I wanted to wait and give a well thought out comment on this. I didn’t want to be venomous or distract from the reality we are watching right now. So here we go.
The NFL took some time to cleverly acknowledge and disregard the silent protest of those who have compassion for young black unarmed men and women who are killed by police. The acknowledgement is by understanding that some may want to protest in peace and in silence. The disregard is in making sure they do it where the nation can’t see or pay the literal price for doing it on there time and dime.
Is it right? Honestly, yes. The NFL owners and it’s commissioner can make this rule and any other rule any time they see fit. End of day it’s not the “Community Outreach Football League.” It’s not the “Power To The People Protest Football League.” It’s the “National Football League.” They can make a rule saying they don’t want to see dreads anymore. They already shut down end zone celebrations. Why would they not make sure the “hot button” of kneeling during the national anthem cooled off a bit? Especially when ratings took a dip and they don’t know for sure if it was Trump Supporting Middle America or Fed Up Black America. Conceal the protest, silence the conversation.
Let’s be honest. Black men were never supposed to play in the NFL and be stars in the first place. Minority Executives and Owners still appear to be years of hope and prayers away. We definitely weren’t supposed to be great Quarterbacks and Coaches. So what would you do to a guest that comes in and dominates something he didn’t create and now wants to use his spotlight for positive change? Take his voice.
We spent literally 2 years explaining to a stubborn white demographic that kneeling for the anthem was not a disrespect to the military. The guy who started it told them that. The Veteran who helped create the option told them that. People of color across the world that speak fluent, phonetic English told them that and yet it still was “misunderstood”. Isn’t that the Black Experience in America though? Make the Black person seem, dangerous and crazy. Make it seem like they are breaking the rules even when no one is in any kind of danger or serious harm. Say you “can’t understand” and “want to know why” this Black person feels the way they feel or does what they do, because you haven’t taken the time to listen or just watch what’s going on in their world. Silence is compliance, but manipulation can destroy a nation.
I’m real enough to admit that the NFL is a company and “pro athlete” is a job and the workers got to do what they got to do to earn their paycheck. It’s entertainment for me. It’s a work and a livelihood for the players. I’m not rushing out to disrespect another brother for living their dream and getting paid to do what they want to do with their life. That’s not honorable if you truly are “pro black progression” to me. My advice is just know who you work for and who you are dealing with.
The reality is this. All we are doing is watching a corporation at work from the outside looking in. What do you mean, Cam? I’m glad you asked.
You are just a number to a corporation. Corporations only care about your performance. They don’t care about your passions, your family, where you grew up and who you want to be, if it’s not someone trying to thrive the way they say so in the manner they find acceptable. They don’t care about who you want to speak for. They care about how much money you are making or costing them. Black Lives DON’T matter to a corporation. Neither do Brown lives or any other lives. Green dollars matter. And the minute you cause a decrease in green dollars, your services are no longer required. In fact, they will find a younger, hungrier, cheaper version of you to do your job, plus some extra for half the pay if not less. Whether you retire or die, it’s on you to celebrate it the way you see fit. Oh, and always remember, the handbook and policies can be changed at any time the moment discomfort is felt. Corporations pay legal teams very handsomely to sanction “Effective Immediately” memos.
Is the NFL a racist organization? No, I personally don’t think so. Because end of day, black men are allowed to become millionaires and hall of famers every single year. Racism would have a player like Jerry Rice, dying broke and on his 8th Ballot and still 1 vote short. So I won’t say the NFL is “racist.”
However, don’t ever think the black man is considered an equal in the NFL. Don’t think we are valued because of our talent and contribution. We are nothing more than high priced entertainment. Solely used to delight the billionaire families and the delusional “I’m Better Than You” white americans that fill the stadiums every Sunday and Monday. That’s not racism. That’s classism. Making sure we are in a position of “less than.” And how dare a person who is “less than” try to make America aware of the problems facing other people who are “less than” in the eyes of these billionaires who just want their blacks to “shut up and play football?” Football is their escape, not a grand stage for your compassion. Never forget that.
Will I watch an NFL game this year? I honestly don’t know. This is bigger than being a sports fan to me. Perhaps I am digging way too deep. But I doubt there would be a fine being levied out on Joe Flacco, Clay Matthews or JJ Watt if they wanted to kneel in honor of the lives lost in 9/11.
Bottom line, if you are black you are a guest in the NFL. Take your shoes off at the door. Wash your hands before you sit at the table and the NFL will serve you the desired meal of choice. Just may not be your choice.