White NFLer's Wife Offers 'Humble Reminder' After Protest

Seth DeValve's spouse: I'm proud he kneeled but focus should be on black players
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2017 3:33 PM CDT
Don't Turn My NFL Husband Into a 'White Savior'
Cleveland Browns tight end Seth DeValve (87) is tackled by New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins (20) in the first half of an NFL preseason football game on Monday in Cleveland.   (AP Photo/David Richard)

On Monday night, a dozen or so Cleveland Browns players kneeled during the national anthem and formed a prayer circle, among them 24-year-old tight end Seth DeValve, ID'd as the first white NFLer to take a knee during such a demonstration for social injustice. DeValve's wife, Erica Harris DeValve, says in an op-ed for The Root's Very Smart Brothas that she's "deeply proud" of her husband—and she says that that moment "reconfirmed" for her that her husband had thoughtfully absorbed all of the conversations about race they'd had as an interracial couple. But she wants to "push back" on putting Seth "on a pedestal" and making him into some kind of "white savior," when Colin Kaepernick and other black players have been carrying the movement against racial discrimination and oppression along for the better part of the last year.

"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," she writes. "Colin Kaepernick bravely took a step and began a movement ... and he suffered a ridiculous amount of hate and threats and ultimately lost his life's work in the sport he loves." She says that Seth's actions weren't just because he's married to a black woman—"If I were white, he should have done the same, and I am confident that he would have"—and that white people should "listen to the voices of the black people in your life, and choose to support them as they seek to make their voices heard." But she wants to turn the attention back to black players, who "have to carry that burden all the time." "We should not see Seth's participation as legitimizing this movement," she notes. "Rather, he chose to be an ally of his black teammates." More here. (Read more NFL stories.)

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