DJ Stephens: Just A Man


You live a very interesting life being an athlete, and that’s an understatement. You face many different tasks, new endeavors, and all types of adversity. Yes I’m an athlete, yes my life is different from the average person’s but at the end of the day I’m just a person no different from the rest. I face the same issues any other person faces. I’m 26 years old but I’m still learning, I’m still growing and I’m still evolving into the person I want to be, and the person I’m meant to be. I have my off days, I have my bad days, and there’s been times where I haven’t seen purpose in the things I was doing on the basketball court and in life in general. I’ve lied, I’ve made mistakes, I’ve made money and went broke that same year. I’ve hurt people, I’ve failed to fulfill promises, I’m nowhere close to perfect, I’m just a man. 
With me being just a man first, and an athlete second, I don’t understand a lot of the views from people “in positions of power” in our country. Never should a man have to pacify or keep quiet in regards to things that directly affect them if they have the platform to bring light to the situation in a peaceful manner. Too many times, people turn the other cheek or look the other way when things don’t affect them directly. There’s too many things going wrong in our country to just look the other way now, and being an athlete just gives these individuals a greater reach to millions of people. We may be athletes but we still face injustices, we still work to beat a system that wasn’t designed to benefit us, and when I say us, I mean anyone that’s a minority in this country. We have family and friends in these communities, and it seems like in 2017, we see the same news stories and headlines on tv every single day. It has to change, and it won’t change unless people are honest with themselves about what’s taking place in our country, and really try to fix the wrongs and change it for the better. It’s weird that in the year 2017, a time when you would think we would move further and further away from racism, it becomes a bigger issue day by day. We have “a leader” who isn’t really a leader, and someone who allows hatred to flow into the streets of our country, but condemns people that are actually trying to be a positive difference and create change for the better. I just don’t understand it. I just don’t understand how people can feel that all the things “our leader” does are acceptable and ok. He doesn’t fit the mold of somebody who should be responsible for a country, not the United States of America. I’m the son of a military veteran, the nephew of a military veteran, and the nephew of a great soldier that never made it home from Operation Desert Storm to see his family again. So you can’t tell me the peaceful methods that some athletes are using to bring light to this situation, and the initial stance of Colin Kaepernick are unpatriotic and disrespectful to veterans. The reason veterans do what they do for our country is so we as citizens can have the rights that we do. I just feel that people should stop trying to make the problem out to be something else, and focus in on the real issues in our country. 

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