WashPost's Jenkins: NFL Owners Shaming Dissenters, Blacklisting Kaepernick

Any difference between the news and opinion sections of The Washington Post and the sports pages is barely discernible in the current age of racial hysteria. Post sports writers like Sally Jenkins demonstrate this by taking up the social justice crusade for rebel without a team Colin Kaepernick.

This week Jenkins attacked archaic, old NFL owners for allegedly blacklisting Kaepernick, for creating a monoculture that shames dissenters like him into silence. Jenkins argues:

The NFL’s issue with Colin Kaepernick is not about belief, but conformity to its monoculture. Owners don’t really care much what Kaepernick believes, what his cause is. They care that he is a disrupter-dissenter who refuses to play the stock character role assigned to him and might threaten a bottom line. As a result, they have blacklisted him — there is no other term for it — and in doing so have unintentionally underscored his message about pervasive injustice for blacks. This larger wrong is beginning to overtake any original insult or disrespect he may have committed.

These remarks beg the question of Jenkins: are the NFL owners assigning the same monoculture to Michael Bennett, Marshawn Lynch, Malcolm Bennett and other active players -- all openly dissenting without reprimand or blacklisting? They are all starting players of high regard; Kaepernick launched his radical crusade in his contract year, one in which he did not hold a starter's role for the entire season, nor did he earn all-pro status.

Jenkins claims that by attempting to shut Kaepernick's mouth for fear of offending customers, the NFL has only opened more mouths. Whose mouths? The NAACP of Atlanta, Spike Lee, southern clergy, college presidents, lawyers and law officers, Hank Aaron, Susan Sarandon, Roland Martin and others. What do these people have in common? They all reside on the far political Left.

Jenkins and Rob Ruck, sports historian at the University of Pittsburgh and author of “Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game,” are hoping the drumbeat for Colin will gain greater moment and "cost the NFL a segment of its fan base.”

Atlanta NAACP vice president Gerald Griggs is calling for a boycott against NFL teams because “the only language they speak is revenue,” Jenkins writes. "The pro-Kaepernick movement is not a small minority but a growing coalition, he said, and he predicts an increase in involvement by NFL players, such as the dozen Cleveland Browns who took a knee this weekend."

Griggs cites a growing “economic disturbance” and says, “We can see clearly where the mood of the nation is, and I don’t think NFL owners want to be on the other side of the mood of the nation. It’s a long season, and steam will build.” If this week's rally for CK in New York had drawn 50,000 protesters instead of 1,000, his argument on the mood of the nation might carry more weight.

Jenkins recalled the owners of the early-day NFL who pushed back against the status quo racism and ushered Black athletes into the league. "Where are those owners today?" she asks. Former NFL player Pellom McDaniels, now the curator at Emory University’s archives and a professor of African American Studies, provides the answer she wanted: “I don’t think those owners exist anymore.”

This argument might hold a shred of credibility if not for the simple fact that NFL rosters are 70 percent Black.

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McDaniels provided more debatable fodder for Jenkins, claiming the NFL's enormous commercial success has "bred brand conservatism — and short-circuited conversations about racial issues inside of the league." This fascistic brand of NFL "conservativism'' is attempting to dictate LGBT-approved social policy in states that host the Super Bowl.

Jenkins sees the NFL market changing and warns it can ill afford to lose any segment of its core audience. But NFL owners are too blind to see this because:

NFL ownership has calcified into an unimaginative feudal society with fixed obligations, in which they think that an experiment is fooling with the food at the concessions or with rule changes. The average age of owners is over 70.

Jenkins longs for a smart leader (one who hasn't made the mistake of turning 70) who will step forward to say, "Ostracism is not what we do. We applaud our players for taking positions on social issues, and we, too, want to live in a more just and equitable society, and that’s the broadest base to which we appeal.”

Again her argument is easily shot down. Though they're not owners, coaches Pete Carroll of Seattle and Jack Del Rio of Oakland said -- without rebuke from their respective owners -- they're fine with their players' social justice activism. No ostracism there. As a matter of fact, none of the active players cited above are being ostracized for protesting.

Jenkins also quotes the always influential Pastor Debleaire Snell of Huntsville, Ala., who helped launch the “I’m Blacking You Out” movement. He said the league’s "collective refusal" to invite Kaepernick to a training camp “reeks of corporate arrogance that says essentially, ‘Even though this is a valuable cause to a large portion of fans, we still have the expectation they will be there on opening day.’ And that’s a gross miscalculation.”

Where is this "collective refusal"? It's dispersed into 32 front offices each selecting their own quarterbacks for the 2017 season.

To say Jenkins and her leftist friends are unconvincing, or factual, in their arguments is a gross understatement.

 

 


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