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The professional athlete articulates his struggle to take a stand against injustice by taking a knee.


dīˈkädəmē by Steve Fitzhugh

Far back as I can remember I starred on a team
It just sorta came to me like that
Football, basketball, baseball, track
Though it flowed don’t get it twisted I had to work hard too
They say, the more daddy can help you to
Practice what you play
Chances go way up, that you go all the way
But…not where I’m from, not many daddies around
But I still got down, I got down and just a kid I first heard folks
Screamin’ my name at the game
At the game they were screamin’ my name

Championship thunder roared in my high school
Had to learn real quick though, to play by the rules
Because of dangers, toils and snares
You never know which teammate next disappears
Some better than me…blue-chippers
He got caught, he did not, he locked up, that one shot...dead
And that one? That one, he’s a father of two... stone-cold beast
On the field, mad skills the best of our crew, but he quit school
Not me, I gotta make it do what it do, for you, momma
Can you hear them screamin’ my name at the game
At the game they was screamin’ my name

I signed d-1, made All-American too
When I came out, third pick, round two, the whole city knew
This team…was-a-bout…to-win, people tellin’ friends
To watch me, the rook, ESPN top 10
First things first, momma gets the hook-up, yeah boy, I thought you knew
Brand new car, all her own, next a new home
And me? Me? Well, every thing changed, all in one night…
…Rear view mirror…flashin’ blue light...
“Hello officer is there a problem?”
With care and caution I began this “meeting”
“Is this your vehicle?” He asked
I was still lookin’ for the common courtesy of a greeting
“Yessir it is”, I calmly replied…here we go…
I spoke the truth, he assumed I lied
‘Cause in a voice, disrespectful, dishonorable and loud
He asked again, as if he was my daddy, and like I was his child
“Are you sure this vehicle’s yours?”
Oh no he didn’t… oh yes he did
‘Spensive car like that and behind the wheel,
Inside of me somethin’ was drivin’ me to defend my manhood, my honor
To rebuke this man’s shameful dishonesty assumption
But I had to self-check that unction
When I felt dignity risin’ in my throat ‘bout to jump out demandin‘ respect
Heart pumpin’ anger all up into my eyes…I realized, wait I thought to myself
I’m…just one…mis-spoken word away from being a toe-tag-statistic
And watchin’ another hood burn and turn ballistic?
Naw…naw…cain’t let it happen, had to shut it down
Though from my heart on my head I see a crown
Tonight, humbled again, I just…bow…down, these natural emotions
Back home it never happened before
But in this NFL city, it was the first stop of 8 stops
In two and a half years, how long can a young proud man
Swallow his pride, fight back his tears, while on Sunday…
On Sunday they’ll be screamin’ my name at the game…
At the game they’ll still be screamin’ my name

It’s my jersey that’s worn by the stadium thousands
Endorsements, promotions, autographs, sponsors
Game-day fanatics know well my name
But, they don’t know the hurt, cain’t feel my pain
Eyes but not seein’, ears that don’t hear
Grown man and in my prime, but somehow Trayvon’s fear…?
Trayvon Martin’s fear…was mine! And Philando Castile? Yeah, that’s was me too!
Tamir Rice? Me! Michael Brown? Me, and again
Sandra Bland…Eric Garner…me and me and me and
U-su-al-ly, at the final count, the Black one dead, the blue one free
How do I say to my country tis of thee
My, sweet land of liberty, that this cannot be?
Thought this was the home of the brave? Land of the free?
Pain sustained is agony, like systematic misery
And still on Sunday they’ll be screamin’ my name at the game
At the game they’ll be screamin’ my name

All my life…
Before each competition I’ve always honored tradition,
And do again, today, on this my brief Sunday-stage
With reverence and respect to the emblem of our freedom
I pronounce to my country from this bended knee …my dichotomy
On one hand alive and free, on the other hand, me and mine are suffocating
In the fatal fog of racial injustice…I…can’t…breathe, can…not…pro-ceed…
With-this-game-un-aware, not blind, not deaf, not hateful or disrespectful
Just woke, to the fear and the cries of the disenfranchised,
The marginalized…the traumatized
Gone! It’s another him. Gone! It’s another her. Gone! It’s another me that’s passed
But not in vain because the long dark shadow of this pain
Has now finally been cast…on you…on us,
Hoping it’s recognized, praying it’s processed
‘Cause my privileged access…expires on average in about 3 1/2 years
Brave as the bold of yesterday, who gave-it-all for the right of us today, honorably I must
Act-now, I must speak-up, I must sit-in, I must stand-tall,
I must kneel-down, I must march-on...whatever it takes, I must
‘Cause I have a Dream for a better day, and like M.L. King, it’s for my children’s well-being,
For this is my time, but it’s for their future and those who look like me,
And hurt like me, and grieve like me. Don’t you see? I saw me shot dead on TV,
Unarmed and layin’ in the street, it was just last night
Viewer discretion again strongly advised shield the kids eyes from these gruesome acts
Different the story, same are the facts...and I wonder still…
Momma…momma…can you hear’em’ screamin’ my name at the game
Same sad song like nothing is wrong insane how they just keep on screamin’ my name


from Bold, Black & Beautiful, track released February 19, 2021
Music By Keith Kelly, written by Steve Fitzhugh


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Steve Fitzhugh Minneapolis, Minnesota

Steve is an international speaker, best-selling author, entrepreur, educator and humorist. He is also a former NFL athlete and contnues with the NFL today as a Certified NFL Transition Coach.

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