Tag Archives: NFL

Why Aren’t More Black People Boycotting the NFL?

“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.

M/P

Check out from Max Kellerman:

https://twitter.com/shadowleaguetsl/status/908721297215119360  

“You say Nature, I Say Nurture” (The Monday Fits)

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“Genes load the gun, environment pulls the trigger” – Dr. Scott Kahan


The debate about nature versus nurture has always been intriguing to me. Are we a product of our environment, or do the genes of our parents and grandparents dictate our behaviors and decisions that we choose to make? There was a time when scholars were on the extremes of this topic. The theory was that human development was solely nurture or nature, but scholars today at least agree, there are simply too many “facts” on both sides of the argument which are inconsistent with an “all or nothing” view”. Instead, the conversation has shifted to “How much?”  That is to say, given that genetics and environment both influence the person we become, which is the more important?” (source)

Enter the recent turn of events for Bobbi Kristina, the daughter of Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston. Over the past week or so,  I have had a number of conversations discussing how things have turned out for her. I have heard many people discuss that she never had a chance, that she was plagued by both her nature and her nurture, the odds were never in her favor.  Between Whitney’s drug habit and Bobby’s behavior (up until recently and his old drug habit), many would say she was surrounded by both reckless behavior and inherited reckless genes.  There are a few who would say it is appropriate to call her a victim of her circumstances.

Yet, there a number of people who would not let us forget that at some point, you have to take responsibility for your actions.  Regardless of your nature or nurture, we all become adults and independent thinkers, believers, or actors in this game called life. We cannot blame our genetics or our environment once we grow up as a reason for our actions. One day our genetics will not matter and of course, our environment is something that we can change, therefore, we should all have the willpower and strength to overcome all odds?

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Now wait one minute?Is it THAT easy? Problably not, but as ludicrious as it sounds to believe overcoming your nature/nurture is easy, we can rationalize on the other extreme as well.

When we look at the NFL, players, and the domestic violence in the league, who can deny that the environment of the NFL is a huge contributor. Not to mention the sex, money, and alcohol create a slew of other factors in players’ environment. Football as a whole is about aggression, strength, and to some extent, the attempt to dominate. So when we hear stories of athletes of acting aggressive many do not act surprised, or turn a blind eye. Before the recent Ray Rice incident, plenty of players, executives, and fans gladly rationalized actions by players, and continued to cheer them on when they were charged with heinous acts of abuse and violence. Ray Rice just got caught on video tape. Because this environment isn’t only exposed to these men when they make it to the “Pros”, but from when they are young boys growing into men through the system in junior high, high school, and even college.  And if we look anecdotally at Chris Brown,  after he was caught beating Rhianna, there were a number of stories and explanations that growing up watching his step-father incessantly beat his mother as some kind of explanation for his behavior. (Source)

So why does it feel yucky to even try to talk about how we “understand” where they are coming from?  Because there are just as many people who come from similar circumstances (some worse) and the outcomes in their lives are drastically different.  However, we do enjoy dissecting these scenarios as if there is a rhyme or reason to what is happening. No one knows the probability or the combination of different events, genes that could’ve made Bobbi Kristina’s situation differ, or her situation be better.  What we do know, there are some things that are just simply out of our control and there are things that are in our control. We should focus on the positives when we can, and recognize the negatives and try to improve them when we can. What we should really try to avoid is always having too much sympathy or quickly placing total blame.  It would benefit us to know what true empathy is. That we, have the ability to understand and share the feelings of another without crucifying them or victimizing them.  We don’t really have to better understand whether it’s nurture or nature, but taking someone from exactly where they are and go from there. Because it is okay to give second chances. They will either turn their life around like Michael Vick or unfortunately, having an ending to their story like O.J. Simpson.

So it doesn’t matter whether a person’s development is predisposed by his DNA, or a majority of it is influenced by their life experiences and environment. We know that both nature and nurture play important roles in human development, and you can put too much emphasis or too little. (source) This can be seen when we take a look at fraternal twins. When fraternal twins are reared apart, they can show the same similarities in behavior and response as if they have been reared together, but that too is not always the case. (Source) So then let’s just take a minute a look at our own lives, and how explain or examine our own behaviors. Papa was a rolling stone, so of course I am (nature)… or in my family, I was surrounded by drugs, so I can’t help it (nurture). Your behaviors may be explained in both ways, but what will you let determine your life. Your Nature, or your nurture, or the sheer force of your will or better yet, if you are a believer, God’s will? You decide.