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Moment Of Clarity

Mizzou Football Players Leverage their Worth

When we think about power in this country, we tend to focus on whoever has the most money. This is often the case at various levels within our society from corporations to heads of households.

Well, the University of Missouri football team just demonstrated how power is not linear, but dynamic. It isn’t always tied to the direct possession of money. We all impact another’s ability to make or lose money in many different ways based on the value of what we know, do, and achieve. And everyone has the capacity to know, do or achieve something in their life.

In working with issues of power and control for nearly 25 years, I’ve seen firsthand how people access, use, and leverage their power to get what they want. However, the University of Missouri football player’s use of power was simply beautiful because it was human and fearless.

Let’s begin with a simple understanding about power. Power is neutral and neither good nor bad; it is the intent behind it that makes it so. With that said, it is clear to see that the intention behind the power move by the football players came from a place of humanity to help the greater good.

So what did the football players do? They went on strike and said they would not practice or play until MU President Timothy Wolf resigned. While the players’ refusal to participate in future games was sparked by graduate student Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike, it was born, in large part, from Wolf’s inadequate response to racial issues within the system.

So how did they effect such a powerful and immediate change within a vast university system?

1) Circumstances: They had a concrete list of racially charged incidents occur over the last several months that went unaddressed or mildly acknowledged.

2) Support: They had the support of their entire coaching staff (including white coaches).

3) Immediacy: The potential loss of life.

4) Bigger than Them: Their efforts served the greater good of humanity – reduce racial tension.

5) Financial impact: There was a $1 million fine for each game missed by the university.

By leveraging these five areas, it became easier to be heard and lowered the bar for sympathy. I mean, who in their human capacity could condone the racism and level of response by the university? Not many. The football players used their power to bring in money to illustrate that this isn’t a “Black thing,” but in fact, “another thing” that Black people are enduring.

Underneath it all, the question became, “For how long?” How long are “we” supposed to allow you to project your hate, feelings of insignificance, unworthiness, and fear you have towards yourself? In essence, what the football players did was give back those feelings to those who they belonged to.

Now, where there is support there is also disagreement, and that isn’t a bad thing. In this case, I am focused on the power this team used without spending a dime because quite frankly, they didn’t have it.

In closing, I commend the African-American football players who stood up for those who were having a difficult time standing up for themselves. They did so with flow and grace, and no one got hurt. The players demonstrated how we all matter, have worth, and possess value beyond material wealth. For many, our talent is our currency, so don’t be afraid to use it. It’s worth its weight in gold.

With love, light, and unity.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW

Do you have a question for our “Moment of Clarity” JET Therapist, Jinnie? Email us at digitalpitches@ebony.com. We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. 

Jinnie Cristerna, affectionately known as “The High Achievers Therapist”, works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Specializing in clinical and spiritual psychotherapy, heart centered hypnotherapy, vibrational energy, meditation, Yhandi and RoHun.  Sign up for Jinnie’s High Achiever newsletter, join her on Facebook and Twitter, or view her self-help books!