In 2018 I’m boycotting. No, it’s not a transportation system or establishment, but it’s an entire corrupt system: the NFL. This year I will NOT be watching the Super Bowl and I’m overjoyed about it. I actually couldn’t be happier and self-fulfilled. I haven’t watched a single NFL game this entire 2017-2018 season, beyond the glimpse or two that I can’t help when it’s on in a restaurant and in my face.
I have made a conscious decision to not support an organization who has time and time again not supported my black and brown marginalized brothers and sisters. When Colin Kaepernick spoke out against injustice, he was swiftly blackballed from the league even when his numbers surpass more than half of the current starting quarterbacks in the entire NFL. Since him, multiple players have said because they have chose to raise a first or take a knee, they too feel as though they have been ostracized from the NFL. Instead of using this as a call to action or teaching moment, the NFL has stayed relatively mum on the issue. It wasn’t until a directive in 2009 that standing for the national anthem even became a thing. And of course that was because money was involved. Why would I supposed an organization that doesn’t represent me or anything that I stand for?
Beyond the injustice issues I have, I also don’t appreciate that 70% if the NFL is made up of black players and we have all the research in the world on concussion harmful effects, or CTE, and once again the NFL has turned a blind eye. Instead of using the issue to become a leader in safety and preventative measures, the NFL stays silent as players lose their cognitive abilities and their livelihood and entire families suffer as a result. Why? Because it’s all about the money of course.
And lastly, let’s paint this picture. Seventy percent of the NFL is filled with players who are scared silent for fear of losing their jobs. Yet on Sundays and through the week they bash each other’s heads in for white “owners” and fans who can afford the tickets (mostly white.) That doesn’t sit well with me. It feels like a plantation game for the rich and they are getting enjoyment over black body misery.
Something has got to give one way or another. I’ve enjoyed not watching the NFL this year, but I have coupled this extra time to learning more about the issues and the history of the league. Plus, the NBA season has been amazing thus far. Now if only my New York Knicks can figure it out. I think this may be our year.
You see, often times we don’t realize greatness until folks have passed away. Legacies aren’t cemented until decades later when society decides if a trailblazer really accomplished something noteworthy or not. That’s NOT what I have made up in my mind is going to happen when it comes to Colin Kaepernick. This young man sacrificed his NFL career to stand up for something he, and millions of other people, believe is injustice and discrimination on behalf of rich, white America. Whether intentionally or not, Kaepernick made a decision to kneel for the National Anthem and in turn, speak up for those who don’t have a voice. He lost his job for it.
What he may not have realized was that he inspired generations of activists and forced thousands, if not millions, of people to face the hard truths about America and society as a whole. Why do folks get behind women’s rights movements and gay issues, but stay silent on black issues? You can say, oh he should be quiet, he’s making millions. But I see it a bit different. Yes, he’s making millions, but Kaepernick also has a platform: Scream young king! Let your voice be heard everywhere. For every professional athlete making a substantial income, there are hundreds of thousands of people of color living in poverty, in a disadvantaged position.
Kaepernick is a black man with a white mother who knows a little more than most how color can play a role in someone’s life and their maturation and development. Kaepernick is my fraternity brother in Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., an organization founded on the campus of Indiana University in 1911 when brothers had to stick together because the bond was all they had against racism, discrimination and bigotry.
Kaepernick isn’t perfect nor does he have to be. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t have a perfect life, but I would challenge anyone to say his impact was less received.
Kaepernick represents integrity, boldness and power in the face of adversity. He represents representation and accountability. Kaepernick represents being black in a white America. Kaepernick represents me. Life hasn’t been peaches and cream for anyone that I know and it likely will never be. But who’s to stop you or I in this lifetime from making it a better place. Each and every day as Kaepernick has been ostracized from the NFL and fights for rights for all, each and every one of us can figure out a way to fight in our lives. Kaepernick was just a football hero, but now he is a living pioneer.
lives by one word: achievement. in anything and everything, achieve.