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Are You Willing to Protest, or Boycott the NFL? by William Reed


Black Press Business/Economic Feature                             

Week of September 7, 2017

“Colin Kap is under attack! What do we do? Stand up, fight back!” – Rally at NFL NYC headquarters

Will “Kap” play in the National Football League (NFL) in 2017/18?  Are black NFL fans Angry enough over the Colin Kaepernick situation willing to boycott the NFL for that cause?   Public Enemy Chuck D thinks they need to be.   “Think about it. You have owners and you have players.. They have the choice and right to do whatever they want to do in their fields.”  Chuck thinks that “If people want change they ‘fight the power’ with actions…It’s up to the fans.”

So, NFL fan, where do you stand on boycotting the NFL to support Colin Kaepernick?  The 2017 season, the 98th NFL season in the history of the NFL will begin without Kap on September 7, 2017. But, during what is expected to be another lucrative year for the league, what will black NFL fans do about their issues and perspectives?  What impact can blacks have on NFL bottom lines?  While black fans demand field employment for “Kap” at $9 to $10 million-a-year, the NFL owners are in their booths counting out 14 billion bucks.

When he was San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Kaepernick sat down during The Star-Spangled Banner to ‘bring awareness’ to civil rights issues.”  If any story demonstrates the different perspectives African-Americans and whites hold, it’s the saga of Colin Kaepernick.  The vitriol surrounding Kaepernick is heated, with pro-Kaepernick people screaming about him “being blackballed “and anti-Kaepernick people questioning his football ability.  Blacks think that the story is one of racism, bigotry and discrimination.  Over 100 quarterbacks have signed 2017 contracts with the 32 NFL teams, yet Kap continues to sit on the sidelines.  A coalition of blacks say: “The NFL is a modern-day plantation with most players being black and the owners being all-white.

While blacks “protest” the NFL prospers as the world’s most lucrative sports league.  The average NFL team is worth $2.34 billion and has the highest TV ratings and national broadcasting revenue of any U.S. professional sports league.   CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN/ABC paid $5 billion for the rights to NFL games.  If blacks stay away from stadiums – which in many instances their governments built – they won’t impact NFL bottom-lines a lot.  Local revenues (e.g. tickets, concessions, etc.) are not considered to be a major contributor to the league’s money.  African-American males are only six percent of the United States population, but comprise nearly 70 percent of NFL players.  The NFL’s 83 percent white fan base does not sympathize with Kap’s plight.

Tommie Smith, who did a 1968 Olympics Black Power salute, backs Colin.  Surely blacks need to end systemic racism in America and the NFL   At a rally outside NFL headquarters in New York City, Brooklyn Council member Jumaane Williams said “Yes, the NFL is a business and they can run it however they see fit…but needs to approach this as “a society issue.”  Steelers’ offensive lineman Willie Colon told protestors: “Some people are down for the cause. You have to have a conscious decision on where you stand.”

A Sporting News headline purported a “Shock poll showing a third of NFL TV viewers boycotting games because of Kaepernick-led protests.”    Are blacks willing to boycott the NFL and their advertisers?  A nationwide boycott will show people of the African Diaspora uniting in actions to get NFL owners’ attention.  It’s time to look to NFL advertisers for assistance.  Isn’t it time to tell people at Papa John’s and Pizza Hut to “think about it?”  Blacks should think about about telling McDonald’s which spent 91.5 million on advertising during the 2015-2016 NFL season to “think about things”.  Hyundai which begins a four-year-deal this season replacing GM as the NFL’s official auto brand should get a message from African Americans too.  Sponsorships in the NFL are big business.  In 2016 sponsorship revenue generated $1.25 billion.   The beer industry spent the most on NFL sponsorships in 2016 led by Anheuser-Busch. The second largest category was the auto-industry with sponsor Ford becoming the official NFL truck.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via

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1 Comment

  1. My dear friend William Reed, you are wide right and off-side on this kick as it relates to a boycott at NFL Headquarters in New York City. Roger Goodell and the owners could careless. The only thing that is going to get their undivided attention is a player walkout and that seems unlikely anytime in the near future. These are some of the most gutless and selfish black athletes I have ever seen in my lifetime. How can we expect white athletes to support us if we don’t support each other? We are 70% of the league. I was embarrassed last Thursday night when I tuned in for the NFL game between NE and KC for the playing of the national athem. I witness only one black player for KC remain sitting in protest. It was embarrassing, because it was just at the Floyd Mayweather fight in Las Vegas that Seattle All-Pro LB Michael Bennett was mugged and wrestled to the ground and handcuffed for no particular reason other than he was black and was a victim of profiling. For decades I have been pointing out the plantation mentality of the NFL and evidently many of us are still sleep at the wheel. If you think a boycott in front NFL Headquarters is going to make these “Good Boys” yield the RIGHT of way I have an invitation for you to have dinner at the White House with the President—come on man!

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