Enough with the propaganda; Black NFL players’ beef is with racial inequality, not the flag
By Donald Lee
First, let me start off this column by saying that I’d been a Dallas Cowboys fan since my days as an embryo. When my dad, a huge Cowboys fan, passed in ’08, my family gave him a Dallas Cowboys-themed funeral.
These statements are included because what I say from this point on may make me appear to be a Cowboys hater.
All of that having been said, I am one of many Black NFL fans (or former fans) boycotting the NFL because of what we perceive to be a racist stand it has taken against its Black players, fans, the Black players’ and fans’ stance against racial injustice, and the league’s very apparent decision to Blackball quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick, also known as “Kaep” or “Kap,” started the movement for racial equality when he took a knee during the national anthem last year as a way of protesting police brutality against Black Americans and other people of color, and the other forms of racial inequality.
One of the things that gets my blood boiling is the powers that be in both print and broadcast media — like the vipers they are — diverting attention away from the real reason Black fans are boycotting and Black players are kneeling. The media are making it about something else entirely. That’s by design.
And what’s more, the public is buying into that foolishness. No, no one is “disrespecting the flag,” except people like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, his fellow NFL franchise owners and everyone else persecuting peaceful protesters.
Opponents of the protesting are “disrespecting the flag” they claim to honor by ignoring that the United States flag is a symbol of liberty, freedom and equal justice. Well, that’s what they say.
Don’t get me wrong. The “freedom” that is referenced was not initially intended to include Black people or other people of color. Nevertheless, because we are U.S. citizens, we have a right to enjoy all the liberties that come with being an American.
So whatever rights white America has under the United States Constitution, Black America and all of this nation’s citizens have those same inalienable rights.
And for anyone else to infringe upon those rights in any form is “disrespecting the flag.” And to do that, from where I stand, is a Communist move. Believe that.
But enough on that mess. This column is about putting the focus back where it belongs, on racial inequality — the “why?” regarding the kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games and other sporting events.
It’s been said — erroneously — through the media that Jones was “compromising” with his Black players when he and his coaching staff took a knee with his players before the national anthem (on or around Sept. 26).
Quite the contrary, the knee-taking incident was done in response to Donald Trump sending out a message to NFL owners to “get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”
The United States president said that’s what the owners should do the next time a player takes a knee during the national anthem, which is played before each game.
Jones, in response, salivated at the possibilities that could come from a photo opportunity for public relations purposes. His thing was to create the illusion of supporting his Black players’ cause.
For that to happen, he needed us Black folk to take our eyes off of the fact that his illusion of “solidarity,” his kneeling, was before the playing of the anthem instead of during the song.
Kneeling before and doing it during are as different as night and day. They are light years apart in meaning.
In order for Jerry’s illusion to work, he needed the powers that be in media to show as many images as possible of him locking arms with his players while they all took a knee.
He needed broadcast and print journalists to bombard the airwaves, newspapers and magazines with the word “compromise” as often as they could. Compromise, as in, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones compromised with his African American players.
The thing Jerry and so many others fail to realize is that not every black person is asleep. A lot of us are “woke.” We also possess the power of the pen, power to set the record straight.
As for the Cowboys’ photo op, of course every player kneeled before the anthem. Do you actually think those who wanted to save the kneeling for later, as in during the playing of the national anthem was left with a choice, one that they felt comfortable making?
All these athletes want is for their concerns to be acknowledged, minus the smoke screens to divert the public’s attention away from the reason so many of them are protesting.
And after the acknowledgment part, then do the right thing to show true solidarity and commitment to all of your players, and your fans, too, for that matter.
Jerry or any one of the NFL’s 32 owners could sign Kaepernick to a contract today, which would make a bold statement relative to the improvement of his roster, race relations both within the league, and in this nation’s communities. But I get it; that sounds too much like right.
As for the reason Black players are kneeling during the anthem: While not every police officer is bad — and there are some really good ones (I work with a few) — there are enough sadistic ones wearing badges and packing guns to warrant an intense call for equal justice.
Jerry said any Cowboy taking a knee during the anthem won’t be able to play in the game. Right there, alone, he’s telling those players and his team’s fans exactly what he thinks of their concerns, in general, and them, specifically, when the rubber meets the road.
Donald Lee is an author and freelance journalist. He may be contacted by phone at (225) 773-2248 or e-mail at email@example.com.