The NFL isn’t “Tone Deaf” as an Organization, It’s Just Trash

ESPN/Screenshot

The National Football League is trash, as a staff, a company and as a crew… but you already knew that.

Truthfully, we all did.

That’s why when I first read about the NFL’s plans to instate a policy prohibiting from players protesting during the national anthem, I couldn’t even get angry, I just said to myself, “Of course”.

The NFL was never invested in justice for Black lives, or any lives, for that matter. The NFL is a billion dollar industry invested in (predominately) black bodies.

Not black people, black lives, black minds or black experiences — black bodies.

We’re talking about an industry run by aged, wealthy white men who don’t care to understand why someone like Colin Kaepernick would even kneel in the first place. They don’t care to know that he altered his protest from sitting to kneeling as a means to show respect for the troops.

They don’t care about oppression, they don’t care about racism, they don’t care about humanity, they don’t really care about the flag, and they don’t really care about America.

Most importantly, they don’t care about you.

The issue is that in their eyes, Kaepernick didn’t know his place, and so they had to make an example out of him, and this new policy is intended to follow-up on that.

If a black mind were to publicly rebel (and win) against a corporation designed to exploit his black body, what message does that send to the other players? What message does that send to the world?

But more than anything, this NFL controversy makes me question where we are as a nation and as a society.

Are we really in a nation that requires people to show reverence for a 200-year old, racist war song or be penalized or deemed anti-American?

Are we really in a nation where children have to stand and hold a hand over their heart each morning and pledge their allegiance daily — to a flag?!

Are we really in a nation where performative public gestures of patriotism are more than the humanity of the people who live here?

This is where we are as a nation? As human beings? As an intelligent, critical thinking species? Is this how primitive we are?

I don’t know the answer to those questions, but what I do know is that the NFL is has reminded us of a repressive side of our society that exists.

It’s a side that profits on pain, stifles critical thinking and punishes those who dare to speak out on any issue that challenges the white, patriarchal narratives we’ve been taught about this country.

And the sad truth is, this is not just reflective of the NFL being trash, it’s reflective of many of our schools, our workplaces, and many of our institutions being deeply flawed as well.

Donald Glover said it best, “This is America”.

The real question is: “Is this the America that we want?”

Philadelphia, born & raised. Writer, reader, part-time runner. Edinboro University, Class of 2011. Bylines: The Philadelphia Inquirer, Blavity, Philly Tribune.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store