We Need More NFL Players to #TakeAKnee

Locking arms during The National Anthem is not enough to effect change.

“Locking arms and staying in the locker room hiding is for bitches. I’m sorry I’m so upset. WTF. So we not sure if black lives matter,” Simmons tweeted.

Russell Simmons and I are 2 of many people disappointed that some National Football League (NFL) players are still not protesting, even after United States President Donald Trump called them sons of bitches. We the people went to sleep Saturday September 23, 2017 with huge anticipation of how players would respond to the President’s earlier off topic remarks. Sunday Football was like Christmas Day as we woke up wondering if every player would kneel during anthem or just all the black ones? Would players even suit up to play? We sat on pins and needles as reports began to post that more players were indeed kneeling, but others…had locked arms in Care Bear formation??? We the people were confused and frustrated. “Locking arms and staying in the locker room hiding is for bitches. I’m sorry I’m so upset,” Simmons tweeted Sunday in response.

Activist & rapper David Banner told his followers on Instagram,

“a true protest brings pain to the body or to the pocket. Ain’t no nice way to protest. Ain’t no proper way to protest. You have to make people uncomfortable.”

Standing & holding hands doesn’t make people uncomfortable. It’s a statement, but not a protest or an objection. Patriots player and Trump follower Tom Brady was locking arms, so that’s one indication it’s not achieving the necessary impact.

Unarmed black men continue to be disproportionately targeted and killed by white police officers. We need more NFL players united in #TakeAKnee to make influencers uncomfortable until they improve behavior toward Black Americans. Granted there is alot for millionaire players & their families to consider. The financial and social consequences for choosing or not choosing to support the cause are unpredictable. However this protest is no more controversial or disruptive than the 2011 National Football League Player lockout when owners locked out the players from team facilities and shut down league operations bc they could not come to a consensus with players union (National Football League Players Association (NFLPA)) on a new collective bargaining agreement. You all got through that and you can get through this.

It’s arguable if NFL players could be legally fired for protesting during U.S. National Anthem. Their employment guidelines, or Collective Bargaining Agreement (up for negotiation in 2021), does not dictate they must stand. Therefore, kneeling or sitting does not violate any specific policy. If Colin Kaepernick does sue the NFL for collusion, like he is rumored to preparing for now, then we will get the best and most important match up of football today. If Colin Kaepernick does sue the NFL, it’ll be critical for players across the League to kneel together in larger numbers and show maximum solidarity with protest and freedom of speech. If Colin Kaepernick does sue the NFL and other players kneel during anthem, it will be equally important for black consumers to leverage our trillion dollar buying power to protect protesting players from vengeful sponsors and politicians.

This is nothing new. Fighting for civil rights is central to Black culture in America.

Muhammad Ali protested against the Vietnam War in 1966; U.S. athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their gloved fists at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968; Tennis star Arther Ashe protested against apartheid, and was arrested in 1985 alongside teachers from Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Now it is our generation's opportunity to make historic progress for civil rights in America. Let us not waste it by timidly holding hands, wearing t-shirts, or posting tweets. We need to be all in together for #TakeAKnee and everything that comes with it.

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