The NFL made a decision last week because of its fans—the majority of whom are white men. Most of the fanbase did not have an issue with kneeling during the national anthem until Trump got involved. He found one more way to divide our nation. What was initially a silent protest about racial injustice became an issue that Trump could use to deflect attention from the mess within his own house (figuratively and literally) and called it unpatriotic. Many vets, however, said it wasn’t unpatriotic. But, much of the NFL’s fanbase was now upset.
The irony is the minority fanbase had been upset for months. We were angry when Colin Kaepernick was blackballed. We explained why they were kneeling. We explained the racial injustices for men and women. We tried to bring inequality and police brutality to the forefront. We participated in an NFL Blackout, and we said we would hit them where it hurts. We didn’t purchase anything. We didn’t watch.
Some owners didn’t want to let their players protest; while others said it was free speech. In the end, though, it appears that it is no longer free speech. There are no owners of color in the NFL. All but one voted to censor the protest by having the players who do not want to stand stay off the field while the national anthem is performed. The one owner not included chose to abstain. I would have so much more respect for that owner if he just voted no.
It’s ironic and sad that the NFL owners’ decision was released on the same day that the Sterling Brown police brutality video was released. Brown plays for the Milwaukee Bucks (NBA). The brutal video is too rough to link so you can search for it on your own. I wonder if he wasn’t a basketball player, would his charges have been dropped or would he have been our next hashtag. #BlackLivesMatter #SterlingBrown This is the type of situation that Colin Kaepernick has been protesting. This is why NFL players—black, white, and everything in between—were kneeling all season. But, Trump and the owners don’t seem to care. They are worried about their wallets.
It’s apparent that the NFL’s minority fanbase is not large enough to make a difference. Or, possibly, they just don’t care about the minority fanbase. It’s not the first time that a corporation has pushed us aside for others. Heck, Trump told the players that didn’t want to stand that they can leave the country at the 2018 Naval Academy Commencement Ceremony.
75% of the NFL players are people of color. If we want change to take place, then the players are going to have to take extreme action. They should go on strike. Think back to Major League Baseball Strike of 1994. If it wasn’t for that, many of the players today would be living in bad financial situations. No benefits. No pension. The MLB learned how crucial it was to work with its players because it lost a considerable part of its fanbase in 1994 and 1995, not to mention the lost funds from the games. If the NFL players strike and help support the rookies who are just coming in, then the NFL will get the message. It’s time for the NFL Players Association to take a stand.