This is why the NFL is losing business.
A small group of activists-first-football-players-second have banded together to pen a plea to Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the league, to support the cause of racial equality. And not just support it in concept — to partake of racial sensitivity-type training and press others in NFL leadership positions to do the same.
Gag. And you thought Barack Obama and Eric Holder were the biggest social justice warriors out there.
Troy Vincent, executive vice president of football operations, was CC’d on the memo — which is 10 pages, yet still being billed as a memo, by the way.
That’s not a memo. That’s longer than some NFL contracts.
Anyhow, as Yahoo Sports initially reported in its story, “The memo 4 players sent NFL commissioner Roger Goodell,” came from Malcolm Jenkins and Torrey Smith, both of the Philadelphia Eagles; Anquan Boldin, of the Buffalo Bills; and Michael Bennett, Seattle Seahawks.
Smith was just dropped by the San Francisco 49ers — the former team also of famed NFLer-turned-social-justice-warrior Colin Kaepernick. The activism fruit doesn’t fall from the tree, it seems.
Bennett’s already big on the whole racial inequality cause. Just a few weeks ago, he accused police in Las Vegas of racially profiling him. Specifically, he said he was handcuffed and placed on the ground with a gun pointed at him — all because he’s black.
Police, who had been responding to a call of an active shooter at the scene, said Bennett was among a group fleeing and that officers acted in accordance with both law and safety concerns.
Either way, Bennett is also the same guy who did a Colin Kaepernick at a recent game and refused to stand for the traditional playing of the national anthem.
Boldin, meanwhile, isn’t even a player any more. He left the NFL after watching the Charlottesville, Virginia, protests turn violent and deciding, hey, there’s something more to life than football: activism. In particular, he said he was retiring to devote his life to humanitarian and social justice causes.
“I always felt like football would be my passion, football would be the path to a lot of things,” he said, The Associated Press reported in mid-August. “But just seeing the things that transpired over the last week or so, I think for me, there’s something bigger than football at this point.”
Jenkins has a long line of social activism on the football field as it is. In September of 2016, this was a headline from AP: “Jenkins leads several Eagles in protest before Bears game.”
All these public shows of political dissent bring forth the rather obvious question: Are you football players or civil activists?
The clue is this: Who signs your paycheck?
The memo calls on Goodell to allow players to use their NFL platforms to press for racial equality and the like. The call-to-action portion of the letter states: “To be clear, we are asking for your support.”
It goes on to state: “To start, we appreciate your agreement on making this an immediate priority. In your words, from Protest to Progress, we need action. This would entail you and other interested owners, coaches and GMs participating in a Listen & Learn tour (a one/two-day tour) to gain the same knowledge and understanding of the issues and impact on the community. This would include a prison tour, meetings with grass-roots organizations, policy makers/non-profit leaders, police, families in the community and formerly incarcerated individuals.”
Yep, it’s a real “are you kidding me!” moment.
What’s a bit humorous about these players’ pressing for NFL leadership to partake in racial sensitivity training is this, a report that screams for a laugh, from the Huffington Post, back in September of 2016: “According to VICE, ‘African-American males are only six percent of the United States population, but comprise nearly 70 percent of the players in the National Football League.’ “
If racial justice is the end game, well then, the NFL would seem to be ahead in points.
But this whole memo demonstrates what’s wrong with the NFL, and why the league is likely going to continue losing money: Paying fans don’t want to hear wealthy elitist athletes whine about social justice matters.
Keep the fields for football — the off-field for political causes. After all, how many parents scrape together the money for today’s over-priced tickets to say to their kids, hey guys — wanna go see the football team protest police brutality? Note to NFL, memo to NFL players: Those are the types of things that fans go to games to forget. They can already attend a political rally for free.