Yesterday, a group of four NFL players published an op-ed piece on CNN calling for federal lawmakers to fix the criminal justice system and enact reforms.
The Department of Justice has begun rolling back more merciful sentencing guidelines that were put in place by former Attorney General Eric Holder thanks to neo-conservative, throwback confederate Attorney General Jeff Beauregard Sessions calling the shots.
With the entire American political spectrum in disarray, it has suddenly and disgustingly become okay for many Americans to express their allegiance to the full spectrum of white supremacist tenets. And with racial apathy in the White House at its highest level since the Reagan administration, as well as an increasing number of violent attacks against people of color occurring almost monthly, no one in this country can be excused for their ignorance.
The NFL players, comprised of Anquan Boldin, Malcolm Jenkins, Glover Quin and Johnson Bademosi, are focused on the need to move away from failed, antiquated policies like mandatory minimums. They also called on Congress to follow the lead of the states that have successfully enacted justice reform policies.
Back in March, Boldin led this same group of players to Capitol Hill to discuss their proposals. Though one can only speculate on it, it’s doubtful their words moved anyone within the current administration with the power to enact any substantive changes on the federal level.
That does not mean their mission is a failed one. On the contrary, their newly found mission is successful on several fronts.
First, it’s always good when individuals of African descent use their celebrity to bring light to situations that grossly effect their countryman.
Second, it shows other NFL players that there are still ways to speak up for disenfranchised people of color that does not involve a dramatic protest. Lastly, it shows the greater population of NFL fans that Colin Kaepernick is not some isolated troublemaker, but a conscientious and concerned citizen whose views are more in line with the common man on the street than some far left radical coo-coo, as he’s often depicted.
Is this the start of a deluge of black professional athletes that will use their influence for the betterment of all? Only time will tell. Right now, it seems that there are more activist-minded players in the NFL than at any other time in the history of the league.
That has to count for something.