Vanderbilt women’s basketball is planning to stay in the locker room this season during the playing of our national anthem. They left a message on Twitter to help explain the logic behind their decision, but it’s likely to land poorly. If Vanderbilt or any other program wants to promote change the way they claim, they should do what they’re preaching at us to do: Invest their own money and time.
Vanderbilt women’s basketball will remain in the locker room for the national anthem this season.— Simon Gibbs (@SimonGibbs26) December 8, 2020
Powerful gesture from head coach Stephanie White and co., who—at least to my knowledge—may have been the first WBB program to kneel for the anthem a few years back.
Their message: pic.twitter.com/hpzOvrmLBr
“We want to set the example, and we have made a commitment to be the change we want to see in the world,” the message says.
These student athletes likely believe they’re making change, but they’re actually asking others to do the hard work while they tweet and hang out in the locker room. This move isn’t courageous or even remotely empowering for our struggling youth. Pouting in the locker room does nothing but teach our under-served communities that they should follow this poor example. Tweets and t-shirts didn’t get anything done.
What if Vanderbilt’s women’s basketball team decided they would publicly volunteer the way they asked us to do in their message? Maybe that’s why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched down Washington himself, instead of pleading for us to do something. If Vanderbilt’s women’s basketball team wants to be leaders, then lead by example. Opting to hang out in the locker room for an extra five minutes and missing our national anthem isn’t changing the world. It’s divisive and lazy.
Is this another Colin Kapernick move?
Unfortunately for our community, this is just another gesture that makes programs famous the way it made Kaepernick relevant. We can argue for or against Kap having a point, but we can’t debate that his national anthem stunt failed. Vanderbilt women’s basketball will argue they’re kneeling for the same reasons Kap knelt. They both desperately want others to make the changes they see fit. Also notable that this is the second woke move from Vanderbilt’s program the last three weeks.
Maybe it’s time for our athletes and celebrities to quit begging and start doing the heavy lifting themeless. Fixing some of the injustices we see in our country is going to be hard work that requires far less tweeting and t-shirt designing and far more effort and personal sacrifice. Hopefully we see fewer gestures down the road, and we can start getting more real work done.