The NFL Needs to Take the Fight Against Racism as Seriously as It Takes the Fight Against Breast Cancer

On issues of race, the National Football League can no longer hide behind the American flag or stand at quiet attention on the sidelines.It must get its head and heart, and its pocketbook, in the game.The NFL needs to be as serious about confronting racism and inequality in America as it is about its campaign to raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer. That is a righteous cause that players, coaches, owners and the league get behind in a highly visible and unified way. The fight against racism and injustice is righteous too. And, especially in a league that relies so heavily on the bodies of black men for its revenue, that fight should be just as visible and unifying.But what the NFL is doing now - the carefully orchestrated effort to blunt public criticism over players taking a knee during the national anthem by concocting self-serving schemes - isn't an act of patriotism.It's a cop-out.It's a polite bow to the majority of white fans and corporate sponsors who don't want to be bothered by issues that directly or indirectly impact the 70 percent of its players who are black.These players who've knelt during the national anthem aren't dishonoring the American flag or the brave service men and women who've died on the battlefield to preserve our freedoms.They are paying them a high compliment. They are saying that if the flag means something to us as Americans, that if it's truly a symbol of the ideals and values we aspire to achieve, we are falling short.We are falling short when we fail to tackle racism and inequality, or even acknowledge it.We are falling short when we say that our Constitutional rights only apply to those who look like us, or to those whose beliefs and objectives conform to ours.We are falling short when we turn Colin Kaepernick, the exiled NFL quarterback who began taking a knee last season to draw attention to allegations of police abuse of African Americans across the country, into an unemployed scapegoat.  Continue reading...

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