NFL Anthem policy: owners understand their interests, they are on their own side

scene from 12 years a slave

The NFL owners have drawn their line in the sand, so to speak,  by demanding that players not only stand for the anthem but “show respect” for it and the US flag , and in doing so they are openly playing out class politics. The owners  unlike the timid and confused working class and the oppressed Black nationality, are taking their own side in the class struggle.

The NY Times and other liberal prognosticators have it wrong, this decision was not based on fear of President Trump, though the loss of revenue due to some of its more racist fans, did play into their decision, it was not the primary reason.

And as Philadelphia Eagles star Chris Long  tweeted,” This is not patriotism….These owners don’t love America more than the players demonstrating….”

Truth is the majority of NFL owners realize that it simply is not in their class interest as one-percenters to allow protests against police violence to continue. It is police violence and the threat of it, that allows the owners to maintain their ill –gotten, riches and helps them maintain it. The vast majority of the owners have gotten rich by some legal means of fraud, swindle or dispossession of workers possessions and wages.  They need the police to prevent workers from putting an end to this thievery.

Hell if it weren’t for the police NFL owners wouldn’t have the stadiums which they stole from tax-payers wallets, because angry citizens would have torn down these structures before they could be completed. Police serve to reinforce the inequities and prejudices of the society, while protecting and serving the rich, the ruling class.

Clearly this flies in the face of those who “believe” that the police are accountable to them, because supposedly the police are paid out of their taxes. But all kinds of things that people don’t support are paid with “our” tax dollars and we don’t have a bit of say about it.

Furthermore the wealthy owners have no desire to help everyday folks understand the real role of the police. They also have no interest in addressing in “real” ways societal racism, institutional or otherwise, it simply is not in their best or class interest.

In fact the reason the rulers hate protest is because it always has the potential to raise others consciousness. Protest is effective because it does cause folks, who aren’t participating to think on occasion, as it surely has caused some fans to denounce police violence, contrary to what the conservative and some liberal commentators would have us believe.

The flag and the anthem are there to reinforce the owner’s position, to convince the too easy to dupe, US working class that they and the owners have the same interests. In some respects they do, as some US workers cling to White Supremacy more desperately than life itself.

Also, attention placed on nationalism and patriotism reinforce the propaganda that we are all “one nation under God.” But the owners have no real national allegiance,their loyalty is to the dollar and the making of money; period.

Ironically,  the oppositional element of the White working class has it wrong, police violence is not just a Black issue, but a working persons  issue. There have been many incidents, (some videotaped) in which  unarmed White people have been murdered and brutalized. The difference is many Whites have weak responses to this injustice, because they have been programmed to blame the victim. ‘What was mom doing breathing so loud?’ they ask. ‘If he would have just followed orders she would have been fine,’ they say.  White workers refuse to accept their brutalization because they fear the truth, acknowledging  police violence as a White problem, forces Whites to conclude, ‘hey bro they got no love for me either.’

Ironically the rich folks, the owners, operate as a group, but Black players who are overly affected by police violence operate as “individuals” as demonstrated by the relatively few Black players that have taken part in the protests. The NFL is about 70 percent Black, which means there are over 1100 Black players out of a total of 1696, yet less than 50 brave souls, protested police violence on a consistent level. What that means is Black NFL’ers are not on their own side.

The quiescent Black NFl’ers are aware of racism and police harassment, as evidenced by an Associated Press survey a few years ago of Black NFL Pro Bowl participants. The survey asked 56 of the 59 Black players on hand, whether they, or someone they knew have ever experienced racial profiling: all said yes.

And the average professional football career spans an average of five years, after which they face the same odds of being harassed, as other average Black folks. In fact cops have been caught harassing active Black athletes. Philadelphia Eagles outspoken defensive lineman Michael Bennett was roughed up in Las Vegas recently.  Milwaukee Bucks Sterling Brown was tasered and harassed as Milwaukee cops tried to show him who is boss.

However Black players seem content to sit it out, claim their rights as individuals, while their silence lends support to the other side.

In some cases they outright sell out as in the case of Minnesota Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs, who when asked about the owners decision said, “I belong to an organization.” Interesting choice of words, since belong is also defined as  “being the property of.”  He also claimed that he is part of a collective inferring that, his obligation is to  the Vikings. Diggs may have exposed part of the problem or maybe he isn’t aware that times have changed, he is no longer bound to “Massa” but actually has a union (NFLPA)  which is his true organization and true collective, which is there to protect him, if and when “Massa’s” organization (Vikings) tries to treats him like he really does belong to them..

But what about the collective he was born into and as his peers have attested, the collective that are victimized by racial profiling and by extent police violence and harassment. Shouldn’t he have some allegiance to that collective, that group which he was born into?

Hopefully the players do as Dion Cartwright  Baltimore Raven fan and activist Dion Cartwright suggested, “use their power and make a decision to take a knee and be willing to take a fine. My hope,” she said, “is that all players of color and whoever make a decision not based on the dollar”

The owners have chosen sides shouldn’t the NFL players, the NFL Players Association, Black folks and yes White folks who have no REAL power, take their own side and fight to end the scourge of police violence. Or better yet to change the system that deems it necessary.

justice then peace


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