The Anthem: A Great Opportunity for the NFL and Players. : ThyBlackMan

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


The Anthem: A Great Opportunity for the NFL and Players.

October 21, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Sports, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) What President Trump dropped into the lap of the National Football League (NFL) was a destructive bomb which lined up some players against team owners, and polarized the league. Mr. Trump knew his racist bomb would break the league up into opposing factions because of the issue and the employee make-up of the NFL. The issue of blacks dying at the hands of those who represent law enforcement presupposed this outcome. Even a novice political analyst could predict at the beginning of this argument, pitting patriotism against police misconduct, was going to clearly put NFL owners at odds with its 70 percent African American(AA) players work force.

The initial response of the NFL was great, as many team owners demonstrated unity with their predominantly African American players. The Dallas Cowboys knelt before the anthem was played in an attempt to not antagonize fans and at the same time show solidarity with AA players. Many owners and players locked arms to demonstrate unity as the anthem was played. Nevertheless, Mr. Trump did not stop in his verbal assault against primarily black players, who knelt as the National Anthem was played.

He said the owners were afraid of their players and were afraid to discipline them in what Mr. Trump considered a work place issue. The president said you should just order them to stand when the National Anthem is played. And for those “sons of bitches” who do not, the owners should get them off the field. His very words to his audience at his Alabama political style rally were, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!””

The NFL, because of Mr. Trump’s comments, has to now publicly express their position on whether players will be able to continue to practice their First Amendment right of protest against police misconduct in the killing of African Americans by kneeling, during the playing of the National Anthem. However, there is an out for the NFL, protesting players and indeed players who are in a quandary about whether they should participate in these demonstrations. You see, the protesting NFL players are not the only ones looking for an answer to these questionable killings by police. The African American community, the vast majority of law enforcement, and many in the white community would like to see solutions to these killings, also. And, there in lies the NFL’s great opportunity.

It is the perfect organization to step up and finance a conference of stakeholders in this matter, with the objective of coming up with practical solutions. Chief among the stakeholders are police departments, and the leaders of police departments around the country who have seen their reputations tarnished and prosecutors who want to see errant police officers tried and convicted for the irresponsible killings of American citizens. When most people think about the deaths of African Americans at the hands of those representing law enforcement, they almost always focus on Ferguson, Missouri because of the violent and destructive demonstrations that took place in that city. However, Sanford, Florida, without loss of property to business owners, was one of the few communities that successfully had the police chief who advocated for the killer of Trayvon Martin removed from his post and the killer, George Zimmerman, put on trial.

This outcome is something that protesting players and African Americans would like to see happen more often. To accomplish this, the NFL owners first, should take the protests of its players seriously. Accomplishing that; they can secondly, take the next obvious step and bring these stakeholders from around the country together. They can identify and bring the chiefs or department heads of perhaps 15 police departments, who are interested in coming up with solutions, that will lead to less of these types of killings together and sit them down around a conference table. And over a twelve month period, having perhaps 2 to 3 hour meetings each month, ask these chiefs or department heads of these law enforcement agencies to come up with a guide that they feel will be effective in bringing down the number of these types of shootings or perhaps eliminate them all together.

A good starting point for a discussion might be, how do you recruit and retain good police officers? Additionally, other points of discussion and debate could be: Are there any tests out there that have been administered that have actually been found to work when it comes to the search for good police officers? What are the best practices when it comes to how to remove police officers who are found to be “bad apples,” from the ranks of these police departments? What are the best courses of action when it comes to dealing with police unions and the removal of bad police officers? How do you get fellow officers to bring to management’s attention bad officers who should not be carrying a badge and a gun? The above are just a few suggestive topics that can be discussed, debated, and covered in an attempt to arrive at solutions when it comes to law enforcement and the shootings we have experienced when it comes to African Americans.

When it comes to prosecutors, because this is such an important part in finding solutions to the problem of AA deaths (and other citizens) at the hand of law enforcement; the black community and others would like to see more convictions. Again, simultaneously over the same twelve month period, having perhaps 2 to 3 hour meetings each month in a different or separate conference room, prosecutors can examine and look at many of these cases in detail. It could help them determine why many of these cases are lost. Of course, doing this will help in future prosecutions of errant law enforcement officers.

A suggestive roster for such a conference, and by no means, these are not the only prosecuting teams who should be in attendance, are the prosecuting teams of Jacksonville, Florida (who prosecuted George Zimmerman), Tulsa, Oklahoma (who recently prosecuted Betty Shelby), Baltimore, Maryland (who prosecuted officers in Freddie Gray’s death ) and Detroit, Michigan (who prosecuted the killer of Renisha McBride successfully). The league should give them all the material support they need and even bring in expert speakers to look at and examine why so many of these cases are lost. The objective here would be, once a consensus is reached among these talented individuals, to make their findings available to prosecuting teams and police departments across the country.

When the issue of George Zimmerman killing the youngster, Trayvon Martin, in Sanford, Florida was forced upon the Sanford black community, they wanted answers regarding why wasn’t Zimmerman arrested and charged with a crime and they wanted the chief law enforcement officer who advocated for him removed from his post. As indicated above, they achieved those objectives. And in the hiring of a new police chief, the black community of Sanford began healing and working toward solutions. However, this was a cooperative journey of the entire community of Sanford, Florida; the largely white community leaders of Sanford including the mayor, the city council, the city manager and concerned black citizens.

The NFL now, has an opportunity to do the same thing, but on a national scale. It has the opportunity to bring these stakeholders together and sit them down around a conference table and debate, argue, research and talk about how we can get solutions to this dilemma. Mr. Trump with his divisive comments chose to divide America along racial lines, however the NFL if it chooses to do so, can rise above these divisive comments and bring much needed healing to our nation by sponsoring conferences of these stakeholders. NFL athletes can then stand down as the conferences of these stakeholders work toward the solutions I have mentioned above.

They are well regarded by many people, including myself, for having the courage to highlight this issue. And by doing this, the National Football League will be looked upon as an organization that not only works in its own best interest (after all it is an entertainment business), but in the best interest of the communities with which it does business. It, of course can take advantage of its handling of this issue which threatened to divide the league as an organization and now use it to improve its brand.

A verse from the Holy Bible comes to mind in regard to Mr. Trump and his evil intent. It is Genesis 50:20;

But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

We are the United States of America and we are not a nation of “morons.” I want to believe we are a God loving nation of people of solutions. To the NFL owners and the players union, don’t miss this great opportunity! As a matter of fact, in the final analysis, the most prominent of the stakeholders in this vexing issue are all the American people and the democratic principles of justice we value so highly.

Staff Writer; James Davis

This talented brother is a graduate of Florida A. and M. University(FAMU), a former stockbroker, and a human rights activist who resides in Sanford, Florida. He was awarded the prestigious Governor Haydon Burns Scholarship to attend FAMU and while at FAMU was awarded the first Martin Luther King Scholarship. He is also author of three books, among them are “The Fix This Time,” Expanding Social Security Benefits to Create Jobs and Spur Demand(http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MI3PD2M ) and “Hey…God’s Talking To You,” The Study Book (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GYI3VQW ).

He can be reached through his blog @, (http://www.thefixthistime.com).


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