The United States faced several devastations during the latter portion of 2017. Harvey victims are still recuperating in Texas, Irma left hundreds throughout Florida powerless, and we are mourning the loss of 58 people massacred in Las Vegas, Nevada. The White House Staff is concerned with coming together, but we somehow neglect Puerto Ricans still stranded in the streets.
When President Trump finally visited, it was nearly two weeks after Hurricane Maria occurred. He tried to assuage the anguish for the Puerto Rican people by saying that the natural disaster could’ve been worse. It isn’t fair to only send aid to the places representative of the stars and stripes on the U.S. flag.
Inequality not only runs deep in the U.S. and Puerto Rico’s socio-political relationship, but it also happens in professional sports. There isn’t one Puerto Rican team in the big four sports leagues, which is indicative of how we view our brothers and sisters there.
Non-U.S. territories feel more apart of this country than the one that earned its citizenship before Alaska, Hawaii and the Nation’s Capital did.
Canada makes up one-third of North America, but it isn’t a part of the United States like Puerto Rico. The country has teams and expansion franchises in multiple provinces. For example Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto all have pro teams. Toronto alone has three major franchises, and Washington D.C. has all four plus a soccer team.
D.C. has yet to receive its statehood, but the football team’s controversial mascot is over 80-years-old. It isn't a state of this union even though the Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise calls itself the Nationals. At one point Puerto Rico produced the fourth most latin-born MLB players, yet Canada’s already had at least two teams and D.C. had one then revived another.
Baseball is the one major sport with a substantial hispanic population, but there are no teams from the nation that speaks 95% Spanish. Somehow Puerto Rico doesn’t have a ballclub in that sport or any others.
The U.S. missed the boat again. Perhaps that’s why the Jones Act had stood for nearly 90 years though. Colin Kaepernick tried to expose these glaring issues in America through his platform, but equality is still the biggest topic in sports today. While professional athletes started to stand with Kaepernick for equality in America, Puerto Rican citizens need the same thing from our country.
Puerto Rico simply wants the equality that Houston, Miami and Vegas would get. We must acknowledge them as Americans and hear their cries. The marginalization of Puerto Rico only continues to foster the imbalance in this country.
It’s evident in society and also sports today. No somos igual.