Athletes of all sports have used the Players' Tribune to personally illustrate hardships, triumphs, and trials. In September, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford wrote a piece in the safe haven called "We Can't Just Stick To Football" in aftermath of the Jacob Blake shooting.
Stafford wrote: "We can’t just stick to football. Not as a team. Not as an organization. And we shouldn’t as a country. Police brutality, white privilege, racism — it’s all real."
Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart has penned his own emotions to describe a racist encounter in a city known for its discrimination. Smart wrote his story has nothing to do with the sport of basketball but how a white woman saw him as an entertainer and nothing more.
I was pulling out of the arena parking lot when I saw a white woman with her five- or six-year-old son crossing against the light right as the cars were starting to come at them. I had my windows down and realized something bad was about to happen, so I yelled to her, politely, that she needed to hurry and get out of the street so the two of them wouldn’t get hurt.
The woman was wearing an Isaiah Thomas number 4 Celts jersey. And there were all these other Celtics fans around who were at the game. I figured she’d be cool.
She swung her head around and it was….
“F*** you, you f***ing n-word!!!!”
For a second it was like I couldn’t breathe.
Did she really say that?
And in an instant, just like that, I was made to feel less than human.
I wasn’t a person to this woman. I was a form of entertainment. Nothing more. And, believe me, it took every ounce of restraint in my body not to curse her out.
A few seconds later, I drove off. I just wanted it to be over.
But I think about that night, that moment, a lot. And more than anything else, I think about….
That little boy.
Smart went on to say that he prays for the little boy every night and that racism is taught and not something someone is born with.