Stop blaming Colin Kaepernick for the drop in NFL ratings. It is not his fault. Rather, place the blame on the National Football League and specifically NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. It was not Kaepernick’s actions but the NFL’s INACTION that so many find abhorrent.
In the ultimate act of pure racism, Roger Goodell misinterpreted the Black football player and fan. He assumed that Black people would not support a long standing, patriotic policy in the NFL – respect for the National Anthem. Furthermore, Goodell assumed that Black players and fans would not support an honorable attempt by the Dallas Cowboys to memorialize five murdered police officers. As such, Goodell’s racism is the real culprit in the ratings slide of the NFL.
In addition, Goodell underestimated the amount of patriotism that resides among the American people.
Let me recap.
About five weeks ago, a mixed-race, mediocre quarterback on a mediocre team decided to sit during the National Anthem. That mediocre quarterback, by the way, is a millionaire because he plays a game. That paycheck is made possible by the fans who, on average, make about $50,000 a year. It is also made possible by the men and women who serve in uniform – both in the military and in law enforcement. Those individuals in uniform protect both the fans and the players from enemies foreign and domestic.
According to that mediocre quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, he sat because he would not respect the National Anthem or the flag of “… a country that oppresses black people and people of color…”
Let me address briefly why Kaepernick is wrong.
If Kaepernick were to go to any other country in the developed world, he would not find a Black President… a Black Attorney General… a Black Foreign Minister (or Secretary of State, as we have had before)… Black Senators… Black Congressmen… In fact, outside of Africa, no country has been more accommodating or worked harder on behalf of Black people than the United States.
More importantly, and I have written about this subject before, slavery did not start in the West… but it was ended in the West. Developed European and American societies came to the ideological conclusion that slavery was wrong. Consequently, they chose to end slavery in their own countries nearly a century and half before Africans ended slavery themselves (2007). Thus, while Africans were enslaving other Africans, Americans were working diligently to develop programs that would make a Black President possible.
Still, I firmly support an individual’s right to freedom of expression, to include sitting or kneeling during the National Anthem (a position with which I personally disagree). However, I also support the right of a private entity to ban such disgusting behavior. That is why Kaepernick’s choice is so inconsequential, but the NFL’s inaction is not.
Kaepernick is a nobody and he will be forgotten after his career is over. The NFL, however, which is the professional governing body of what has arguably become the true National Past-time, is more than Kaepernick or Goodell. It represents a sport into which many suffering Americans escape weekly for three hours.
In some sense, football is a unifying bond for nearly one hundred million Americans weekly who root, cheer, scream, yell, argue, and love the game itself. Football is not about the players. It is sixty minutes of strategy. It is sixty minutes of fighting for every inch. We watch it because every week a new battle of wills emerges on our screen.
In many ways, football is indicative of America. We are a tough, hard fighting people that work hard to get where we are. We win some, we lose some… but we never surrender.
Consequently, the real target of any football fan’s disdain should rightfully be NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell – a man who surrendered to his assumptions, fed by an anti-American mainstream media.
There are two sins for which Goodell and the NFL are profoundly guilty. First, their decision to support Kaepernick is beyond disdainful, especially while police officers provide protection to the very venues within which Kaepernick and others play a game to make millions of dollars more than those same police officers. Second was Goodell and the NFL’s decision to deny the Dallas Cowboys the right to honor five police officers murdered by a Black racist. That decision was outrageous.
Beginning with Kaepernick, Goodell should have suspended him. Why? Because the NFL is a private organization that represents a collective of private organizations (teams). It is not a public entity within which freedom of speech is protected. If Kaepernick wants to walk up and down the streets of San Francisco cursing the United States, that is his right. It is not his right to sit during the National Anthem. That is a privilege afforded to him by the NFL.
That privilege should be stripped. Goodell did nothing. Coward!
In the ultimate act of racism, Goodell was clearly fearful as to how any attempt to penalize Kaepernick might impact the NFL’s standing with the Black players or fans. He misread Black people. The average Black person may or may not agree with Kaepernick’s stance (I do not know), but I see Black people serving in the United States Armed Forces, in law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, and standing up for the National Anthem at games across all spectrums of sports and venues.
Goodell’s racist assumptions about Black viewers led him to do nothing about Kaepernick, and that in its own right is a reason to hold Goodell accountable for the NFL’s slide in ratings.
But there was an even more racist assumption by Roger Goodell that was more galling: the decision to deny the Dallas Cowboys the right to honor the five police officers killed by a Black racist.
To interpret Goodell’s decision on the Dallas Cowboys, it boils down to the following: Black people hate police officers, therefore, a team that honors murdered police officers might offend Black people; do not allow the Dallas Cowboys the right to honor their noble fallen.
In two decisions, Goodell painted Black people as racially predetermined to be both anti-American and anti-Law Enforcement. Wow!
Beyond Black people, however, Goodell and the NFL are guilty of something else. They are guilty of underestimating the patriotism that remains in the United States. We may be angry at Washington, DC and the political classes that continually sell our future down the river for profiteers on Wall Street, but we do not hate what America represents. We want it to get better… be better… be great again.
Goodell and the NFL assumed that we – the American people – would accept the mainstream media’s infatuation with the demonization of the United States by millionaires running in plastic armor.
We do not.
Rather, the average American is in love with the police officers and armed service members of the United States who run around in Kevlar for about $30,000 a year.
That is what Goodell and the NFL do not understand.
Perhaps the boycott will teach them that we, Americans, do not like being disrespected by anyone – especially a multi-millionaire who is protected by the very same police officers he grotesquely abuses with his lack of respect.