Go to any Baltimore Ravens road game, and you will notice one lot of local fans dressed in purple with the number eight on the back. This jersey is consistent among top sellers in the National League, along with those from 44-year-old obelisk Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, the science-denying failed host of Danger! These are no longer the usual fidelities; the people show up for Team Lamar.
Go down to the field level and you will see Lamar Jackson throw a football 50 yards away from his back foot while being pushed into his coaches on the sideline. Three games later you will see him make three very large men fall down, and with two more very large men chasing him, you manage to throw another 40 yards to a touchdown. Opponents shake their heads. Slap their helmets. “Damn, this guy is fast, ”shouts Myles Garrett, one of the fastest 275-pound people on the planet. “Fuck!”
And yet, ESPN chief Stephen A. Smith says he does not “confidence” Jackson until the Ravens superstar produces on his way to a Super Bowl. NFL leaders assertion Jackson’s run-and-gun style is not “traditional” enough. A sports radio broadcaster once said that the quarterback can hide the ball and run so well with it “when you think of his dark skin with a dark football with a dark uniform.” This is the language of a whitewashed league that has banished Colin Kaepernick since his protest against the national anthem. It has racist emails flying across white-dominated C-suites. It still does not have a mascot for “The Washington Football Team” because of its old name is racist.
But tradition is not Lamar Jackson’s thing. The Heisman Trophy award in college was fine. Very nice. The NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award two seasons ago was amazing. However, winning trophies is different from changing the perception of a sports wholesaler. And Jackson is well on his way to doing just that, on his own terms.
He’s his own agent, ready to negotiate this winter for maybe $ 45 million a year. He has his own clothing line, of course. He is not afraid to clap back from his haters and he is an avid tweeter – or at least an emoji-fixed re-tweeter in LeBron James mode. A mural of Jackson flashing a peace sign hovers over a street in Baltimore next to the words STOP GUN VIOLENCE.
Like JamesHowever, he remains hesitant in controversial topics when his brand demands it. Jackson has had Covid twice in the past year, which has led to skepticism about his vaccination status; his answer has been elusive at best. Like in the NBA this season, vaccine denial has turned professional football: Rodgers, Green Bay Packers QB, has lost playing time, State Farm commercial time, legions of fans and more or less his mind in a spiral of anti-wax pseudo-science. On Thursday, NFL star receiver Antonio Brown and two other players suspended for submitting counterfeit vaccination cards – and there may be more fake IDs out there.
During a phone call from Raven’s training facility Friday afternoon that was intended to dive beyond his game, Jackson avoided Rolling stones‘s current questions about the vaccine. He’d rather talk about pumping his fellow Pompano Beach legend Kodak Black into Raven’s locker room alongside local artists on come-ups like LOE Shimmy and 26coop. “I just like those guys,” Jackson says RS, “because they match society and culture, period.” Not unlike Lamar Jackson. Here was a man at the top of his game and perhaps not ready or willing to go there. Jackson does not have to be Kaerpernick. He has promised himself allegiance.
Feeling better? You missed a match recently after you started getting night sweats and curling up in a ball on team flight. What was it? Not Covid for one third time, right?
Nah, not at all. I do not know what it was. Probably a little flu or something.
Last month, down at your alma mater in Louisville, the football program retired your No. 8 in the rafters. You’re turning 25. But you’ve already done so much. Do you feel … old?
I’m still young. Usually guys have passed away or been older when they get their shirt retired. But I’m still in my profession. And I still am serving in my subject on it.
Do you want to stay longer than Tom Brady out there?
Hopefully! Hopefully, man, for sure. Hopefully.
Colin Kaepernick had haters on field, to have its own kind of game that is not unlike yours. Has Colin inspired you to build a legacy of marken?
You took me a little on guard. I really did not follow Colin Kaepernick and everything that went on with him. I really tried not to pay attention to it. I was in college at the time it first happened and I was trying to focus on my season. I really do not focus on that kind of thing and that kind of thing.
The progressive new mayor of Baltimore say you can be a “transformational” role model for the city. Really getting on level, especially with young black men, about gun violence and more of these systemic problems in Baltimore, where far too many Americans stereotype as what they’ve looked at The thread. Do you think you can do more for social justice as you get older?
I do not know. Probably in the long run. I’m getting out as much as I can, but I’m not getting into it right now because of Covid. When Covid came, I tried to stay away from the crowds and to be too much in the community. When I had my Funday, people had to sign exemptions that came out there, because if anything were to happen, I would not want anyone to react and think like, “Oh yeah, they were in Lamar Jackson’s camp.” I stayed away from them so I could not really engage in the social justice that I would like.
But you have been steadfast in the face of gun violence. About race. There was another school shooting this week. And Kyle Rittenhouse, he went free the other day …
Yes man. Damn.
How much does a failure of justice like that disappoint you? And do you think the NFL is becoming socially conscious enough – racially conscious enough – to perhaps take more position?
Man, things like this have been going on for a long time before I was born. In a way it got better, but in a way we are still the same. Sometimes it’s in this life like, “Man, but it’s not fair. “And then people pull towards like,” Well, there are black people who kill black people. “But it’s like that sometimes friends who kills friends who were black. It was not to look at them as a threat or anything in the direction of how another race could take it…. So I really do not understand the racial things that are going on and how people can treat black people this way. I really just hope it changes. It has to.
Okay, that was some heavy shit. Let’s have a little more fun. I want to say a name and you say the first thing that comes to mind: Kodak Black.
GOAT. It’s the GOAT.
Odell Beckham, Jr.
Han a God.
Stephen A. Smith.
Stephen A. will Stephen A.
Discount double check.
Aaron Rodgers has said he has done his own research into vaccinations and collected more than 500 pages of it to ask the league for a medical exemption. Have you done your own research to make the important choice of being vaccinated or not?
Nah, I do not have that. I have not researched such vaccines.
Did you get any shots for the vaccine?
That’s a little bit in violation of my HIPAA rights, right?
It is a public health crisis. You are a public role model. And you’ve had it twice. I think people are worried about you.
I understand that, but we did not talk about it. I thought we were talking about music and stuff like that.
Let’s talk about you as a freelance athlete. Like a man beyond the field. You negotiate your own contract extension, as musicians often do, agents cursed. You keep your circle tight. Are players like you helping to take back power? Are you proud of it?
It’s not about me being proud of anything. That’s just how I feel. I do not do things for other people. I’m still on my rookie appointment. Me and my GM and the organization, we are not talking about that right now. I’m worried about this season right now. We got the Steelers to come up. A rival game. Tois what I’m worried about.
The Ravens are 8-3. The haters will hate your four interceptions last week, but can the Ravens still win the Super Bowl?
It’s on its way, man. Only God knows right now. But that is the main goal. That most important Goal.
lock it inside? Or no guarantees?
I will not refuse that. I will not deny it! Why should I deny it?