If you hate working for a racist just buy the company — problem solved. We should approach the NFL in the same way. Jerry Richardson, embattled owner of the Carolina Panthers, is under fire for allegations of sexual misconduct and racism. I am disturbed but I simply have no energy for another protest. I'm boycotting the NFL already because the League has made clear that it can stomach men who assault women and actually kill people but not the protest of Black suffering. The League and many of its consumers are offended by a perceived “disrespect”of the flag but not the atrocities committed against those “for which it stands.” The NFL exists only because of the talents of Black people thus I welcome P. Diddy’s ambition to buy the Panthers and sign Kaepernick and Master P.'s desire to start his own league with Kaep. Protesting the League is fine but owning one is much better.
Richardson, according to Sports Illustrated, directed a racial slur at a Black employee of the Panthers team. Remember all of the racial discrimination suits Denny's had to settle some years back? Richardson was the CEO of the company who owned the problematic restaurant chain. Richardson strikes me as the type of individual that no Black person would want to work for and yet nearly 70% of NFL players are Black and work for men like him. Something must change. The NFL exists only because of the talents of Black men but those talents are owned and harvested by White men like Richardson.
Freedom comes only by owning and monetizing our talents. In a world in which whites controlled every aspect of music production and distribution, Berry Gordy realized the talents of ghetto children in Detroit were greater than the world of bigotry surrounding them. He built a real life empire -- Motown -- off of them. Oprah Winfrey recognized that it was her talent and celebrity that sold content and consequently built Harpo Productions. The OWN network is part of Harpo’s holdings.
NFL players also have such talents. Some of these men run the 40-yard dash in less than 4.4 seconds and a select few can do it in under 4.3. Some weigh over 200 pounds and yet have the agility of a fox. Others have the ability to maintain their balance while running full speed and avoiding collisions. We love watching the players because they simply have abilities that we do not have. Their speed, power and skill are almost superhuman. Diddy and players in the NFL — with the help of other wealthy backers — could opt to do something similar to Winfrey and Gordy. Owning our own league may be the more difficult task but certainly would prove be the more liberating and longterm option if executed efficiently while purchasing the Panthers would mean only 1 of 32 teams is Black owned but it would be a start. Motown Records started in a little home in Detroit but it changed the world. Master P and Diddy could help start this next revolution.
At some point we must move beyond protest. Protest, on some level, will always be the powerless appealing to the powerful. You cannot have self determination so long as others control your fate, possessing the power to hear your grievances or ignore them. Colin Kaepernick would tell you the same. Yes, he made a stand through protest but 32 NFL teams are now exercising their power to keep him unemployed. Ownership will always trump protest. No one can lock you out of that which you own.