Will ‘Blackout’ Be The Movement to Shut Down The NFL?
By Angela Helm
Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root
This should be an interesting football season—and year, for that matter—since many American institutions are messily having their come-to-Jesus moments.
For the last two days, a video has been circulating on social media (primarily Facebook) with various black men—of all shades, ages, professions, geographical locations—covering their favorite NFL jerseys with a black T-shirt.
#BlackOutNFL is part of a burgeoning and increasingly surging stand against the National Football League, whose owners have decided to make an example of former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who decided to take a stand for black lives so callously cut down with regularity and impunity.
Pastor Debliare Snell, of the First SDA Church in Huntsville, Ala., spoke openly about why he is behind the #BlackOut movement in the video.
“In 2016, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick engaged in a silent nonviolent protest,” said Snell. “He did this to raise awareness to the number of brown and black individuals that had been beaten or killed at the hands of law enforcement across this country. Since the end of last season, as a result of this protest, Colin Kaepernick has been unable to find employment in the NFL. I find that strange, seeing that the NFL has employed individuals that have been convicted of sexual assault, domestic violence, cruelty to animals, along with driving while under the influence.”
Snell goes on to say that he finds it “interesting” that certain NFL owners have come out on the record saying they are not hiring Kaepernick because they feel a “backlash” from a certain segment of their fan base but have no fear of African Americans, which Snell claims are 15 percent of NFL viewers (not to mention a majority of its players).
“My belief is simply this: If Colin Kaepernick was willing to take a stand for those of us who are noncelebrities who have to interact with law enforcement on a day-to-day basis … certainly we can take a stand and stand with him.”
The #BlackOut movement advocates four action steps:
- Boycott the NFL (no games, no fantasy football, no jerseys, no nothing).
- Commit one to two hours during the NFL season that you would have spent watching games to mentoring young black boys and girls.
- Spread the word to others.
- “Take a knee” in prayer at 6 a.m. each day.
On Aug. 23, Spike Lee and others are planning to march on the NFL headquarters in New York City to protest against what many say is a hypocritical and, in a word, racist NFL. In addition, some players have begun sitting out the national anthem during NFL preseason games.