African American males are only six percent of the United States population, but comprise 70 percent Seventy percent of National Football League (NFL) players. Seventy-seven percent of NFL fans are white; fifteen percent are black and 8 percent are Hispanic. Seventy percent of NFL owners are Jewish. The NFL’s viewership is down 10 to fifteen percent. In a poll, 85 percent of whites said NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem are hurting the cause of racial justice. Many whites have always been in a hurry for African-Americans to stop griping about discrimination and get over it.
In a move to put more butts in stadium seats and in front of home televisions; the NFL has committed $89M over seven years to social justice causes. NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell and a group of players agreed to partner on a plan to address social justice issues considered important to African-American communities. The agreement calls for the league to contribute $89 million over seven years to projects dealing with criminal justice reform, law enforcement/community relations and education
Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and former NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin head the Players Coalition, roughly 40 players who have negotiated with the league office about demonstrations during the national anthem. This initiative is the NFL’s largest contribution to a social issue. The Players Coalition’s newly created nonprofit will get half the funds, which will be dispersed in varying amounts through 2023. Professional poverty pimps scold the deal because 25 percent of monies is ear-marked to just the United Negro College Fund.
These players met with Commissioner Goodell in rare positions of power, because many fans cite protests as main reason they’ve tuned out the NFL the past two seasons Concerned about ongoing fan backlash and angst of the league’s corporate partners, Commissioner Goodell sought out these players to establish the deal and its framework.
Rodger Goodell’s agreement with The Players Coalition does not include language calling for players to end protests during the national anthem; there’s no implicit quid pro quo. But surely the NFL hopes this effort will effectively end the peaceful yet controversial movement that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started in 2016.
Under the proposal, the $89 million has been earmarked over a seven-year period for both national and local projects. On the national level, owners this year will allocate $5 million, with their commitment growing annually and maxing out at $12 million per year from 2021 through 2023. At the local level, owners would put up $250,000 annually and expect players to match that amount, totaling $500,000 for each team. In addition, there would be other fundraising opportunities, including telethons and auctions of jerseys worn in games.
At $13 billion a year, the NFL is the world’s “most profitable” sport. To protect league revues, for months Goodell and Troy Vincent, NFL executive vice president of football operations, sought to find common ground with players who took knees and raised fists. The owners could have attempted to push through new rules regarding the anthem in the NFL’s game-operations manual during offseason committee meetings. However, trying to force players to stand for the anthem would have undoubtedly triggered a fierce battle with the NFL Players Association.
There will be no just deal until Kaepernick is properly dealt with. Currently Kaepernick is accusing NFL owners of “collusion”. But likely, there’s no smoking gun that 32 teams decided to leave him without a job. A disturbing thing is the way that teams have lost their incentive to be good; rather deciding to give fans a worse product than assume a modicum of risk. The owners took a risk getting into business. Fully 70 percent of NFL owners are Jewish and they condemned President Trump’s comments that players who refuse to stand for the national anthem should be fired or suspended. The Jerry Joneses of the NFL might conspire against Kap, but based on their sense for business and the historical camaraderie with blacks an enlightened Jewish owner is sure to step forward and sign Kap.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com