“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity” – Albert Einstein
I really love football and here’s why:
Reason #1 – My Brother
When I was a kid, my brother only kind of liked me as his sister (as many other older brother and younger sister sibling relationships) and for me, I could get his attention… paying attention to Football. He taught me the game which is why as a woman, I know more than the average man, usually. He was practicing to be the coach he is now, explaining to me the different positions and the purpose that they serve, why some coaches prefer 3-4 defense over a 4-3 defense, among the many other reasons why I love to watch the game.
Reason #2 – My Grandma
I never was much for dresses, make-up or girly things like my grandma, and she somehow was all of those things, but also fell in love with the game of football. She always wanted to talk about Football my whole life. As my grandmother became sicker with cancer, Football was about all she would talk about with any kind of joy (and she loved the Browns, go figure). One of the last pictures of her smiling was when she was in the hospital and the Browns paid the patients a visit. (Yes, there are people who actually get excited about the Browns).
My Grandma passed away in 2016, and for last year’s football season (2016-17), I watched more football in a season than I have ever watched in my entire life. Looking back on it, I definitely felt somehow closer to my Grandma watching all things football, and thoroughly enjoyed it. What I find interesting is that many fans truly believe football play has weakened and it has, but it’s still so fun to watch. Unlike Baseball and Hockey, where I have to be there to truly enjoy, Football still reigns supreme as the best sporting event that you can watch on TV, and the in game experience is like none other. I should probably go to a Soccer game in Europe, but until that happens, this is my firm belief.
So enter this year’s opportunity to boycott the NFL. I made the case about why Football is so important to me. I am not the protesting type, because I usually see all the sides of an argument. I can be empathetic to a fault. Ask my friends when we talk about boy problems. I can always see it from the guy’s perspective and rationalize their stupidity. So all summer, I thought long and hard if I wasn’t going to watch Football. It started off with me not watching the draft, but that’s was by accident, but it probably was a tale tale sign. So I didn’t pay attention to training camps or preseason game talk, but I hadn’t made up my mind. When Colin Kaepernick got cut that was no surprise, based on the coach they hired, but when he started to get passed over for backup job after backup job, I really started to feel uneasy.
For those of you who know athletes who aren’t famous stars, you realize a number of players on teams that never play much or at all, they are on team rosters and get a paycheck! In Football, with the quarterback position, a couple of back-ups are a must. Ask my beloved Colts when Peyton Manning was out for a whole year. Teams need quarterbacks that rarely play and Kaep made it to the Super Bowl folks, and his numbers last year weren’t the worst in the league, actually not that close either. The uneasiness got stronger, and I didn’t know how I was NOT going to boycott the NFL.
There comes a point in life where you should realize that what you believe in and what you do about it matters. BECAUSE I love football and the NFL, it makes me more disappointed that NFL owners are unwilling to give a job to a person who was simply exercising his freedom of speech rights. Here’s the thing, I get that they don’t care. It’s a business. He’s hurting their pocket book. They don’t care about the elevation of thoughts and ideas, especially not this one. But I do.
Colin Kaepernick wanted to highlight a very important issue, one that should matter to all people, but the fact that it doesn’t is actually irrelevant. If it were a different issue such as pro-life, pro-choice, the environment, 2nd amendment rights or if it was any issue that took dollars from their pockets, NFL owners would be uninterested as well. But there is nothing more American than our right to be free. Free to say what we want, live the way we want, believe what we want. This “American” game of Football is asking us to choose money over our hearts and minds.
So when I see black people unwilling to boycott Football for something they “care” about, because the players need to boycott first? Say what? Only with their boycott would something actually happen. Come again? How easy is it to sit back, and just take Football in as entertainment without any regard to what it’s saying about you and your black body. How many of us would lose our job from boycotting a football game?
We can keep lying to ourselves, but the NFL is saying to us, “We” are good for the football field, but not good enough to speak our mind. You are not only condoning Colin Kaepernick not getting a job, you are condoning the ability of the institution of Football in keeping us small minded, and similar to a slave. Actually, not a slave at all, a black person watching a minstrel show. Yes, a MINSTREL SHOW. Your body is free, but your mind is still enslaved. The black NFL players are the main characters in the show, and you are literally rooting them on. Just maybe if we stopped watching, some would stop playing. The truth is we don’t believe not watching will have an effect, but why are we so unwilling to try.
In the end, who’s making the money? The same people that made money on the minstrel shows. You go right ahead, and not boycott, and continue to watch irregardless of what the game is saying about us. One of my favorite reminders from the good ole book:
“My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? (2Kings 5:13)
If we cannot skip a season of football, do we really believe we will give up more for justice? for black lives? for equality?
No matter how much I love Football. I will no longer watch the minstrel show.
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