The Root Blames Black NFL Viewers for Not Freeing 'Slaves'

September 11th, 2018 9:00 AM

Almost all was quiet on the NFL front in week 1 of the 2018 season. Protests were at a minimum, and that infuriates The Root's Senior Editor Stephen A. Crockett Jr. He excoriated African-American football players and fans, one group for refusing to spite the flag and the other for watching the games and in so doing, refusing to free the "slaves."

Miami's Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson (see photograph) were the only NFL players who actually took a knee Sunday. Teammate Robert Quinn stood with fist raised, while Philadelphia's Michael Bennett sat down near the end of the national anthem. Crockett called them the men "with real backbones and spines that point directly to the North Star."

In a fiery forum on the online magazine, Crockett ripped those who refused to protest, headlining his rant-on-steroids "NFL Players Have Stopped Kneeling Because That's What Black America Wants." The post is filled with one inflammatory outburst after another, setting the tone with this declaration:

"Sunday marked the official beginning of racist plantation NFL owners touting how well they can get their black players to abandon their community and 'toe the line,' more commonly called 'professional football.'”

Crockett sarcastically writes that week 1 of the 2018 season did not achieve its potential. Players had the opportunity "to officially disrespect the troops, the country and the flag by kneeling during the paid displays of patriotism." He said, "They should’ve been ready to bend the knee during the anthem; a symbolic measure of protest for the over-policing of black communities."

The Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins, a past protester who said it's time for NFL players to shift away from anthem protest and focus on work in their communities, is a "slave" working from within the plantation, Crockett charges:

"Malcolm Jenkins, a whitewashed voice in the NFL player push for the Movement for Black Lives had his toes on the line, despite being one of the most vocal players in NFL.

"This sounds like a man who turned his back on Harriet Tubman to do the good work of making sure he can effect change from inside the plantation. Please stop calling Malcolm Jenkins the face of Colin Kaepernick’s movement. That would be like saying Ben Carson is doing the work that Malcolm X started. Jenkins has been a vanilla version of what half-assed corporate protest looks like from the very beginning. While Jenkins didn’t protest, he’s working from the inside, which makes him the possible. He’s a jack of hearts who hopes he can skate as long as his opponents aren’t cutting.

"To be fair, I don’t know much about the slaves that sat at the table with master and worked out cotton-picking agreements because not many books were written about those folks."

Still searching for explanations about the small number of protests, Crockett theorizes that past protesters have changed their minds, the teams threatened them or they just don't care. Ultimately, he writes, they chose job security over black lives. He suggests African-American football fans may bear some blame for week one's relative peace:

"Maybe someone convinced them to stop protesting by presenting inarguable proof that their protests don’t matter, and the players took note. And while you might expect me to say something about conservatives’ distaste of any form of black protest, Trump’s hate for anything with melanin or white people who masturbate to images of old glory, that’s not the case.

"Maybe it was black people.

"Maybe the Malcolm Jenkins and the rest of the NFL athletes have abandoned Kaepernick’s cause because black people have abandoned it, too. Because, while we were laughing at white people for burning their shoes and crying about the troops, black people still sided with the owners."

These fickle SJW fans could have turned off the TV and freed the "slaves," Crockett complains:

"Or, as Harriet Tubman never said:

“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more... But the game was on.”