to wear this season in support of the Black Lives Matter movement reflects that.


“I am going to wear a decal,” Weatherly said. “The one I will wear is a variation of Black Lives Matter, and just put “All Black Lives Matters.” Especially given my standing, and where I am in the community, often times when I met with people, my life has been validated because of what I do, because I play for the Panthers and I am a professional athlete. People see value, see worth in me as an individual, but when people don’t know what I do for a living, I get treated differently. It shouldn’t take what someone does or who they are for them to then deserve to be treated fairly.”


Attention turned toward the Black Lives Matter movement earlier this year with the shooting death by two white men of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia while going for a run. Breonna Taylor was shot and killed a couple of weeks later in her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky by police. Then George Floyd’s death sent shock waves across the nation. Police knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25.


Whatever the NFL season may look like in the face of COVID-19, players like Weatherly do not intend to let the moment fade into oblivion to advocate for all Black lives.


“A lot of people in this world will see me and see what I do, and think I’m an amazing person and give me value, but then my cousin, my mom, my brother, all aren’t [valued], because they don’t do what I do for a living,” he said. “That’s why I will wear a decal that says, ‘All Black Lives Matter,’ not just the ones you root for.”


Weatherly wants the next generation to know that the stereotype of how to build a better life is not exclusive to entertainment.


“For a long time, it’s been stereotyped that there’s only a handful of ways to make it out,” he said. “I feel like as someone who is successful, not only in sports, but off the field, it’s partly my job to show the next generation that you can succeed in multiple different ways. It feels like that’s the only way, until you show the next generation that there are different ways, and you talk about it.”

It starts with leading by example.


“You make it be OK and you don’t condemn those who may think differently and be a nerd, we called them ‘Black nerds,’” Weatherly said. “Back before it was cool to be into anime and cartoons and stuff like that, I was one of those kids, but now it’s like highly celebrated. It’s a slow evolution and to say, ‘there’s bigger. There’s more. There’s more than one way for you to be successful. It doesn’t have to be a microphone or a ball.’”
 

Comments

So now the narrative is only black ppl matter now because if they aren't famous then they aren't privileged. I hate to break it to all these racist black ppl behind this movement, but any other race that isn't famous isn't given privileges and treated like a celebrity. These rich folk need to shut up about inequality when they are some of the most privileged ppl to walk this earth.
Posted on August 12, 2020
 

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