Baltimore Riots: Bigger Than Sports!


Every now and again we are reminded that the sports we love are just games played for entertainment.  Today would be one of those days.

The events that are occurring right now in Baltimore, Maryland caused the cancellation of Monday night’s scheduled Baltimore Orioles game against the Chicago White Sox.  There were concerns for players and fan safety and rightfully so.

On April 19, Freddie Gray passed away after suffering a severed spinal cord while in the custody of Baltimore City police.  No one knows when or even how the injury happened, but it is clear it lead to Gray’s eventual death.  The citizens of Baltimore want answers but not many are being given. Thus, unfortunately they have turned to rioting in an attempt to get their frustrations across.  According to, after Gray’s funeral on Monday things turned ugly in the city. 

While these events clearly make sports take a back seat, it must be pondered upon, where are all of Baltimore’s outspoken sports figures now? 

Adam Jones of the Orioles is a media favorite because he is a great quote.  He has not been outspoken in the media about the death of Gray or the riots that have occurred.  Terrell Suggs is the Baltimore Ravens’ outspoken linebacker.  He posted that he was praying on his Facebook account, but he has not had any real comments either. 

That brings me to the man who was the inspirational voice of Baltimore for almost two decades, Ray Lewis.  Where is he now?  It can be argued that handling issues as big as this is not their job, and to an extent that would be true.  However, their assistance in these difficult matters could be highly influential.  No one is asking them to put themselves in any danger, just do what they always do. 

If anyone puts a microphone in front of Lewis, they would get a sermon about something.  Now, when his preaching could be used, he is silent. 

It is also interesting that only certain things become trendy.  It was trendy in the NBA to wear the “I CAN’T BREATH” t-shirts.  The shirts represented Eric Garner’s last words before he passed away after being choked by NYPD. 

Gray’s death has not sparked a trend or a hashtag, but was senseless just the same. 

Sports have been a diversion many times for the ill that goes in the world.  The entertainment and competition can take one’s mind away from all the troubles that surround them. Through sports’ biggest figures become larger than life and can influence a generation. 

Where are all the influential figures now at a moment that will play larger than any play they could make on the field? 

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Keenan Actkins

Keenan Actkins is an Arizona resident living in the Phoenix metropolitan area. He brings a wealth of sports knowledge and passion to the team with his unique insight and strong voice and opinion. He also contributes to Yahoo! Voices and has written for


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