‘We Stand Together’: Anthony King, M.G. Dad’s Club Youth Football

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Problems stemming from racism and injustice have taken over the national spotlight.

But for many black people and other minorities, these conversations aren’t new.

News 8’s Katiera Winfrey spoke with Anthony King, the Municipal Gardens Dads Club Youth Footballl president, in Monday night’s “We Stand Together.”

The children are our future, but it’s the adults who make sure kids have the tools to lead people forward. For 64 years, the Municipal Gardens Dad’s Club Youth football league has served inner-city children and taught them teamwork, unity and respect.

Growing up in the inner-city and world, you need that and more. While protests to end racism and pushing for social justice continues, there’s hope that it isn’t just a trend but rather a movement that takes a long-lasting hold.

WINFREY: When you look around at all of the protest and all of the continued fight for injustice, are these new conversations that you’ve had with your kids or were these conversations you’ve been having with them from the start?

KING: Well, I think because of what’s been going on globally and how much has happened, I mean, I think it’s more. It’s a bigger audience. I mean, it’s more people that can kind of relate, so to speak. But no, typically this is our life. I feel bad for the people who have to live through that nationally. Because at the end of the day that was somebody’s father, son, uncle, nephew. So I can only imagine how the family feels having to continue to watch that every day. But no, growing up where I grew up, and where most of the kids we take care of grew up, this is every day. We have to teach them how to live. Excuse me, I don’t want to offend anybody but, Iife being a black man, the rules aren’t the same.

WINFREY: Do you feel like or do you feel any sense of relief, or is it more of a “let’s watch what happens” now that more people are becoming aware of something black kids have been dealing with for ages?

KING: Me being transparent, I’m not going to say “relief” because right now it’s trending. It’s something to do. Something to watch, to get people to understand. I guess, in some way, I feel like some of it is political. But at the end of the day, five (or) six years from now, if this is watched, these kids are going to grow up with the same issues.

WINFREY: Are you hopeful though, because this is one of the moments in time where we have been seeing it on this large of a scale. Are you hopeful though, that it is more than a trend?

KING: Oh, yes, oh, yeah, for sure. I pray all the time that it isn’t just “here today, gone tomorrow” kind of situation. You look around and you have NFL people talking about it, rappers. I mean, you have the NBA with Black Lives Matter shirts. So of course, it’s apparent and it’s an issue that needs to be fixed. But I believe sometimes, politically they just put a Band-Aid on some of it and you then continue to live.

WINFREY: It’s interesting you mentioned kids a lot of times. People say the change starts with the youth, the change starts with getting into the mind of youth. Is that more so your focus, on making sure they know what they need to know, or they have the tools?

KING: Change starts with the youth, I can agree with that. But change starts with the person. You have to put into the universe the same energy you want to get out of it. Kids are going to adapt to whatever the situation is. Kids are going to adapt to COVID/ Kids are going to adapt to going to school virtually. Kids are going to have to adapt unfortunately to not playing sports right now. I mean kids are resilient. Kids aren’t the problem. It’s the leaders. Are we leaving them the right way?

WINFREY: You said something that was interesting that I’ve heard a couple of times. George Floyd’s death helps spark this conversation or helped spark this movement. But it’s important. What do you have to say to people to remind them “don’t let this just be a trend,” “don’t let this just be something you’re getting on the bandwagon with?”

KING: Well, I think, and then again not to offend anybody, but I stand in front of you, 36 years old. I’m not a perfect man but I also say that I didn’t get the same opportunity or a perfect start like some people did, too, though. When you grow up and you’ve already had incidents with the police — fair, unjust or not — and then you have this record that doesn’t go anywhere. It just continues to stay with you. What happened to George Floyd we all know as the world that that was just eight minutes and 46 seconds on somebody’s neck. That’s just too much. He didn’t resist. He didn’t do anything wrong. But the sad part of that is, and to take nothing away from what happened to him, is this happens more than we think. This happens way more than we think. So I question myself and what I can do to make things better, and I question in the world on what we can do to make things better because that’s not right.

WINFREY: If you could have a wish or hope for what this all sparks, what kind of change what would that be?

KING: I would just want people to respect each individual as a person. Not color, race, gender. I was just thinking if we all respect each other, like the respect we won, I think a lot would be different.