White allyship is necessary to combat the injustices that people of color experience daily. However, it’s important to never confuse one’s allyship with a white savior complex—which is exactly what Cleveland Browns’ tight end Seth DeValve’s wife wants to avoid.
In a first-person essay for Very Smart Brothas, Erica Harris DeValve writes how proud she is of her husband’s decision to be the first white NFL player to kneel in protest of police violence during Monday night’s preseason game against the New York Giants. Seth told press that as the future father of kids who won’t look like him, he wanted to “do everything [he] can to raise them up in a better environment than we have right now.”
“To center the focus of Monday’s demonstration solely on Seth is to distract from what our real focus should be: listening to the experiences and the voices of the Black people who are using their platforms to continue to bring the issue of racism in the U.S. to the forefront,” Erica writes. “But all white people should care and take a stand against its prevalence in this country.”
She goes on to write about how all NFL players—Black and white—can’t turn off their concern about racism to focus on football. She wants others to understand that it’s not just because Seth is her husband that it was necessary for him to kneel—he did it because it’s the responsible thing to do. You can read more of her piece here.