Together We… Kneel


I confess I’d been working on another article in my head for the past couple weeks titled, “Together We Stand,” in support of the Together We Stand national non-profit as they prepare to reboot their website. I will still owe them an article but I got sidetracked by the NFL announcing their new policy allowing players to remain in the locker room during the playing of the National Anthem but requiring any players on the field to stand. This was basically the NFL assuming a submissive posture before Donald Trump in announcing this unilateral decision without even consulting the players union (NFLPA).


This policy fails on multiple levels, first and foremost it attempts to dismiss the legitimate concerns of the mostly black NFL players about police brutality, racial inequality, and the ever-present injustice after each shooting of an unarmed black man or woman by police. A new video is circulating of Milwaukee Bucks NBA Player Sterling Brown being tased by police over a parking violation. The incident wasn’t about the violation but the requirement by the Milwaukee police of complete and utter capitulation by the black man in their presence. The NFL is now asking the same of its players. Have your little protest, but out of the sight of our fans, sponsors, and most importantly our President who has deemed you unworthy.


This policy has been condemned by the NAACP who said, “Protest is an American tradition; by protesting we work to hold our country accountable to its highest ideals. Instead of coming together to address an issue disproportionately plaguing the African-American, the NFL owners have chosen to bury their heads and silence players.” That’s what the whole policy is about… silencing players.

The new policy was well received by the President. He said, “You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem and the NFL owners did the right thing if that’s what they’ve done. You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem or you shouldn’t be playing. You shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.” There we have it, the President says pretty much, “Go back to Africa and all the shithole countries you came from.”


Part of the policy allows the league to fine teams and not individual players for violations of the new rule. NY Jets Chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson said he would pay any fines related to his players kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner. He said, “As I have in the past, I will support our players wherever we land as a team. Our focus is not on imposing any club rules, fines, or restrictions.” Despite that statement, he did not vote against the policy.

The NFL may think it avoided a public relations disaster. Instead, it has likely incited one. Rather than hiding the player’s protest, it will shine a brighter light on them. There will be split-screen coverage of the players on the field and those in the locker room. When that gets banned, you’ll see Snapchat and YouTube video’s from inside the locker rooms and Instagram pictures. The protests will be Live-Tweeted and the players will be asked about their protests in locker room interviews, overshadowing and obscuring the results of the game. The only question remaining is, “What will we the public do?”

Previous attempts to support the players included boycotting the NFL over issues like the NFL blackballing Colin Kaepernick and other issues. However well intended the boycott, it wasn’t supported by enough people to make a difference and Kaepernick still doesn’t have an NFL job. There will come a time as protests continue in some form when more players get singled out for having taken a stand. For steadfastly pointing out America’s imperfections and its lack of will to deal with unaccountability of police for their actions. There will come a time when those players will require us to stand… or perhaps kneel, together with them. Don’t let them down!

The History of the US Flag in Black America

1776 flag

1776-1777

Articles of Confederation establishes rights for “free citizens.”

1777-1794

1777-1794

The first Fugitive Slave Act is passed

1795-1818

1795-1818

Slaveowner, Francis Scott Key writes The Star-Spangled Banner. He believed blacks to be “a distinct and inferior race” and “the greatest evil that afflicts a community.” The third verse celebrates the death of slaves.

1818-1819

1818-1819

Slaves complete reconstruction of White House

1819-1820

1819-1820

The House of Representatives agrees to the Talmadge Agreement barring slaves from Missouri, this led to the Missouri Compromise admitting them.

 

1820-1822

1820-1822

The Missouri Compromise allowed Missouri to enter the Union as a Slave state.

1822-1836

1822-1836

At Monticello, VA. 130 former slaves and other possessions of Thomas Jefferson were sold at auction.

1837-1845

1836-1845

In Cincinnati, OH, rioters attack blacks and white abolitionists for fear blacks would take their jobs.

1845-1846

1845-1846

Texas enters the Union as a slave state

1846-1847

1846-1847

Missouri allows Interstate trading of black people

1847-1848

1847-1848

The State of Missouri prohibits freed slaves from receiving an education.

1848-1951

1848-1851

Congress passes another Fugitive Slave Act mandating government participation in recapturing escaped slaves.

1851-1858

1851-1858

Under this flag, the Supreme Court overturned the Missouri Compromise and opened up slavery to all the territories.

1858-1859

1858-1859

The Supreme Court in the Dred Scott Case ruled a black man had no rights.

1859-1861

1859-1861

The last slave ship arrives in Mobile Bay, Alabama

1861-1863

1861-1863

New York City draft riots, hundreds of blacks wounded or killed.

1863-1865

1863-1865

Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest orders the massacre of mostly Negro Union troops attempting to surrender, (Hands Up). A 25-foot statue, visible from Interstate-65, exists today on private property in Nashville, TN.

1865-1867

1865-1867

The “black codes” are passed in all Southern legislatures in the former Confederate States. Slavery by another name.

1867-1877

1867-1877

Reconstruction ends when the Federal Government withdraws all Federal troops from the South under a compromise over the Presidential election. It Made Southern Legislatures White Again.

1877-1890

1877-1890

Jim Crow becomes the law of the land in the South

 

1890-1891

1890-1891

Eighty-five black Americans were known to have been lynched in 1890

1891-1896

1891-1896

The Supreme Court legalizes “Separate but Equal” giving rise to Jim Crow

1896-1908

1896-1908

Eight blacks were killed by whites in Wilmington, NC

1908-1912

1908-1912

Major cities implement legalized segregation specifying black and white neighborhoods. These include Baltimore, Dallas, Greensboro, Louisville, Richmond, Roanoke, and St. Louis.

 

1921 US Flag

1912-1959

Oklahoma National Guard troops bombed Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK

1959-1960

1959-1960

Three days before his trial, Mack Charles Parker is beaten to death in his jail cell for allegedly raping a white woman.

1960-Present

1960-Present

Donald Trump is elected President and appoints Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.