The June 1st editorial in this space was met with overwhelming positive response. As a result, I thought I would take the message a step further this week. A sports update will follow. IF YOU CHOSE TO NOT READ THIS OR ARE NOT adhering to the suggestions within, you are remaining part of the problem RATHER THAN PART OF THE SOLUTION.
THE REAL SOLUTION
Joe Gavazzi, JoeGavazziSports.com
June 15th 2020
1918, meets 1929, meets the 1960s. THIS IS 2020. There is a great opportunity for our world to positively respond to our current tipping point. In this case, a social behavior… racism… crosses a threshold and spreads like wildfire. Such is the event that has taken place in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. But why this tipping point? After all, America has a long and often violent history of racism, dating to the inception of this nation. Never before however, has it occurred at a time of such historical impact.
As the sub-headline of this article implies, this month’s murder of George Floyd comes at a most unique time. For not only have the racial revolts of the 1960s been revisited, but they are joined by the impact of COVID-19, reminiscent of the 1918 Spanish flue, and also our mid-double-digit unemployment rate of precipitous economic decline which brings to mind the Great Depression of 1929.
The murder of George Floyd has been met with great (mostly peaceful) protests throughout the world. This blatant demonstration of racial crime is clearly a great social injustice. Nonetheless, it is an interesting sidebar to point out that 94% of violent crimes against blacks are committed by other black people.
THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG
The systemic issue of racism, most recently and widely publicized in America, is just the Tip of the Iceberg. It is a microcosm of the racism, prejudice, and bias that is prevalent across the globe. In some instances, it is about skin color, in others it is about class difference, while other issues revolve around ideological or religious beliefs.
The following discussion includes excerpts from my recently published essay “We are who we think we are”! At the core of these issues is mans’ egotistical response. Our ego has a need to prove we are right, at the expense of someone else being wrong. Inevitably the following response must occur. Our UNMET EXPECTATIONS, of another’s unwillingness to agree with us, or subserviate to our egotistical power grab, is met with DISAPPOINTMENT. This creates the CERTAIN downward spiral of emotional responses including CRITICISM, BLAME, RESENTMENT, ANGER and eventually VIOLENCE. At its extreme, this results in war, the greatest extreme of which is the continuing unrest in the Middle East. Some cry out that our system is broken, and must be fixed. Other, since the beginning of June, have drowned out nearly 3 months of COVID headlines, with their own rhetoric on police violence and racism. They say “we need more discussion”. In doing so however, they are mostly satisfying their own ego. But DISCUSSION as RHETORIC DOSE NOT WORK. Laws don’t work, especially if they are enforced with violence. Neither do VIOLENT protests, because hate responding to hate, only creates more hate and violence. No, our system is not broken. Rather, our collective mentality, with its attendant emotional, psychological, and physical responses MUST BE ALTERED.
It is not enough to be politically correct by saying “the right thing” thus assuaging your ego. Rather, we must explore the bias that is etched in us as part of our life experience and environment. A great example of this comes in the racial tension of both Atlanta and the Deep South where the racial injustice of the entire history of our nation is handed down from generation to generation. A specific example comes from NASCAR racing. Simply by removing the Confederate flag is not going to reduce the racial tensions that have existed for hundreds of years through generations. This is not only the racism of white against black, it is also the reverse racism that blacks harbor against whites.
WHERE DOES THE ANSWER LIE?
The answer lies WITHIN ALL OF US! As I wrote in the previous editorial, on June 1, 2020, all 8 to 9 billion people on this planet must be collectively responsible for creating change. GOOD IS WITHIN ALL OF US. It is the one unifying factor, and ultimately the overwhelming expression of our fellow man that connect us.
This practice must begin with the awareness of every life situation we encounter each day. Then, rather than responding emotionally, above our “think line”, we must practice ACCEPTANCE. On a larger scale, this means a reflection on the past events in our lives, which are often filled with bias. They are history. There is nothing we can do to change them. These include death, divorce, or other social injustice of which you are a part. There is change only when you review them in your mind, learn from them, and make amends for them as you prepare to move on from them. Forgive yourself and others and begin to LIVE EACH PRESENT MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE. That means practicing ACCEPTANCE of each life situation. You don’t have to agree with it, or like it, but you should resolve to “let it be” or understand “it is what it is”. Only then can you make a PRESENT MOMENT DECISION ABOUT HOW TO REPOND. Because every “now” moment is all we control.
COMMUNICATE TO ALLEVIATE… YOUR BIAS
It is surprising how few people practice this very effective 6 step communication technique which has an incredibly high rate of effectiveness to resolve differences.
- LEAN IN TO LISTEN AND LEARN
If the person with whom you are communicating is offering a criticism, seek to find some truth in what is being said, even if you believe otherwise.
- AGREE WITH YOUR CRITIC
Paraphrase SINCERELY what you believe to be his position, including how he must feel. This incredibly effective disarming technique will soften him to be more receptive to your position.
- SHOW INTEREST BY ASKING PROBING QUESTIONS
This will determine his thoughts and feelings
- EXPRESS YOUR PERSONAL FEELINGS
Use the words “I feel…” rather than using blameful statements such as “you are…”.
- FIND SOMETHING POSITIVE TO SAY
Show him your respect and that you are looking for a…
- WIN-WIN RESOLUTION
In the end, it can most simply be the expression of this ethic of reciprocity:
“Treat others as you want to be treated”, quite simply known as The Golden Rule. How different this world would be if it were invoked, by all, each day. It all begins with each one of us.
NOW ONTO THE WORLD OF SPORTS
At this date, while much of the world continues to suffer from COVID-19 and the pressures of racism, the millionaires and billionaires of MLB are unable to agree on a negotiated position for the start of the 2020 MLB season. As a result, that decision now lies in the hands of Commissioner Rob Manfred. Most probable solution will be a circa 50 game season beginning prior to August 1st.
Players are currently whining about the fact they need to play in the Orlando bubble. Get over it! Your season will (hopefully) begin July 31st with the conclusion of the Regular Season followed by the 16 team Playoff format. It is scheduled to end by October 12th.
CFB and NFL
It is largely all systems go for the Football Season. Players will soon, if not already, return to training sites, then camps. Only a severe 2nd wave of COVID-19 could be a distraction to the start of the Regular Season. Note however, that there is discussion that the NFL will play only 2 exhibition games.