After NFL star Seth DeValve became the first white NFL player to kneel during the national anthem on Monday, just as everyone else, his wife, Erica Harris DeValve, was caught off guard. Despite what some might think, Seth’s wife Erica didn’t know he was going to kneel until she saw it for herself at the game.
In response to her husband Seth kneeling and his heartfelt comments he made about their bi-racial kids during the postgame interview, Erica wrote an article for Theroot.com and issued her own powerful response.
“That moment reconfirmed a few things that I knew: that the many in-depth conversations about race that Seth and I had—that every interracial couple must have had—resonated and took root with him; that he knew this was bigger than just one-on-one chatting with me over dinner or coffee; and that he gets it, beyond a simple desire to be protective of me as his wife.
Today is the first official day of #weddingweek ! Today also marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s rule to legalize interracial marriage in the US. While I look on the history of this day with appreciation, there is also the sobering reminder that 50 years was not so long ago.. #knowyourhistory #lovingvsvirginia #lovingday #mrandmrsdevalve #5daystilwedding
While I understand (and am deeply proud) that Seth is the first white NFL player to kneel during a demonstration like this (on Sept. 4, 2016, Megan Rapinoe, a U.S. women’s soccer player, was the first white professional athlete to do so), I would like to push back against some of the attention he’s been getting that portrays him as some sort of white savior to a movement that was started and has been carried on by black football players for about a year now.
I am grateful for the widespread support and praise that Seth is getting for his actions, but I would like to offer a humble reminder that a man—a black man—literally lost his job for taking a knee, week after week, on his own. Colin Kaepernick bravely took a step and began a movement throughout the NFL, and he suffered a ridiculous amount of hate and threats and ultimately lost his life’s work in the sport he loves. We should not see Seth’s participation as legitimizing this movement. Rather, he chose to be an ally of his black teammates. To center the focus of Monday’s demonstration solely on Seth is to distract from what our real focus should be: listening to the experiences and the voices of the black people who are using their platforms to continue to bring the issue of racism in the U.S. to the forefront. Seth, as a white individual, never has and never will truly have to feel the weight and burden of racial discrimination and racial oppression. No white person does or will. But all white people should care and take a stand against its prevalence in this country. (Click here to read the full article)
Erica Harris DeValve recently graduated from Princeton University and will begin pursuing her master’s in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary this fall with a focus on the intersection of race and Christianity in the U.S.
Photo Credit/Source: Seth and Erica Devalve