America Needs to Reach Out, Embrace and Hug One Another

Ray Gallagher
Ray Gallagher

Let’s just get this out of the way: since we’re all on bended knee, our souls an open exhibit, I’m sorry to anyone I’ve ever offended; black, brown, yellow or white (and any color I’ve left out).

It wasn’t intentional, I swear, because I don’t see color through my lens or in my heart. The respect we need for each other right now is critical to our societal renaissance, which includes racial equality, spiritual belief and every open wound in American society.

Our souls need the exposure of inner reflection, transparency and accountability. We can all play a pivotal role in this upheaval, and it starts with an apology. Racism isn’t conservative versus liberal. All political persuasions must come together for change, removing the poison within and making even the most subtle form of racism unacceptable.

In every game I’ve ever covered, there were winners and losers, and I pulled for both just the same no matter their creed or color. Whether it was Elton Brand or Donnie McGrath. Derek Dennis or Ryan Shilling. Robbie Anderson or Nick Gargiulo. Chris Tantalos or Joe Vetrano. Cathy Cortez or Emma Bozek. Aubrey Griffin or Brittany Shields. It never mattered. Color or race be damned!

Instead of teaching our kids that everyone gets a trophy, we need to teach our kids that racism should never have a role in sports and life, that we’re all in this together. I wish real life could be more like sports because in that huddle and in those locker rooms are some of the strongest bonds ever formed, regardless of color or religion. In sports, our differences do not matter on the playing field.

Civil unrest has come to a head now, and this is where we are after a really bad police officer did something as heinous as anything we’d ever seen. We are at a crossroads regarding the direction of our divided nation.

Harmony seems implausible right now. But this old greybeard says it’s time to unify, time to radically, yet peacefully, challenge our views on race. We have, as a nation, so much to apologize for, from inequality to injustice, despite being the most powerful republic on earth #Facts.

That said, there are only so many things I can apologize for without recognizing the greatness of this nation, what it used to be and what it will become again, if we can get past this monumental hurdle.

There’s a litany of other things I’m sorry for, so let’s divvy it up.

I’m sorry if you’re a Knicks fan and have to accept the fact that owner Jim Dolan runs a rudderless ship that has seen his club win one (yeah, one!) singular playoff series since 2001.

I’m sorry if you don’t like former Giants quarterback Eli Manning for only returning two Super Bowls in his 16 years. Eli is gospel in this neck of the woods for good reason, so don’t you dare tread on that.

I’m sorry if you still think LeBron James was or is better than five-time MVP and six-time NBA champ Michael Jordan, the real #GOAT, right up there with Babe Ruth and Wayne Gretzky.

I’m sorry if you think the 1992 Olympic Dream Team wasn’t the finest cast of All-Stars ever assembled because there has never been a more gifted, purposeful unit in the history of sports. Patriotism and pride were at an all-time high, kind of like at Lake Placid in 1980. There’s nothing like the Olympics to bring our country together.

I’m sorry if you think Paw Patrol should be banned because Chase the Cop Dog is viewed as problematic. I’m sorry if you think Lego should consider removing police and firefighters from its Lego City line. You might have too much time on your hands if you think Paw Patrol or Lego are the problem. Most cops are good, hard-working folks that risk their lives every day for our safety. It’s now a thankless and terribly dangerous job.

I’m sorry if you can’t figure out a way to be tolerant, inclusive and kind to anything with a heartbeat, including spiders, but excluding ticks #IHateTicks.

As a Mets fan, I’m sorry if you can’t get past the 27 World Series championships the Yankees have provided their fans. Imagine the backdrop of New York sports without the Yankees. Our sports championship cupboard would be close to empty.

And I’m also sorry if you believe the flag of the United States of America and its accompanying anthem are offensive in any way, shape or form. Get over it.

I’m sorry for cancer. I’m sorry we can’t have a difference of political opinion without a snide remark and harsh words for one another. I’m sorry social media has wrecked the way people deal with each other. I’m sorry that my cell phone has figured out a way to track my thoughts and portray them in advertisements five minutes later on Facebook.

Can somebody please make a Michael Jordan-like move and figure out a way to make our country great again, to accept each other for who and what we are? It’s one race, the human race.

Now that I’ve apologized for everything imaginable, can we just hug it out?


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