I hope you’ll pardon my meanderings, because this is something I hope you “get” – but in order to get to the destination, we may need to take a few stops. When I saw the Buffalo News headline this morning in which Sully asks, “Are we in a post-racial era for QB”, I cringed. I went into my “well this is gonna need a rebuttal” – but I’m going to keep to my rule of FMJ’ing only when warranted. Instead, if you get a chance, read this outstanding article by Marcus Thompson II on Cam and race. It does far better than I could explaining the nuances and importance of seeing Cam as an excellent black quarterback.
Alright, road stops ahoy.
I primarily became a Bills fan watching the 51-3 game, but I maintained that Bills fandom on my own – because my family wasn’t big into pro sports. So as a fan that isn’t a local, I didn’t see the Bills (figuratively and literally) as much as you all can or did.
I want to thank the writers at the Buffalo News, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, WGR, Syracuse.com – because Jay, Tyler, Tim (shush!), Sal M., Leo, Jeremy, Sal C. (all the way back to Billszone.com days!) Joe B (prior to going to WKBW) and Matt do a great job and have done a great job in the past of bringing me, the fan news and info. They also have been brave enough to talk about issues that are at times difficult to do even with pages upon pages to do it. Gents, I say good on you.
I also want to thank the late Allen Wilson, the person I always wanted to read when the News started their online presence. Prior to that, my news came from doing library database searches in school in my free time for archived stories.
I also want to thank Sully. Because without his takes, I wouldn’t have had the temerity of accepting Joe’s challenge to write here. I embrace the idea of being in my “mom’s basement” blogging because currently, I am the only black blogger/writer/whinger other than George Radney in the Challenger covering the Bills. If anything Sully, your statement only decried the homogenization of the editorial staff and writ-large the sporting community in the region. Your voice is the voice of “a fan”, not THE fans. And I hope this missive, this challenge I am writing inspires others to take up the mantle as well to speak up on things that matter to them.
I also want to thank TheDefenseman, who sent this to me almost a year ago:
@RDotDeuce BE THE CHANGE MAN*
*No one else will write it so it might as well be you.
— The Defenseman (@TheDefenseman) May 7, 2015
That tweet was the jet-fuel that finally got me off my kiester to write about more than X’s and O’s and to dive headfirst (Pete Rose gif) into hitting on societal issues within football that can go overlooked.
With regard to Cam – I’ve heard the whispers, the innuendo, the judgments far too often to know when the dog whistles are coming. As the media week starts to get to a close and the game itself becomes the focus, a lot has been made of this idea that the pockets of nay-sayers re: Cam are a vocal minority. That their jeers, their tweets, their letters to the editor are the cries of a small populace.
I wish it were, but I thank you Cam for putting this stuff “on front street” as one of my family members would say.
I love my “day jobs” of career counseling and coaching because I get to on a daily (when in-season / working) or weekly (out of season for coaching) basis be a force for good for youth and help them reach their goals. As the first person in my immediate family to complete college, I wear that badge with pride talking with first gen students because of that lady in my featured image – my grandma Bobbeye – and my maternal grandma Bea who were influential in addition to my parents in supporting me. So much so, that while my folks worked, they would take care of my brothers and I after school or on the weekends.
So when I hear “I lost ___ and I was fine, spare me” it rings a little different. When I read about players being thugs for wearing the same head wear future hall of famers like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers I get twitchy. I can’t see things as post-racial when I have to hunt through my son’s toys to remove any gun-related paraphernalia. I can’t see things as post-racial when my favorite football team has effectively frozen out black owned/focused media. Or when I see the man that’s responsible for bringing said knowledge to me is given the title of News Urban Affairs Editor – aka “black folk/city stuff”. And I can’t see post-racial when it’s easier to imagine the redemption of one Bill, but not the impact of death on another.
But mine is not the only one – there should be, in an era where Buffalo has the NFL’s first female assistant coach women’s voices in this too. And (prepare for fainting) the CIS male voice regardless of race shouldn’t be the only one you hear. We are fandom of many – and I’d like to hear from more of us.
So here’s my Bills / Sabres / Amerks / Rattlers / Bisons /(I know I’m missing someone) challenge – if you’re interested, please – contact us. One of my goals this year with Buffalo Wins is to show the many faces of Buffalo Fandom – the many stories that make up being from Western New York, or having WNY in your heart. Tweet Joe (@BuffaloWins) or myself (@RDotDeuce) and let us know. If there isn’t that voice out there right now, I’d be proud to know you stood up to the mic here at BW.
Thanks for reading this – and I hope you try to be that change you want to see out there, whatever the venue.