So I had this dream last night. Brothers were in an uproar. The NFL had shown what it truly thought about Black men. One Black NFL player had dared to challenge racist police brutality in America. He used his platform as an NFL player to bring attention to the vicious treatment of Black men and all of Black society by a racist system of white supremacy. But the NFL was having none of that. The NFL executives said collectively, “We need to make an example of that uppity one,” they said. “He won’t be working for us again.” They felt confident that the other players would take heed and resist any outward showing of solidarity with the ostracized player.
But now the Brothers in the community were incensed. They recalled how when there was a runaway slave, the slave master would go to extraordinary lengths to find him and bring him back. They would whip him in front of the other slaves to show what would happen if any of them decided that freedom was a good idea. The Brothers understood the message being sent by the NFL executives. They weren’t having it. If this is what the NFL thinks of Brothers who stand up for their people, then we won’t have anything to do with the NFL. We won’t buy tickets to the games, we won’t purchase merchandise, we won’t celebrate anything about the NFL. We won’t even watch the games. We will boycott the NFL! A few Brothers demurred. “I understand what the NFL is saying about strong Black men but I can’t give up my football!” The other Brothers scoffed at them and went on about their preparations for the boycott. The Brothers were unified and strong. Wind of the boycott reached the NFL owners and executives. A couple were concerned. “Calm down,” roared one of the owners. “Black men give up football? Don’t even worry. Especially if their team is winning!” They sensed that if we can’t give up football after how they treated one of our own who stood up for us, we would never be a threat to them.
But the Brothers were determined. They concluded that if they turned back now, it would demonstrate that they had no real resolve and that they would be seen as chumps who couldn’t take a solid stand against the NFL no matter how much the League demonstrated its disdain for strong Black men. The Black Brothers were strong, united, and ready to take a stand.
But then came game time. There began to be cracks in the unity. One Brother said, “Boycotting won’t do any good. The games will go on without us anyway. It’s not enough of us to make a difference.” Another Brother said, “There are more important issues in the Black community than boycotting football. We need to be about those issues.” Other Brothers had other reasons for breaking the unity. Several just slipped on their team jerseys and headed for the stadium, the sports bar, the TV at home, or wherever they watch their favorite team. One other thing. Many of the young Brothers in the community had been watching the men. Now they were confused. They had read about how our people had made some serious sacrifices along the way to gain some semblance of freedom. And now these men couldn’t even give up NFL football?
I woke up. I see the Chiefs won. But we still losing.
(p.s I put this in the form of dream to make a point.)
~ Mickey Dean, Guest Blogger