donate or subscribe
Follow Us Twitter Facebook

Black Oakland should grow a spine against NFL

March 28, 2017

by Allen Jones

On March 27, 2017, National Football League owners voted 31 to 1 in favor of allowing the Oakland Raiders to move from Oakland to Las Vegas.

A Black team leaves a Black city, and Blacks have nothing to say about it? – Photo: Kirby Lee, USA Today Sports

The lone vote against the move came from Miami Dolphin’s owner, Stephen Ross. As reported by CBS Miami, Ross released a statement regarding his decision: “My position today was that we as owners and as a league owe it to the fans to do everything we can to stay in the communities that have supported us until all options have been exhausted. I want to wish Mark Davis and the Raiders organization the best in Las Vegas.”

Call me crazy, but I say the statement by Ross and a June 2011 letter from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should embarrass the league enough to trigger an NFL Black fan revolt to reverse the decision to move the Raiders to Las Vegas.

It appears that Ross is the only NFL owner who remembers that letter NFL Commissioner Goodell wrote on June 15, 2011. The first paragraph reads: “For the National Football League, the game of football is about more than making plays on the field. It is about making them off the field as well. Our commitment to fans and the communities that support us does not end when the final seconds tick off the game clock.” Oh really?

The community of Oakland should stop crying long enough to ask the NFL owners and commissioner, if nearly 60 years of support is not enough, including the time the team relocated to Los Angeles, then define the word “support,” commissioner? The commissioner just might mumble coherently enough to be heard saying that he really did not mean what he wrote.

On the day Barack Obama was sworn into office as this nation’s 44th president, on Jan. 20, 2009, Stephen Ross finalized his purchase of an additional 45 percent of the Miami Dolphins. I see a coincidence. This billionaire just voted for Black America, whether he knows it or not with his “No” vote.

The other NFL owners went deaf, dumb and more importantly blind with their votes to support the Raiders’ move when you consider the NFL is comprised of 70 percent Black players yet just turned its back on another Black community. Or they were smart enough to know that the NFL answers to no one but its owners. And since they’re all White …

The community of Oakland should stop crying long enough to ask the NFL owners and commissioner, if nearly 60 years of support is not enough, including the time the team relocated to Los Angeles, then define the word “support,” commissioner?

We live in a day where White people have for the most part successfully put a guilt trip on Black America. Most Blacks have been talked out of playing the race card. Why is that?

The race card is a winning hand for Blacks if White people really are opposed to racism. Or maybe they do not like being reminded of their racist past and the mere mention of racism gives them metaphorical hives. Whatever the reason, I am not going to stop playing the race card just because a White person will break out.

Consider these facts: I did not shuffle the cards. I did not cut the cards. And I certainly was not allowed to deal the cards. I am merely playing the hand that was dealt to me as a Black man by White America. And I refuse to throw away my winning hand just because the inventor of the game peaked at my hand and still could not win.

Oakland’s White residents, at 34 percent, outnumber Blacks, at 28 percent. However, Oakland is still considered a Black city, due largely because of its past, a one-time high of 47 percent Black population.

With Oakland having a White mayor, Libby Schaaf, leading the cause to keep the Raiders in the city, it is unreasonable to expect her to shout racism as a reason the NFL owners refused to stand up for the city of Oakland. However, there are way too many Black Oaklanders who are keeping their mouths shut when NFL owners continue to use and abuse Blacks with impunity.

There are way too many Black Oaklanders who are keeping their mouths shut when NFL owners continue to use and abuse Blacks with impunity.

Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being blackballed in the view of many Blacks, including Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. In the 2016 season, the NFL suspended 35 players for either violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug rules, substance abuse policy including DUI offences or domestic violence. They are all eligible to rejoin teams in 2017. However, no team to date will touch quarterback Colin Kaepernick because he refused to salute the American flag in a protest.

Kaepernick was reported to be an “embarrassment to the league,” according to all NFL executives, when he took a knee. His boycott of the national anthem for the entire 2016 NFL season due to law enforcement’s treatment of mostly unarmed Black men all across the country demonstrated that Kaepernick knew the power of the NFL and was determined to use that power to remind law enforcement he was fed up with that treatment.

Even President Trump used his presidency to threaten NFL owners. He bragged that he read where NFL teams will not sign Kaepernick for fear of getting a tweet from the president.

But a closer look at Kaepernick’s 2016 season revealed, though the team had a terrible win-loss record, Kaepernick did not have the stats to match a bad year; in fact, his stats were above average. Along with having the top selling jersey after people began to hear and agree with his protest, he was given the team’s highest honor when players voted him its 2016 Len Eshmont Award recipient.

How can any player win the team’s most inspirational award and his jersey be the top seller throughout the entire league and he’s out of a job simply because his conscience told him something needed to change in America? The NFL executives should be embarrassed. I too am embarrassed.

How can any player win the team’s most inspirational award and his jersey be the top seller throughout the entire league and he’s out of a job simply because his conscience told him something needed to change in America? The NFL executives should be embarrassed.

Since 1970 I have been fooled into thinking the NFL really made strides against racism in America. But the 31 NFL owners who voted in favor of profit verses a struggling Black community, along with the blackballing of a popular Black NFL quarterback, has relieved me of almost all embarrassment.

I am still embarrassed for the Black fans in particular who refuse to even look into a mirror for fear that they might be convicted for supporting the NFL as I once did.

San Francisco writer Allen Jones, author of “Case Game: Activating the Activist,” can be reached at 415-756-7733 or jones-allen@att.net. Visit his website, at http://casegame.squarespace.com.

Leave a Reply

BayView Classifieds - ads, opportunities, announcements