Tag Archives: NFLPA

NFL Owners Need Listen to their Business Partners: The Players, Not Trump

11 Aug

Taking a knee for Black lives

 

Instead of pandering to President Donald Trump, it might be a good idea for NFL owners to pander to the group of people that they need to survive.

 

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

During the 2011 NFL Lockout, I wrote a column for the Grio.com in response to a statement made by then-Minnesota Vikings  running back Adrian Peterson, who characterized negotiations between the players and owners as “modern-day slavery.”

When folks across the political spectrum heard this, there was a collective freak out over Peterson’s remarks.  When read in their full context, the remarks show that Peterson was referring to the power relationship between the players and the owners.

Whether either side likes it or not, the relationship is symbiotic. You can’t have one without the other.

But that idea often gets lost among fans when players speak out on social issues or even when the players are demanding a better deal during labor negotiations. While the players on these teams might be what sells the tickets and jerseys, thinking isn’t supposed to be part of what they bring to the table, especially if that thought goes against the one person that the owners appear to fear the most: President Donald Trump.

That’s not lost on owners like Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, especially when it comes to the subject of protesting police brutality during the National Anthem before the games start.

AaronRogers

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers says it’s time to ignore President Trump. Photo courtesy of tmj4.com.

Thus, it was a breath of fresh air when Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers weighed in on the issue. In an interview with the Ringer.com, Rogers was asked what he would do about the protest issue if he were NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. 

In the interview, Rogers criticized the league’s original anthem policy that would require players to stand during the anthem if they came on the field or stay in the locker room if they couldn’t.

“The owners shouldn’t be able to pass rules without ratifying it through the players” and the anthem policy “definitely falls into that category,” Rogers said. “Especially for something like that — you need collaboration with the [NFL] Players Association.”

Meanwhile, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said that his team will stand for the anthem no matter what’s decided between the league and the NFLPA. 

During his first four years in the league, the players didn’t have to stand for the anthem, Rogers said. In fact, players didn’t even come out onto the field during the time.

“We’d be in the locker room, we’d come out, intros, and then the game,” Rogers said. “Then the DOD [Department of Defense] paid some money for demonstrations and flyovers and whatnot and it became a different policy.”

Rogers also pointed out that the protests started by Colin Kaepernick back in 2016 were not about the anthem or soldiers, but “social equality and racial injustice.” He said most fans inside stadiums are out in the concession stands or in the restrooms. He also said there was inconsistency in the league’s policy.

When it comes to President Trump, Rogers said players and owners need to ignore him and his tweets and not give him any more publicity than he already has.

On one level, I can agree with Rodgers, because Trump is an empty barrel with a junior-high mentality.  But as long as you have sycophantic owners like Jones, who has already decided to kowtow to Trump by saying that his team will stand for the anthem no matter what’s decided between the league and the NFLPA, ignoring Trump won’t be enough.

The truth is that the NFL’s owners have little respect for their business partners — the players (70 percent of whom are African-Americans) — and but are willing to ask , “How high?” when President Trump tells them to jump. What’s really bothersome is that Trump comes after African-American athletes to pander to a base that includes White supremacists.

NFL owners are also playing to Trump’s base as well, and that explains why Colin Kaepernick has yet to land a job in the NFL since he began taking a knee two years ago.

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Silence is Golden For the NFL: Players, Black Community Have to Stand up For Kaepernick

10 Aug
colinsittingdown

Colin Kaepernick and teammate Eric Reid (left) take a kneel during the national anthem to protest the unarmed killings of Black people by the police. As of Aug. 10, Kaepernick remains unsigned.

While fans are talking an NFL Boycott to protest Colin Kaepernick’s lack of a new team, voices that should be speaking out aren’t.

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and The Philadelphia Sunday Sun

With NFL teams still avoiding quarterback Colin Kaepernick like the plague because of his national anthem protest, African-American football fans on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are saying they’ll “boycott” the league if he remains unsigned.

While it sounds like a good and principled stand on the surface, I doubt that it will move Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners all that much. If folks decide to go after the league’s advertisers, that might move the needle, but it would take an organized effort and would also depend on the advertisers involved.

That said, there are a number of entities within the African-American community that have been eerily silent on the issue of Kaepernick and his obvious blackballing at the hands of NFL owners.

Civil Rights organizations like the NAACP haven’t said much. I haven’t heard anything from Jesse Jackson and it was until late this week that Al Sharpton mentioned Kaepernick on his radio show.

In fact, the most obvious effort on Kaepernick’s behalf appears to be coming from his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi. On Aug. 23, the fraternity, the Justice League of New York City, as well as other civil rights organizations, are planning a rally in front of the NFL’s headquarters to protest what they see as the league keeping Kaepernick from plying his trade.

There is also a website soliciting for petitions,#StandingforKaepernick https://standingforkaepernick.org/ that outlines its plans for boycotting the NFL on behalf of Kaepernick.

That will probably be the closest thing to a collective effort by the Black community on behalf of Kaepernick.

Another group that hasn’t said much publicly has been the NFL Players Association and executive director DeMaurice Smith.

While I was unsuccessful in getting in contact with Smith, a source close to the NFLPA told me the union is in contact with Kaepernick on a regular basis and is monitoring the situation. The source also said the union is there for Kaepernick if he needs them.

If African-American fans really want to stand behind Kaepernick and make their voices heard, it’s going take a truly collective effort.

And it’s also going to have to include the players themselves to be truly effective. They’re going to have to be the agents of change here.

If all the African-American players were to come together and say that they were sitting out the season until Kaepernick is signed, it would bring the NFL to its knees.  Black men make up 70 percent of the NFL’s players.  Without those players, NFL teams wouldn’t be able to field a special teams unit.

While individual players like Seattle Seahawks safety Richard Sherman and Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins have voiced their support for Kaepernick, but the players as a group or even as a rank and file members of the NFLPA have not come together as an organized collective to challenge Goodell and the owners.

The league’s African-American players see the blackballing of Kaepernick as the owners’ way to keep the players in their place and to intimidate any future activists from coming up. It’s the NFL’s way of saying, “Just shut up and play.”

Back in 1965, Black American Football League players, Abner Haynes and Cookie Gilchrist, organized a boycott of African-American players, who were being discriminated against in various throughout the city of New Orleans. The players said they would not play in the AFL’s All-Star game unless the game was moved from New Orleans.

The collective efforts of the Black players and a few whites who joined them eventually got the game moved to Houston.

At the end of the day, the African-American players themselves have to stand up for Kaepernick because this is nothing but a power move by the owners to instill the fear of the shield into the players.

Especially the Black ones.