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From the Pitch - Justice

By HUGH ROBERTS, Charlotte Independence, 06/01/20, 1:15PM EDT



Author - Hugh Roberts
Hugh Roberts
Charlotte Independence
June 1, 2020

Why should I stick to sports?

Why should I stick to sports when my kin are getting killed every day just for living?

I won’t do it. 

You know why? Because I’m tired of seeing black families in pain. I’m tired of the injustice. And all I’m asking is that people make an effort to understand our culture and have empathy for what we’re going through.

The first, most basic step towards healing is to understand why we’re upset in the first place. 

Let me explain something: Ahmaud Arbery could have been my cousin. My brother. My uncle. He could have been ME. His story hit me hard because as a pro athlete, going on runs is something I do daily. The fear of having to check your shoulders while you exercise is traumatizing.

As my girl told me... “Watching Ahmaud murdered in the middle of the street was like watching it happen to you, Hugh.”

Less than a month later, another death of an unarmed black man.

Some take to the streets peacefully, while others wonder why these issues keep occurring. All the while people seem to push the main issue to the side: our deep history of systemic oppression.

We try to ignore it. We try to deny it.

But it’s all around us. 

I want to be clear. Don’t you call me a friend and then not speak up for me when these issues occur. 


And so does the rest of the Black community. We need your help to make a difference.

I want you to look around and ask yourself:

Are you all comfortable with all of this? Are you doing your part?


Then say something.

Speak up.

Say it louder. 


We need you to get out of your bubble, educate yourself, and have a conversation with someone who doesn’t look like you. Take a minute, try to understand our culture, our norms, and where we’re coming from. And maybe when you leave, you’ll do so with a little more respect — a little more understanding.

Something as simple as that would be a good first step.

If there’s a silver lining in everything that’s happened these past few weeks, it's that it proves we’re not yet completely numb to this. 

The people in the streets right now protesting peacefully just want to be heard. How else do we get your attention when you don’t hear our cries? We aren’t out there just for Ahmaud. We’re not just there for George or Breonna either. We're there for every black man and woman who has fallen victim to hundreds of years of systematic oppression. 

We’re fed up and it's time for a change.

As humans, we should aspire to something better. We should hope for a brighter future and we should act accordingly. To get there, it’s going to take all races, from every corner of the country to stand up and be accounted for to face these issues. We need everyone to come together. We need to speak up with one unified voice. To take a stand. 


I don’t care what the color of your skin is. If you’re reading this, know that you have that power to make a difference. We as black people have been fighting for centuries. It’s time for a change. 




To the Arbery, Floyd and Taylor families as well as everyone directly affected by these murders, I offer a small gesture. I know it won’t heal your wounds, or bring them back, but I’d like to dedicate this season to you.

When we get back on the field, I won’t just be running for my club, my teammates, or myself. I’ll be running for you. I’ll be running for our culture, our people, and everyone else out there fighting against injustice. 

Each step, each pass of the ball, each time I take the field, it’ll be for you. 

Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor … and everyone who came before you. Rest in peace. We’ll always carry your legacies. 


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