Maddogg Guest Writer, T.H. Johnson
With all of the causes the NFL has publicly wrapped their arms around, such as the pink bands worn on their team jerseys for Breast Cancer Awareness, Domestic Abuse, and Veterans’ issues, why have they been AWOL (Absent Without Leave) about the injustice of unprofessional conduct and the violent excessive force by police directed unjustly against American citizens? They, like most people I’m convinced, have felt the psychic impact upon viewing these reckless violent acts of unprofessional conduct. What level does it have to reach to become unbearable with them as it has with the former NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick?
Whether it was the police driving rapidly upon the 12 year old kid, Tamir Rice and gunning him down in a Cleveland park for brandishing a toy gun or the plethora of others killed over petty misdemeanors, the psychic impact is devastating. So, why wouldn’t the owners feel the same emotional impact as their players, or Colin Kaepernick, or the rest of us? Those police were not under immediate threat when they drove up and within 2 seconds gunned that young child down and the actions were reprehensible unprofessional conduct. It was unfortunate that prosecutors did not consider it to be criminal enough for them to be charged, however, that is the root of the frustration which is the undercurrent of the overwhelming psychic impact that causes someone like Kaepernick to take a knee.
Where are the NFL owners’ minds when they witness on tape the gunning down of an unarmed Walter Scott in North Charleston, S.C. shot in the back five times by a police officer over a malfunctioning tail light?
Where is their outrage when the young man in Minnesota, Philando Castile, was murdered in his vehicle on his way home before his fiance and 4 year old child in the back seat after reaching for his identification as he was commanded to by the police officer. He too was stopped for a petty misdemeanor, a broken tail light, so how does anyone justify his life being taken in such a reckless and wanton manner as that?
That is what Colin Kaepernick’s taking a knee calls out for, the moral outrage expressed by NFL owners and others in positions of power, that is their civic duty to do so. He has taken a knee on the stage of the most popular audience gathering sporting event that exists in this nation. Yet instead of the NFL owners taking a stand as they have done with other causes arguably less immediately socially concerning as the taking of young black men and women’s lives, they remain silent. Instead of standing against such unprofessional conduct of police acting violently behind the color of authority the owners would rather dig in their heels and take a stand against the black football players silently protesting these injustices. It appears to be more important for the bottom line, for these owners to project a facade of peace and tranquility, ironically, in one of the most violent sports we have, yet act completely ambivalent and cowardly disdainful for those participants voicing their opinion in silent protest.
Instead of using their enormous public relations potential to impact these unjust acts they let an immoral, dysfunctional President, out maneuver them by scopeshifting the subject matter into a false narrative and away from its true reason for being. Here is a pseudo-patriotic character who evidence shows could care less about the American public and only about his own personal well being that is at the helm of this reckless ship that the owners have climbed aboard. Donald Trump knows that Kaepernick’s protest is not about being unpatriotic yet he has spun it in that manner to capture the attention of either feeble minded or racist people who simply want to impose their will regardless of the outrage. Thus, the President is only concerned about the political positioning of himself with his rabble rousing base. That is a dangerous position given the delicacy of racial relations in this nations, however, Trump doubles’ down and it appears that the NFL owners are willing to abandon the moral high ground and place their chips down while betting with him.
Trump’s unpatriotic allegations have simply unleashed the vitriol and ignorant rants of other public officials like Carla Maloney, a Trump supporter who called the black football players a bunch of baboons in an angry rant and was forced to resign her office as a result in Pennsylvania.
There is the opportunity and the time is right for the NFL owners to seek the moral high ground and take a public stand regarding this unprofessional conduct and police brutality directed towards innocent blacks. Rather than digging in their heels and making a bad situation worse by directing their wrath upon the black players, they should redirect their dissatisfaction with errant law enforcement agencies around this nation that condone such unprofessional conduct. For the owners to allow themselves to be positioned in such a manner is reckless to the NFL brand itself, now they’ve allowed themselves to be juxtaposed in their position opposite Nike, a major commercial supporter of the NFL. I doubt the public indignation is going to end there as long as Trump is seen as the NFL owner’s team captain and inflaming the arena of public discourse.
The message that the NFL team owners should convey is that sworn officers of the court, i.e. police, take an oath to carry out their duties professionally. Under the oath they take it indicates that they are there to “protect and to serve”, and that means to protect and to serve everyone within our society regardless of race or ethnicity. They are not here to serve just one group of people. Let the owners use their power and authority to send that clear message, and not allow it to get entwined in any other false message via the false patriotism promulgated by Donald Trump or anyone else.
T.H. Johnson is an investigative researcher, author, and documentary producer with the OMIG (Ocean Medical Investigative Group).