The NFL’s season begins in 13 days. A question has emerged as to whether some players will decline to play.
Jim Trotter of NFL Media reports that “[a] few prominent Black players are telling me they want to sit out a game to make their feelings felt & force change/action.”
Trotter adds that the players are “tired, frustrated and emotional.” And while it’s only a few players for now, that could change.
Another video showing excessive police violence against a minority could easily change things. The NFL’s response to the Jacob Blake situation could change things. For individual teams, an impression that ownership isn’t doing enough could change things.
There could be significant potential consequences for what would amount to a wildcat strike, whether launched by a handful of players or entire teams. The players, in this moment, don’t seem to care. Also, it would be unseemly for the NFL or its teams to take legal action against players who decide not to play in order to bring more attention to larger societal issues.
The better approach arguably would be to play, using the platform to send clear messages before, after, and during games that both raise awareness and call for specific change. At some point, however, players will understandably become exasperated by the perception/reality that no one seems to be listening.
We all need to listen. And we all need to ignore the voices that would prefer to ignore the current situation. Whether it’s fans who can’t or won’t understand the issues or media seeking to leverage an angry minority of white Americans into clicks and views and ultimately riches and fame (or at least notoriety), those who understand the difference between right and wrong should remain resolutely in the right, and they should wear the relentless scorn of those who oppose true equality as a badge of honor.