Sports

The NFL’s statement on George Floyd proves the league will never care about Black people

Spare us your empty words, Commissioner Goodell.

Spare us your empty words, Commissioner Goodell.
Image: Getty Images

In America, there are two types of racism. Type-A is often “tolerated.” It leads to microaggressions, redlining, gerrymandering, and voter suppression. These are the people that will donate money to just causes, but also get uncomfortable when their daughter brings a Black man home. Type-B, on the other hand, is in your face. It’s aggressive and lets itself be known. It’s Fox News, Donald Trump, homegrown terrorists from January 6th, Confederate Flags, MAGA hats, and tiki torches in Charlottesville.

Black people know how to deal with Type-B, as that system — in minuscule amounts — at least has some level of respect as its foundation. “Y’all stay over there, and we’ll stay over here.” But, Type-A, man, it can be soul-crushing. It’s the kind of prejudice that will drink with you after work at happy hour, but then have an excuse for why you keep getting passed over for promotions even when you’re consistently told that you’re a huge asset to the company.

The NFL is Type-A.

On Tuesday morning, a year to the date after George Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin as his fellow former officers stood by and did nothing — except for harassing Darnella Frazier, the Black teenage girl that recorded one of the most historic examples of police brutality in American history — the NFL released a statement about Floyd that was so disrespectful, self-righteous, and oblivious that it felt like the league pissed all over Black America.

As we mark one year since the murder of George Floyd, our thoughts are with the Floyd family and all who have been affected by his death. This has been a year filled with reflection and reckoning, one that has renewed our commitment to build and strengthen our communities. The work for equitable justice must continue and the NFL and its clubs are proud to work alongside NFL players to build a more just society. #InspireChange

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid still don’t have jobs, but Tim Tebow does. This is a league that’s approximately 70 percent Black but only has five African-American general managers, three African-American head coaches, one African-American team president, and has never had an African-American majority owner, but yet, that “statement” was the best that a league that’s dominated by Black people — on the field — could do, of all days.

Pathetic doesn’t even come close to describing how poor of an effort this was by the NFL.

…our thoughts are with the Floyd family and all who have been affected by his death. This has been a year filled with reflection and reckoning.

These 26 words are the most infuriating part of the statement, as they lack accountability in how much of a role the league played in how bad race relations have gotten over the last five years. The blackballing of Kaepernick and Reid was the gasoline and match that Trump and his supporters needed to march through the streets of Charlottesville and storm the walls of the U.S. Capitol. But now, all of a sudden, the league has sympathy for “all who have been affected” by Floyd’s death, as if every Black American doesn’t have their own police brutality tale that has “affected” them. Reflections and reckonings mean nothing when they show up hundreds of years after the fact. Especially when this league is still screwing over its former Black players as they struggle to get the monetary assistance promised to them for the brain injuries they suffered from making the NFL this country’s most popular and profitable sports league.

But, what do you expect — this is America. And football is America’s game. There’s a reason why the NFL’s racism is so reminiscent of the types we see in everyday life. For instance, the New York Times recently reported on how 14 Trump voters feel about Floyd’s legacy.

For what?

Who needs to hear from them? Where’s the value in this story?

And in states like Georgia and Oklahoma, governors have signed legislation to stop the way slavery and racism are taught in schools, all because it makes white people uncomfortable. Tulsa is in Oklahoma. Go Google what happened there in 1921, and then think about if it was ever taught you in school.

For all the money that’s been donated, the “tough” conversations that were had, and programming that’s been aired over the last year, it’s still difficult to believe that the “racial awakening” that occurred after the murder of George Floyd is sustainable — and believable — in a country like America. Because when the league that gainfully employs, highlights, and showcases the most Black people in professional sports does something like the NFL did on Tuesday morning, it becomes quite clear how little they think of Black America.

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