When the NFL released statements denouncing racism, we can now dive deeper into the league issues. A statement supports the causes we are currently experiencing. But, what happens when the protests die out?
It was less than three years ago that Texans’ owner Bob McNair unleashed the quote that “we can’t have the inmates running the prison” in response to the discussions surrounding player protests. Yes, these protests three years ago, like the ones we are experiencing today, were a shot at America’s handling of a police brutality (and murder) case against an unarmed black man. While players protesting and taking knees garnered the attention of sports fans worldwide, what came from it?
Now, we have the same league that asked players to stand during the anthem expressing support for the movement they once opposed. This all comes in a “dead” period for sports, and especially football. It is incredibly easy to put out a relatively vague statement expressing support. But, what if this had happened during the season? Knees and player/team protests would certainly occur, but it is hard to believe the NFL would not attempt to squash any attempt to call attention to this horrible situation because after all, this is a business and it seems severely unlikely the owners would risk anything happening to their precious paychecks.
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Yes, these supportive posts are a step in the right direction. However, racism is not going to disappear due to social media posts. The Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview ethnic-minority candidates for coaching positions, ideally should help bridge the gap in the NFL. Noticing this, the NFL also teetered around providing draft picks for teams that hired a minority to a coaching spot, but this was not passed. The Rooney Rule also only requires teams to interview ethnic-minorities, there is no rule on hiring.
In an ideal world, we would not need the Rooney Rule, but that is not where we stand. Broncos head coach Vic Fangio recently stated that he “(doesn’t) see racism at all in the NFL,” a comment immediately torn to shreds by national media. The fact that anyone this close to the game can dispel racism in the NFL is horrifying.
Black college quarterbacks are constantly asked about making the switch to wide receiver, despite being impressive quarterbacks entering the league. Four years ago, Cam Newton was the NFL MVP, winning the title in a close to a unanimous vote. Now, he remains jobless. If Tom Brady can get a job at 42 after putting up numbers similar to Derek Carr’s, Newton can’t find a team. While on the topic, Colin Kaepernick was marveled at before taking a stand. Now, it appears he will not get another chance in the league. some branded him as “bad for business.” The changes start at the top. Owners must stop considering the business as a first priority, lives and livelihoods are far more important.
Again, racism in the NFL is not going to go away with Twitter posts. This goes far deeper than that.