This Ferguson Essay By Ben Watson, An NFL Tight End, Is An Incredibly Powerful Read

Almost everybody who knows about the shooting death of Michael Brown and the subsequent Ferguson protests has an opinion on the matter. And over the last couple days, following the non-indictment of Darren Wilson, virtually all of them have been on full display across social media, ranging from the sympathetic, to the conscious and enlightened, to sadly, the downright racist. But Tuesday night, another voice entered the fray that's getting a lot of attention — NFL player Ben Watson wrote an emotional Ferguson response on Facebook, describing the myriad different thoughts and feelings that have been coursing through him.

To say the least, the New Orleans Saints tight end's words seem to have struck a chord with people — the Facebook post has gone viral, with over 350,000 likes and nearly 200,000 shares. While this definitely has something to do with Watson's relative celebrity — he's been a quality NFL player for years, though he's not having much of a season this year — I think it's his unvarnished sincerity that's really shining through.

By no means will everyone agree with everything that he says — he runs the gamut from citing the historical injustice and his own fears of being targeted, to blaming popular culture, to insisting that racism isn't about skin color, but sin, and the only true solution is Christianity. But notwithstanding, it's a work of honest emotional reflection, and it's worth reading.

I'M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.
I'M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.
I'M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I'm a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a "threat" to those who don't know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.
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I'M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.
I'M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.
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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.
I'M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I've seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.
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I'M CONFUSED, because I don't know why it's so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don't know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.
I'M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take "our" side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it's us against them. Sometimes I'm just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that's not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That's not right.
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I'M HOPELESS, because I've lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I'm not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.
I'M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it's a beautiful thing.
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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.
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.

So what do you think? Like I said, not everything he says is going to please everyone — the idea that the gospel is the real solution to police shootings is, to be as kind as possible, a controversial notion which risks alienating secular protesters and practical problem-solvers alike. The invocation of "violent protests" is also bound to anger some people, as protesters and arsonists are not the same thing.

But the thing about a traumatic event playing out in the public sphere is that everybody has different thoughts and feelings to express. For the act of speaking out and giving voice, Watson's given us a good example to follow. He isn't the only professional athlete to take to social media to vent, either — Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Serena Williams, and Steve Nash among others have all tweeted their displeasure with the grand jury's decision, too.

Images: Benjamin Watson/Facebook; Getty Images (5)