Y’all. I thought we had an agreement. If Colin Kaepernick continued to be blackballed by the start of the 2017 football season, we were supposed to collectively cancel this whole Sunday night football thing.
Yet for some reason far too impious for a Sunday, there were more than enough progressive POC on my Facebook feed — some of whom have digitally vocalized their support for Kaepernick — displaying their eagerness for the night’s game.
Where did all that indignation emanating from the #CapeforKaep posts escape to? The shared pride we took in this bold brother who risked his livelihood to kneel for his kinfolk? The uproar towards the NFL for being yet another money-hungry corporation that couldn’t care less about a marginalized life if they tried?
In the past year, we’ve seen several testimonies to the reality that justice sometimes has to be bought. Race-baiting shock jock Bill O’ Reilly wasn’t booted from his position with Fox News solely because of the widespread moral opposition to the former news anchor. Color of Change’s advertising boycott of The O’Reilly Factor forced Fox to terminate him in April because advertisers were pulling from the show and consequentially, hurting the media outlet’s pockets.
In February, Nordstrom removed Ivanka Trump’s clothing line from their stores because consumers used social media to vocalize their disapproval of the company’s support of the president’s daughter — and she’s only problematic by association.
Last October, Forbes reported the NFL lost millions of viewers because of Kaepernick’s lack of ‘respect’ for the national anthem. Non-coincidentally, homeboy is no longer there to enrage the fair-weather patriots.
In other words, money — not morality — talks.
Ratings for the new season are reported be down 13 percent from 2016. But considering viewership was also on the decline last year, this isn’t saying much. People who were tweeting #RespectTheFlag on Sunday are still laughably upset that some players are taking a seat during the national anthem and resultantly, choosing not to tune in. Not to mention, the disadvantages following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma may have potentially impacted these numbers too. Regardless, 13 percent? We can do better.
On Monday, Jason Johnson of The Root penned an essay worthy of all the side eyes titled “A Black Person’s Guide to Happily Watching Football During the #BoycottNFL Era.”
Among other futile arguments, Johnson argued the NFL boycott wouldn’t lead to Kaepernick’s employment, much less, eradicate the league’s problematic nature. Johnson missed the point. We’re well aware that the boycott is tremendously larger than Kaepernick and that the NFL can be as bigoted, misogynistic and homophobic as they want to be. But in all their problematic ways, Roger Goodell and friends do need to understand their prejudice comes with monetary consequence.
Maybe it’s easier for me to cape for Kaepernick and subsequently opt out of watching football on Sunday because I never cared for the game in the first place. (While I can proudly say I’ve distanced myself from Kodak Black’s “Tunnel Vision” because of the rapper’s deafening self-hatred and misogynoir, I still struggle to fend off the ratchetness that wants to consume me when I hear his “Lockjaw” verses. So I get it.) I fully empathize with the discipline it takes to commit to boycotting. But at some point, our desires for gratification can no longer take a backseat to maintaining he best interest of our people.
There’s been far too much evidence of the power of consumerism for us to continue to play around like we don’t know how much sway our pockets hold. The Trump era has made it frighteningly simple for us to succumb to the feelings of powerlessness bigotry can induce. But this is still a capitalist nation. If you have any power whatsoever to affect a corporation’s profits, you got the key.
Find something else to do next Sunday, boycott the NFL’s sponsors and puhlease don’t even think about purchasing a single overpriced ticket to watch your faves toddle about some stadium.
In the words of Tamika Mallory, “I don’t care how long you’ve been watching football. If they don’t protect your children, turn the damn game off.”