Football Fans: It’s Not About You
By Jason Papallo, NCCJ Marketing & E-Communications Specialist
Utilizing his arsenal of weapons of mass distraction, our president has yet again inappropriately weighed in on events that actually impact the rest of us, mostly with his careless words and relentless tweeting.
While North Korea plans a very real bomb test for the Pacific Ocean that could have disastrous global effects, Mexico is dealing with earthquake rescue efforts as aftershocks still hit, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean struggle to recover from the devastating hurricanes that have ravaged them, and Texas and other parts of the southern United States do the same, our president is taking jabs at NFL players.
The brave black players and other players of color, their allies and all people of color living in this country have been played as a row of pawns by the chess master of media controversy that leads our nation. As we swiftly deviate from the values that the disadvantaged and disenfranchised have struggled for decades to establish, these groups become maneuverable in a media game orchestrated by our president. Why? In order to take attention away from the much scarier realities that we face, and his lack of leadership in tackling these realities with the grace and moral standing that’s required on the international stage.
We have passed the time when we can separate our values from the collective tendency to rely on escapism as means to cope, for to cope would mean that there is in fact a light at the end of the tunnel.
Politics, whether you like it or not, is now infused into everything. Even football games.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” said Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback and social justice protestor that became a free agent last year, in an interview with NFL.com.
“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
It is us, the common citizens and those with large platforms alike, that are responsible for keeping the country intact and keeping our values in place. That’s why the NFL came together in support of this larger cause: the defense of black rights, freedom of speech and the preservation of our America, not the president’s distorted version.
For those frustrated, that need to crutch on their team of choice, fantasy leagues and favorite athletes as means of escape from the hardships of life, don’t be.
Your opinion doesn’t matter on this one.
If you, or anyone you know shares the sentiment “keep the politics out of my football,” then stop them right in their tracks.
NFL players, coaches, managers and anyone else with an invested stake, whether it be a fan of football or a person of color failed by our flawed system, all shareholders have the right to use their platform for the greater good.
Unfortunately, it seems like many that watch the sport are missing the human element of football: all of it.
These are human beings.
These folks literally break their bodies for a living so that fans can numb out for a bit and have a happy distraction from reality. To deny them their voice, especially on the most important of issues: "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” is to not only disrespectful to what they sacrifice for their sport, but to their basic rights as Americans. The above quote from the United States Declaration of Independence cannot be true in a country that’s systematically stacked against some, and in favor of others.
That’s what these NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem is all about. They're not just here to entertain. As role models to the upcoming generation, it could even be seen as a civic duty to go beyond that role.
After all, it has fallen on all of us to keep the country intact and keep our values in place.
So let's all take a knee.
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About the National Conference for Community and Justice
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