I was basking in the first week goodness of college football and a rare mid-week round of golf when Charlene Sumlin, wife of Kevin Sumlin, reached out to me with a piece of mail she had received at her house this week. I could hardly believe my eyes when I read the letter which she subsequently shared on Twitter.
— charlene sumlin (@courshel) September 7, 2017
That someone would take the time out of their day to write this, put a stamp on it, and send it is far beyond anything I can comprehend. Despite my love for it, college football is a game, a very high-priced game, but a game nonetheless.
The first thing Charlene Sumlin said to me is “my children could’ve opened this. I am going to share it, only after I tell them.”
I cant even imagine that conversation. It grieves my spirit to know that she had to sit down with her children and tell them someone called their father the N-word because he didn’t win a football game.
I think the worst part of all of this is that Bill Sumlin, Kevin’s late father, fought this type of behavior coaching in the Deep South during segregation. His teams were refused meals simply for the color of their skin. Here we are almost 50 years later and his son has to endure the same racial hatred and bitterness.
What kind of world are we living in?
I don’t feel sorry for Kevin Sumlin and his family, I feel sorry for the bitter soul who penned the letter. How sad it must be to filled with that kind of hatred. How miserable it must be to pin your hopes and dreams on a game. How despicable it must be to actually send your hateful diatribe to someone’s home, where his family could find it.
But like Bill Sumlin did so many times before, the Sumlins will surely turn their cheek. And because they will, I will too. Instead of wishing ill will on the sender, I will instead pray for his or her twisted heart because as Martin Luther King Jr said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
(You can follow Rachel Baribeau on Twitter @RachelBaribeau)
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