As a fan of UK basketball and DeMarcus Cousins, I've heard it all
"He has a bad attitude."
"He's a coach killer."
"He doesn't always play hard."
And on and on that list goes. Boogie, as UK fans like to call him, only spent one year in Lexington, but that year makes him one us. It causes fans to want to defend him. This past weekend Boogie just made that a whole lot easier.
Unless you've been under a rock, like a third-rock-from-the-sun-sized rock, you know what Colin Kaepernick did last week. As a way to speak out against the oppression of minorities, he decided not to stand during the national anthem. Since we live in a society of "hot takes", people have been ignorantly and spontaneously weighing in on what Kaepernick has done or not done for that matter. Just recently after meeting with former green beret Nate Boyer, Kaepernick decided to start taking a knee instead of sitting on the bench as a way to still honor the men and women who fought for our country, but still remain in protest. There's not enough time to get fully into what Kaepernick has done or argue if it's right or wrong, but finally, after over a week of people focusing on the "what" and not the "why", the conversation has finally shifted to why Kaepernick felt it necessary to do this. Hate on him all you want, he eventually caused many in this nation to have a conversation on race and how it affects your treatment in America.
A big knock on what Kaepernick has done is people ask, how can a millionaire football player be oppressed? Good point...if you weren't really listening. He's choosing not to stand because of the oppression of minorities. One thing people don't do much of in this world is listen to regular Joe Schmoe's who really aren't important or aren't rich. Let's be honest, if a random person posted on Facebook they're not going to stand during the national anthem any more, what would happen? Like I do with posts from people I graduated high school with, many will grab popcorn and watch the Facebook reply thread argument fireworks. Some will post in support and some will post against it. It likely won't go too far and the majority of America couldn't care less about Joe Schmoe and it'll go unnoticed. What Kaep is doing is using his avenue and his fame to speak out for those who have been muffled because no one will listen to them. This leads me to our boy DeMarcus Cousins.
Earlier this month, Cousins held a conversation entitled, "Break the Silence, Build the Trust" in his hometown of Mobile, AL. At this discussion sponsored by Cousins, community members sat down for a panel discussion with local police to have a conversation on how to improve their relationship.
Afterward, Cousins sponsored a free block party featuring food, music and games. But oh...our man Boogie didn't stop there. That morning he also held a basketball camp for youngsters in the area that as you can imagine was at capacity.
Then last week, Cousins was praised on the floor of the House for his off-court work in his hometown, as well as for his gold medal performance with Team USA in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne praised Cousins in Washington, D.C., for his “continued leadership” in the community.
Why am I telling you this? Honestly, it's because I think the guy gets a bad wrap. While other athletes choose to be silent because of the fear losing endorsements or even being cut (nothing wrong with that), Cousins has chosen to stand up and do something. Apathy is a terrible thing, but action is its worst enemy. The now Olympic gold medalist has chosen to be anything but apathetic. Not only has he chosen to give back to his home community, he wants to help foster a conversation to prevent violence.
You probably didn't know anything about this because other than a retweet about the block party, Cousins hasn't publicized it. You were likely too wrapped up in the debacle and aftermath the last two weeks of UK football misery. Don't let him not telling the world about it lead you to think it was a small-time event. Hundreds came out to all these events including many at the panel discussion between police and the community.
Some will never change their opinion on DeMarcus Cousins and I understand that. All I ask is when you judge a man, just him on all he does and not just what makes the main headlines. After learning about what he did for his community this Labor Day weekend, I'm on the front lines defending my man Boogie.