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Christian NFL Player Shares Powerful Story That Changed the Way One Friend Saw the Confederate Flag (955 hits)

By Kara Pendleton (18 hours ago) | Celebrities, Culture, Sports

New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson recently shared his thoughts about the Confederate battle flag on Facebook, and his story is grabbing attention.

Watson begins with an explanation about how the flag makes him feel:

It’s hard to explain how I feel when I see the rebel flag. The emotional bucket overflows with anger, trepidation, sorrow, a perverted pride and apathy. As hard as I try not to make assumptions about whoever is flying the flag or driving around with it mounted on their truck, my mind can not hold back the painful images of the past generations…. and the current one.

He then shares a story about the flag which gave him some additional perspective:

I can remember visiting a teammate’s home for the first time my sophomore year. Frank, a white offensive guard on my high school football team, had quickly become my closest friend, welcoming me, the new guy, when others weren’t so quick to do so. As I walked into his room, I froze, staring uncomfortably at the large Rebel flag, hanging above his bed. I remember the lump in my throat as I briefly attempted to convey in the most non-condemning way, what the flag represented to me and many others like me. Because of the lingering heaviness of the moment, I can’t recall much after that but I do remember how valued I felt, when I returned to Frank’s home some time later and the flag was gone! He didn’t have to, but because he cared about our friendship, because he cared about me, he empathetically removed the offensive banner on my behalf and maybe for the first time heard how painful that symbol could be.

Watson explains that he understands that not everyone views it the same way he does:

I understand that for some, the confederate battle flag does not evoke sentiments of racism or supremacy; it is simply a tribute to their heritage, ancestors, and homeland. For others, including the killer, it means much more and for others it is a hiding place for passive racism and group “identity.” It is without a doubt, however, a litmus test, exposing our willingness to deny our liberty, our freedom, to fly the flag of our choice, for the sake of offending our countrymen whose SHARED HERITAGE is conversely stained with death, injustice, rape, terror and inferiority.

He then speaks to the actions he believes should be taken, and why:

If we remove the Confederate flag from the State Capitol for any reason other than a change in the hearts of South Carolinians, we may as well leave it be. This is not the time for political statements and worrying about national perception. But if we, like my friend Frank, finally listen to the cries and concerns of those we say we care about, soften our hearts, and choose to lay our liberties aside to assuage the pain of our brothers, the only suitable option would be a unanimous decision to remove the flag from the public grounds at the Palmetto State Capitol. The past and it’s people, as acclaimed or afflicted as they may be, should always be remembered. But it is difficult to completely “move forward” if painful, divisive icons continue to stand unchallenged.

Comments on Watson’s post have crossed the spectrum from supportive:

Image Credit: Facebook
 
 

Image Credit: Facebook

You have given me a new perspective on this southern symbol. I understand what you are saying, and holding onto it is not worth keeping racial unrest stirred up. Getting rid of it would probably be a step in the right direction.

To respectful disagreement:

Image Credit: Facebook
 
 

Image Credit: Facebook

To me, it’s a flag of Southern heritage and pride. I can’t help what it means to others, but if you let a symbol upset you that much, perhaps the peace you seek lies on your side. I get mad when someone equates the South with racial problems. SC didn’t riot or burn up their town, they came together as Southerners. That’s a good representation of that flag.

http://www.ijreview.com/2015/06/351432-christian-nfl-players-viral-facebook-post-gives-us-much-needed-perspective-confederate-flag/

At the time of this writing, Watson’s post had 19,201 likes and 6,940 shares.

Posted By: Jen Fad
Wednesday, June 24th 2015 at 9:57AM
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