Sam Coonrod stepped into the sightlines of America on Thursday night, when he alone stood during an intended unified peaceful protest. A light followed him around Friday, and might stay with him for a while.
All the Giants pitcher did was exercise the right that all Americans have, at least theoretically. Freedom of choice. The right for which millions of Americans fought, with many dying. For that reason, Coonrod’s decision to stand rather than join his kneeling manager and teammates during a pregame moment of unity at Dodger Stadium should be above criticism.
He did nothing wrong.
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He said plenty wrong, though, offering up an explanation that slid off his tongue and went dribbling down his chest like liquid contradiction.
"I'm a Christian,” he said.
When did real Christianity opt out of humanity? Give a pass to injustice and inequality? Decide that it’s disrespectful to offer support, if not shelter, to those in need? Does Coonrod not realize that pastors of all faiths are joining crowds around the world fighting for these very ideals?
Like so many others swimming against the tide of progress, Coonrod pointed to the Black Lives Matter network, saying he “just can’t get on board” with some of its beliefs. Nothing wrong with that. Again, having such a choice is among the purposes of freedom.
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But if Coonrod had taken a moment to inform himself, he would see motive behind this movement need not be affiliated with BLM but, rather, to bring greater awareness to the racial injustices that is its focus.
Ian Williams, NBC Sports Bay Area analyst and former 49ers defensive lineman, responded to Coonrod’s reasoning by calling BS on it.
“Let me make this clear,” Williams tweeted. “You don’t have to be on board with BLACK LIVES MATTER. But I do need you to be on board with EQUALITY FOR ALL and ENDING RACISM.
“It’s simple. If you don’t want those 2 simple things, you know what you are.”
Which is to imply Coonrod’s own interests are in conflict with protesting racial inequality.
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See, one need not be a card-carrying BLM member to decry the obvious wrongness of America’s ways. That some perceive the desire for equality as a “political” statement says a lot about them.
It’s only political because some continue to place politics over the concept of humanity.
It’s only political because certain elements of government perceive protesters -- not all of whom are faithful to every element of BLM -- as terrorists who must be silenced, if not crushed.
See, what Coonrod did not say but surely crept into the minds of listeners and readers is that he believes the various evolutions of America’s two greatest sins -- the other being stealing land from the natives -- are acceptable. That equality is something for others to deal with.
That Christianity has, somehow, disqualified him from the cause.
There are only two rational explanations for what Coonrod said. One, he didn’t hear himself speak. Or, two, he heard every word he said and knows he did not say what he really meant.