Erica DeValve, the wife of Cleveland Brown’s player, Seth DeValve released a statement Thursday regarding her husband’s participation in the widespread NFL National Anthem protests spurred by Colin Kaepernick.
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The DeValves are an interracial couple who met over two years ago while they were students at Princeton and married in June 2017.
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On August 21, DeValve knelt in silent solidarity with a group of Black teammates while the rest of the arena stood to sing the anthem during a pre-season game against the New York Giants. The imagery went viral and further added to the national conversation surrounding freedom of speech, race and equality.
“We took the opportunity to pray for our country and for the men and women in this country during that time.” DeValve said in a post-game interview.
But many media outlets praised DeValve at first for being the first white person to take part in the demonstration, ignoring the fact that soccer player Megan Rapinoe was the first person to do so last year.
In an open letter she wrote for Very Smart Brothas on The Root, Erica said that although she is proud of her husband for taking a stand, she wants to make sure the conversation stays focused on Black lives and Black liberation.
From her piece on VSB:
“While I understand (and am deeply proud) that Seth is the first white NFL player to kneel during a demonstration like this (on Sept. 4, 2016, Megan Rapinoe, a U.S. women’s soccer player, was the first white professional athlete to do so), I would like to push back against some of the attention he’s been getting that portrays him as some sort of white savior to a movement that was started and has been carried on by black football players for about a year now.”
“We should not see Seth’s participation as legitimizing this movement. Rather, he chose to be an ally of his black teammates. To center the focus of Monday’s demonstration solely on Seth is to distract from what our real focus should be: listening to the experiences and the voices of the black people who are using their platforms to continue to bring the issue of racism in the U.S. to the forefront. Seth, as a white individual, never has and never will truly have to feel the weight and burden of racial discrimination and racial oppression. No white person does or will. But all white people should care and take a stand against its prevalence in this country,” she wrote.
SOURCE: The Root