State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Penn State Football: Wade Brave To Take A Stance In A World Not Always Kind To Them

by on June 26, 2018 3:00 PM

At last check Penn State safety Lamont Wade is back home in the streets of Pittsburgh joining a public protest against the fatal shooting of Antwon Rose, Jr. in East Pittsburgh.

According to reports Rose, unarmed, was fleeing a traffic stop when he was shot three times by a police officer last Tuesday. The Allegheny County Police Department said in a statement that Rose was the passenger of a car suspected by police to be involved in a shooting earlier that day.

The specific incident aside, at its core Wade is the latest in a growing line of athletes to protest perceived and often very real social injustices between the African American community and its local police force.

What's interesting about Wade, he is protesting in the physical world. Former linebacker Jason Cabinda was occasionally thoughtful and outspoken during interviews and on Twitter, but it never truly manifested itself beyond that, perhaps simply because the opportunity never arose.

Even so it once again brings up a question I've often thought about in the past year.

What is it like to be a black athlete playing in front of a packed Beaver Stadium in 2018?

Nothing about Penn State or Pennsylvania is unique in this particular situation, but the state was nearly 50/50 when it came to the 2016 election. Even in a generally left-leaning Centre County the ballot only narrowly tilted in Hillary Clinton's favor with over 35,000 people voting for Donald Trump. 

Regardless of how you might read any given Trump speech or generously interpret any given social position, an undeniable truth remains that the climate does not currently support athletes, particularly black athletes, speaking out about anything.

Which makes Wade's stance an admirable one. When he takes the field not too long from now --statistically-- a portion of the Beaver Stadium crowd won't agree with his political motivations and won't agree with his public stance on a growing number of issues he has spoken about. Imagine knowing that a third of the crowd could very well hold an opinion about you as a person for reasons that don't have anything to do with who you are. Imagine knowing some of them might not like you simply because you are black.

And for a kid not even halfway through his college career that's a brave move to make on a platform big enough to land himself on CNN earlier this week. He could have been quiet and lived out a life at Penn State without controversy and in the relative comfort of silence. It would have been safe and it would have been understood.

But he has chosen not to be silent and has opted to go out into a world that has already been unkind to him and plant a flag for something. And in today's day and age, that going well for him isn't a guarantee, which makes the choice to speak out for what he believes in, easy to respect.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
Next Article
11 Penn State Trustees Call for Meeting on 'Matter of Reputational Harm to the University'
June 26, 2018 2:26 PM
by Geoff Rushton
11 Penn State Trustees Call for Meeting on 'Matter of Reputational Harm to the University'
Disclaimer: Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

order food online