NFL football is definitely a case of Blacks playing the White man’s game. Is it even feasible for Blacks turn their backs on the National Football League (NFL) this year?
Black consumers can control the fate of the NFL and curb racism in America. Blacks need to strategically bolster the NFL Black players’ protest. Congressman Keith Ellison announced that “I won’t be watching the NFL this season because of the unfair cowardly and idiotic kneeling ban.” Isn’t it time Blacks withheld support from team owners that disrespect our issues and concerns?
The NFL is a $14 billion-a-year professional football enterprise that consists of 32 teams, owned primarily by White men. The issue confronting the NFL is that of patriotism and the national anthem. As an entertainment enterprise, the NFL retains viewing ratings that are the tops in sports. The protests have created an “us” and “them” drama that’s been polarizing and has hurt NFL revenues.
They’re all just “hired hands” and to date, the Black public is proud of methods and manner of protests started by former San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick. These were powerful stands against racism and a testament to free speech. Like Congressman Ellison, several NFL players will be “sitting out” the season over league efforts to keep Black protesters “in their place.” They aim to get 25 percent of players to sit/kneel with them. While Whites and owners obfuscate the issue, Blacks are standing with players trying to call attention to racism and police violence. President Thump says his objections to the protests are about “respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem,” not about race. Blacks defend the protesters as a matter of free speech, When Colin Kaepernick first began protesting during the national anthem, he said he wasn’t going to show pride in a country that oppresses people of color wile citing a litany of police violence practices against Black Americans.
The current arrangement is humiliating to Blacks, President Trump insults and degrades Black professional athletes, then virtually dictates new policies for the NFL to adopt. And African-American players who’ve spent their entire lives preparing to play in the league are simply expected to shut up and take the dishonor. Many Blacks are starting to call for a boycott of the league and salvage a modicum of self-respect.
The NFL is run and controlled by White men. The NFL leagues were created by Whites for Whites. However, 51 percent of NFL fans either somewhat or strongly disapproved of player protests during the national anthem. The question for Blacks of conscious is: Are you willing to show you support protesting players by boycotting NFL football this year?
The first thing we have to do is “turn off” the TV. Television is the medium that is almost single handedly responsible for making the NFL the world’s largest sports enterprise. On any given game day in the league, roughly 80 percent of viewers are White and 80 percent of players are Black. In America, 65 percent of adults say they follow the NFL in some form, with 56 percent watching games on television and 9 percent tuning in via the Internet.
Why not make the gambit. Make your boycott visible to NFL owners. Mr. Trump charges that kneeling during the national anthem is disrespectful to American servicemen and women, and attempts to rebrand the protest as a protest of the American flag instead of protests against police brutality and racism across the nation. Blacks need to rebrand and reinforce the issue for what it is: institutional racism.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com