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                                                  From The Ramparts

                                                Junious Ricardo Stanton

                                              Is It Time To Boycott the NFL?

 

“When black athletes secured a toehold in the earliest versions of organized sports in America: in baseball and horse racing and cycling- they settled for individual success rather than trying to use what power they had to remake a system to ensure fairness and the possibility of future success. The Negro Leagues were undermined when Rube Foster died because he was the visionary who understood that temporary, individual successes weren’t enough if they weren’t accomplished by new institutions to ensure the perpetuation of that success.” William C. Rhoden, Forty Million Dollar Slaves page 260.

 

Recently National Football League owners, a bunch of privileged billionaire  white men, unanimously voted to ban kneeling and protests during the national anthem prior to NFL games. This is their official response to two seasons of NFL players kneeling to bring attention to racial oppression, police brutality and socio-economic inequality initiated by banned NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick who began the practice during 2016 pre-season games. Kaepernick’s thoughtful reasoning caught on and more professional athletes started doing it, even as they watched the NFL white ball Kaepernick for his activism and integrity.

 The owners (this word conjures up images of modern day enslavers attempting to control their highly paid “property”) capitulated to Donald Trump who used his opposition to the kneelings to garner votes and support from his corporate and voter base.

Trump on hearing about the owners vote said, “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.” Remember Trump called the protesting NFL players “sons of bitches” but said Neo-Nazis, Skinheads and KKKers were “very fine people” http://time.com/4904281/bigots-boosted-by-the-bully-pulpit-charlott....  Trump set the tone and pressed NFL owners to do something to halt the protests.

The NFL owners many who use tax payer money to fund their lavish stadiums and practice facilities (https://www.dailysignal.com/2017/09/26/heres-much-money-nfl-rakes-t...) eliminated the protests that angered Joe and Jane Sixpack and the NFL’s corporate sponsors. Despite the fact African Americans comprise sixty-eight percent of NFL players, the owners decided to go with the money. Most people don’t know the NFL gets paid by the US military to turn their sporting events into jingoistic pro-war spectacles.  https://www.cheatsheet.com/money-career/amount-money-military-gives...

Perhaps its time we seriously consider boycotting the NFL, its sponsors and affiliated partners. Jerrett L. Carter the founder of HBCU Digest wrote a piece calling for HBCUs to boycott the NFL https://hbcudigest.com/why-hbcus-must-call-for-black-america-to-boy.... He lays out a solid case for doing so, but there are plenty of other reasons to do it.

Last year there was a call to boycott the NFL in support of Colin Kaepernick but it eventually fizzled. I must admit I failed to fully support it too.  There are numerous reasons to boycott the NFL. For one Trump and the media distorted Kaepernick’s message disingenuously implying he was anti military and anti-police, trying to make him appear un-American. That is a lie, Kaepernick was protesting injustice.

 Kaepernick’s protest also forced people to rethink America’s history and the singing the racist Star Spangled Banner written by a slave owning white man. Check out the third stanza it refers to Black soldiers fighting for their freedom on the side of the British and the last thing the fascist oligarchs want is people thinking about this nation’s sordid history; so the NFL kicked him to the curb! Kaepernick was a starting NFL quarterback at one time, a Superbowl quarterback in the prime of his playing years, now he is persona non grata banned from playing!

Some non NFL professional athletes like Lebron James sided with Kaepernick while other athletes raised additional issues such as mass incarceration. Kaepernick’s stand has been likened to Muhammad Ali’s position against US racism, imperialism and the war against people of color in Southeast Asia. Kaepernick didn’t internationalize the scope of his protest but US imperialism is still a timely and topical issue.

 Finally we should boycott on GP because there are no NFL teams with Black ownership or partnerships. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/diversity-in-the-nba-the-nfl-a..., not that token ownership of an NFL team would benefit the masses of Black folks, but at least the NFL would send a much different message.

It’s time we stiffen our backs, do the right thing and stand up in support of our Brothers and Sistah of conscience.

 

                                                -30-

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