Devin McCourty And Martellus Bennett Just Issued A Challenge To Every Black Member Of The New England Patriots

Bob Levey/Getty Images
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Have you ever been to a birthday party or something in a banquet hall? And the event is winding down and the hosts actually start cleaning up — nothing major, just putting tables/dishes/chairs away, taking down decorations, and collecting garbage — but most of the guests are still there? And a couple of the guests join the hosts in cleaning up? Which makes more guests join out of peer pressure? And then eventually everyone is doing this shit that no one really wants to do, not because they sincerely want to help, but because they just don't want to be the only person who didn't join in, even though everyone also knows its the right thing to do?


Well, Devin McCourty And Martellus Bennett of the New England Patriots basically just did the exact same thing. By stating that they will not be in attendance when the Patriots visit the White House, and sufficiently articulating their very rational (and right) reasons why, they basically issued an implicit challenge to every other person of color who happens to be employed by the team. And I know that some other Black members of the team will eventually follow and join them with the protest. Some because they sincerely believe, as McCourty and Bennett do, that our President is a trash person. And some who might also believe that, but were going to go anyway, but now don't want to go and experience the social and political fallout of being the only Black dude up there cheesing in a selfie with Tom and Bill and Donald. And I know some are seething at home today like "Fuck you Devin and Martellus for being all principled and right and shit! Now I gotta make a political statement just because y'all righteous niggas did!"

Which is true. There's no way out of this now. If a Black member of the Patriots decides not to go, it will be a statement. And if a Black member of the team decides to go and not make a statement, their non-statement will be a statement too.

(And, for the record, it would/will be a statement for the White members of the team too. But they won't have a microscope on them. The collective expectations for them are so low that they still have the privilege of maintaining political ignorance and apathy. Or being wimps and feigning it at least. We don't.)

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



Trump is allegedly going to give funds to HBCUs via executive order. If you were the president of one of the schools and the only way to get the funds was to be present for a photo-op at the White House, would you go?