Sunday, February 17, 2019

NFL – ‘Let ‘em go Back to Africa!”.

June 4, 2018 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Sports, Weekly Columns

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( The NFL…Home to one of the most cherished professional sports leagues; not only in the United States but across the globe.  Recently the owners of the NFL Franchises approved a new rule that will see players fined if they protest during the National Anthem. Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem in 2016 in protest against the oppression of blacks in the United States. Colin’s fellow protesters actions during the playing of the National Anthem have come to be known as “taking a knee!”

Last season the president, in a posturing move, suggested that NFL players should stay in the locker room during the anthem if they wanted to protest, however, they were expected to stand if they were on the field… Fast forward to May 22nd, 2018. Roger Goodell, the league Commissioner confirms what has already been uttered by President Donald F. Trump. It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that the thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic, against the flag and what it stood for. This is not now and was never the case.

However, Goodell read a statement on May 23rd 2018: “This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem. Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room until after the anthem has been performed. We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it — and on our fans who enjoy it.”

The change was widely accepted by the owners, however, the move was met with objection and skepticism by players and the representative players’ union, which was never consulted on the controversial move.

That policy was adopted May 23rd, and was approved in concert with the NFL’s ongoing commitment, Roger Goodell then stated, “to local communities and our country — one that is extraordinary in its scope, resources, and alignment with our players. We are dedicated to continuing our collaboration with players to advance the goals of justice and fairness in all corners of our society”. The exclusive club of 32 astoundingly white owners was wrecked so badly in 2017 in a failed effort to silence those attempting to protest (taking a knee); to repudiate racial and economic injustice in America. Again, that successful protest was spearheaded by Colin Kaepernick.

Now I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around this, as is, with no success. As a teacher of History and a student of the Constitution I’m aware; according to the Library of Congress, the First Amendment states that: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

It is obvious that the protest by Kaepernick and other black NFL players is of a peaceful nature. NFL players are people too; and I believe the First Amendment does in fact apply to all athletes including those who play for the NFL. It is rather sad that in today’s society, racial disparities are still a big issue which divides us into those that want to see change and those that are accepting of the status quo. Blacks have formed a core of the American society, over the years, and their contributions to sports in general is clearly evident. Maybe that is why through much pressure brought to bear; President Donald F. Trump decided to pardon the late great boxer and champion of the sport, Jack Jonson, posthumously, due to the embarrassment brought about by the recent NFL controversy. Who knows?

Black players have had to comprise more than their counterparts of other ethnic persuasions for as long as they’ve been competing as teammates and against each other.

President Trump has never backed away from a controversy, and his response to the decision made by NFL owners was no different. Trump said in his response “You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem or you shouldn’t be playing. You shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country. You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem.”

Now, think about that quote for a minute, let it sink in…There have been many interpretations of Trump’s statement. NFL Players have 1st Amendment rights…RIGHT? Black players comprise more than two thirds of the personnel on the football field! The President said “Maybe they should leave the country.” My interpretation: these were code-words (dog-whistle) to gin-up his base: ‘Maybe they should go back to Africa!’ Very SAD! Incidentally; Africa is a beautiful place; albeit comprised of S#^$hole countries according to another of Trumps ill timed statements.

It is quite clear that the decisions made by the NFL owners is biased and based on their ill-conceived constitutional interpretations which are unethical. The unsolicited response of President Trump, relative to the “no-knee” principle should never have been made; especially when laws are already in place to govern and protect the freedom of each and every citizen regardless of race, creed or color. The world looks to the United States as an example of economic and cultural freedoms but America has failed in that regard as the double standards of this president proves with the unwitting assistance of the National Football League owners.

NFL Owners and other sports authorities alike must respect the constitution and allow players to express themselves. Sports should be used as a way of bringing people together and that can only happen if we iron out the flawed system of racial bias and injustice that has been allowed to exist in our economic, educational and business mechanisms; which have failed generation after generation of people of color. Finally, a word to the wise: Black NFL players and supporters on the field, should control your own destiny! If they won’t “LET” you take a knee, sit out the entire season. There is no NFL league without YOU.

Staff Writer; Stanley G. Buford

Feel free to connect with this brother via Twitter; Stanley G. and alsofacebook


One Response to “NFL – ‘Let ‘em go Back to Africa!”.”
  1. James Davis says:

    Why Attack the Owners and the National Football League Who Have Already Surrendered? Makes No Sense Whatsoever!

    Your words call for the punishment of owners of National Football League teams, who have already capitulated in our battle to hold errant police officers and their proxies accountable, for atrocities against African Americans, including unjustly killing them. African Americans have achieved their desired aim, when it comes to Mr. Trump, and their protests against police killings. These protests led to a 90 million dollar bonanza for the National Football League Players Association (they are 70% black). A much better strategy my brother, is for you and others, “who say” they have an unwavering interest in STOPPING the killings of American citizens is, TO SUMMON THE COURAGE to step up, and make these guys spend part of the money, on the resolution of the problem.

    You have to ask yourself, are you truly interested in stopping the Killings of African Americans or are you just making noise? The linked article will make you answer that very question. I guarantee IT! Now its time for you to do your part and advocate, through your contacts with others, to also do theirs!

    Engagement me in a discussion of this matter, intellectually, because I think you are completely “wrong” in your approach. There is just no other way to put it! NFLPA has $90.000,000.00. Let’s start investing in solutions. Mine is just one, although I am admittedly partial to it

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