NFL player’s thoughtful Ferguson post draws applause
(CNN) — Benjamin Watson, a tight end for the New Orleans Saints, came home Monday night after a tough loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
It was late and surely he was worn out.
He turned on the television and saw everything that was going on in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the grand jury decision.
As he fixated at the screen, his heart hurt for the people there.
The next day, he started to deal with his emotions — and there were many. Watson, in his 11th NFL season, likes to write down his feelings, so throughout the day he jotted them on his iPhone.
While sitting in a Target parking lot as his wife shopped, Watson went back and put the notes together into an emotional Facebook post.
One you’ve probably heard about. And possibly read.
That post has 427,000 shares and more than 760,000 likes. There were 78,000 comments at last look.
In 611 words, Watson writes he is angry, frustrated, fearful, embarrassed, sad, sympathetic, offended, confused, introspective, hopeless, hopeful and encouraged.
He told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin on Friday the two sections that resonated the most with him are the ones about introspection and encouragement:
— I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.
— I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through … his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.
While the religious nature of that final section may turn some readers off, Watson says he thinks it points to a way that people of different races can solve some of the issues they face.
“Internally our sin makes us prideful, it makes us judgmental, it makes us prejudice, which leads to racism, it makes us lash out at people that don’t look like us. It makes us do all those things. It makes us lash out in anger and makes us point fingers,” he told CNN.
He finds the answers in the Gospels of the Bible.
The message also spoke to many, many people. A comment about his boldness in proclaiming his faith landed 24,000 likes.
Watson began his post facing his anger.
“It’s OK to be angry and to identify your emotion as being angry, because like I said later we like to protect our own,” he told CNN. “Because of our life experiences, whether it is being a black American or a white American, because of stories that you’ve heard over time, because of injustices that have happened or maybe being accused of something you didn’t do or being accused of being racist when you’re not, we have these certain histories and we react because of those.”
He said the key is to get past that first level of emotion. You have to understand why you are angry, he said.
And then take it a step further.
We need to understand the other side brings his own experiences to each situation.
“It’s really important that we take a step back sometimes and think about the other side before we make accusations and assumptions,” he said.
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