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(for Michael Sam)

24 years and 255 pounds,

6 feet 4 with heart-shaped triceps,

he is the Jackie Robinson of our time,

elegant, determined to sack, tackling

truth with grace. More afraid of not being

who he is, than being who others

wish his football muscles

would make him.

Some are waiting in the wings,

to give him a hard time, with their hard hate.

But he's already had the hardest of times:

Older brother killed,

older sister dying as a baby,

another brother missing then found dead,

two other brothers in and out of jail.

This is the man you want to test?

The one you want to give your hard time to?

The one you would deny a place on your playing fields.

The one you fear will dig into your juicy profits.

Right here, right now, let's practice your hate

so we get it out of the way, so he can go on

and have his brilliant career.

Right here, right now, give his brown courageous chin

your best verbal shot, come on, practice what you preach.

No more whispering behind his polite Texas back.

He had his say, now you have yours:


(Here we go!)


(Nice... nice )


(Very nice!)

Come on. You can do better than that.

Use your Monday Night Football voice.



Bright lights flood the stadium.

We are all in the big tent now.

Welcome, one and all, to the Super Bowl of fear.

-- Nikky Finney

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