Jim Brown and Ray Lewis met with Donald Trump. He was invited by the President-Elect and he went. After the meeting, he made this statement:
““We’re not bourgeoisie, we’re not above the people. But I fell in love with him because he really talks about helping African-America, black people, and that’s why I’m here,” he said.”
After being asked about “I fell in love with him.” He went on to say:
“Well, it isn’t really just about Donald Trump. It’s about him in the position he occupies. That position is considered the most important person in the world. The most powerful person in the world is supposed to be the president. When he goes through what he went through to become the president he got my admiration because no one gave him a chance. You know, they called him names. People that called him names when he won, he reached back and brought them along with him. He held no grudges. So who am I to say I played quarterback when I played running back? I don’t know everything and I don’t try to address everything, but the reception that I got today from him I will always remember that because he listened to us and he knows that we can bring something to him to help the people of this country.”
Immediately social media went berserk. On Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere; Brown (along with Lewis but I’m only talking about Brown) was labeled a sellout, coon, despicable… and that was by Black people. It didn’t help that white Trump followers began praising Brown while simultaneously deriding Black people that haven’t embraced Trump and that the meeting was set up by Pastor Darrell Scott whose picture is the image for sellout in the dictionary.
Jim Brown has a long activist history. He stood strong, often alone in situations where a Jordan or Woods would have toed the line, perhaps more concerned about endorsements than progress. Brown founded the Amer-I-Can program in 1988 and has always contributed his time and money to the cause.
I can’t think of a positive thing I’ve said or written about Donald Trump but in a few weeks he will be President. Jim Brown had access to talk to Trump about what he can do for inner-cities and African-Americans and he took it. He could have turned down the invitation but to what end? Is there any possibility Trump could be shamed into positive change?
Many a person has made the trek to Trump Tower only to be used for Trump’s purposes. Mitt Romney figuratively got on his knees for Trump only to walk away with nothing. Limp and ineffective as a future critic. Trump tells people what they want to hear one second and does the opposite the next. I don’t doubt Trump gave Brown good reason to be pleased after the meeting. What matters is what happens now? Brown has left the building and Steve Bannon is still there.
I paid no attention to Kanye’s visit to Trump except to wonder if he was released from care too soon? Jim Brown is a serious man and this meeting alone won’t keep me from taking him seriously. There is a cottage industry of Black People attacking Black leaders. Cornell West finally had to get a job now that President Obama is leaving office. I have few expectations that Donald Trump will do much based on his meeting with Jim Brown. What I do expect is that Jim Brown will hold him accountable. If Brown was made promises that aren’t kept, I believe he’ll speak out. He always has!
I don’t think Jim Brown went to see Trump out of desire for fame. He retired from the NFL at the top of his game. Many others stayed too long, unable to leave the limelight. I believe he met with Trump to accomplish something for Black people. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt. Holding him accountable for his words and actions.
In a famous Richard Pryor comedy routine. He recounted when Jim Brown came to him and tried to get him off the crack pipe. He said Brown simply looked at him and said, “Whatcha gonna do?” Whatever excuses or deflections Pryor offered. Brown repeated, “Whatcha gonna do?” I think he’ll ask the same thing of Trump. If not, we’ll ask it of him. Whatcha gonna do!
Feature Image: Atlantablackstar