So what do Tee Higgins mother’s struggles have to do with his entrance into the National Football League? After all, his mother’s struggles are not a stat for the world to peruse they are her business. But upon close examination her business is a part of the NFL’s business as they seek to promote and project her and her son as the “OTHER” possessed of other worldly skill and talent and equally unworldly vices and habits unlike the rest of us
While lots of folks were distracted during the NFL draft, watching for gold-diggers and hustlers and being amused by Black momma’s telling Becky to let their son have his moment, crazy uncles who saw their chance to shine, and nosey girlfriends getting cell phones snatched from them, the real “playa’s” running real “game,” was the neo plantation owners otherwise known as the National Football League and it overseers ESPN.
If the NFL is not at least a neo- plantation, what explains the ESPN’s decision (aided by NFL) to tell the world that Tee Higgins mother struggled with addiction or that a Wisconsin player was charged with rape but acquitted, or that Javon Kinlaw said he “walked over dead bodies” to get home as a child.
There is a message in all of this morbidity and victim porn.
And if it’s not a plantation, what explains the fact that 29 of the first 32 players taken in the 2020 NFL draft were Black, but the living rooms of those on the buying end of the talent last weekend, were filled with White people. One can count on maybe two hands the number of Black GM’s and coaches and essential front office personnel in the National Football League. And there are absolutely no team owners that are Black. And Jay-Z’s “fronting” for their hustle does not count.
And if we are honest we have to admit that “The Combine” and the accompanying player evaluations have traits similar to a slave auction. Every part of a player is examined. Little to nothing is off limits in fact not that long ago a star receiver was asked if his ‘momma was a hoe.’
Black athletes and athletes in general, personal struggles should not be exposed to the world; it has nothing to do with whether a guy can catch a pass, block or tackle.
But it is important to the NFL because it’s another step in the commodification of the athlete. It’s another part of the circus, the show. Black pain is a part of the entertainment.
Otherwise anyone with decent parents and a little human empathy, would see that these characterizations were inappropriate, intrusive and invasive. Think about it, this wildly offensive public trespass sat off no alarms, among the dozens of people in charge of its public relations at ESPN or the NFL. And it was worse last year!
ESPN when confronted with this strange behavior –it’s important to note that they did not apologize, nor did they give any real consideration that it was in poor taste and should have reconsidered. Instead they issued a statement responding to the Sporting News questions about it, saying, “Our NFL Draft coverage analyzes the prospects on the field and introduces the human side of the players by telling their stories, including the obstacles their families have overcome as part of the journey to the NFL.”
The “human side?” Are they implying they have an inhuman other side? Or that the athletes are not human? We can only speculate, ESPN wrote it down!
However this rates along with Liam Neeson’s racist perceptions of Black collective guilt, as one of the most revelatory unconscious tells ever uncovered. ESPN by saying they are exposing the players “human side” are implying that there is some other side, some other manifestation by which to see the players. They likely didn’t mean to expose themselves, but they did.
The truth is much of the audience that watches Black athletes on Sundays views them as thugs, potential criminals and just Negroes, on Monday. It explains why people like OJ and to a lesser extent Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods were so embraced, they don’t come off as so well Black, they are not controversial they are kind of pet Negroes.
On the other hand, when NFL players tried to share with the world their reality as it relates to police violence, the league was not interested. When Colin Kaepernick took a knee in protest of this plague on Black America, the NFL treated him as if he had raped Roger Goodell’s daughter. The NFL conspired to banish Kap, which they intended as a warning to the rest of the “players.” They sent a message,’ if you get out of line this will happen to you.’ And it worked with the exception of very few, including Kenny Stills and Eric Reid who continued to actually behave like men and maintained the courage of their convictions.
And in reality the league was opposed because it was counter to their class interests!
While folks including some athletes continue to parrot the company line, that the problem of police violence isn’t the system of policing, but rather “just a few bad cops,” the owners understand better than you the true role of the police. They know the cop’s real role is to keep Black folks in line and reinforce all the negative stereotypes in our society. The know the cops exist to help them maintain a hold on their private property and their stolen riches, while working to prevent unity of the races and the inevitable rebellion aimed at reclaiming what was stolen.
The wealthy billionaires that own the NFL have a stake in things as they are, the brand of capitalism that allows them to treat players like neo-slaves partially because the majority are Black. The truth is Black pain and even discrimination is tolerable for the rich White men who control the NFL. They understand that portraying Black athletes as “other” keeps up the separation of the working class. They understand that this division keeps them phat and rolling in profit.
No the NFL is not quite a plantation and ESPN aren’t quite overseers, but they might as well be because they are going to keep doing anything they want because they know that like the average slave you, nor the athlete is gonna do a damn thing about it.
And while it may be a stretch to say the NFL is pimping it has all the ingredients: money, “hoes,” “playas” and tricks!
justice then peace