Sixty-eight percent of NFL players are Black while ninety-seven percent of the ownership is White. Not surprisingly, none of the owners of NFL teams are Black. This leads one to ask the question, who really dictates the rules of the league? Does the NFL Players Association really have any voice?
Many have compared the NFL to modern day slavery. Though players are paid an average of $2 Million, the average earning of a team owner is $1.97 Billion. $2 Million to $2 Billion? On top of the earnings disparity, many claims that NFL players lack real agency (the ability to make decisions independently).
After the initial “kneel down” act of protest by the 49er’s Colin Kaepernick, many players have decided not to follow suit; many in fear of losing their jobs. Here’s a prime example: Linebacker rookie of the Philadelphia Eagles, Myke Tavarre initially claimed that he would the join the 49ers quarterback and not honor the pledge of allegiance. Less than a day later, the rookie switched his position. It appears that pressure mounted from the Eagle’s ownership, leading him to stand down. This leads us to ask again, do NFL players in a majority Black league have any real agency?
According to USATODAY writer, Josh Peters, “Kaepernick’s status with the 49ers remains uncertain.” Peter claims that he has not “recaptured the form he displayed in leading Super Bowl XLVII in the 2012 season” and that Kaepernick’s health is a concern. Are these reasons solid reasons to release the quarterback? Depends on who’s calling the shots.
SOCCER SUPER STAR NEXT?
Despite all the drama, a few others have decided to exercise their constitutional right and support the 49ers quarterback. Most notable is Megan Rapinoe of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. Using her large platform as a national Superstar, her protest demonstration has surely gotten the attention of many White Americans. What will NFL fans think? How will this come across to Americans who believe that the act of not pledging allegiance to the Flag is an unpatriotic act? Her demonstration may sway some Americans, or perhaps, unknowingly, Rapinoe is also putting her career on the line.