There’s never a dull day in the NFL. Even in the offseason with a lot of time outside of personal training before camp on their hands, some superstars make their own headlines. Dez Bryant decided to veer away from groupthink and show off his “Hotep” side on Instagram, advocating for more personal responsibility in the black community.
It started when the Cowboys wide-receiver said he saw someone quoting Charles Barkley, “We as black people, we’re never going to be successful, not because of you white people, but because of other black people.” Barkley was commenting on reports that Seahawks QB Russell Wilson wasn’t liked by other teammates because he wasn’t “black enough” in 2014.
Bryant relayed his own experiences dealing with being racially profiled. However, he noted that those moments haven’t stirred up angry nostalgia about slavery or Jim Crow within his own mind. Instead, he said he felt that individuals have the chance to lead by example and better their communities.
Bryant mentioned a run-in he had with a childhood friend, who fell through the cracks of society and dealt drugs in his adulthood. Apparently, that person, seeing Bryant’s success, was inspired by someone from the neighborhood who finally made something of himself, and has chosen a better path since then.
Dez’s final post channeled Uncle Phil from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air after Carlton isn’t allowed into his school’s all-black fraternity for not having enough of the black experience. From Bryant, “Real question is what’s wrong with being sophisticated and black? Why do we associate those who take the straight and narrow as not being ‘black enough’? … We focus hard on fighting the realities that exist instead of creating our own reality.”
One comment on that post said Bryant should take Colin Kaepernick’s lead if he wants to see a change and lead by example. No doubt, Dez will take a lot of heat for a controversial position among the disenfranchised, but it is refreshing to see athletes steer away from liberal talking points and towards more personal and independent choices in life.