Over the weekend, one of the most important Olympians of all-time, Dr. John Carlos, was in the Madison area to give the keynote speech at the Wisconsin Track Coaches Association annual clinic. He spoke to WKOW about what he hopes the coaches learned from him during his speech.
“The main thing is to trying to get people away from self,” said Carlos. “And don’t be so self-centered always, and be concerned about you and making sure you got yours. What’s the point in you having everything and everybody having nothing?”
Dr. Carlos talked with Wisconsin track coaches on Friday night about the impact several of his coaches had on him when he was an athlete, and to make sure they know their job as role models. Carlos told them it’s important to have empathy for others, no matter their background or situation.
“There’s an old saying we had back in the day, about ‘each one teach one’. That’s what I envision. People starting to get along with one another. Where they could have dialogue, an exchange. And have a better understanding as to who we are and what we are and where collectively are we trying to go?”
That message of his applies to today’s climate. Dr. Carlos wore his “I’m With Kap” jersey during his speech. After taking a knee during the national anthem to put a spotlight on racial injustice and police brutality, free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who the jersey refers to, continues to dominate conversation. Carlos raised his fist, along with fellow Olympian Tommie Smith, on the medal podium as the national anthem played at the 1968 Olympic games, in a similar stance.
“Mr. Kaepernick and others, they’re the fruit of our labor,” said Dr. Carlos. “But yet still, I didn’t start this. You sit back and you think about Paul Robeson, Jack Johnson, anyone who was in the arts or the sports world that had made statements years ago.”
Dr. Carlos says when he gives a speech, his mission is to say something that has an impact and think in a way they didn’t before. And that that person will impart what they learned onto others.
“It’s not about the day that you’re born,” said Dr. Carlos. “And it’s not about the day that you die. Those days are not even relevant. But what did you do between those two days? What kind of life did you lead?”