An NFL executive likened affirming black players to prisoners. Affixing blackness to obsessive criminality has perturbing roots
Bob McNair, the owner of the Houston Texans NFL team, last week said:” We can’t have the prisoners running the confinement .” It was a reference to NFL actors kneeling during the national psalm to protest ethnic inequality and police brutality in the United States.
After his private observes became public, McNair issued an apology:” I regret that I exerted that phrase. I never meant to offend anyone and I was not referring to our participates. I consumed a figure of speech that was never intended to be taken literally. I would never characterize our participates or our tournament that action and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it .”
McNair’s texts indicate a intentional stupidity of the purpose behind participates stooping in the first place. It also brings to question, what exactly does the Texans proprietor miss? What he said, or that he was caught saying it?
Many athletics scribes have come to Bob McNair’s defense, saying his comments have been” twisted and set on fire “ and dismissing them as a poverty-stricken choice of words. But few have understood it for what it was: a dispute of casually profiling the NFL actors stooping in dissent as delinquents.
Have I mentioned more that 70% of the NFL workforce is black? Or that all of the high-profile musicians involved in this protest movement are color servicemen?
When McNair says that he,” would never categorize” actors” that lane”, he fails to remember that those musicians are not demonstrating on behalf of themselves privately. They are protesting on behalf of the members of Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Terrence Crutcher and other black Americans killed by the police. They are kneeling for all the people who have been historically racially profiled in America, and deemed inherently criminal.
The historical finality of appending blackness to obsessive criminality has roots within the system of chattel bondage, and the subjugation of black tribes after the signing of the liberation decree.
The myth of innate black criminality performed both to dehumanize during slavery and to vindicate the remorseless means of social dominance needed to maintain lily-white reign after bondage, and it continues to this day via ethnic profiling be carried out in police throughout America.
It’s not hard to see how black NFL musicians would feel racially profiled by McNair’s comments behind closed doors.
Persons subjected to ethnic profiling tend to feel unfairly singled out because of their race, and not because of any lawful rationale for suspicion.
Being racially profiled also involves looks of victimization or powerlessness, both during the racially motivated meeting and while seeking redress afterwards. Such meeting( s) regularly lead to feelings of stigmatization and dehumanization.
Tennessee Titan linebacker Brian Orakpo tweeted:” That’s how they actually seem huh ??? These names out this man’s cheek are infuriating to me and the rest of my brothers in this League .”
In a yarn of tweets, onetime Houston Texan Cecil Shorts said:” This says it all smh … That’s how they truly seem … Inmates, slaves and products. That’s all we are to the owners and others. Not grown soldiers with households, adolescents, partners, ethics, and mores “.
It may strike some as a unfold to manufacture connections between slaves, inpatients and black NFL musicians protesting the policing of black torsoes. But the 13 th amendment to the US constitution, which rescinded slavery and involuntary slavery, except as punishment for international crimes, obliges it unavoidable in my hearts.
This amendment, which legally countenances bondage and compulsory servitude, has always been about the conflation of blackness and criminality, organizing the phenomenon that some call slavery by another honour.
While McNair clearly did not intended for his” inmates running the confinement” comments to go viral, what is clear is that he was referring to black soldiers demonstrating systemic racism in the criminal justice system.
It is also clear that the unavoidable historic stigma of blackness and criminality is alive in 2017. That’s why black NFL participates were so casually to report to prisoners- all just for activity their right to protest.
Ameer Hasan Loggins is a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley