I remember like yesterday watching Randy Moss becoming the MAC offensive player of the year at Marshall to his final game in a loss in Super Bowl XLVII to the Baltimore Ravens with the San Francisco 49ers. I am not here to bore you with numbers on why he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame or why he is one of six first ballot wide receivers inducted.
I was viewing Moss speak on my 55-inch high definition television, and his tie caught my attention and watched me in return. The fact Moss used the HOF as a platform to convey the message of something with far more important than his accomplishments deserve credit.
The names on Moss’ tie read vertically:
Are those of 12 black men and women who have been killed by police, over the past several years. Moss’ tie also has the name of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, who was charged with murder and later acquitted.
A reminder of the lines between sports and politics are blurred. Players will speak, and the attention will be magnified no matter which side of the political spectrum a player may agree with.
On NFL Network, Moss explained why he decided to use this moment and this platform for this purpose.
“We all have kids,” Moss said. “We’ve watched Spiderman before. Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, ‘With great powers, comes great responsibility.’ So, you asked me about my tie. We all know what’s going on. You see the names on my tie. Being able to use a big platform like this here at the Hall of Fame … What I wanted to be able to express with my tie is to let these families know that they’re not alone. I’m not here voicing; but by these names on my tie, at a big platform — it’s the Pro Football Hall of Fame — there’s a lot of stuff going on in our country. I just wanted to let these family members know that they’re not alone.”
Moss was straight cash. Finishing his distinguished career with 982 catches, 15,292 receiving yards, and 156 touchdowns, accumulated across 14 seasons with the Vikings, Raiders, Patriots, Titans, and 49ers.
Apparently, there are those around the country who only want Moss to shut up and catch the ball.
Moss told ESPN’s The Undefeated that more than 20 NBA and NFL players had reached out to him to support his efforts, but he added that not every response was positive.
“The black community praised me and thanked me for shedding light on African-Americans dying,” Moss said in an interview that was published. “Then on the flip side, you’ve got sites where people are slamming me, saying ‘Hey, n—-, stay in your place.’ They’re saying, ‘You’re a dumb black jock. You just need to stick to playing football, n—-.’
Is it just me, or do you wonder how they can quickly get information to send you mail? Moss added to the hate mail.
“All of this hate mail I’m getting for wearing a tie and talking about the truth. But I can handle it because I’ve been dealing with racism my whole life. … But that’s fine because I can speak out. A lot of guys don’t feel comfortable doing that.
Moss, who said he’s deleted “probably 150-200 messages the last few days,” made it clear that his intentions weren’t to be divisive but to support the families of the victims.
“We’ve got to admit to the problem. Everybody,” Moss explained. “What if black police officers around the country were going up in these white neighborhoods with rich white kids and started killing them? What would people say about that? A lot of people just don’t want to really talk about what’s going on. …
“There’s a badass crisis in our country that’s happening every day. And then when you bring it up, when you just try to talk about the truth, you get all this flak.”
His speech is fascinating the fact that he was able not even to blink an eye speaking on racism that he faced himself in West Virginia and on the outside Moss is gaining exact likeness from the same people who may have disliked him in the past. It is easy to forget there is so much in Moss’ background because of how exciting he was on the field.
What Moss did with his tie was bold. He would be the last player I would think to take a knee in today’s game during the national anthem, wear this tie at the HOF and explain it on the NFL Network.
I remember his playing days; now he has my attention of his days off the field even more. Do not be surprised if there are more big receptions from the Hall of Famer.