Thanks to the unemployed San Francisco 49’ers former QB Colin Kaepernick, the NFL protests have been going on for over a year now. Yet if you asked many, of the NFL players who are kneeling during the national anthem, they probably couldn’t tell you exactly what it is they are protesting. In fact, if the NFL players really wanted to make a difference, maybe they should focus their efforts on blacks killed by other blacks versus blacks killed by police.
In a passionate column published this week in conservative media, Indiana Attorney General Curtis T. Hill pleaded with the NFL’s players to stop kneeling during the national anthem to protest police shootings and start taking a “stand” against black-on-black violence.
“While it is true that each year a number of blacks die as a result of being shot or otherwise killed by the police, that number is but a fraction of the number of black people murdered by black people,” he wrote in an op-ed for The Daily Caller.
“We live in a nation where blacks make up approximately 13 percent of the population and yet account for more than half of the murders,” he added. “Shockingly, 90 percent of those victims are murdered by other blacks. Something is terribly wrong.”
Just a couple weeks ago, Chicago suffered its 500th homicide for this year alone when Dashawn Townes, a 34-year-old father of two teens, was gunned down outside his home.
“I don’t like the way it is now,” his stepmother, Cheryl Hardy, said to the Chicago Tribune at the time. “You can’t sit on your porch for five minutes without (gunfire).”
Yet the NFL has been sickeningly silent in the face of all this violence, choosing instead to focus its efforts on the few times blacks were killed by the police — and this despite the fact most of those shootings were justified, as noted by Hill, a Republican who also happens to be black.
“(C)ontrary to the tone of many protests concerning police shootings, not every police shooting is unjust,” he wrote. “In fact, the overwhelming majority are proven to be a reasonable use of force often connected with violent criminal behavior. Yet none of the 6,000 murders of young black people was justifiable. None. Every single death was preventable.”
But again, the NFL has said nothing about these deaths. It’s almost as if “black lives actually don’t matter to the NFL,” as argued last month by Daniel Horowitz in a piece for Conservative Review.
Dovetailing back to Hill, he rightly pointed out that NFL franchises and athletes have an incredible platform from which they could “magnify the urgency of this tragic loss of life.”
“Their actions on the field and off can unite them as men of influence who stand for justice,” he wrote. “Rather than kneeling in silence, they should choose to stand as men of character and courage and tackle black-on-black violence.”
That’s a great point, but will anyone in the NFL actually accept Hill’s challenge?
I sincerely doubt it. Especially unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who — despite appearances otherwise — cares so little about his own community and his country that he didn’t even vote in last year’s election.
“This tragedy deserves the attention of every American,” Hill concluded. “NFL players may be just the right men to start this protest and stand up against black-on-black violence and give voice to a movement whose time has come in order to save the lives of young black men.”
Hill is right! If these men seriously what to make a difference, they should put their money where their mouth is. Do something to reduce the violence of blacks against other blacks. How about some of those NFL players use some of that salary of theirs to pay for education and support in low-income communities to work with churches and other community organizations to help reduce crimes in black communities, especially large cities like Chicago. Wouldn’t THAT be more valuable than protesting during the national anthem? I mean, what have the NFL players really accomplished by protesting other than losing money and turning away viewers? How about do something more meaningful and effective?
Look at defensive end, Chris Long of the Philadelphia Eagles. Long, through the Chris Long Foundation, who’s donating his next 10 game checks to organizations that support educational equality in the three cities that he has spent his 10-year career playing in – Philadelphia this season, Boston (New England Patriots) and St. Louis (the former St. Louis Rams). Now, there’s a player who’s putting his money where is mouth is and making a difference!
Could you imagine the outcome if more players did what Chris Long is doing?
It’s a start in the right direction.