Ever since the National Anthem protests began with Colin Kaepernick last season (followed by his now-infamous “cops as pigs” socks and his Fidel Castrol shirt) and spread to other players and cities, television ratings for the National Football League have been in a tailspin.
Though some find creative ways of explaining it away, survey after survey by reputable pollsters such as J.D. Powers have found Americans cite their No. 1 reason for turning off the NFL are player protests.
And so what do players who are responsible for helping tank their billion-dollar baby want to do next? Double down on the very activity that’s costing the league so dearly — by having the NFL dedicate an entire month to social activism!
A group of NFL players has asked Commissioner Roger Goodell for a month dedicated to social activism in a letter to the Commissioner they titled, “Player Activism for Racial Equality and Criminal Justice Reform.”
A copy of the ten-page letter which was sent to Goodell in August was obtained and published by Yahoo! Sports. The memo is signed by four prominent players, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, and retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin. They’re some of the NFL’s more outspoken players on issues of racial inequality.
The memo begins with a rundown of activities undertaken by their “Players Coalition,” then makes specific requests of commissioner Goodell, including dedicating one month of the season to highlighting player activism and community engagement — not unlike the old “Breast Cancer Awareness” initiative in which players wore pink socks and gloves.
Here’s the paragraph in its entirety:
“To counter the vast amount of press attention being referred to as the ‘national anthem protests’ versus the large amount of grass roots work that many players around the league have invested their time and resources, we would like to request a league wide initiative that would include a month dedicated to a campaign initiative and related events. Similarly to what the league already implements for breast cancer awareness, honoring military, etc, we would like November to serve as a month of Unity for individual teams to engage and impact the community in their market.”
The memo asks that the month of November be set apart for this “month of unity.”
“We would like November to serve as a month of Unity for individual teams to engage and impact the community in their market.”
And it continues,
“We appreciate your acknowledgement on the call regarding the clear distinction between support and permission. For us, support means: bear all or part of the weight of; hold up; give assistance to, especially financially; enable to function or act. We need support, collaboration and partnerships to achieve our goal of strengthening the community.
There are a variety of ways for you to get involved. Similar to the model we have in place for players to get involved, there are three tiers of engagement based on your comfort level. To start, we appreciate your agreement on making this an immediate priority. In your words, from Protest to Progress, we need action.”
With ratings headed no where but south, and with some stadiums having embarrassingly-low attendance,
as was the crowd on hand for Los Angeles Chargers’ home opener against the Miami Dolphins (pictured above) you’d think these football players would be getting the message: Americans tune in to sports to watch sports; to be entertained and escape for a few hours — not to be lectured or bombarded with social justice imagery.
For some reason, they just can’t seem to figure this out.
[NOTE: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn, Founder and Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives, and a speaker, author, columnist and analyst for multiple print and broadcast media outlets. Follow him on <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/RMBTP/”>Facebook</a> and at <a href=”http://rmblackconservatives.com/”>RMBlackConservatives.com</a>.]