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When political resistance erupted throughout the country after Trump’s election, professional athletes were hardly expected to be catalysts for social change, or even on the front lines of protest. Back in the 1960s individual athletes expressed dissent – U.S. sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith gave the All Power to the People salute from the 1968 Olympic podium in Mexico City. Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali rejected the draft because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. They paid a heavy price.
Little doubt remains that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being blackballed by the National Football League for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police violence against Black people and other people of color. Many quarterbacks with less impressive records have been signed, but Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job. KPFA’s Ann Garrison filed this report.
On March 27, 2017, NFL owners voted 31 to 1 in favor of allowing the Oakland Raiders to move from Oakland to Las Vegas. The lone vote against the move came from Miami Dolphin’s owner, Stephen Ross. 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. Since 1970 I have been fooled into thinking the NFL really made strides against racism in America. A Black team leaves a Black city, and Blacks have nothing to say about it?
Elaine Brown’s “A Taste of Power,” a memoir which chronicles her leadership of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense when co-founder Huey P. Newton is imprisoned, still resonates with me. The idea that a Black woman is nominated to the leadership position of the most powerful civic organization in the country at that time is still remarkable and speaks to what Kathleen Cleaver calls revolutionary imagination.
We, the undersigned members of the Black Women’s Roundtable, are writing to request an emergency meeting with you to share our deep concern and outrage about the plethora of domestic violence cases that has been exposed involving current and past players that are a part of the National Football League. In addition, we would like to discuss your recent decision to establish an advisory group of women to assist you in developing new policies to eradicate domestic violence within the NFL and other diversity issues within the NFL.
2012 could be called the year of the Black quarterback. Black quarterbacks were the new breed, making most of the headlines, with players like Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III, aka RG3, dazzling the NFL with their scrambling ability and foot speed, accurate passing skills and overall sterling play, fulfilling the promise of all previous Black quarterbacks who paved the way.
Afrika! Black people! Afrikans! Let’s do like China did and put the whole continent on lockdown by closing our doors to the rest of the world until we’re ready to come back out again as a superpower.