It would have been nice if the owners of various NFL teams had taken a knee during the national anthem this time last year.
It was around that time that Colin Kaepernick initially knelt in silent protest to police brutality in this country. Before kneeling, he sat down during the anthem. Something I didn’t realize last September was prior to beginning his silent protest, Kaepernick sought council from Nate Boyer, a former NFL player and Army veteran. Boyer, who is white, encouraged Kaepernick to kneel, as it is a more respectful option than sitting.
We know how the rest goes: Kaepernick continued to kneel, others joined him and many people across the United States labeled Kaepernick unpatriotic. Fast forward 12 months, and we know that despite being a free agent in prime physical shape, Kaepernick has not been picked up by any NFL team.
A few days ago, Donald Trump, the president of the United States, said NFL owners should say “get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!” to any player who kneels during the anthem.
The backlash that resulted was rapid and incensed. People recognized the disrespectful nature of the president’s comments, and they understood the racial overtones.
Trump’s comments sparked outrage, courage and activism from the American people. People were determined to denounce his position on oppression, and people became active and engaged.
That included NFL owners.
While I respect the NFL owners’ attempts to demonstrate solidarity, I question their sincerity. The only thing that is different from September 2016 and September 2017 is Trump’s deplorable comments relative to players who kneel. The only reason many NFL owners knelt or locked arms with players was because Trump’s comment jeopardized the branding and ticket sales of the NFL. Sure, some owners may support Kaepernick’s stance on racism and police brutality. However, it would have been wonderful (and certainly more sincere) if owners made such a public declaration of solidarity last year. Now, things don’t seem as authentic from the owners’ perspective.
Trump’s comments were grossly inappropriate and disrespectful — especially for an American president. While it is easy for us all to get caught up in Trump’s words, I encourage you to ignore the distractions and stay focused on the original intent of Kaepernick — to expose the disproportionate manner in which Blacks and other minorities are treated in this community. We have to draw attention to the malicious behavior that plagues our communities.
Shame on Trump for his racist comments.
Shame on the NFL owners who were more concerned about money than about the lives of Black Americans.
And shame on you if you allow the distractions to keep you from advocating for fair and equal treatment of Blacks.
I did not attend Circle City Classic this year. Instead, my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. As usual, I did receive countless calls and text messages from people about the low turnout at the game, stringent rules that prevented suite holders from visiting one another, and the way Classic officials have “screwed up” a once-thriving and top-of-its-class organization.
In July, I chose not to write about Summer Celebration 2017 in my column, and my stance on Circle City Classic 2017 is similar. There is nothing left to be said that I haven’t said throughout the past several years. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. I’m done driving myself insane. The officials at IBE (staff and board) have done what they’ve wanted to do for years — even at the expense of the organization and the community that once loved both signature events. Much to IBE’s relief, I am sure, I no longer have the desire to dedicate energy toward helping them understand the community’s perspective or provide fresh ideas. I equate my feelings to that of an individual who has finally had enough of a dysfunctional romantic relationship and is happy to walk away from it to focus on something more positive.
I will say it was smart to move some of the festivities to the Indiana State Fairgrounds, as the venue is smaller and less expensive than the Convention Center. This is something Amos Brown suggested IBE do time and time again, to no avail. I am sure Amos is looking down from heaven with a quirky smile on his face thinking something like, “Well, it’s about time!”