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Get off your knee you’re blowing the game


November 2007. Bronx — New York. Stopped at a red light, an NYPD van and 2 police cars surround my black, tinted out gmc envoy. 8+ police officers surround my car with their guns out.

Given I was in the hood in the Bronx, I wasn’t sure if I was in danger from the local gangs or the police at this moment.

Over the loud speaker I heard “roll down your windows and put your hands on the wheel”, as the bright lights shined into the vehicle.

With all of the windows down, I am asked “sir, are you okay?” Confused and puzzled I reply “yes, what’s going on?”

My best friend, jason Caldwell, who is black, sitting in the passenger seat of my car has two guns pointed at his side of the vehicle and is demanded to show his ID. We are both wearing fordham football gear and clearly are just college kids. Since he is from Baltimore, he hands the jerk off cop his license which is Maryland. The cops accuse him of having fake ID.

Now if you know me, I hate power hungry bastards, in any industry. I lose it. I start calling them mother fuckers, scum bags, assholes, you name it. Meanwhile, they pull jason out of the car and start to search him. I immediately get out and start causing a scene, what the fuck do you think you’re doing? That’s my best friend. We are juniors at Fordham university. “Sir, get back In the car. This guy looks similar to a guy who robbed a lady blocks up by the train. I lose my mind again. “Oh is that so? You fucking liars. My windows are so blacked out, there is NO way you could have seen in my car, second, jason is SO black, you couldn’t have seen if he was even in the car! And, it’s night time out”

So, I went In my car and pulled out 3 family member badges. Told them they better leave us the fuck alone and finally, after 15+ minutes. We were able to leave the red light.

Jason acted as if it didn’t phase him. Almost as if he expected It. Or was used to it. I lost my mind. How could this take place? How could this be? How could this happen? What was interesting to me was, there were white cops, Spanish cops, and black cops. They were all assholes but one of them I remember. One apologized at the end to me. I literally had to convince them Jason wasn’t robbing me.

Fast forward to making these shirts. Which can be found at — at first I was upset about the knee during the anthem but then I realized after research #7 was NoT taking a knee to disrespect the flag. He was doing it to make everyone aware of a non talked about issue. Something the US, our community, was overlooking. This immediately brought me back to this night, with my best friend, where things could have gone much worse. What if I wasn’t there? What if they just stopped jason and he borrowed my car? Jason could have been a target for police brutality. Jason could have been injured. I would have or could have lost my best friend in the entire world.

FUCK hate, FUCK racism.

#takeAknee has been a success and now, just now, over a year later has everyone’s attention.

We are NOW coming together, as a community. FUCK being divided. Let’s be ONE team, with ONE goal. To protect and to LOVE one another.

It’s game time. GAME, On.

The Mortgage Quarterback

Jeff VanNote