Author`s name David R. Hoffman

The NFL’s acceptable racism

A year ago, in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, numerous protesters throughout the world emulated former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick by kneeling against police brutality.

Members of the sports world and media who had been originally critical of Kaepernick kneeling in protest during the playing of the national anthem were suddenly admitting they were wrong, and there were even expectations that Kaepernick would soon be signed by an NFL team.

What a difference a year makes!

Not only is Kaepernick still banned from the league, but Tim Tebow, a white quarterback now being converted to a tight end, was recently signed to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

What makes this signing particularly egregious is the fact that a constant excuse used to justify not signing Kaepernick, who played his last game in 2017, was “he has been out of the league for too long.”  Yet Tebow hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2012.

Prior to the killing of George Floyd, Kaepernick’s method of protest was condemned by former NFL players like Jim Brown, Adam “Pacman” Jones, and O.J. Simpson.

Now another African American player has added his name to the list.  Former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jimmy Smith, who recent headlines christened a “star” and a “legend,” avidly endorsed the signing of Tebow, relying on the tired excuse that adding Kaepernick to the Jaguar’s roster would “divide the locker room.”

Yet somehow his concerns about divisiveness were not so vociferous when the Jaguars signed Chris Doyle as a “Performance Coach,” despite the fact Doyle had been accused of racist conduct when previously working with a college team.

So let’s look more closely at these paradigms of Americanism who have criticized Kaepernick:  

  • Brown has been accused of beating women and even went to jail for refusing to attend domestic violence counseling;
  • Jones has been arrested for crimes such as assault and vandalism and pled guilty to conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct and obstructing a police officer;
  • Simpson, in addition to being a suspected double-murderer, went to prison for kidnapping and armed robbery;
  • and “Legend” Jimmy Smith was imprisoned for drug possession and weapons charges.

Yet somehow criticizing Kaepernick, whose only “crime” was kneeling before a piece of cloth during the ritualistic playing of a song written by a slaveholder, has now elevated these former players to sainthood.

The irony is that at the same time people like Smith are endeavoring to downplay the intrinsic message in an NFL team signing Tebow over Kaepernick, the NFL’s inherent racism is more obvious than ever.  Several former players have accused the NFL of using “race-norming” to lessen their chances of receiving compensation from the NFL’s concussion settlement.  Race-norming basically contends that African American players innately have lower cognitive functions than white players, which makes it harder for them to prove neurological impairment.

America reads, watches, and hears a lot about race and racism these days.  In fact, as I stated in my article The Mindless Critics of Critical Race Theory, concerns about racism and its effects have become so anathema to many so-called “conservative” politicians that they are even banning schools and universities from talking about it.

Yet, with rare exceptions, the media continue to fawn over the NFL.  Why?  Because it practices “acceptable racism,” which, in a capitalist society, means that a problem isn’t a problem if we make a lot of money from it.

In other words, by defending the signing of Tim Tebow and condemning Colin Kaepernick, Jimmy Smith is actually applauding a league that has presumed Tebow, because of his whiteness, is automatically more intelligent than he is.