By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
It’s been over two weeks since the world witnessed George Floyd being murdered by a Minneapolis police officer as his fellow officers, held down his legs down, while another stood as lookout. The Twin Cities began to protest, which erupted into riots. Within a week, countless cities around the world began to protest the police brutality which black people have endured in this country for centuries now. Would some of these senseless murders by the hands of officers have been prevented if the NFL hadn’t ostracized Kaepernick for his “peaceful protest’ raising much-needed awareness for these very crimes against American citizens?
I mentioned last week, the best thing to come of this heartless murder from our so-called protectors is that some white America gained a much better understanding of the repetitiveness of these horrific incidents. They’ve seen how unruly some officers can be, whether on their own or under direction. As law enforcement shot tear gas and flash bombs at peaceful protestors in our country’s capital to clear a path for the POTUS’ photoshoot; they’ve seen how unruly some officers can be – whether on their own volition as well as when following orders. In Minneapolis, they witnessed law enforcement push down and nearly trample a 75-year-old freedom activist who merely stood in their way. Both activities demonstrate the authoritarian nature of the men in uniform who are supposedly here to protect and serve our country!
NFL’s Commissioner Roger Goodell, all but admitted that he and many of the team owners around the league cowardly overlooked and brushed away Colin Kaepernick’s “peaceful protest” in 2016 in this statement last week, “We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.” He also committed himself to, “reach out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and go forward for a better and more united NFL family.”
Goodell’s speech appeared to have been prompted by a collection of prominent NFL players, from Michael Thomas, Sequon Barkley, Patrick Mahomes, Tyrone Mathieu, DeAndre Hopkins to Odell Beckham Jr., requesting to hear the NFL say, “We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people.” This powerful video, originally Tweeted out by New Orleans Saints Receiver, Michael Thomas, is an unforeseen sign of unity and strength amongst its players.
Thomas’ Quarterback Drew Brees found himself in hot water last week by refusing to acknowledge the reason for Kaepernick’s protest, which essentially ended his career, with his tone-deaf statement while being interviewed by Yahoo Finance: “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.” Not only did Brees receive backlash for these insensitive comments, but his character as an NFL Man of the year was challenged.
After two apologies via social media, Brees, a staunch Republican, regained my appreciation with his response to President Trump, as Trump tried to goat Brees into taking his side in this ongoing divisive
feud the President likes to engage in. Trump’s tweet praised Brees and condemned him at the same time, “I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high…”
Understanding the power he has to impact change in the NFL, on his team and in America, Drew Brees posted in an Instagram post: “I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.” Just as many white Americans have ignored and/or turn a blind eye to the impact of racism, this response from Drew Brees says he’s got the message and now understands that it’s him, his peers, and others that look like them, that could and would have the most impact on ending racism in this county.
Were you impressed with the player’s video message to their commissioner and do you feel Goodell’s thoughts and Brees’ response was authentic? Kindly share your thoughts on who’s word had the most impact by reaching out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or forward your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, be sure to subscribe to our weekly “Voice of the Fans Podcast” which is available for you on most podcasting platforms; Apple and Google Podcasts including Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio. As always, Thank You for making our voice, your choice!