Greeson: Hearing the other side a vital first step

Jay Greeson
photo Jay Greeson

The conversation we started in this space Tuesday generated a lot of response.

For that, I am appreciative. Because, as we have discussed before, the goal of these conversations should be finding solutions.

It's one of the reasons that I applaud Nancy Pelosi for calling out fellow members of her party. Discussions that emerge from disagreement should not be just across the aisle.

Looking to be better should be the goal.

This was also one of the reasons I was disappointed that Megan Rapinoe has announced that she is happy to go to D.C. and meet with anyone who agrees with her viewpoints.

OK. After Rapinoe and her teammates delivered an inspiring World Cup championship and moved the conversation about equal pay in their line of work, it's clear the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team has a platform.

Rapinoe's tune has changed a bit, and that's at least a start. She went from saying "F-- the White House" earlier this month to a well-crafted position she shared with CNN's Anderson Cooper earlier this week.

"I don't think anyone on the team has any interest in lending the platform that we've worked so hard to build and the things that we fight for and the way that we live our life. I don't think that we want that to be co-opted or corrupted by this administration."

She continued with some interesting, thought-provoking points: "No one is saying that they want to leave America, but I think as one of the great countries in the world, and for sure we want to see ourselves as that, we need to constantly look within and challenge ourselves to be better so everyone else can be better around us."

Well said.

That conversation needs to continue.

And in that pursuit, I share some of the opposing viewpoints generated from Tuesday talking points in this space. It was clear that folks disagreed with me. Some quite vehemently and a couple vulgarly.

Emails from readers (names withheld because they were sent to me and not to Letters to the Editor). I will offer brief retorts after each of the four I picked.

"Grab them by the p--?" What woman in her right mind would want to be in the same company with this despicable human being? The Kool Aid drinkers are buying his b---- but not me. Go back to sports Jay. You're embarrassing yourself."

To be fair, I was in a fraternity at Auburn, so I am well-versed in embarrassing myself.

"Looking at the video, I see an excited player after winning the world championship drop the flag. But then she picked it up and handed it to Kelley. I don't think she meant any disrespect but was overwhelmed in the moment. But your comment that 'folks want the country to fail because they do not like the president' is especially egregious. How dare you question my patriotism because I do not care for the inept, egotistical, divisive and immoral man that occupies the office. You owe us an apology."

If you are cheering for America to succeed, then the main point of Tuesday's column was not directed at you per se.

"Sometimes you write good, sometimes you write bad. 7/9/19 column is worse than bad. You ask me to support a sports team over our USA. Cannot do it. USA comes first. Your column is like asking me to walk on our flag. I would like to support all USA teams in international competition but the attitude of some players on this soccer team prevents my support. 'Houston' we have a problem."

One of the tried-and-true rules of offering opinion is if you have found a way to make both sides fired-up - good and bad - then you have found a solid lane.

"Good article although you ramble too much in several places. Having graduated high school in 1969 I remember it well."

Thanks. I think.

"Americans are rooting today for all Americans and we are proud of our flag and all of those individuals that have given so much to make our country what it is today. Please notice I did not say "Great Again." We have always been great and always will be regardless of the person or party in office. There is a common denominator in all these teams refusing to go to the White House and it has nothing to do with the flag or how people feel about the country they love. When our commander in chief decides he will represent all of America and not just those that voted for him these very special White House visits will be better received."

Which is one of the reasons why I would hope that those who disagree the most with our president - or this regular conversation - would make a point to try to further the discussion rather than further the divide.

Contact Jay Greeson at