Politics versus sports, free speech versus corporate uniformity, the rights of the worker versus the rights of the employer. These dueling dialectics are swirling around the National Football League at an ever-increasing rate. With the sacrifice made by Colin Kaepernick, the idea of free speech in corporate America became one of the most hotly debated topics of the past decade.
Even though both black and white American athletes have used their respective platforms to champion causes dear to their hearts for more than 60 years (at least), it is only now that we hear contrarian cries from mainstream-minded fans and NFL owners alike.
Why? Because America’s oozing sores of hypocrisy are agonizing when the dressing is ripped off.
The things that pain us cannot be covered up any longer. This is the gist of what Kaepernick was trying to accomplish; reminding America that police brutality and the eventual exoneration via the criminal justice system are simply extensions of racist practices that have their origins in American society’s beginnings.
Though the owners and their apologists have been keen on reminding us all how they feel about the players exercising free speech, nothing has been said about coaches or other team executives leveraging the clout afforded to them by the National Football League to endorse candidates or back legislation of one sort or another.
Last year, Denver Broncos general manager John Elway was the source of much discourse when endorsing Republican Neil Gorsuch’s bid for the United States Supreme Court on Denver Broncos letterhead. Broncos vice president of public relations Patrick Smyth was quick to distance the franchise from the letter. Of course, he has the right to endorse whoever or whatever he wishes as an American citizen, but the use of Denver Broncos letterhead was a conscious act. Make no mistake about that.
Former Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan was head over heels for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump prior to and immediately following the election, but no one said a thing.
On Friday it was reported that Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid would be helping Missouri Gov. Jeff Coyler’s election campaign. Reid will join him at two events, on June 4 in Wichita and on June 6 in Mission Hills.
The candidate Reid is backing is a Republican who ascended to the executive office in January after former Gov. Sam Brownback joined the Trump administration.
Colyer’s Republican Party affiliation isn’t what’s causing steam, but his recent signing of an adoption bill that allows faith-based adoption agencies to reject gay and lesbian couples.
According to Good Housekeeping, there are 107,918 foster children eligible and waiting to be adopted. About half will be adopted. Another 20,000 age out of the foster care system without being adopted.
A myriad of statistics shows that children who are raised in a stable household are far more likely to become productive citizens as adults than those who are raised in foster homes. I’m a firm believer in loving parents and stable homes for all children, and a parent’s sexuality being the deciding factor in whether a child is loved or institutionalized is draconian.
This isn’t simply a ‘gay’ issue but a societal one. Stable love versus transitional care is key to a child’s development. Does Andy Reid’s backing of Colyer mean he’s anti-gay? No, it doesn’t. However, from a sociopolitical perspective, it could certainly be framed that way.
The hypocrisy of privilege means it’s likely that coaches and execs will continue to be allowed to endorse whatever political idea they chose while players continue to be told to shut up and play.