It Doesn’t Count Until the White Guy Says It- Thoughts on the NFL’s Statement on Protesting
One of the most depressing experiences I have as a working black man is when I say a statement and nobody values the statement until a white person says it was a good idea or literally just parrots what I said. This isn’t just a work place experience, it happens in my daily life. I will state a fact to my non-black friends, and they question it until somebody they implicitly trust or believe more says it and that person is almost always a white person. The amount of times people have come back to me and go, “You were right!” or, “You said the same thing!” is too frequent to count. It’s a very disheartening and invalidating experience when you tell people truths and they refuse them until the “right person” says it. It hurts even more when the things we are talking about are racism and oppression. My own lived experience isn’t a valid enough source for my voice to be heard.
The NFL is the white person saying the statement that black people have been saying FOR DECADES. The NFL and Roger Goodell have publicly denounced racism and have acknowledge that peaceful protesting is necessary and that they were wrong in not listening to the players (Source). I vividly remember when Kaepernick protested and a myriad of my friends and people I know immediately started to boycott the NFL (they still watched…). Colin Kaepernick and many others explained in great detail how kneeling during the anthem was not about disrespecting the flag but is about protesting police brutality. But Colin Kaepernick isn’t white. His words don’t have enough validity in this country to carry their own weight. Not until years later and many deaths later does Roger Gooddell get to swoop in and basically say, “Oops y’all were right.” When the tweet popped up and the news broke, I didn’t see those same friends and people on my timeline talking about boycotting the NFL. All of sudden the protest make sense, and we should all be here for peaceful protest. What happened? What changed?
I am glad the NFL has finally decided to stand by it’s players but it’s damning that it took a global protest and more police brutality to make it happen. It stings that Goodell’s voice is still that much more powerful than the voice of the players who have to live with racism everyday.