J.J. Watt is doing a tremendous thing to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey down in Texas. Houston, in particular, was hit hard by the storm, and as one of the stars of the Houston Texans’ organization, Watt has come through in a big way for his community.
As of September 6, 2017, Watt’s Hurricane Harvey fundraiser has raised $27 million, and that included a sizable donation from the player himself. It has been a huge show of support for the Houston community and Watt was integral in kicking the campaign off, and for all intents and purposes, it has been a bright spot in an otherwise bleak situation down in Texas.
Former NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe, now on FS1, used Watt’s generous giving as a talking point recently when speaking with hot take artist Skip Bayless. The two were discussing Colin Kaepernick and his non-football stance against the National Anthem this past season — which has led to him being cut out of the league — and Sharpe brought up what can be referred to the “just stick to sports crowd”.
That’s the group people who believe athletes are there simply to play their sport and entertain. Anything else is simply beyond what they’re there to do, and that includes taking social or political stands — something that really riles up that base.
Sharpe brought up the “stick to football” crowd and their anger over Kaepernick’s stance. He all but implied that there’s a double standard, because, of course, nobody has told Watt to simply put his nose down and stick to football as it relates to Hurricane relief.
Here’s what he said:
“I’ve always– and I’m a firm believer in this. If you respect and you appreciate someone’s cause, you will appreciate and respect the person that represents that cause. But if you don’t– if you don’t think the cause is worthy– you definitely will disagree and not think the person that’s supporting that cause is worthy.
Hence, you get JJ Watt, and you get Colin Kaepernick. Now, no one has ever told JJ Watt– he gave $100,000 of his money. He’s already up to 20 million. Nobody said, JJ, stick to your day job. Stick to sports. Because everybody thinks what are doing is commendable– and it is! Nobody said JJ Watt had a selfish agenda– not one person.
But Colin Kaepernick took a million out of his own pocket. Nobody got no 20 million in donations. But it just goes to show you, Skip.”
It’s a decent point and it’s worth thinking about, though it’s also worth noting that there’s really nobody in the world who views donating to Hurricane relief as an offensive act. There are plenty who find kneeling during the National Anthem to be disrespectful not to just to country but to the troops themselves, so ultimately, these situations are likely way too different to make a strong point. But it’s clear to see where Sharpe is coming from.
It’s easy to say “stick to sports” when the cause is one that you don’t agree with.