Dear Black people – The NFL Is White Supremacy
By: Anwar Williams
John C. Maxwell once stated that “A leader is the one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” This is what our fellow brethren Colin Kaepernick has displayed unapologetically since the start of his tenure as an NFL player, especially when he refused to stand and salute the Red, White, and Blue during various renditions of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
He refused to acknowledge allegiance to a country that has, over the last 500 years, terrorized, tortured, and subjugated Black people in the U.S by numerous means of oppression. Many in the dominant society will say “what does Colin Kaepernick know about racism?” They conclude that because he is young and fulfilling his dream of playing in the NFL as a starting quarterback (making $14 million dollars last year), the negro should “shut and just play football” while other Black people suffer in silence. Before I touch o the hypocrisy of the people opposed to Colin’s stand, let’s go down memory lane into a history of the National Football League.
The NFL started in 1920 as the APFA and was later changed in 1922 to the NFL. It has always been a racist institution parroting the same white supremacist views of this country by not allowing Blacks to play. The mindset that we are sub-standard dominated the league. In 1933, the NFL started to make huge financial strides splitting the league into two divisions and having a championship game. 1933 was also the year that Joe Lillard was released by the Chicago Cardinals as the only Black player in the NFL. He returned kicks, punts, played running back and even quarterback. Despite his incredible athletic ability, the torrid racial relations with players and the U.S. caused a de facto colored ban that was agreed upon by all of the NFL owners.
This lasted until 1946 when the NFL signed Kenny Washington to the L.A. Rams along with Marion Motley and Bill Willis. As time went on, many players would eventually join the NFL as social tolerance became more wide spread. However, there was still a problem with owners, coaches and general managers who had a problem with players taking the helm as quarterbacks. Black QBs like Marlon Bristol and James Harris were the first to actually play, even though others were previously qualified. Harris was the first to actually play significantly. Despite his success of winning playoff games with a razor thin margin of error, he was later replaced by Ron Jaworski—a rookie at the time.
Historically and today, the QB position in the NFL is the most prestigious and the highest paying in the sport. It is considered a “thinking man’s position” because as a QB you have command of the entire offensive unit. Numerous white owners and GMs felt that Black players were not intelligent enough to play the position despite their obvious success. An example of this is Warren Moon who played at the University of Washington. He set several PAC-10 records; yet, he went undrafted and had to play in the CFL first.
It has been an uphill climb for the Black QB in the NFL with scandals such as Mike Vick, and the verbal and online abuse Cam Newton has suffered despite being an NFL MVP. What we fail to keep in mind is how white spectators look at the position. It’s the only position in the NFL that is not statistically dominated by Black men. Only 19 percent have this coveted position.
So, when Colin Kaepernick took a very monumental stand against the oppression and marginalization of Blacks in America, he received a very indignant reception from fans. The media outlets have not helped Kaepernick’s stance either; they have been in lock step with the dominant society’s rhetoric that he is disrespecting the flag and veterans and active servicemen in the military. This is nothing further than the truth; the only thing white supremacist care about is maintaining white privilege. Nothing more nothing less and the NFL is no different.
Specifically, there have been several athletes who have been convicted of assault, drugs, and rape—most of whom were let back into the NFL. Why is Kaepernick being left out? What crime has he committed? He hasn’t been in and out of federal court for cheating in an NFL playoff game like Tom Brady has, correct? He has donated all of his royalties from jersey sales to charities and he has also made a $1 million dollar pledge to organizations working in oppressed communities. You can see his charitable donations at http://www.Kaepernick7.com.
Paradoxically, the NFL has supported many initiatives such as breast cancer awareness, and supporting military veterans; therefore, you would think with a 70 percent population of Black players, they would be intent on ending the racial oppression that affects their employees. Instead, they would rather encourage them to stay silent by freezing out the one player who has shown true leadership, something they allegedly want.
With that being said, it is our duty to pay homage to Kaepernick by basically putting it all on the line by boycotting the NFL and all its sponsors. They include: Amheiser-Busch, Barclays Card Plus, Bose, Bridgestone, Campbell’s Soup, Castro, Courtyard Marriot, Dannon, Fed Ex, Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Hyundai, Mars, Microsoft, Nationwide, News America, Papa Johns, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Quaker, Verizon, Visa, and USAA.
Co-signing open bigotry for the sake of entertainment is not worth our integrity.
Anwar K. Williams is a serial entrepreneur, credit restoration specialist, real estate developer, and author of the book, Make An Excuse To Succeed. He often writes about the intersections of culture, race, politics, and entrepreneurship.
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