This week, Janelle Monae and newcomer Jidenna led a march protesting police brutality in Philly. Now, Monáe and her Wondaland Records crew have released “Hell You Talmbout”, a powerful protest song, featuring the entire Wondaland roster (Monáe, Jidenna, Roman GianArthur, Deep Cotton, St. Beauty, and George 2.0).
Even before the Marshawn Lynch vs the media debacle, I’ve always had a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach about the inner-workings of the professional sports arena, but in particular, the NFL. I remember watching an NFL draft one night, and thinking, “Wow. This kinda makes me uncomfortable.” Something about mostly Black men being paraded around, performing an extremely dangerous sport, while white men made billions, yes, BILLIONS of dollars for doing…nothing. Then there were the fans. Some fans who really liked football, but could really care less about the young Black men who were playing. Something told me that these players weren’t really seen a people, as human beings, but as property…animals, even.
70% of NFL players are African American (not including Blacks from the Carribean, etc), while only 7% are white. Yet, there are very few Black coaches, senior admin, Vice presidents, physicians and general managers within the league. As far as owners? Well, there are no Blacks at all. The richest of all NFL owners, via SportsBusiness Daily, is Paul Allen, at a whopping $15 billion.
I’d watch an NFL game from time to time. I plan on attending a Super Bowl party this weekend. I actually love watching football. But things REALLY started to bother me when Rams players were condemned and even threatened by people for their “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gestures, showing support for slain unarmed teenager Mike Brown at the hands of St. Louis police officer, Darren Wilson. It’s amazing how much of a threat a Black man can be even with his hands above his head.
The St. Louis Police Officers Association called for the players to be disciplined. Jeff Roorda, supreme douchebag and Business Manager of the SLPOA had this to say about the players’ demonstration:
“I know that there are those that will say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Well I’ve got news for people who think that way, cops have first amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours. I’d remind the NFL and their players that it is not the violent thugs burning down buildings that buy their advertiser’s products. It’s cops and the good people of St. Louis and other NFL towns that do. Somebody needs to throw a flag on this play. If it’s not the NFL and the Rams, then it’ll be cops and their supporters.”
Jeff Roorda is the same douchebag who was recently seen wearing an “I am Darren Wilson” bracelet. So let me break this down: It’s OK for him, a white man to exercise his first amendment rights, but not the Black NFL players, who apparently, if it weren’t for him and his colleagues, wouldn’t have careers. As a reminder, Roorda and people like him, all of the Caucasian persuasion, helped to erect a billboard in support of Darren Wilson, with the words “Pants Up, Don’t Loot” on it… because that’s not racist at all.*side eye*
NBA Players were also mocked for wearing “I Can’t Breathe” T-Shirts in solidarity with Eric Garner’s friends and family after he was choked to death by New York police officer, Daniel Pantaleo. Dan Bernstein, a prominent sports radio host took to Twitter to be indirectly racist when Derrick Rose donned an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt during warm-ups:
So, Mr. Bernstein, are you suggesting that Derrick Rose, a grown ass man cannot “talk” and intelligently articulate his thoughts to explain why he felt choking an unarmed man to death was wrong? Mr. Bernstein, would you mind explaining to us why you thought it was RIGHT? I, similar to how you felt about Derrick Rose, doubt you could…
Back to Lynch and the smear campaign that reached its boiling point (I think) today. Lynch, Seahawks Running Back has made it clear, time and time again, that he does not like engaging with the media. He was recently fined $100,000 for not showing up to talk to press. Now, Marshawn IS showing up, and he has ONE answer for every question: “I’m only here so I won’t get fined.”
The (white) media is LIVID. How dare this Negro be so self DETERMINED?! This dreadlock rocking, gold tooth having, Africa chain wearing, Beast Mode hat wearing N-…I mean Negro!
$8 an hour? Is this a minimum wage reference? Look Brian, sorry to break it to you, but the NFL could and would exist without the press. These are just the facts. And I think that’s exactly what Marshawn Lynch is trying to let you know. He was GREAT before he even knew you existed. It’s actually the PLAYERS that are putting money in everybody’s pockets…not the other way around. What Marshawn Lynch is saying and HAS said is that he isn’t comfortable talking to the media because what he says gets twisted and blown out of proportion. What he’s SAID is that his love of the game and his family is all that he cares about. What he said TODAY is that the media is not the only way for fans to get an inside look on his life and his personality. After all, there’s social media. (He has 374,000 followers, by the way)
“Hey look, I mean, all week I told y’all what’s up. And for some reason y’all continue to come back and do the same thing that y’all did. I don’t know what story y’all trying to get out of me. I don’t know what image y’all trying to portray of me. But it don’t matter what y’all think, what y’all say about me.”
Like Marshawn, Richard Sherman, also of the Seattle Seahawks, has been called a “thug” too. (Politically correct term to slur Black people, as Sherman put it, and I agree). Sherman wanted to know why hockey players (predominately white), who are almost GUARANTEED to sock each other in the face every game, have never been called thugs? Well Richard, I’d like some answers too. I’d like to hear someone say it. For once, I’d just like someone to SAY it. No more side stepping, no more obscure tweets. Just SAY IT.
Black men who are as powerful as Lynch and Sherman are a threat. The fact that they use their voices, or even opt NOT to use their voices pisses people off. These men are not supposed to have an opinion. They are supposed to play. They are supposed to make white men rich, and they are supposed to do what they are told…and they better do it NOW. If they don’t, they will face a backlash so strong, it will make their heads spin. Fine after fine, after fine…racist tweet, after racist blog, after racist Yahoo/Youtube thread until they get back in their “places.”
What Marshawn Lynch is doing is quite powerful. He is unwilling to bend, break, or fold simply because he’s being cut a check. He doesn’t BELONG to anyone and he is making that clear. For far too long, I think people have been valuing the game and not the (Black) players. They love their athletic ability, their swag…so long as they don’t get out of line and start using their BRAINS. What Jimmy The Greek said is still relevant today:
“The black is a better athlete to begin with because he’s been bred to be that way — because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs. This goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trading, the owner — the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have a big black kid.”
And that is essentially how many people in the predominately white sports media look at Black athletes today. Actually, that’s how some people OUTSIDE of sports media look at Black athletes today. The reality is, people aren’t mad at Marshawn Lynch for not engaging the media…people are mad at Marshawn Lynch because he has the audacity to think that he has the right to do so.