I'll start by reminding you I've been with Barstool longer than anyone but Dave. And without a doubt, these last few days have been the hardest time to contribute content I've ever been through, and I don't think I'm alone. During unspeakable suffering like the Sandy Hook shootings, we shut down. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, we covered the stories of the heroes, the victims and the manhunt. Even during this quarantine and economic collapse, there's been no shortage of ways to talk about Covid-adjacent subjects and keep it light.
The George Floyd killing and the protests have been another thing entirely. And I'll confess I've tried my best to stick to lighter topics. To skate my lane, so to speak. First, on the theory that people come here for entertainment and trying to make them laugh in the short time we have in this vale of tears is not just what I've been doing my whole life, it's my job. Second, I just assume the last voice anyone is looking to for wisdom is a Boomer who was born in a city with a bad reputation for race relations and who grew up in a suburb where the most ethnic kid in my elementary school was my one friend who's a WASP and had to explain to me what a Protestant is. I am not making that up.
But as Edmund Burke famously said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” And it seems to me that in my case, the something I can do is listen.Just as a first step. Then go from there. Not to the screaming match that is all of social media. Because I don't imagine one heart or mind being changed by everything being reduced to saying someone is either a fascist Nazi or a Marxist anarchist. But to listen to the most rational, reasonable voices I can find. Preferably someone whose life experiences are the opposite of mine.
Which brings me to the newest edition of Jason and Devin McCourty's podcast, "Double Coverage." It's something I try to catch anyway, as part of my job. But this one was much more. It's not an exaggeration to say I ended up listening to this discussion as part of my personal life. And took as much if not more away from it as any social/political conversation I've heard in forever.
Keep in mind the context of this. Over the weekend, Devin McCourty and his wife lost a child. Their baby daughter was stillborn in her eighth month of pregnancy. And had to be delivered in a labor that last 21 hours, with the umbilical wrapped around the infant's neck.
I can barely describe that. How he, his wife, and his twin brother can be so composed and so positive in the wake of all that pain is beyond comprehension. That level of commitment to address the troubles going on right now deserves to be heard. So I listened. You should too.
What you'll hear is two men who have worked in the political system to get bills passed that improve public schools, reform the criminal justice system and raise funds for Sickle Cell Anemia treatment. They talk to their Rutgers teammate Chris Quaye, who works for Morgan Stanley in Connecticut and talks about being one of the few people who looks like he does in the industry, trying to recruit more minority hires and working to educate his community more when it comes to finances. They recommend “Listening to other people in other communities, neighboring communities — communities maybe you wouldn’t even want to go to or think to go to. Go see their plight. Go see their life, their struggles and try to be a voice for them as well so they’re not the only ones talking," which is never a part of my life but needs to be. They have on another Rutgers teammate, Antonio Lowery, who's a law enforcement officer in Miami, despite the fact he was raised to believe "cops are dangerous" because he wanted to bring about real change and help kids with substance abuse problems. And yet another Scarlet Knight Pat Brown, who coaches a multi-racial high school team that is half suburban, half urban. So the sons of millionaires play along side kids "who don't know where their next meal is coming from" and trying to mentor both.
And what's really eye-opening are the very frank conversations about African-Americans who sincerely feel threatened by LEOs and another high school coach who tries to teach his kids to try and see things from the cops perspective and decries the minority business owner he knows whose place was "ransacked by people of color" because young people aren't seeing a better way.
That's a lot to process in one 75-minute podcast. A respectful, meaningful discussion from decent people who only want what's best for a country that needs to come together. And more genuine perspective than you'll get in six months of switching from Fox News to MSNBC to CNN.
I'll admit I live in one of the most insulated existences you can imagine. I work from home in a town where when I see a police officer, there's a 99% chance he's going to ask me about the Patriots or something he saw on Barstool. If nothing else, this last week has opened up the brain of an aging, mostly sheltered white guy who sees himself as a pretty moral, mildly religious person to the possibility that he hasn't been seeing the world through the eyes of people who aren't like him. And I guess that's a start.
So in that spirit, listen to as much of this as you have time for. No matter where you're coming from in all this, you'll be better for it.