So recently through an unusual chain of events, I had an opportunity to watch the Denver Broncos exact some revenge against rival and Superbowl Champions, the Baltimore Ravens.
And for those of you who have known me for a good minute, yes, you read that correctly, Denny actually watched a football game, and yes it’s official, Hell has frozen over.
It wasn’t lost on me that Brendan Ayanbadejo was missing in action, just as it wasn’t lost on me that like Chris Kluwe is also a free agent. It’s especially a shame considering last night, Ayanbadejo’s presence probably would’ve changed the outcome of the game and could’ve spared the Ravens the smackdown that Peyton Manning and the boys put on them.
In short, you’re looking at two men who in all likelihood lost their jobs for standing up to do the right thing.
Many people have this naive Hallmark idea of Civil Rights where all you have to do is stand on a desk, channel your best James Stewart and you’ll receive a roaring standing ovation, the day will be saved and the American Flag will flap prominently overhead.
Unfortunately, life just doesn’t work like that.
I have no doubt both men were threatened. I’m sure they were told by taking a stand it would cost them their careers. In fact Kluwe was inspired by Ayanbadejo’s example and came to his defense when Maryland state delegate Emmett Burns tried to have Ayanbadejo silenced and fired.
Most people have it in their heads that fighting for equal rights simply requires standing on a table, channeling one’s inner Jimmy Stewart, make a fine speech while the American flag waves prominently in the background. Everyone comes together, sing Kumbaya and the day is saved and everyone lives happily ever after.
That’s not how it works.
In reality, when you go against the status quo, there are consequences. You pay with your career, your reputation, and many have paid the ultimate cost. When you do the right thing, there will be hell to pay.
These two men knew this and stood tall regardless. This is why I’m not impressed with Tim Wise, Macklemore and other faux allies who profit on our suffering without doing any real work. Kluewe and Ayanbadejo are the men I call more than allies. They are who I proudly call brothers.
They don’t know me. But they fought for me all the same. And I can’t thank them enough.