According to many, Jerry Jones is the most powerful owner in the National Football League. Though not used to winning as much as Jones and his Cowboys, Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has shown that he has neither the desire nor civility to understand where marginalized people are coming from with their anthem protests. This shouldn’t be that much of a surprise when we remember his reactions and denials when taken to task for the grotesquely racist team name or the demeaning images of Native Americans that are celebrated among those who call the Redskins their favorite football team.
Before we celebrate Redskins owner Dan Snyder locking arms with players, remember he donated $1M to Trump and refuses to change team’s name.
It was Jerry Jones who had always bristled at the very idea of anyone telling him how to manage the Dallas Cowboys, or how to discipline his team. In the past, Jones has made moves to protect players, whether they were right or wrong. So much so that he still has the reputation of being something of a shield for the missteps of his players. Daniel Snyder has been fighting tooth and nail to purge the Redskins brand of its racial connotations by way of misleading polls and donations to Native American interest groups.
Though I do not have any insight into the makings of a megalomaniac or becoming a billionaire, an overwhelming drive for power has to play a role in helping individuals accumulate billions of dollars in resources. Several weeks ago, much to the surprise of many, Jerry Jones locked arms with his players and took a knee prior to the playing of the National Anthem.
Initially, it appeared as if Jones had taken a 180 degree turn from a prior stance against NFL players protesting, to supporting players in their desires to see justice and equality playout in favor of African Americans in the criminal justice system. Daniel Snyder also locked arms with players for what was initially viewed as solidarity over the issues of police brutality and oppression. However, it has since been revealed that it was only a publicity stunt meant as a thumb in the eye for President Donald J. Trump and his assertion that NFL owners were afraid of players and should force them to stand.
Jerry Jones and Donald Trump think they own Black people: https://t.co/fMQovKZV7K
So, imagine my un-surprise when Snyder and Jones both reportedly came out with decrees demanding player participation during the National Anthem, which brings them in lockstep with President Donald J. Trumps initial desire for the NFL to demand players stand.
There are plenty of theories regarding why President Trump is so obsessed with the NFL, but I have never seen a greater spectacle of contrived nationalist pride than at football games. Trump didn’t politicize the NFL nor do the protests. It was the NFL itself. Imagery and nationalism have been used for decades to force people to make a choice between their personal beliefs and allegiance to the flag.
Donald Trump is clearly using symbolism to force a referendum that places him on the side of America and the flag, while placing dissenters on the side of chaos, terrorists and all the dark others that are perpetually pushed on the U.S. population by news media gatekeepers as scapegoats.
Now, after appeasing players with a publicity stunt even Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes couldnt have conceived, both Snyder and Jones are demanding players respect the flag by standing at attention during the anthem.
According to the Washington Post, Redskins players have gone on record stating that there has been no official mandate from the front office to stand during the anthem. However, Jerry Jones went on a local Dallas radio station on Tuesday reiterating his stance on player participation.
Meanwhile, president of the NFLPA DeMaurice Smith released a statement defending the First Amendment Rights of players;
NFLPA releases a statement in response to Jerry Jones’ threats: https://t.co/A9N1lkLuRY
The current dialectic reflects an age old practice of smoke and mirrors that African Americans often encounter when addressing institutional racism. Were told that our overtures for freedom are disrespectful to the flag, and that patience will eventually result in change. Its all a delay tactic meant to shift the narrative and dilute the issue. Police brutality and oppression are the issue. Not the flag, not the anthem, but the unfulfilled promises to our ancestors that have continually, historically and consistently been denied.
Its not a football issue, or a First Amendment issue, but a human rights issue. It’s funny how black folks, and their allies, who plead for fair and humane treatment of African Americans and people of color are demonized. By funny, I really mean a crying shame.