COMMENTARY (KPIX 5) — “I can’t breathe,” were the final words spoken by Eric Garner who apparently was choked to death by New York City police.

It was another senseless death provoking demonstrations, outrage and chants of racism across America for a third straight week after a grand jury ruled the evidence did not support an indictment of the police officer.

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The St. Louis police department demanded an apology when several members of the Rams took the field with their hands in the air in support of the Ferguson protesters.  Black cops later voiced their support of the Rams’ players’ actions.  A police department racially divided and a microcosm of society as a whole.

The 49ers will travel to Oakland this Sunday in a must-win game to keep their playoff light flickering. The game is sold out and tickets are in high demand.

Inside the Coliseum, race will be forgotten for three hours.  The Raiders fan base will be comprised of blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics and others.  The 49ers supporters will also be comprised of blacks, whites, Asians, Hispanics and others.

The fan bases won’t get along, of course, but it won’t be because of race.  It’s not about black or white. It’s about silver and black and red and gold.

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The black fan will high-five the white fan and the Hispanic fan will chest-bump the Asian fan.  I’ve always been amazed how sports can bridge the wide chasm of race in a way nothing else could.

How can an immense passion and loyalty for a team overcome a racial divide that has existed forever?  We love our teams so passionately that we don’t even see the color of the fan’s skin sitting right beside us. We don’t know what neighborhood he lives in, how much money is in his wallet or what kind of car he drives.

On Sunday in Oakland 54,000 fans will live in the same neighborhood, go to the same schools, eat from the same table.

The power of sports is not rooted in money.  It is truly a field of dreams.

I have that dream.  Do you?

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See you on TV.

Dennis O'Donnell