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Whitlock: Aaron Rodgers proves freedom is far more valuable than privilege

Op-ed
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NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers' Tuesday interview with podcaster Pat McAfee caused me to reflect on the value of freedom.

Rodgers, of course, has been embroiled in controversy the last week. He tested positive for COVID, and it became clear he was unvaxxed. Previously, he'd concealed his unvaccinated status by telling the media he had been immunized against the virus that poses virtually no threat to 37-year-old healthy professional athletes.

Last Friday, Rodgers appeared on McAfee's show and explained why he didn't take the vaccine. He criticized cancel culture, the woke mob popular on Twitter, and the NFL's illogical COVID protocols. He voiced the concerns of many professional athletes and ordinary American citizens.

Yesterday, he returned to the McAfee show and attempted to put the controversy to bed.

"I'm an athlete; I'm not an activist," Rodgers said. "So I'm going to get back to doing what I do best, and that's playing ball. I shared my opinion. It wasn't one that was come to frivolously. It involved a lot of study and what I felt like was in my best interest for my body. But further comments I'm going to keep between myself and my doctors. I don't have any further comments about any of those things after this interview."

Aaron Rodgers just exercised his freedom. He's free to embrace being an athlete. There's no pressure on him to be more than an athlete. No one expects him to be the next Muhammad Ali. That burden is only placed on the shoulders of black athletes. White athletes are free to be whatever and whoever they want to be.

White liberals strip black athletes of that freedom. White liberals force black professional athletes to be more than what their life experience has prepared them to be. Great athletes spend their teenage years totally coddled. From age 12 to around 25, their primary focus is on maximizing their physical gifts, not their intellectual ones. Given the financial rewards of professional sports, it would be foolish for someone as big and physically gifted as LeBron James or J.J. Watt to spend an equal amount of energy on intellectual development as physical development. There's a short window to take advantage of your body. You have an entire lifetime to develop your mind.

Aaron Rodgers, like Michael Jordan, wants to be the best athlete he can be while his body cooperates. Rodgers will worry about being more than an athlete when he's done earning $30 million a year playing football. Rodgers is free to do that.

Black athletes are the pawns of the liberal media. If they don't pretend to deeply care about the welfare of a career criminal loaded on fentanyl and arguing with the police, black athletes are labeled as bad people, sellouts. A black college student with no criminal record must see himself when looking at George Floyd.

We must say to ourselves, "That could be me."

White people are free to think whatever they want. They walk by homeless drug addicts on the street and feel no burden to deeply empathize with them. They're free to pursue happiness, success, and fulfillment. We, black people, must publicly pretend that we have all had a near-death experience with police. We're forced to live a lie. Living a lie compromises and inhibits freedom. It clouds the mind and provokes irrational thought and behavior.

It's a lack of freedom that separates white men from black men.

The left's focus on "white privilege" is a brilliant tactic to distract from and diminish the importance of freedom. According to progressives, privilege is the exclusive domain of American white men. In order to be truly equal, racial minorities, women, and the LGBTQ must have unfettered access to privilege.

If there is ever a reiteration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic March on Washington, Al Sharpton will shout, "Privileged at last, privileged at last, thank God almighty, we're privileged at last."

The truth is, however, that what separates white men from black men in 2021 is not privilege. It's an appreciation for freedom and an understanding of how best to use it. America's most valuable commodity is freedom. Black Americans spent more than 300 years fighting for it. We won it, in full, in the 1960s, when Dr. King's civil rights movement forced the erasure of state and federal laws that limited our God-given, constitutionally guaranteed inalienable rights.

God-fearing men of integrity won the long war. The left immediately pivoted to denigrating the victory and redefining America's greatest resource as privilege. Freedom is fool's gold. Real equality, fulfillment, and happiness can only be attained by those born into or granted privilege.

The seeds for the privilege rights movement were planted 60 years ago. The movement fully blossomed in the last decade. Privilege rights activists popped up all across social media. Shaun King, DeRay Mckesson, and the LGBTQ founders of Black Lives Matters rose to power. The left championed author Ta-Nehisi Coates as the Martin Luther King Jr. of the privilege rights movement. After wealth, fame, and Disney deals assassinated Coates' work ethic, Ibram X. Kendi bathed himself in the blood of Coates and assumed the role of Jesse Jackson for the PRM.

Colin Kaepernick grew an afro and cast himself as Huey Newton, leader of the Black Panther Party. LeBron James read the first paragraph of Malcolm X's book, learned to pronounce the word systemic, and styled himself as Muhammad Ali.

It seems like I'm mocking Kaepernick and James. I actually feel sorry for them. They've been lied to by corporate media. Many of the black sports journalists they befriend want black athletes to pretend to be more than athletes so that sports journalists can pretend to be more than they are.

Aaron Rodgers has the freedom to demonstrate self-awareness and be exactly what life has prepared him to be at age 37. He's a great quarterback. He's no one's dumb jock.
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