A day after tempers flared with the controversial decision of a Missouri grand jury to not indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, Christian New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson struck a poignant chord in the national conversation on race, racism and policing in America that has now gone viral.
In an extensive commentary that was liked on his Facebook page more than 700,000 times and shared more than 400,000 times as of Friday, Watson explained that he chose to write down his thoughts on the Ferguson decision after news broke Monday night.
"I'M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes," he began.
But Watson did not stop there. He went on to highlight some very real truths about race and racism in America before noting: "I'M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn't there so I don't know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self-defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point."
Ultimately however, Watson concluded that he was encouraged and hopeful that there is a solution in Christ.
"I'M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn," wrote Watson.
"BUT I'M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that's capable of looking past the outward and seeing what's truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It's the Gospel. So, finally, I'M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope," he continued.
In a response to his measured reaction to the decision, Brian Benton noted in a comment liked more than 23,000 times that: "You should write a book 'It's not a skin problem but a sin problem' by Benjamin Watson. I admire your boldness to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Another popular reaction to the post by Nancy Dixon McMullen that was like more than 10,000 times noted: "I'm in awe. This hits every emotion from both sides! Thanks for sharing and I hope it is heartfelt by all who reads it."