Welcome to The Blog About Nothing. It’s the 9th of September. The NFL season has started in earnest, the MLB season is coming to a close, and summer is almost over. I’m not ready for fall, and sweater weather but as the days on the calendar turn, it will be here soon enough. This week I’ll touch on the fact that it’s been twenty years since 2Pac got shot, talk about Kaepernick some more, my dislike for Cam Newton, and with the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11 approaching I will get a little personal. Let’s do this!
September 7, 1996 I was fourteen years old and had recently started my sophomore year of high school. Coming from Brooklyn, my focus that day had been on the Mike Tyson-Bruce Seldon fight. I’ve said it a million times now but Mike, was one of my sporting heroes. Yeah, he was a bad guy but he was still Iron Mike Tyson in my heart. I grew up with that, so of course I was happy when Mike did what he had to do against Bruce. I was good with that.
However, some 2,500 miles away from my home, was a prize fight and all that goes on with it. That night Tupac Shakur got shot. Tupac went to Vegas, with Death Row label owner Marion “Suge” Knight to take in the festivities. While there he got into some jaw boning with someone and got shot. 2Pac had been shot before, in New York a few years before, so when I heard Tupac got shot my natural reaction was “he’ll live”. Tupac had been shot before and if he survived that shooting, he was going to survive this one. I didn’t even trip out on it because I was confident that he was going to make it.
So imagine my surprise when I came home from school six days later, and not too long after finishing my homework, I heard the news that Tupac Shakur had died at the age of 25. Yeah, that threw me into a loop. Not because I was a big Tupac fan. Far from it actually. Growing up in Brooklyn, and being a dumbass teenager, I got caught up in the B.S. that was the East Coast-West Coast rap beef. Yeah, your boy was solidly in the Notorious B.I.G. and Bad Boy camp. I’ve blogged about Biggie’s death before, and let’s just say that I was hurt a hell of a lot more over it than I was over losing Tupac.
I didn’t appreciate the genius that was 2Pac until he was gone. Sad to say. Tupac Shakur was a great rapper, granted, but he was also a creative force. He wrote, he acted, and he had a mind that would have greatly improved his community if he was allowed the years to grow and develop. I’d imagine a world with Tupac would have been a far better world than a one without him. I’d imagine Tupac in this era of Black Lives Matter as being a leader and an inspiration and filling a void that needs to be filled.
Thankfully due to him practically living in a recording studio, we have plenty of material from a man who lived such a short life. In the twenty years since his death his legacy has only grown. He used to predict he would die young, and unfortunately he was right, but Tupac will live on forever.
In the last edition of The Blog About Nothing, I touched on Colin Kaepernick. The blog posted on September 6, but I had meant for it to post on September 2nd and typed it up days before that. Anyway, in the blog I stated that I was on board with Colin’s stance of not standing for the anthem, and I encouraged him to do more. Thankfully, he has. Kaepernick came out and stated that he was going to donate money to social causes, and other athletes and organizations has followed suit.
The San Francisco 49ers, for who Colin plays for, has donated $1 million. In the opening game of the NFL season, Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall took a knee during the playing of the anthem and has decided to donate an undisclosed amount as well. Marshall went one step further and stated that his stance has nothing with him being anti-military. Marshall pointed out that he has uncles who are veterans and that there are many military vets that are suffering in this nation.
There is a large number of homeless veterans. Veteran hospitals nationwide are nowhere near what they should be, and there is a bit of governmental disregard for the men and women who serve this nation. This is why I have to cast an eye towards people like Shaquille O’Neal who stated that Kap’s stance is disrespectful to the military.
If you care so much for the military why not point out the struggles that some ex-vets are having? It seemed to be a public non-issue until Kap took this stance and then we hear oh its “anti-military”. What? This is why I was proud to see #VetsForKaepernick trending on Twitter because those military veterans that stood with him, also pointed out the many shortcomings they have once they return home from conflict.
Stand up, sit down, or kneel is your personal choice but I cannot knock anyone for taking a progressive stand. Anything that moves the conversation down the line is what I’m about. I’ve said it a million times, but I have no use for people who stick their head in the sand and act like nothing is wrong. Yes, that was aimed at Cam Newton. I clearly don’t like Cam but I cannot understand why he won’t open his mouth and say race is an issue. No one got hit harder with the racial code word brush than him last year, but for him to stand up with that stupid ass grin of his and admit there isn’t a problem here is the biggest example of hiding his head in the sand.
Like I said, I don’t like the guy and I know I got off track in that last paragraph but I cannot stand Cameron Newton. I feel better now. Anyway, I applaud Colin Kaepernick, Brandon Marshall, Megan Rapinoe, and anyone who chooses to kneel. Do what you feel, do it respectfully, and keep shining that light that needs to be shone. Doing so would hopefully move us one step closer to the World, color blind folks like Cam Newton believes we should live in.
Finally, this Sunday will be the fifteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th. On that day our World changed. When the World Trade Center towers came down, when the Pentagon was attacked, and when Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, everything changed. We came together out of tragedy, and in the aftermath of such a dark day, a beauty came from us in the early days of that post 9/11 world.
My heart goes out to everyone who lost someone that day. My heart goes out to anyone who still has to deal with the effects of such a dark day. My heart goes out to the family of my friend Thomas J. Ashton. Tommy was my boy. He was my classmate, the first friend I made in college, and he was someone who just looked out for me.
I was involved in the Model U.N. Club when I was a student at St. Francis College, Brooklyn, and he and I were roommates at a Model U.N. conference in Philadelphia. I’ll always remember that dive bar that decided to serve two kids well underage, and with baby faces to match, beer. I’ll remember drinking Heineken’s and eating Sausage Parmesan hero’s with my boy. I’ll remember walking dumb far from our hotel on the hunt for bagels because being New Yorkers we needed bagels for breakfast.
I’ll remember you calling me bro, and I saved the last few emails we shared about classwork. We both didn’t care for Professor Franklin. She hated me for real bro. I’ll remember that. It’s a shame that you took time off school to become an electrician and that your second day of apprenticeship was your last day on Earth. I wished that plane didn’t go through the tower. I wish you stayed in school, and I wished you and I were still friends. We probably would have split apart, but man we could have at least reminisced over Facebook. Rest in Peace Tommy. Miss you bro…
Thanks for reading.
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