As a heads up to my friends and family, I will not be supporting the NFL this season in any shape, form, or fashion. I will not help generate revenue for a company that’s already worth billions when they don’t care enough about me to at least allow an athlete to exercise his right of freedom of speech. I will not watch or attend games, and will not show up for, or support any social events that involve NFL football. As much as I love my Falcons hoodies, shirts, caps, and other apparel, it’ll all be collecting dust for at least the next year. And to be completely honest, it has made me almost sick to my stomach to hear Black men and women eagerly talk about football and the return of “America’s Game” whose message to Colin and anyone who dared to join him was to “stay in their place.
For those who support Colin Kaepernick, the NFL and mainstream America has spoken and the damage is done. Teams have publicly passed him over, and it’s obvious that his opposition doesn’t give a damn that Blacks are being unfairly targeted, framed, abused, and even killed by the hands of police officers daily. By now, this attitude is to be expected of many non-Blacks.This article isn’t about them, or whether Colin should still have a job or not.
As a Black man who could have been Philando Castile, married to a Black wife who could have been Sandra Bland, with Black children who could have been Tamir Rice, I can’t understand why we are even debating whether or not we should be supporting the NFL. It has been reported several times that the league itself has persuaded owners to steer clear of Kaepernick. It doesn’t take a genius to conclude that essentially, the NFL values their White conservative viewers a hell of a lot more than they value the Black ones.
While discussing the matter with many of my peers, I found that many of them who supported Kap during the 2016 season had forgotten about him by draft time in April of 2017. As the first preseason game approached, the pathetic excuses began. Out of the many that I’ve heard or read, here are the seven worst as well as my response. And yes, these are real excuses from real Black people.
1. Colin made his point and I respect him. He stood his ground, his voice was heard, and he gained the respect of the league. However, I’m going to watch.
You can’t be serious. If you really respected him and the cause, you wouldn’t support the entity that blackballed him. According to you, Kap’s efforts were all for nothing! Luckily, you were not around when Rosa sat down on that bus in Montgomery because we’d still be riding in the back.
2. Boycotting the NFL is not going to help or hurt Kaepernick’s cause.
In case you didn’t know, television programs keep track of the number of their viewers and most TV networks get their revenue from advertisement. This means the bulk of the money television networks and the programs they televise comes from corporations who advertise their products during airtime. Simply put, the more viewers the NFL has, the more money companies have to pay them or the network to advertise. A 30-second advertisement during the Super Bowl, the biggest televised event of the year, costs roughly $4 Million. Fewer viewers equal less money for the NFL. This doesn’t even include the boycott of attending games and buying apparel.
3. Colin Kaepernick wasn’t a good player, and that’s why he’s out.
Listen, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a sports aficionado, but there are a small handful of teams that I watch, and most years I don’t even watch those teams until playoff time. Here’s what I do know: Colin is better than many of the other QB’s who have been hired this season. Black Cowboy fans have been rooting for Tony Romo for over a decade, and to my knowledge, he’s never made a Super Bowl appearance. But all of a sudden, Colin Kaepernick isn’t good enough to at least be a backup quarterback. Stop it, B.
4. I’ve already purchased season tickets.
So what? Economics is more complex than that. Do you take public transportation or purchase gas to make it to the stadium of your favorite team? Do you pay for parking? Plan on getting that hot dog and Miller Lite from the concession stand? I bet you bought a jersey this year, didn’t you? All of this plays a role in supporting the NFL. I even plan on not supporting businesses that directly or indirectly add to the league’s revenue by using football for promotion. With the backlash aimed towards Kap early in the 2016 season, why would you go and buy season tickets anyway?
5. Only the folks who don’t enjoy football are protesting.
Refer back to excuse #3. At some point in your life, liberation must become a priority. Football isn’t exactly a big part of my life that is hard to give up, but it was difficult giving up Chik Fil A, Yuengling Beer, anything produced by Mona Scott or Lee Daniels, and countless of other products and services from companies that support causes that I don’t agree with or think they are more harmful to the Black community than helpful.
6. I support Kaepernick, but football is the best entertainment offered on Sundays.
First of all, Power is pretty damn entertaining.
Secondly, I would have respected you more if you had just been honest and admitted that you don’t care enough about the situation to boycott. Entertainment will forever be the distraction used to get Blacks not to pay attention while others benefit from freedom, economic empowerment, and all the things in the world that really matter. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting be a total square. Balance is key, and even I love an occasional episode of reality TV or a Gucci Mane mixtape here and there. However, we’ve got to be able to focus on the issues that will ultimately affect us the most.
7. Colin chose his path and now he has to deal with it.
Colin chose a path that would benefit all that are subject to oppression in America. It took balls to stand up, not only to police brutality but to the world and remain resolute. I’m sure Kaepernick knew that he was risking his career, livelihood, and maybe even his life by his protests
This may sound like I’m overacting to some, but I’m seriously considering a lifetime boycott of the NFL, and here’s why. We have to remember that most Americans absolutely hated the likes of Martin Luther King Jr and Muhammad Ali during the 60’s for the same exact reason they praise them today. MLK was killed in 1968 but was not honored with a national holiday until 1983, and it was not observed by all 50 states until the year 2000. By the time America realizes how significant this all was, Colin Kaepernick will be old and would have missed out on what could have been a successful professional football career. Taking this into consideration, boycotting for a single season is pointless if Colin does not get back into the league this year.
Blacks make up the majority of the players in the NFL. We’re the ones tailgating outside of the Georgia Dome every Sunday. We’re the ones purchasing the season passes. We need to eventually acknowledge our worth and apply it to gain power. I guarantee that if EVERY Black person committed to boycotting, the NFL would also be concerned with losing their Black audience. The reason they chose to appease their White viewers by making it hard for Kaepernick is because White folks showed that they are more than willing to stop watching and Black folks have not.
They know we’re weak. They know we support companies daily that do not have our best interest at heart. They know we’ll talk sh*t on Facebook for a few days and get on with our lives. And they also know we won’t support each other or stand up for a damn thing until it directly affects us and our family.
As I am often surrounded by people who refer to themselves as “real,” stand up, and respectable men and women. I charge you all to actually do something real when it counts for once. If you can’t do that, stop making excuses and be honest with yourself. You’re too weak to simply not watch football.