Sometimes the youth through fame or fortune are given a platform on which to be heard. They can sometimes be so very passionate, committed and WRONG in their actions showing support for a worthy cause. One such incident almost occurred on national television just a few days after our president, Barak Obama, was elected to lead this great nation of ours. The venue was a Monday Night football game between the Cleveland Browns and the Denver Broncos and the young awe inspired and ardent young man was Brandon Marshall, a wide receiver for the Denver Broncos. Before the game he planned an end zone celebration to show support for our President. The hype surrounding the game in Cleveland was all about Brady Quinn getting his first start at quarterback of the season. The Browns were having a difficult season of injuries and under performing from their best players. As usual it all fell on the starting quarterback Derrick Anderson, who had just signed a large contract with the team before the season, after a pro bowl season the year before. Brady Quinn was from the state of Ohio and former starting quarterback for the once prestigious Notre Dame University. The Cleveland media, fans and owners of the team forced him into the starting lineup. Browns Coach Romeo Crennel was on the hot seat and didn’t really have much choice in the decision. He did however take responsibility for the decision after being made to start Brady Quinn over Derek Anderson. The Broncos came into Cleveland leading their division while scoring and giving up a lot of points. They caught a few favorable calls from the officials along the way which helped their cause mightily. Brady played fairly well but not much better than Derek Anderson. The Broncos defense gave up thirty points to a Cleveland team that averaged less than twenty points a game on the season. Luckily the Denver Broncos once again found a way to out score their opponents in a close 34-30 game. The game was entertaining but something almost historic almost occurred. Young Broncos receiver, Brandon Marshall, scored a touch down on a pass from quarterback Jay Cutler and attempted to pull something out of his uniform pants to use in an end zone celebration. The young African American male would later say that his celebration was to be one of unity and celebration of the election. Fortunately for the country, a wily veteran receiver by the name of Brandon Stokely interrupted the young man’s celebration by holding his hand and keeping the object in his uniform while talking him out of doing the celebration. Brandon, a Caucasian American, would later say that he was trying to avoid having a penalty called on the team at such a pivotal point in a close game. I thank Brandon Stokely, no matter what his reasoning for doing what he did that night.
Young Brandon Marshall planned to pull out a glove painted white and black put it on his fist and hold it high in the air as a show of unity in the nation. I don’t believe White America would view it that way; that balled fist in the air means nothing short of BLACK POWER! Mexico City and the 1968 Olympics would immediately flood the minds of senior journalist all around the country. The end zone celebration would be written about at nausea and the images shown nonstop for weeks. It would be on the internet and everyone who felt inclined to would weigh in with their opinions of the player’s intention or the statement he was trying to make.
Instantly there would be a perception that things were going to change drastically in this country. That fear could and would eventually cause tension between less liberal minded thinkers of both races. There would be blogging, emailing news rooms and sports casters, postings on Face Book and My Space; something so simple could evoke many deep feelings of hatred and resentment in Americans. Him telling us what he planned to do and us actually viewing it is very different. A visual recorded in your mind is something that can last a lifetime, his words of exactly what he planned on doing get lost with time. I believe Stokely made a great Save and I am grateful to him. In such an important time in our American history we need not be distracted by trivial things and the misguided exuberance of the youth. Brandon Marshall meant well. I hope that someone shares with him in detail the events of the 1968 Olympics and how different a place America was at that time. Maybe once he gains that understanding, he might be able to comprehend how much trouble he was saved by the quick thinking of his senior teammate. Brandon Stokely has played in the NFL many years and has even won a Super Bowl but no play he has ever made had been greater than his save in Cleveland one chilly Monday Night.
The Stokely Save