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Help someone for Dr. King. Skin color does not matter

mlkA few years ago I attended a Martin Luther King program at Rochester High School.

During the presentation one of the speakers challenged audience members to reach out and help someone in honor of Dr. King.

As we were filing out the auditorium a woman approached and told me about her son, a high school football player, who wanted to play college ball. She said financial assistance would benefit her family. She was a single parent who needed a break.

She said her son, a running back, was good enough to play Division II or Division III football. But he hurt his knee his senior season and recruiting leads dried up. Could I help?

I told her I was not sure but I had some college connections through assistant football coaches I knew. I made phone calls and some of the coaches contacted the family. He got a couple tryouts.

I never knew if he played college football, but the coaches believed he could help a program. I wrote an MLK column on helping the kid and urged others to help somebody in honor of Dr. King.

The initial response from the public was positive. Then it turned troublesome.

Some questioned would I have gone out of my way for a white kid? Would I have made phone calls to get a try out for a white player?

I never mentioned the race of the mother or the player. It did not matter. It was not important. I was helping a human being. It did not matter if he were black or white.

I spoke to some of the angry callers on the phone. After their rants I waited a minute and told them that the kid was indeed white.

When they heard Dr. King, single parent and athlete the writers and callers assumed the kid was black. And I asked “so what if the kid were black? Why does that matter?”

They said it did not matter, but they believed I would not help a white person.

I once again ask you to help somebody in honor of Dr. King.

It does not matter if he or she is black or white.

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