By Rickey Hampton, Editor and Founder of The African-American Athlete
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is showing the world just how out of touch he is with his latest statement regarding the so-called flag protests. I say so-called flag protest because it’s not about the flag at all, nor is it about the ‘Star Spangled Banner’, even with its lyrics that uphold the virtues of slavery. These are demonstrations to point out issues of social justice and equality, which ironically, are the very tenets the flag and anthem stands for.
But, Goodell doesn’t get it. I mean, I really don’t even expect him to.
Roger Goodell is the son of a former United States republican senator (Charles Goodell, N.Y.). He has never had to deal with the issues these athletes are addressing. So, it is extraordinarily easy (and naïve) for him to pen a letter to NFL teams saying it is time to “move past” the anthem controversy.
“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem,” wrote Goodell “It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues.
“The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.”
For Goodell to say he wants to ‘move past’ the anthem issue is disgusting. What the hell does he think black people want to do? Does he think the men and women who are taking on this issue are doing it for fun?
Move past!?, Mr. Commissioner?
Black America has been trying to move past slavery, Jim Crow, racism, discrimination, police brutality, injustice in the justice system, and inferior schools for our entire existence in this country. There has never been a day in the 237-year history of America where black people have been treated under the guidelines that exist in the constitution that is supposed to protect us.
Why doesn’t Goodell ask those who discriminate and practice racism to ”move past” their deeds? Why doesn’t he ask brutal police officers, and those who stand silent and watch their brutality, to move past their actions?
Nah, Mr. commissioner. I hope those athletes don’t decide to move on until they get good and damn ready.
Black folks have fought in every war this country has participated in. Black folks have served heroically on every account, despite the racism that permeated throughout the armed forces. Sons and daughters, and mothers and fathers, shed their blood and limbs on the battlefield, only to come back to a land where they knew they would be treated unjustly.
The commissioner wants black folk to move past these issues. Sadly, the commissioner is too naive to know that we can’t move on because racism want let us.