The New England Patriots are probably the most polarizing and divisive sports franchise in America. However, their polarization has been greatly overshadowed by a President who seemingly exists to incite chaos and provoke controversy, whenever possible.
Friday night, President Donald Trump took his methods to a new level of madness, even for him, as he went out of his way to attack the NFL in general, NFL Owner, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and any current NFL player who engages in National Anthem protests.
It's cliche, but it's true- sports are as big a unifying entity as we have in America. Trump tried to make it divisive, perhaps only to alleviate his own boredom, perhaps because he's petty and bitter about the National Football League prohibiting from owning a team in the 1980s.
What resulted was a backlash from the sporting world in general.
The New England Patriots are a team that reside in an extremely progressive state, but contain three Trump supporters in some of the most key positions- Owner Bob Kraft, Head Coach Bill Belichick and Quarterback Tom Brady.
Yet the club issued a very strong statement rebuking Trump's hateful rhetoric.
They showed solidarity on the field too during their win over the Houston Texans. The New England Patriots are just one example of many, as the sports world in general came together to hit back at Trump, telling and showing him how wrong he truly is.
Chicago Bears Team Captain Akiem Hicks spoke out. Lebron James did not hold back. Gregg Popovich told it exactly like it is once again. Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys expressed their sentiments strongly. Boomer Esiason, Nate Burleson and James Brown eviscerated Trump.
Pete Carroll, Mark Cuban and Charles Barkley articulated what the way forward from this mess could or should be.
Bob Costas probably summarized the situation (and in the process, the title and meaning of this blog too) probably as perfectly as one could.
All of the contentious discourse may seem like overkill at this point. We could all afford to hear some more positive, encouraging news for once. Enter Vince Wilfork, who made five Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowls as a member of the New England Patriots from 2004-2014. He then played two years with the Houston Texans before retiring this off-season.
Wilfork went back to Houston in order to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
What he witnessed was some things that are in both short supply and dire need in America- racial harmony and cultural unity.
“It brings everything back to reality, and helps you understand that we are people first, it wasn’t about religion, skin color, or anything of that stuff," he said.
"It was about a neighbor helping a neighbor, a brother helping a brother, and it goes to show me that we can make choices. People can make choices through hate, and being segregated, but this hurricane even though it came through and destroyed a lot it also brought this country together a little bit, especially in Houston," Wilfork continued.
“You have neighbors helping neighbors some of those neighbors were White, Black, Hispanic, it didn’t matter the color of their skin, when we were hit with this devastation, it wasn’t about that it was about one person helping another like a brother and sister should.
"So that is why I say that I see this country pulled together- I’ve seen it with my own eyes, and that was a good sight to see."
For more with Wilfork, especially on hurricane relief, go to this link. To hear the entire exclusive with Wilfork listen below:
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now and Minute Media. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.
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