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Enough. Let’s respond and make George Floyd’s death be our light

An Outside the Lines video essay from ESPN’s Doug Glanville


It takes 8 minutes and 20 seconds for sunlight to reach the Earth.

In that time, under its warm touch, the world saw George Floyd go cold under the bended knee of injustice and inhumanity.

We stopped, still granted the gift to breathe, trying not to stare, but unable to look away.

Then the tears flowed and the temperature rose.

The glistening streets became thoroughfares of protest until buildings burned under the recklessness of justifiable outrage and hopelessness.

Nothing had changed.

We had once again ignored the disinfecting power of the sun.

We had silenced the voices of a people because their peaceful pleas were not made at the right time, at the right place, in the right way.

We were told once again to wait. Even when Martin Luther King Jr. implored us in his Letter from A Birmingham Jail that “this ‘wait’ has almost always meant ‘never.’ ”

And the face of smug indifference cast its shadow with self-serving and willful ignorance, defiantly staring into the heart of the sun until we were all blinded by the hate.

Staring with eyes that could see color, but not humanity.

Yet the sun rose again.

To give us another opportunity to be enlightened.

To help us see George Floyd as all of us and not just one of them.

Eight minutes and 20 seconds to realize that we all have the privilege to breathe when others can’t.

Enough time to lift a knee.

Enough time to say something.

Enough time to take a deep breath.

Enough time to not send that hateful tweet.

Enough time to ask why I am calling 911.

Enough time to wipe a tear.

Enough time to change a heart.

Enough time to be a teammate.

Enough time to listen.

Enough time to break bread.

Enough time to learn from our differences.

Enough time to raise a flag.

Enough time to pay our respects.

Enough time to love a country.

Enough time to say enough … enough.

We have had enough time to change.

But this time, too many times, the light did not illuminate.

Because we shielded our eyes.

From the reflection we did not want to see.

We are 8 minutes and 20 seconds too late.

And George Floyd is eternally nonresponsive because we were nonresponsive.

So let’s respond and make his death be our light.

Doug Glanville was a first-round draft pick by the Chicago Cubs and an outfielder with the Cubs, Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies. He is the author of The Game from Where I Stand: A Ballplayer’s Inside View. Glanville is currently a baseball analyst for both ESPN and Marquee Sports Network, co-hosts the baseball-focused podcast “Starkville” at The Athletic, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut.