by Aubrey Bruce
For New Pittsburgh Courier
There is now an insidious and invisible enemy that stands firm within and without the borders of our bedrooms, homes, hospitals, schools, our stores as well as almost anywhere that we conduct business or find pleasure.
That enemy has a name—coronavirus.
I am not going to directly or indirectly use this space to define or refine the definition of what this scourge represents. However, I am mostly concerned about how many high school and college athletic organizations have been utilizing a ton of resources and energy trying to devise and sell strategies to lure young athletes back onto the football, soccer and lacrosse fields and on the basketball and volleyball courts…covertly attempting to reignite competition with as little attention and fanfare as possible.
I have not heard much chatter from sports administrators in regards to what concrete plans they are formulating and coordinating to “educate” these so-called “student athletes” during this possible season-ending pandemic. This communiqué is a must-read for all low- and middle-class Black folks, brown folks, White folks and yellow folks! We have executioners posing as “hamburger helpers” that have supposedly been elected to protect us, not infect us.
Boys and girls, the sucker-free countdown has begun. The President of these United States is suggesting—no, demanding—that we send our children back to school to perform as if things were normal. Athletics seems to be now serving as infectious tools conveniently used to influence future elections. The current health crisis may be affecting a particular demographic in order to achieve a certain political outcome. A high school or college linebacker or defensive back not only has to compete against a pulling guard, tight end or cover five wide receiver sets. COVID-19 is now functioning as that extra running back or wide receiver sneaking out of the backfield or running a pick play that may be impossible for any defensive scheme to stop. This new enemy is now attacking our physical, mental and spiritual health at will, deceiving those that they took an oath to enlighten and protect.
In the past, parents and students would rejoice as if they won the lottery when a student-athlete would sign a letter of intent, committing themselves to a particular institution of higher learning. In the game of “life monopoly,” many of the students looked at college scholarships as “get-out-of-the-hood-free cards.” Nowadays, for an athlete to sign a letter of intent to perform at any school, that commitment might potentially evolve into a “death warrant.” What can be done to ensure that we don’t sanction our children to become “conveyer belts” of sickness, sadness and death?
On Feb. 12, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued press briefings saying that “the CDC does not currently recommend the use of face masks for the general public.” That mandate was issued to preserve scarce PPE supplies for essential responders. Who is to say that when an effective treatment or anti-coronavirus drugs become available, that those drugs might encounter a false shortage just to treat those that might be deemed “worthier” as far as receiving treatments?
Parents, do not send your children or grandchildren to a political slaughterhouse for a college scholarship, now or in the future. The real meaning of scholarship is about to be tested. Let’s see if educating our children, whether it be through virtual or onsite learning, has any value to these “educators” aside from their athletic prowess. What value do sick and dying parents have after their child brings an unwelcome hitchhiker, coronavirus, back home from the pandemic-ridden school with them? There is no national testing and diagnostic apparatus in place in our schools, locally, regionally or nationally for athletes or the student body in general. How can we prevent infection on the gridiron, the basketball court or the hockey rink, when no such safeguards even exist?
There has been a humongous bruhaha concerning the singing or playing of the national anthem and kneeling on one knee prior to sporting events taking place in both collegiate and professional sports venues across America. But if we aren’t mindful and careful about the decision to prematurely force our children back into infected dungeons and miniature tombs disguised as classrooms and sports arenas, the national anthem, as well as any other ode to patriotism, may very well serve as a funeral march. American patriot Patrick Henry once said: “Give me liberty or give me death.” He didn’t say, “Give me liberty and let me die.”