(From my weekly column at Greed: “No Quarter”)
(GREED) – Football is perhaps the most American sport ever devised. Born from the angst-encrusted days of post-WW2, it caught on quickly with the thoroughly prussianized populace. The entire game is a big metaphor for our own military success: soldiers from some far off corner aggressively fighting their way to the “end zone” of some foreign power, all the while keeping our own “safety” through rigorous attack. Fans can remember certain seasons as if they themselves had fought them, tribal identification with each team’s totemic figure so deep as to inspire tattoos and fierce, often riotous rivalries.
So why is anybody surprised that a sport so reflective of American values is also home to anti-black attitudes?
Just recently Robert Klemko of TheMMQB.com posted photos of shirts being sold to fans outside of Ralph Wilson stadium during Quarterback Colin Kaepernick‘s first start in nearly a year, highlighting the tact and maturity football fans are known for.
Shirts with a rifle scope trained on Colin Kaepernick selling for $10 outside of Ralph Wilson stadium. pic.twitter.com/bSuxF3G5qq
— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) October 16, 2016
This is but a small piece of the virulent hate and bigotry that was freely on display, Bills fans going as far as cheering each other on to “tackle the Muslim” as they rushed a dummy fitted with a Kapernick jersey and afro under a proudly waving American flag.
Bills fans scream "tackle the Muslim", then a young lady obliges. pic.twitter.com/A1eKcyWT87
— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) October 16, 2016
Remember: all this over kneeling during a song to protest the literal thousands of black lives being snuffed out by police hands. “Jesus Christ,” I blurted aloud when I first watched the above video, “those people sound like blood-hungry apes!” Yes, those screams are what really did me in, because I knew down in my stomach what they were: the same pitch and intensity that terrified Black Americans knew meant a lynching wasn’t far away. White or black, everyone south of the Mason-Dixon line knows exactly what those cries for violence mean, what those t-shirts really say. Horrifying as it is, such behavior should come as no surprise to anyone.
Violence and mayhem are part and parcel to the entire American experiment, the song Kapernick refusing to honor gleefuly recounting how nothing “could save the hireling and slave/From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”
This long-standing history of racial injustice has stretched right into the NFL itself, where white first time coaches are hired at a 21-to-1 ratio over black ones in a sport where 68% of the players were black. So what if 1 in 3 players got banged up and ended up mentally handicap? They were rich, right? Wasn’t that all that mattered?
Kapernick’s protest has brought attention to the flagrant abuses and misdeeds permeating the country and NFL fans are pissed at HIM for ruining the fun. They don’t want to acknowledge the widespread and systematic brutality Black folks have had to suffer under the same flag they view as god’s gift to Earth, because to do so would cause them to begin to question everything they believe about the world and their lives. Far easier for your average inbred caught drunk on a Sunday morning to scream and make vague threats of violence, and lo-and-behold that’s exactly what we’ve seen.
Good God, why the hell do you think we all have guns down here? When I heard Trump was going to be holding a rally in my hometown I made it very clear to as many people as possible I was armed and would not hesitate to kill any would-be Klansman that might feel empowered. The neighbors don’t visit as often, but I can’t say the Klan does either.
These kinds of spectacles are everywhere white people feel like nobody of color is watching. Gun shows in Florida are notorious for such antics; I can remember my first trip to one, a police officer nodding in approval as the vendor I was speaking with assured me the revolver in his hands would “keep any n*****s from dating your daughter.”
Yes, these people exist. They never went away. Jim Crow may not be the law of the land but it still rules legions of American hearts. Those lunatics pissed in 1960’s photographs that a Black woman would dare use a fountain labeled “whites only” didn’t just magically change their mind or evaporate into thin air. They had kids and insured their disgusting theories on “miscegenation” lived on.
Is it any wonder these troglodytes enjoy a sport where people get in fist-fights over the honor of a cartoon animal?
Sports and idiocy have long gone together, and only a certified moron would deny that Kapernick’s beliefs don’t reflect and acknowledge the horrible reality that exists outside of multi-million dollar stadiums. Black males are 21 times more likely to be killed by cops than a white male. If they survive the encounter Black folks are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites and serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months).
Let’s just be real about it: America is a den of racist, backwards reptiles. Most Americans do indeed harbor anti-black feelings. From football games to school functions this shit is everywhere in a kaleidoscope of forms: it’s not just the guy burning a cross but the woman who holds her purse tighter when a black man walks by, the shopkeeper that monitors his black customers assuming their criminals, and the HR manager that quietly removes black sounding names from the hiring pool because they “wouldn’t be a good fit.”
They serve on juries, teach children, vote, and live among us, human tumors in dire need of a lancing for the good of all. Racism exists, racists are everywhere, and yes, they too enjoy football.
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