Gunner Thoughts

When the fate of football feels irrelevant

Writing to you from Minneapolis, we are reminded once again that the fate of football is irrelevant when compared to the struggles of our global communities health.

Last week was supposed to have been a conflicting, but overall exciting week. The Bundesliga had two separate successful weekends, the Premier League was given a return date, teams were training, and there were 0 positive tests in the recent Premier League, Covid testing. However, as with many plans in 2020, things would change, and many would be asked to alter their daily lives with it.

My location as a writer for Gunner Thoughts doesn’t come up often. I have not put it in the blog or on social media, but I write to you from the very center of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The epicenter of this last week’s news, when a man named George Floyd was murdered by the very people sworn to protect us. I do not use the word “murdered’ lightly or without intent. He was murdered, and because of it we have seen the need for yet another call for change. A resounding message from a community of people desperate for not only justice, but for resolution to an issue that has plagued them for decades.

I live within walking distance of where Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin, and within a brief jaunt to a city block that has been burned to the ground and smolders as a symbolic pyre of the structures that need to be altered. Outside of my windows, I can hear the bridge where tens of thousands of people peacefully chant, “no justice, no peace”.

The things I have walked through now in my home city, is like walking through the set of a movie. There is a steady stream of police presence on the ground and helicopters flying overhead. There were mornings where off in the distance you could still see fires burning as they waited for it to die down. It is a community of people hurting and distraught, filled with youth that don’t want this to be the world in which they live. People who feel like they have exhausted all their options when it comes to voicing their desperation for change and feel drastic measures are all that captures and retains the attention of those with direct power to make major changes.

They are people that strongly feel if we “reap what we sow,” than the people’s ignored pleas for change were inevitably leading to this. They don’t want to fall short again. To raise their voices, be told they are heard but see no change, once things settle down. No one should feel they are not protected by those that have sworn themselves to a life of protecting the people.

The call has been picked up across the world as we saw Bundesliga players using their platform to call for Floyd’s justice and we are reminded again this year, for the second time in a major way, that the luxury of sport pales in comparison to the health of our global communities. With these statements from the likes of Jadon Sancho, Achraf Hakimi, and Lillian Thuram, we are reminded that in today’s world our community is now spread globally and that we are all truly connected.

There have been a significant number of writers, actors, athletes, etc., that have used their voice to aid in the call for change, only to be met with a chorus of people telling them to “stick to what they know”. Stick to sport, to acting, or to writing. Stay out of politics and global affairs, but that is not how this world works. No one is born a civil leader or born solely as an agent of change. It is a calling you pick up when the time demands it, and they should not be shamed for being involved. It is going to take every one of us to make a difference this time, and it takes us all to make this a better place.

I am reminded, thoroughly, this week as my home city struggles with its pain that there are many things in this world greater than finishing of seasons, the awarding of trophies, or the return to normalcy because what was normal needs to be changed.

Thank you to everyone who has wished for my safety, but for those whose communities are now also facing similar protests and angst, I implore you to be involved as a member of the groups doing things the right way. There are no doubt wolves in sheep’s clothing and opportunists using this to cause havoc and take away from the message being sent, but there is a real call for change to be heard from all of this. Help your community and your fellow people. Be the change you want to see. I truly feel as though without change now, we risk larger and larger reactions as the message goes unheard.

As always – stay safe, stay healthy. With love and gratitude – Jonathan from Gunner Thoughts.

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