Harriet Tubman led many from bondage to physical freedom. She carried a gun for both her own protection and to “encourage” her charges who might have second thoughts about making the sacrifices needed to reach freedom.
Her determination to make the necessary sacrifices to reach her goals and those she had for her people allowed her to claim, “I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”
I hope that by being willing to escape the NFL, I will at least win Ms. Tubman's favor and a ticket on today's multi-culturally run Underground Railroad bound for the twin cities of respect and freedom.
I am continually amazed by people who love the National Football League (NFL), but criticize other people, causes and entities for allegedly not being “woke” or for being part of the “corrupt capitalist system.”
Though about 70 percent of its players are Black, of various lineages, the 32-team NFL has only three (9 percent) Black head coaches. And, according to Statista
, Blacks rank among the NFL’s most avid fans, with 43% of all Blacks identifying as such.
In 2021, just last year, the NFL ended a policy that assumed Black players had a lower cognitive function. I likened the assumption to the 3/5 clause in the original United States Constitution and the Plessy v. Ferguson decision.
Feel free to tell me how it’s being “like Harriet” (a reference to the often overused saying addressing Harriet Tubman’s legacy of resistance and activism) to watch the NFL when we, not our ancestors, have witnessed the league’s career lashing of Colin Kaepernick, the emotional raping of Brian Flores, and the NFL’s systemic degradation of Black cognition? Here is a recap of this current “history” that is being presented in our daily news—print and electronic:
In 2016, Colin Kaepernick took the knee during the national anthem before a game. He stated that he could not stand to honor the flag of a country that oppresses Black people. Kaepernick has since become a free agent.
In November 2017, he filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners, accusing them of colluding to keep him out of the league. Kaepernick withdrew the grievance in February 2019 after reaching a confidential settlement with the NFL. However, he has not gotten a new job playing NFL football.
In 2021, just last year, the NFL ended a policy that assumed Black players had a lower cognitive function. “In effect, the settlement, as it (had) been administered, (had) a white door and a black door,” said attorney Cyril Smith in the New York Times.
“It’s comical to me. It’s insulting. It’s just another hole that we have to overcome, but it’s nothing new," expressed Anthony Lynn, assistant head coach and running backs coach for the San Francisco 49ers. I likened the assumption to the 3/5 clause in the original United States Constitution and the Plessy v. Ferguson decision.
Under the policy, the NFL used a scoring algorithm for dementia testing that assumed Black men start with lower cognitive skills than Whites. Therefore, Black retirees would have to score much lower than Whites to claim that their decreased cognitive abilities came from playing football and to qualify for a piece of a dementia-related settlement.
Currently, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is suing three NFL teams and the league itself, which he claims “is racially segregated and is managed much like a plantation.” Flores also alleges that the New York Giants interviewed him for their head coach vacancy for no other reason than to comply with the NFL's Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for their open positions.
According to Flores, he was preparing for the interview when he eerily got a text from his former boss Bill Belichick. It seemed that Belichick assumed he was texting Brain Daboll and congratulating Daboll for getting the job.
Though it seems like the Giants had already made their decision, Flores went to the interview. Daboll got the job.
The Denver Broncos is also named in the lawsuit. Flores now works as an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If you see a good reason for a Black person to be an NFL fan, I would love to hear it.
As far as I am concerned, based on the evidence of the league’s systemic racism and discrimination towards Black people, I cannot in good conscience cheer for any of the teams. I cannot be an avid or casual fan of the NFL. Whether it’s my conscience or my pride, or both, I am simply not willing to cheer for what I can clearly see is a cesspool of White Supremacy. If you see a good reason for a Black person to be an NFL fan, I would love to hear it.
Some people will casually chalk up Black fans’ willingness to support a racist organization as the result of 400 years of slavery and Jim Crow. However, Foday S. Ceesay observes similar behavior in The Gambia regarding Black fan support for foreign, White soccer teams.
He writes online with the hashtag #misplaced loyalty, the “loyalty and care Gambian people (mainly youths) have for European clubs is great; if we can have 20% of that for our country, we'll surely succeed."
When reminded that many Gambians cheer for European football (soccer) teams that employ Gambian players, he responded. “However, the point is killing yourself for a team when you have zero interest there.”