Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Preening And Killing

On a positive note, a June 10 press release indicated

The NFL is growing our social justice efforts through a 10-year total $250 million fund to combat systemic racism and support the battle against the ongoing and historic injustices faced by African-Americans. The NFL and our clubs will continue to work collaboratively with NFL players to support programs to address criminal justice reform, police reforms, and economic and educational advancement. In addition to the financial commitment, we will continue to leverage the NFL Network and all of our media properties to place an increased emphasis on raising awareness and promoting education of social justice issues to our fans and help foster unity.

As we all know, money talks and "foolish, insolent talk" walks, and $250,000,000 is, well, $250 million dollars. It's peanuts for the National Football League but for the rest of us, and even a tiny portion of that would be a big boost for an organization hostile to the nuclear family.

Additionally, on Tuesday we learned

Each week, the NFL will feature the story of a victim of social or racial injustice or police brutality and tell that person’s story “in and around” the games, the league said.

That is potentially useful, though God is in the details and how that is handled will determine its value (or cost) to race relations. It is less consequential that

NFL end zones will be inscribed this season with two slogans: “It Takes All Of Us” on one end line, “End Racism” on the other.

As part of its social justice awareness initiatives, the NFL also will allow similar visuals on helmets and caps.

Previously announced were decals on the back of helmets, or patches on team caps, displaying names or phrases to honor victims of racism and/or police brutality.

Now, a T-shirt designed by NFL Players Association executive committee member Michael Thomas, a safety with the Houston Texans, can be worn in warmups. That T-shirt says: “Injustice against one of us is injustice against all of us,” in the front. The back says reads: “End racism.”

Players can choose either a name of a victim or one of four preferred phrases the NFL has approved: “Stop Hate”; “It Takes All Of Us”; “End Racism”; or “Black Lives Matter.’” The same choices are available for coaches and on-field officials.

Each week, the NFL will feature the story of a victim of social or racial injustice or police brutality and tell that person’s story “in and around” the games, the league said.

This is for show or, as we would call it 40 years ago when it was a thing (and before it was internalized), for self-actualization.  It will make the players, league owners, and fans alike feel good  and feelings are paramount.

The slogans in the end zones are curious, if predictable.  "End racism" is counter-productive. The goal of institutions in this matter should be to contribute to an end to discrimination or to institutional racism. The end-product of racism is discrimination and institutional racism; they should be rooted out. 

"Racism" is a feeling or an opinion held by a lot of people. And if the NFL isn't saying that you (if white),  being racist is the problem, a lot of white people will come away (and they will go away) believing they're being targeted for being racist.

And the NFL is saying that.  An NFL end zone is over 53 yards wide. There is enough room for "end discrimination" or "end institutional racism" but the institution of the NFL prefers "end racism."  It's you who are the problem.

Similarly, the NFL could include "vote"- as has the NBA- as one of its preferred phrases for the players. However, the owners are very wealthy individuals, most of whom likely believe a Republican government is good for their business, so that is out.

For that matter, the entire enterprise is one big con. If the National Football League wishes to exhibit responsible behavior and put its newly-found social conscience to work in a useful and potent matter, there is one option- and only one option- available.

The league begins its season on Thursday, September 10  and the first Sunday of play is to be September 13, 2020. If the Hippocratic Oath- "first, do no harm"- is to be applied to football, the course of action is obvious. Don't even start; do no play. It would, additionally, signal to the general public the seriousness of SARS-CoV-2, even persuading some to don maks 

Billions of dollars are at stake- as are lives.  But this novel coronavirus does seem to discriminate by race as minorities are being hit hardest (video from 4/20).. Someone should remind the NFL- and its players- that a whole lot of those lives saved would be black.


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