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Be Your Brother’s Keeper: Victor Cruz’s Team Excuses Are Problematic

Victor Cruz

I don’t expect much from professional athletes. I’ve learned that they are hired to do a job and that’s play the sport they excel in. I don’t ask them to stand up for social injustices but when they do, and they do it as well as Colin Kaepernick and Carmelo Anthony, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief.


You see, I don’t expect much, but I am also grateful to those who are privileged with money and fame and still see that their brothers and sisters are in the streets hurting. Not only do they see, they speak, they protest, they put their jobs on the line and risk endorsement money. They get it and when I see a fellow athlete criticize them negatively for that, I’m disgusted – especially if you’re black. Why? Because as a black athlete, you should totally get it. Even if you choose not to speak up, which is within your right, you should understand why a fellow black athlete felt strongly enough to take a stand.


Now let’s discuss NY Giants’ Victor Cruz. When asked about Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling for the National Anthem in the name of justice for those unjustly killed by police Cruz said, “Colin is his own man. He decided to sit down and that is his prerogative, but on a personal standpoint, I think you have to stand up there with your team and understand that this game and what’s going on around this country are bigger than you.”


Pay attention to that word, “team,” he uses it a lot.


In essence, Victor Cruz believes that the “team” is more important than standing up for what you believe in. The “team” is more important than the hundreds of black men, women and children who are dying at the hands of unfit police officers. Sure, Victor Cruz may speak Spanish, but you’re black to them and it could easily be you.


Fast forward to yesterday. Josh Brown, kicker for the New York Giants, was at the top of headlines after his own written journal entries detail his abuse towards his now ex-wife. He was arrested in May but county dropped the charges. Brown was only suspended one game. He will not be paying for his crime, despite admitting to physically and emotionally abusing his wife in front of their children. What did you think Vic had to say about that?
“Obviously, it is an unfortunate situation for all parties,” he said after Thursday’s practice. “But as a teammate, I am behind Josh Brown. I just want him to get himself right and make sure that he is able to overcome these things. It is not an easy thing, obviously, involving his personal life. But as an individual, I just want him to overcome and see where it goes.”
How can you be behind Josh Brown, knowing that he brutally beats his wife and got away with it? How can you nonchalantly say it’s his “personal life” and leave it at that all because he’s your team mate? After all of the judgement and advice he had for Colin Kaepernick, who is just standing up for the people, he has no judgement for Josh Brown because he has to see him on the field this Sunday? Not only is that irresponsible, it’s problematic.


Listen, sometimes you have to be your brother’s keeper. You have to tell him when he’s wrong and praise him when he’s right. For the “team” you have to make sure he is a good representation and often times you can’t tell him what to do, but at least he knows you have his best interests at heart.  Everyone from the quarterback to the coaching staff has had something negative to say about Odell Beckham hitting a kicking net but not one single thing to say about Josh Brown hitting a woman? Even Coach Ben McAdoo, who had a heap to say about Odell Beckham’s attitude, says they won’t turn their back on Josh Brown.


Are the lives of black people and women so undervalued in professional sports that you can’t even so much as wave your finger at your team mate over what he did? For Victor Cruz, and many of his team mates, to be married men, you would think they would do better.


To say I’m disappointed in the entire Giants organization is a huge understatement. Your team is not more important than human lives. Your 3-3 record proves that this “team” theory isn’t working out for you. Let’s do better, guys!

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