In sports, there’s a hierarchical system of power that puts owners at the top and players at the bottom. Protest can often mean a shift in power. In sports, that’s the last thing that these owners want. If a shift happens in sports, it might ripple out and start to change the rest of world. According to Huffington Post, 70% of NFL players are black. 90% of NFL owners are white. It’s obvious to see where the backlash and the fight for control would come from. Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his recent protests of the National Anthem is a great example of an effort to take back control and the backlash that comes with that, even from The President of the United States.
Even though he’s just exercising his right to protest, President Trump still uses Kaepernick and his protests as pawns in his game to divide the American Public and maintain control of public perception. In Trump’s tweets, he often states, “our” multiple times and mentions the “American public”, distinguishing to the citizens of the United States that we are a divided nation. Black people are not considered American and therefore we need to not support the national anthem because it was never meant to be for us. How can people of color take back control of their lives when they constantly deal with backlash from not just the general public, but the President of the United States, when they’re just exercising their freedom to protest peacefully?
To invalidate the NFL as a business, Trump often makes vague connections between the NFL’s “inability” to fill seats and the recent protests. Donald Trump tweeted, “At least 24 players kneeling this weekend at NFL stadiums that are now having a very hard time filing up.” He knows that this these comments are snatching money out of black athletes’ pockets and has the possibility to alter their livelihood. If the protests are messing with the NFL’s money, they might make a stronger effort to stop them.
But it’s not just President Trump that feels so negatively about the national anthem protests. At Forbes Magazine’s 100th anniversary party Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told Fox Business news anchor Cheryl Casone he does not believe “the place to express yourself in society is as we recognize the American flag”. As an owner of a major football team, Jones is at the top of the hierarchy. But, these protests are starting to make things shift. This causes panic in Jones and forces him to speak out in order to put him back at the top and maintain control of his team that’s over 70% black. But, it just doesn’t make sense that black people are not able to openly represent their opposition towards not just the national anthem, but racism as a whole.
The Lack of Respect for P. Diddy
The possibility of Sean Combs, better known as P. Diddy, buying the Carolina Panthers is a hot-button topic. There is plenty of criticism throughout modern news media towards Sean Combs and his ability to own the football team. They often mention his lifestyle, his career, and his extracurricular activities. As we all know, Sean Combs is a successful entrepreneur. His empire includes music, TV, Film, alcoholic beverages, clothing lines, and more. This shows that no matter how successful people of color may become, no matter what field, we will always be thought of as lower and incapable of success.
There are some individuals that consider not watching sports and suggest that people of color end their careers as athletes in an effort to make an impact. Though that may be the most effective or the easiest way to make a change, it is not the most beneficial. The solution is not neglecting our careers but spearheading a change within the industries that we are involved in. We must take control.
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