I hereby nominate the Atlanta Falcons as “Black America’s Team.” I know we don’t collectively vote on whom we like, whom we don’t like, or whom we’ll support. Black Twitter decides those matters. However, with Super Bowl 51 approaching, I want to get in my nomination before someone suggests a different team. I contend the Atlanta Falcons are the perfect team to focus our collective support.
First off, obviously they’re good; they’re in the Super Bowl. Black people came together to put Obama in the White House, so there’s no use suffering a cultural empowerment setback trying to take some sorry team from worst to first. Cleveland, sorry, you never had a chance.
Secondly, their colors are red and black. Say those colors out loud and they feel powerful. Red. Black. All their uniform needs is a splash of green and they would look as if they were designed by FUBU.
Need another reason? One name — Julio Jones. Dude is a beast. It’s as if a mad scientist decided to create the perfect wide receiver by putting the hands of Jerry Rice on the body of Randy Moss, naming him Julio to throw everyone off the scent, and then unleashing him on the league. Julio’s probably scoring a touchdown right now, and the game hasn’t even started.
Atlanta has given us Martin Luther King, Jr., Outkast, Chris Tucker, and Spike Lee. Oh, you thought Spike was born in Brooklyn? (Sorry, Spike)
Atlanta just feels like a Black town. I somehow feel Blacker when I’m there, and I live in Harlem. If I were flying into Atlanta, glanced out the window and a giant stone black fist had been erected downtown, like some sort of Black Power Mount Rushmore, I wouldn’t ask any questions. I would stow away my electronics, return my seatback to its upright position, and prepare for landing with my fist raised in the air.
To be clear, this is not a call for a hostile racial takeover of the Atlanta Falcons fanbase. The last thing we want are a bunch of soccer moms in Matt Ryan jerseys, marching the suburban streets of Atlanta, declaring “White Fans Matter.” Relax, anyone can cheer for Black America’s Team.
Let’s not pretend sports are some sacred refuge where race doesn’t matter. It is the quintessential arena in which race matters. My grandmother cheers for the Dodgers even though she’s never been to Brooklyn or Los Angeles. Why? Because of Jackie Robinson.
On March 19, 1966 Texas Western’s all Black starting five played the much heralded, all White, University of Kentucky and smashed them. And I suspect on the morning of March 20, 1966 White universities were suddenly interested in Black students; at least the athletic ones.
Falcons fans please don’t hate us for hopping on your bandwagon. We need a team. The Dallas Cowboys are considered “American’s Team”, but I never voted. Did you? Maybe they were chosen by the Electoral College.
Don’t try to pawn us off on the New England Patriots, either. The mascot alone excludes them from consideration since “the” Patriots weren’t fighting for “our” freedom.
Plus, when was the last time you heard a Black person called a Patriot who wasn’t playing for the team?
Our choice would be much easier if there were a Black owner we could rally behind. It seems impossible to fathom that in 2017 there are no Black owners in the National Football League. It is one of the glaring omissions in our “Up from Slavery” narrative. America’s favorite sport has never had a Black owner. It’s an amazing fact I’m reminded of every time they show the owner’s suite during a game. You never see a Black person chillin’ up in there, unless they used to play for the team.
Can’t Tyler Perry and Oprah rectify this situation? I would never tell someone how to spend their money, but I can ask. Tyler, Oprah, and some other random super-rich Black person I’ve never heard of, will you please buy an NFL team?
The team doesn’t even have to be in Atlanta. If a Black person owned an NFL team, it could be in North Dakota and every Black person would become a fan. We wouldn’t move to North Dakota because of our aversion to cold weather, flatlands, and quite honestly, places we’ve never known Black people to live, but every Sunday we would be rockin’ a North Dakota jersey, talking smack, and cheering them on.
I do believe Black ownership in the NFL is on the horizon (Oprah, don’t look away). When I was a kid we didn’t even have Black quarterbacks, and now they win MVP awards.
The desire to have a Black-owned team may seem trivial in our current social climate, but please recognize there is power in seeing one of your own at the top of any socio-economic pyramid.
On Super Bowl Sunday, when a parent points to Julio Jones scoring yet another touchdown and tells their kid, “one day that can be you,” wouldn’t it be dope if the kid pointed to the owner’s suite and said, “nah. I want to be them.”
Terrence L. Moore is a writer and director, which basically means he enjoys making stuff and telling people what to do. Creator of the award winning comedy web series “Q’s One Night Stands”, find more of his angry, comedic ramblings on Twitter @TMooreDAJ.