UPDATE: Brainerd Principal Uras Agee says protests will not happen at tonight’s game at Marion County. Still, below is the column about the impact it would have had on the Valley. Stay with TSSN | The Valley for the latest.
There’s probably not a more patriotic, down-to-earth section of society than the Sequatchie Valley. And the only thing they take more pride in than this great nation of ours is in their brand of high school football.
And the Brainerd football program’s decision to bring attention to to themselves during tonight’s matchup will probably gain some boos and disapproval from Marion County fans, who had no reason prior to think less of the Panthers.
Especially in the southern part of the Valley, integration between both people of color and caucasians is something that a lot of people don’t notice, simply because it has gone without a lot of problems. I, a white Valley citizen myself, am not saying that it is without issue, but football integrated the Valley and made the transition seamless long before many realized.
And trying to protest something that is so near and dear to the Valley faithful is simply ‘close-minded’ and outright disrespectful.
It has been my policy to stay out of the politics that come with this, but now with the ‘Kaepernick movement’ trickling down to the high school level, I can no longer hold my peace.
Whether or not I agree with what the Panthers football team is trying to protest, we can almost all agree that messing with the tradition that so closely brings together football and the love of our country is shameful and deserving of a swift kick to the rear end. Even leaving out the disrespect to the Military, which I hope and believe they are not trying to insinuate, this matter is still unbearable in the mind of Valley-dwellers.
Most of Brainerd’s opponents this season are away with only one home game left with seven weeks to play, and the majority of those matchups take place in rural, mostly white, communities including Marion County this week, Meigs County, Polk County, and Bledsoe County. All are Region 3-2A matchups, which spans from Benton to Pikeville and Decatur to Jasper.
And a question comes to mind: what are you hoping to accomplish Brainerd?
There are several protests that would be acceptable. In fact, there are other ways to bring about change than protesting on a Friday night. Why not be the change? Why not get involved in your own community and keep young kids out of gangs and informed on how not to pull a gun on a police officer?
Every situation is not as simple as that, but getting involved by raising money or getting your players to go out in the community and be a positive influence is a much better means to get the message across and to change the statistics than putting a fist over your heart during one of the most sacred Valley traditions.
The percentage of gangs and and police altercations towards african-americans is way below what it is in the city, so why do you bring your message to a part of the region that has little use for it? It may be a bold move, but it a a reactionary, ‘I want to do what those NFL guys are doing’ type of move. Be different Brainerd.
Again, every situation that takes place between a person of color and law officers or caucasians is very different. All blame cannot be placed on one side or the other, but be the change instead of talking about it at a Friday night football game that is an escape, for most, from our sometimes stomach-churning world.