After turning free agent, NFL player Le’Veon Bell likened his new status to the civil rights movement, saying he is “free at last.”
After the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they would not exercise an option to require Bell to stay in Pittsburgh, the running back spoke out on Twitter, TMZ Sports reported.
“Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty I am free at last,” he wrote.
Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty I am free at last 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) February 20, 2019
The phrase was used to much more serious effect by civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., in his 1963 “I Have A Dream” speech, an address that helped lead to a new era of equal rights in America.
Bell has been unhappy in Pittsburgh for some time, of course. He often claims that he is underpaid and mistreated. And that is “despite the fact, he made $12 mil in 2017 and sat out in 2018 when he was supposed to make $14.5 mil,” TMZ noted.
As a free agent he can now sign with any team. But it remains to be seen if Bell will find out if the grass is greener elsewhere.
Not everyone on the tweet appreciated the appropriation of King’s important quote for Bell’s multi-million-dollar problems.
Don't ever use Dr. King's quote for a situation like this.
— BLACK ADAM SCHEFTER (@B1ackSchefter) February 20, 2019
Using MLK’s speech is 100% ignorant……
Cant believe a young wealthy Black Athlete would put his recent free agency on the same level as fight for Civil Right
— JohnnyB26 (@RiveraJohnnyr26) February 20, 2019
What an ungrateful man you are
— lucinda (@lucylcb) February 21, 2019
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.