So Jake Fromm, a recent Buffalo Bills draft pick and former NCAA Championship starter for Georgia, had some off-brand texts leak out today. In the text messages, Fromm appears to say he would like to get a “suppressor”, more commonly known as a silencer. However, he would like for them to be “very expensive so only elite white people can get them.”
When asked if he thinks he’s an “elite white person”, Fromm responds with four “crying laughing” emojis, because it’s very funny. He then follows it up with “I’m not I’m just saying.”
Obviously Jake got into some hot water. So he released a statement.
“I am extremely sorry that I chose to use the words ‘elite white people’ in a text message conversation.”
Already we’re off to a weird start. It’s a great opening line, but it’s followed by an awkward turn of phrase. “Text message conversation” sounds like it’s straight out of an early 2000s tech manual. Explaining that you used the phrase in a text conversation is like saying I’m going to call my mother later on my super smart cellular telephone. It’s super weird.
Like, this first sentence reads as if, when writing it, Jake’s PR team was like, “dang, we need to make this sound super professional. How do we do that?” Technical terms always make you sound smart. Seriously, I do it all the time on my internet athletic literary creations.
Also, it’s not just the use of “elite white people” that is an issue, it’s saying that only “elite white people” should have access to guns. Why would you say that, Jake? Is there something inherently peaceful about white people, and something inherently dangerous about black and brown people?
You already we’re missing the point, which is right on target considering the mirroring of your game to Drew Brees.
“Although I never meant to imply that I am an ‘elite white person,’ as stated later in the conversation, there’s no excuse for that word choice and sentiment. While it was poor, my heart is not.”
So here’s problem with that first sentence. You can’t give an excuse for using the phrase, and then say there’s no excuse. If there’s no excuse you can’t use an excuse. That’s just not how English works, Jake’s PR Team.
“Now more than ever, is the time for support and togetherness and I stand against racism 100%. I promise to commit myself to being a part of the solution in this country. I addressed my teammates and coaches in a team meeting today and I hope they see this incident is not representative of the person I am. Again, I’m truly sorry for my words and actions and humbly ask for forgiveness.”
Look this last part comes across as milquetoast as Jake’s actual personality, so I’m going to doubt that he means all of it. However, saying he means all of this is about as much credit as I’ll give him. All this is saying is “I’m letting you know that I feel bad and I’m going to say I’m going to be better.” If you add the words “publicly” to the end of every sentence, you’ll see the tone.
“Now more than ever, is the time for support and togetherness and I stand against racism 100% publicly.“
“I promise to commit myself to being a part of the solution in this country publicly.”
“I addressed my teammates and coaches in a team meeting today and I hope they see this incident is not representative of the person I am publicly.”
“Again, I’m truly sorry for my words and actions and humbly ask for forgiveness publicly.”
The first step we as white, cisgender men have to take is acknowledging our place in the creation, continuation, and the collapse of the systemic racism in American culture. You don’t do that with words, Jake. You do it with actions.
You do it by yourself, and you don’t use your PR team. Are you not a grown man? Can you not stand up and admit when you are wrong? Are you that much of a coward that you need to corporate yourself up to show some human decency. We all make mistakes and have made mistakes, but the difference is that most of the rest of us own up to them. We take action towards changing ourselves and changing how we view the world. Own that Jake. Don’t hide behind the sanitized words of someone devoid of human emotion. You have to do a better job at pretending you care about this, and not about the fact that you’re sorry you got caught.
So this can either be you sweeping your racism under the rug in the name of keeping your Walmart endorsement deal and your job with the Bills, or this can be the beginning of change. Personally, publicly and privately.
But this statement? Doesn’t cut it. Not even a little bit.
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