Dez Bryant found himself in America's cross hairs recently after an attempt to continue the discussion on the most sensitive topic there is: race. In a series of posts on his Instagram page, Bryant tried to shrug off concerns of systemic racism by stressing the need for personal accountability amongst fellow Americans.
Though some praised his view, there were plenty of critics who felt it was an insensitive, victim-blaming view that ignored institutional and systemic factors.
Everyone seems to be weighing in on these matters now, and that includes rapper Lil Wayne. In an appearance on FS1's "Undisputed", Wayne talked to Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe about his reaction to Bryant's comments. He ended up falling somewhere in the middle:
It's interesting. I guess it's such a different Dez to me, the mind my own business type of thing and then kind of not minding his own business after that...but if you want to look into it, I believe everybody leads by example within themselves. Everybody can't be a football player, everybody can't be as successful as him or I or whatever. If you're trying to motivate someone to do better or whatever it is, you meet that person, you sit down with them, I don't think you're supposed to look at someone and say, 'We're not doing this, and we're not doing that, and this and that is right or wrong.' I believe everybody leads by example just by being themselves.
Though Wayne is still leaning slightly into the idea that people of any color or community need to lead by example, he appears to reject the premise there is any one way to go about your business. It's a more realistic, nuanced take on an institutional problem; the way men like Bryant and Wayne can handle their business is not necessarily available to the average person, so he feels solutions working for them might be radically different elsewhere.
This is a bit of a departure from the New Orleans native's comments on race in the past. He came under serious fire after trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement in an interview with Nightline, and in a previous appearance on FS1 he claimed his white fans were proof there was, "no such thing as racism."
Maybe this was what Wayne was trying to express all along with his prior comments on the subject. Wayne has been through the ringer in the legal system and has seen the power of institutions firsthand, so acknowledging differences from person-to-person makes a lot more sense than him denying racism exists at all. Hopefully Bryant and people of all backgrounds can take the message to heart, because a little more understanding would make the world a better place.
In an off-air interview, Bayless catches up with Wayne where they talk about Tha Carter III, the suicide of Aaron Hernandez, Prince, and his situation with Roc Nation. You can watch that below.
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