Donald Trump lit the fuse with his “birther” accusations about Obama. He went on to “Crooked Hilary” and “Rocket Man.” His calling out of NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem has divided fans into those who cheer and those who jeer. This hurts the NFL and the future livelihood of players.
Players can do more by working in communities. Trump can do more by making an oval office speech to clarify where he stands and to publicly pledge to lead the nation, honoring those positions.
An article in the summer of 1927 in the New York Times reported that Trump’s father was arrested during a violent clash between the White hooded Ku Klux Klan and Negro citizens. Regarding slaves and their descendants, the KKK staunchly supported the words of Chief Justice Taney, in the 1857 “Dred Scott” decision, that Negroes have “no rights which the White man was bound to respect.” How much of this rubbed off on Trump?
Shell-shocked by Trump’s remarks, his NFL golfing buddy owners and NFL players are befuddled regarding how to respond and where.
As I wrote this column on Trump vs. the Black NFL, news broke about the shooting massacre in Las Vegas, which I’ll address next column. Both are examples of the divisiveness that occurs when Lincoln’s warning of “united we stand, divided we fall” is ignored. King and Gandhi said it best: “More positive change and justice is achieved nonviolently.”
Many Whites upset about the flag use today forget how Whites waved that same American flag near three young Negroes (Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie) lynched in Duluth in 1920 (see pp. 265-268 in my book). A photograph in the African American Museum of History and Culture in Washington, D.C. shows the three young men hanging from light posts.
And what about American flag pins worn by White police officers in America involved in the most recent shooting deaths of Black Americans?
The problem for the NFL is not the “what” but the “where.” My good friend the late Dennis Green, former head coach of our beloved Minnesota Vikings, wanted to help make Minneapolis Black history better known, enabling individuals and institutions to better understand racism in this nation in order to take the unifying steps needed to help end it. This is what my books are about and why he underwrote their publishing.
Coach Green urged players to use communities as their platforms, that they should do nothing during games to harm the goose that lay their golden eggs. He urged “The Bakers,” a community activist group in Minneapolis, to encourage socio-economic development in the neighborhoods and outside the stadiums. We are proud of how Black players and coaches, such as Jim Brown and Dennis Green, addressed these issues.
For Dennis, the platform for expression is the neighborhood. We urge that which Dennis Green was working toward, using peace and strength to bring unity and prosperity to Black communities by pooling private, philanthropic and public monies for economic development in inner cities.
God bless the NFL and its Black players. Stay strong. Stay tuned.