BY Art Thiel 06:00AM 09/11/2020

Thiel: Anti-racist activism in NFL must persist

Pro athletes, who are paid to perform in the moment, are having to help lead anti-racist activism, a very long game. Despite the awkwardness, there is a good sign.

In 2017, some Seahawks players sat during the anthem as a protest against social injustice and police brutality. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

As with many of his teammates, players around the NFL and the rest of sports, Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner would like to see some tangible results from anti-racist activism.

“I don’t even know when it was when we sat down and and had that conversation,” he said this week about the time after the May 25 murder by police of George Floyd, triggering a global eruption of protests. “(But) after everything that’s happened, I can’t say that it’s gotten too much better since then.”

Fundamental change in cultural thinking is slow. A fundamental driver in sports is instant gratification. To ask young men, handsomely compensated to perform in the moment, to also contribute cleverly to reversing an American scourge that has vexed generations, is hard.

Nevertheless, they persist.

The sports world watches and takes some cues. Because it’s the NFL.

“I think everybody’s trying to figure out ways that they can impact their community and impact the world,” Wagner said. “It’s important for everybody to be really conscious about (racism).

“I don’t even know if it’s necessary, about the gestures. The gestures have been done.”

The ambivalence in Wagner ironically manifested in the NFL opener Thursday night in Kansas City, where the Super Bowl champion Chiefs hosted the Houston Texans.

Eager to see pro football again, as well as what social statements were made, the world saw the NFL’s two negotiated statements painted into the back of the end zones, “End Racism” and “It Takes All of Us.” Well, hard to argue with, or be inspired by, those bromides.

The Chiefs, with one exception, stood for the anthem, while the Texans boycotted and stayed in the locker room, as they did for “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” sometimes called the Black national anthem. So which is it — all stand, or all boycott?

Then both teams just before kickoff linked arms to form a single line down the middle of the field as a “gesture of unity.”

Guess what many in the socially distanced crowd of 17,000 at Arrowhead Stadium did?

They booed unity.

Al Michaels, Chris Collinsworth and the rest of the NBC broadcasters carefully avoided mention of the fans’ reaction, a sort of silent nervous cough.

The whole well-intentioned pre-game had the awkwardness of a junior high dance, all the kids wanting something but not knowing how to get it.

I asked Wagner if the Seahawks players had made plans for their game with the Falcons in Atlanta.

“As far as what we would do (Sunday), everything like that stays in-house,” he said. “Whether it’s individually or as a team, that stays in-house.”

Well, why spoil the surprise?

Then again, I don’t know why 53 football players would have any more luck getting a unanimous, or even majority, agreement on something important than any 53 young American workers selected at random from one office or plant.

But degree of difficulty is rarely a hard stop for a professional athlete, only a challenge. Particularly those influenced by Pete Carroll.

“This isn’t something we just want to put in our back pocket and forget about it,” the Seahawks coach said. “It’s too important.”

In fact, something important did get said by some NFL players Thursday.

The Miami Dolphins players released a video that was disarming in its blunt honesty about the emptiness in the NFL’s attempt to manufacture a collective American consciousness about the racial divide.

Among the many truths was one passage that addressed those who have yet to speak or act personally: The vast majority of NFL owners. Club PR statements and commissioner Roger Goodell don’t count.

We need to change hearts, not a response to pressure. We need owners with influence and pockets bigger than ours to call up officials and flex political power.

As has been written here before, meaningful influence can be exerted in the national standoff only if sports owners risk their emotional capital, not their money. That includes Jody Allen, the Seahawks owner who early in her tenure has stayed so completely in the background she may be confused with the wallpaper.

Ninety nine percent of the time in pro sports, that would be salutary behavior for an owner.

This is the one percent.

LB K.J. Wright was asked Thursday whether Allen should take a leadership role.

“It would definitely help,” he said. “I believe so far Jody’s been amazing. She speaks  with coach Carroll and has let us know that whatever you guys decide to do, you have full support from us.

“If owners could speak up that would be amazing, and use their voice use their influence to make change . . . you can meet with whoever you want.”

Wright was as careful and polite as he could be with the answer. But it is unlikely that Allen and other ownerships would come up with courage and conviction at the same time.

So players must do what they can. Wright organized a team campaign to wear “We Want Justice” T-shirts during every pre-game warmup. All Seahawks appearing lately on Zoom interviews are wearing “Vote 2020” T-shirts. T-shirts can go only so far, however.

That brings up a reader question: What do I think should be done?

I’m not sure.

As someone who commits opinion journalism in public and answers readers, I tend to believe that in the past several years, with regard to readers who don’t like racial politics with their sports, nothing anyone says or does will influence them. Those readers who support players’ aspirations tend to accept whatever is offered as meaningful, even when the gestures are hollow.

For both sides, what I can do is pass on useful information, and offer a thought that may seem contradictory to the theme here.

According to a Washington Post poll released this week, a majority of Americans, including a majority of football fans, say it is acceptable for professional athletes to kneel during the national anthem, and an even larger percentage say athletes should use their platforms to tackle social issues.

That represents a startling reversal from just two years ago.

The story can be found here. A chart from the story visually offers a snapshot of the trend.

As you can see, there is some evidence some minds are changing. Events, words and deeds are having an effect.

It’s working.

All protest movements are inevitably messy. They start out reactive to some miscarriage of justice, and they take years to become coherent and proactive. They are rarely monolithic, and often fractured by different priorities, jealousies and confusion. Not every athlete is as charismatic or as committed as Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

But over time there develops a clarity of vision and a methodology of means.

I have no idea where we stand on the timeline for this movement of empowering athletes to shape their sports and the larger world. But in the long run, it won’t matter that the Thursday night gestures in Kansas City were hollow, or that the Dolphins video burned holes though the NFL’s insincerity, or who was wearing what T-shirt.

It matters that athletes keep pushing, pressing and be willing to make themselves and others uncomfortable. Everything doesn’t have to work. Anti-racist activism just has to avoid, as Carroll said, being put in the back pocket and forgotten.

They must persist. It’s working.


  • StephenBody

    It’s not a flattering commentary on the smarts of average Americans – although I guess, after four years of Trump, that ship has already sailed – but the ONLY way to get through to most Americans, now, is to take relevant facts and just rub them right smack in the faces of the masses and do it VIGOROUSLY.

    And it HAS TO be done by those who have the public eye and ears. If I, with my piddling 50K readership, speak out on equality, I might as well be hollering down a drainpipe. Even you, with your tons of readers, aren’t enough. Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, the majority of athletes in pro sports, THOSE people saying it has impact…and enough saying it and some people, against all odds, may just start to THINK.

    Baby steps. One day at a time. We need these voices NOW, more than ever.

    • Mark Stratton

      The other ship that has sailed is the majority of Americans who care deeply about this issue. You’re right about the need to shake people until they understand, and George Floyd’s murder did that for a while. But how does one associate the insanity going on in the streets with police brutality or racism? It looks like nothing but nihilism to me. I believe a large majority were ready for real change back in May and early June, but I’m afraid the real issue has been lost under an avalanche of political posturing on both sides, and opportunistic rioting and looting.

      What the players are saying has very little impact. Their stances and public comments are pure pablum; PR statements that serve only to keep the PC mob off their backs. Average Americans are smart enough to recognize that. Have you heard one player condemn the violence and destruction of property? Their movement has been hijacked and they say nothing. If they don’t care enough to speak up, why should anybody else give a damn?

      • Nate G

        To summarize (kindly) what I am reading from you- It is pointless.

        Looks quite a bit like nihilism. ;)

        • Husky73

          The Dude abides.

        • Mark Stratton

          It’s pointless to spout platitudes you can find on a t-shirt. We all know the problems, what are the solutions?

          • art thiel

            The solutions begin with people like you, Mark, and me and others like us. We’re the ones in charge; Black people are reacting to injustice. Look to yourself for answers.

      • art thiel

        There’s a fairly straightforward explanation, Mark. The Black Lives Matters supporters seek equality in the eyes of many white people. But many white people put a higher priority on their own property than they do the lives of Black people. Some (not the majority) of Black protesters then hit those white people where they live: Stores and shops. It seems irrational to you; 400 years of slavery, Jim Crow and police brutality seem irrational to them.

        • 1coolguy

          Unfortunately most of the ruined shops in Minneapolis were minority owned, but what the heck, right? They were just being peaceful, according to the MSM. Now the locals don’t have their friends’ stores to support and given this outbreak, most are choosing to relocate elsewhere. So in the end, the local minorities are suffering, but what the heck, let’s riot on!
          The Portland riots that have gone on for over 100 days now are almost all whites – the blacks are pissed off because the cops are backing off and crime in their neighborhoods is up. Then these white twenty-somethings decide to attack the feckless mayors condo (Wheeler), who has now moved out to save his neighbors’ from such remarkably peaceful riots.
          Thank goodness the feds left after a week after being dissed – Portland owns this, all on their own.

        • Mark Stratton

          Thanks Art but that misses the point. The violence and looting are detracting from, or obscuring the message. The players need to condemn it. In places like Portland the nightly riots in the name of BLM have precious little to do with Black people. And many of the businesses in Minneapolis and elsewhere are Black-owned

    • Tim Duncan

      preach on i agree

    • art thiel

      High profile activism comes with consequences, as Michael Jordan established with his “Republicans buy shoes too” comment. Many athletes also don’t feel suited for a non-sports public platform. Nevertheless, pivot points in history don’t come planned. An increasing number of players seem ready for he burden.

  • Mark Stratton

    I’m confused. What’s working? Exactly what ‘change’ is being discussed? Yes racism is a scourge and we have lots of work to do. I desperately want us to have the hard conversations that were promised after George Floyd’s killing. Why aren’t we having them? And please all you TDS sufferers, this problem has been around a long time. Trump isn’t helping but he’s not the cause.

    The NFL owners are no doubt delighted with the muted messaging on display Thursday night. But what else could be expected? There is no tangible agenda, just a bunch of meaningless platitudes. Defunding the police was popular for a while, until most people realized what an idiotic idea that was. Stomp out systemic racism? You mean like in Rochester where the Black police chief resigned in disgust? Seattle where the Black police chief resigned in disgust? Detroit where the Black police chief has the rare backing of his mayor? Chicago where the Black mayor and Black police chief preside over the weekly slaughter of Black men by other Black men? Baltimore, same as Chicago? Do we want less cops? Most inner-city Blacks would say ‘Hell no, we need more!’ The boos didn’t surprise me. People are tired of the violence and looting. How is any of this progress?

    BLM as an organization is a self-serving joke, nimbly replacing Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson as the financial beneficiary of Black people’s misery. Absent a clear message and adequate leadership, legitimate Black concerns about racism have been coopted by a bunch of hoodlums, White and Black. As predicted.

    The elephant in the room is the need for Black men to address their own problems. This has to be a two-way conversation. Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, and all the other wealthy, established Blacks in the NFL know the numbers but won’t speak out. Given the fascism that defines the current cancel culture, I don’t really blame them. But nothing will change until somebody has the courage.

    • Nate G

      “The elephant in the room is the need for Black men to address their own problems.”

      Wow. It is their fault that the society has systemic racism that oppresses and kills them? What’s next…. blame abuse victims for running into fists? This logic is gross.

      They are addressing it. They are also saying they want and need allies for systemic changes that need to happen. You seem very passionate about this so instead of saying others need to fix it, why don’t you step in and help fix systemic racism? You criticize the leadership of BLM, so why don’t you get in there and help change it and lead? You want to have the hard conversations and do the work…so go find them!

      • Husky73

        Where does “personal responsibility” enter the discussion?

        • BB46

          Good question Husky. The last 2 “Victims” of law enforcement have got to be the worst examples available to put any kind of effort behind. Other than they were black and in an altercation with police. Apparently George Floyd was full of meth and fentanyl. Think he may have been acting a bit Jacked Up?

          Blake really didn’t give police much choice. When he didn’t stop when he was told to the police didn’t shoot. When he went to his van and reached inside the police HAD to assume he was reaching for a weapon. If I did the same thing I would have had the same result. You can NOT do anything that may put an officer or the general public in harms way.

          I personally want the NFL and other athletes to tell people (ALL people) that when the police say STOP then it’s time to STOP!!! Blake gave the police reason to HAVE to shoot. I just can’t blame police for that unless there was something I missed. It sure looks like the person most responsible for Blake getting shot was Blake. THAT is something I feel the NFL and athletes NEED to address and get the word out to all of us.

          Be good people and when the police say STOP then STOP!!!! I think that is a great first message. Good decisions save lives. Good choices set the foundation for a good future. There are no guarantees but the odds are a lot better.

          • Bruce McDermott

            Follow orders or get shot, then, huh? Obedience or death? If that’s the rule, then the very first instinct of any cop is going to be to shoot the moment he or she is disobeyed, because that cop will know he or she will never suffer consequences of a decision to shoot, no matter how bad it was in any given situation.

            But of course that is nonsense–cops are not judges, juries and executioners wrapped into one. They are peace officers, who must exercise reasonable judgment in sometimes difficult circumstances. We’ll see what a jury finds as to whether Blake’s shooter acted properly.

            Moreover, there are some who want to focus on Blake, because focusing on George Floyd is more difficult, if one is in the “obey or be shot” group. George Floyd obeyed, and was killed anyway.

            And it goes well beyond George Floyd v. Blake. Blind, reflexive obedience to law enforcement is not the American tradition, and there are many, many examples from the 1770’s forward. Disobedience sometimes leads to freedom and justice. The “rioters” at the Boston Tea Party understood this, as did the marchers at Selma. The brutality with which those marchers were met was not justified, in any sense of the word. They did not obey, and their disobedience led to change.

            Freedom, free speech, democracy itself…these are sometimes messy things. Telling people simply to obey police in every circumstance completely ignores our history as Americans. That of course doesn’t justify any and every act committed by those in protest, and drawing the line is sometimes difficult. But the answer is not simply sheep-like obedience to authority, either. And to make that clear, even cops must suffer the consequences of bad decisions that cost the lives of those who did not deserve to die without due process of law.

          • Mark Stratton

            Are you really trying to equate civil disobedience to resisting a felony arrest? Thanks for fractured history lesson, but it’s not working.

          • Bruce McDermott

            Perhaps you need more history lessons, not fewer–“fractured” or otherwise. You do realize that civil disobedience also often involves resisting arrest, right? Actively or passively. And my larger points were that simply obeying each and every “order” from a cop no matter what is no answer, and neither is allowing cops to shoot people simply because they don’t obey. Disobedient protesters don’t deserve to be tried, convicted and executed by a jury of one, merely for being disobedient.

          • Husky73

            It is not sheep-like to follow the directions of a police officer. If an officer tells my son to get on the sidewalk, I want him to immediately (without hesitation or saying a single syllable) get on the sidewalk– whether that cop is black, white or other. Why? Because I want him to survive the encounter. He can discuss history, politics and civil disobedience at a later time when there is not a gun pointed at him, and when he has an opportunity to make his case before a judge and jury (black, white or other) rather than with a potential executioner.

          • Bruce McDermott

            That is a matter of self-preservation, not justice. Imagine if the marchers at Selma had simply stopped marching and dissipated at the first instruction from the cops that they should do so. Fortunately for society, they did not. They did not wait for “discussions” with white racists running that police force, that city, or that state. They resisted, and moved society forward as a result of that resistance. I surely understand why a father would tell his son exactly what you say you would tell yours. I am a father, too. It would scare the crap out of me if my sons resisted with civil disobedience, and I would be relieved if they did not. But I would not always be angry if they did, depending on the situation.

          • Husky73

            There is a big difference between participating in a social-activism march along with hundreds or thousands of others, and being alone, pulled over by a police officer (white or black) and standing face-to-face with a lawman holding a baton, mace, a taser and a gun.

          • Mark Stratton

            I think you’re missing the context here. There is a huge gulf between a protester(civil disobedience) and a felon resisting arrest. You keep equating the two.

            Let’s turn your theory around. Blake’s terrified ex-girlfriend calls the cops because he sexually assaulted her. The cops come and Blake resists. Should the cops just say ‘sorry lady, Mr. Blake doesn’t want to be arrested today, you’re on your own’? Or should they do their jobs? The answer should be obvious.

            Regardless of what color you are, if you take a bunch of drugs, commit a felony, and resist arrest to the point of fighting with the cops, bad things will happen. If the cops can’t expect their orders to be obeyed they can’t do their jobs.

            Protesters that lie down in the street or whatever and are carried away by the cops are resisting arrest in an act of civil disobedience, to make a point. Criminals just don’t want to go to jail.

          • Bruce McDermott

            I’m not sure we disagree fully here. In your theory/example, of course the cops need to intervene. But that intervention should include the use of deadly force only in extreme cases. Of course there are consequences to disobedience in that example, and there should be. But deadly force ends a life, and merely disobeying a police officer, even in your example, should not give that officer license to kill. What gets my goat in these discussions is the attitude, sometimes actually spoken in fact, that “resist a cop, and all bets are off, you automatically lose whatever rights you had before you resisted, and therefore whatever happened to you, you had it coming.” And that is not, and should not, be the law. Whether you are a “criminal” or not. Suspects become criminals after they plead or are convicted, not merely by acting in ways that arouse suspicion.

      • Mark Stratton

        Had you read and absorbed the entire post, I said this has to be a two way conversation. Racism is vile, and there are definitely some cops who are racist. White people still have a lot of work to do.

        The main point is that things need to change on both sides of this discussion. 70% of Black children are born to single mothers, which creates a lot of inner-city young men with no positive male role models. Which leads to them embracing the role models they find who are very often not a positive influence. Which has a direct correlation to the fact that as 13% of the population, Blacks commit 53% of the murders and 60% of the robberies in the US. My math isn’t great but that means a Black man, on average, is 10 times more likely than anyone else in the US to commit a crime that will result in a confrontation with police. What police reforms would you put in place that will correct that? Please read this article from Jason Riley, a Black columnist for WSJ. The statistics come from a study done by the Washington Post.

        The guilty White reaction is to pour more money on activist groups. That’s how two poor inner-city preachers named Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton got fabulously wealthy, while doing nothing to help the Black community. BLM is just picking up where these two left off.

      • Mark Stratton

        Had you read and absorbed the entire post, I said this has to be a two way conversation. Racism is vile, and there are definitely some cops who are racist. White people still have a lot of work to do.

        The main point is that things need to change on both sides of this discussion. 70% of Black children are born to single mothers, which creates a lot of inner-city young men with no positive male role models. Which leads to them embracing the role models they find who are very often not a positive influence. Which has a direct correlation to the fact that as 13% of the population, Blacks commit 53% of the murders and 60% of the robberies in the US. My math isn’t great but that means a Black man, on average, is 10 times more likely than anyone else in the US to commit a crime that will result in a confrontation with police. What police reforms would you put in place that will correct that? Please read this article from Jason Riley, a Black columnist for WSJ. The statistics come from a study done by the Washington Post.

        The guilty White reaction is to pour more money on activist groups. That’s how two poor inner-city preachers named Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton got fabulously wealthy, while doing nothing to help the Black community. BLM is just picking up where these two left off.

    • Will Ganschow

      Nate G, I was struggling to address this post. Your post does a great job. Thanks

    • Husky73

      Mark…I was lost and found more than once in your post. Are you attacking the messengers?

      • Mark Stratton

        Sorry, I tried to fit too many thoughts into one post. Not the messengers, but what the message could or should have been. Not to pick on Russ but he’s the face of the team. He and other prominent players are saying the same things: End racism and social injustice. Excellent goals, but how to achieve them? What if Russ did a PSA directed at young Black men extolling the virtues and importance of fatherhood? That might have an impact coming from him.

  • tor5

    I appreciate your always thoughtful writing on this, Art. I noted that you state that “Fundamental change in cultural thinking is slow.” But then you show us some rather HUGE and FAST shifts in public opinion. I’m not sure what was up with that booing at the game last night, but I think and hope that that was a loud, vocal minority. And polling would suggest that that’s the case. I also appreciate you asking “What should be done?” MLK and Malcolm X struggled with the same question, so maybe it’s not surprising that a clear, concrete, consensus answer hasn’t emerged. But it feels like a lurch forward nonetheless. Knuckleheads on the extreme left and right can make it all look ugly, but I actually have some hope rooted in the big thick middle.

    • Kirkland

      The impact of Black Lives Matter is starting to spread worldwide. I’ve seen kneeling before the opening whistle not just in MLS and NWSL soccer games, but also before English rugby and soccer, and even Aussie Rules football and Formula One. It’s been forcing those other countries to look at their own racial inequity issues as well. So there’s some hope.

  • Husky73

    I recall the SMASH RACISM signs and rallies at the UW in the 1970’s. I believe that we– including unifying NFL players– keep tilting at windmills. There has been racism and tribalism for thousands of years in every corner of the globe. Racism survives the ages. It always evolves and finds a way. Some believe that racism will end when old bigots die. It doesn’t. Old bigots are replaced by new bigots. Some believe our children will be less racist, as will theirs and theirs and theirs as humanity homogenizes over time. Maybe it will. Maybe, 25 generations from now, when Americans are all one color (beige) there will be much less racism. But, I fear it will only be replaced with an evolved stripe. I’ve always believed that the world changes one person at a time rather than by movements. I also believe that group identity (nationalism, black, white, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Huskies, Ducks, etc.) is dangerous. Therefore, the Golden Rule (beautiful in its simplicity) remains the correct path….TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WISH TO BE TREATED.

    • tor5

      Yes, the Golden Rule! Beautiful in its simplicity indeed. I think it would help to recognize that it is the nature of human psychology to divide people into “us vs. them” groups and discriminate. This has been well established in a field of research documenting the “minimal group paradigm.” It’s fundamental to understanding society and culture–and oneself–yet few have heard of it. And it validates your point that bigotry won’t just be stamped out or evolved away. Yet, it’s a matter of degree, and things can get better. Compare today to 1970. Compare 1970 to 1920. I don’t have hope that racism will be eliminated. But I definitely have hope that things can get better by understanding social psychology and forever elevating values like the Golden Rule for all.

      • Husky73

        Wonderful post. Thank you.

      • art thiel

        It has always been the darkest part of human nature to identify the “otherness” of a group and to hold it responsible for our insecurities and uncertainties. Trump doesn’t know much, but he knows the power of fear, real or made up.

        • 1coolguy

          Racism unfortunately is everywhere, it is simply the way it is, unfortunately. I have experienced it in Africa and the Middle East. It is what it is, I knew what I would encounter, and just moved on.
          Try being a success as a white guy in Japan or China – good luck, unless you are a sports hero or tech billionaire. Otherwise, fugedaboutit.

          • art thiel

            Your view overlooks the fact that you, and me, and our fellow white people never had a 400-year history of enslavement and violent discrimination in our backgrounds. You may have been snubbed in Japan and China, buy you weren’t lynched or suffocated.

          • 1coolguy

            So what’s your solution? My people came here and settled in Seattle in the 20th century and had nothing to do with lynchings and those horrible behaviors – So it hasn’t been a part of my heritage and I can’t do much about the last 400 years. I presume you are in much the same position – what do you suggest we do? I went to racially mixed schools through high school and didn’t have an issue with any of my black or white friends, other than the usual giving each other a bad time as guys do.
            It seems a lot of the younger whites who have grown up in white neighborhoods, which basically the entire NW is, have suddenly decided race should be an issue and are the ones causing most of the problems. Maybe they should move into black neighborhoods and get a taste of a life they have no clue about.

          • Husky73

            I have no history of enslavement, violence or discrimination. I am not guilty, nor privileged. I am also not responsible for what people who happened to share my skin color did 400 years ago. Are Black people responsible for the carnage among tribes that happened on the African continent 400 years ago? Judge me not by racial history, but for the content of my character.

    • Mark Stratton

      Well said.

    • art thiel

      The point is inarguable. But I can already hear, “Yes, but . . . “

  • SeattleSince57

    When i hear that Trump voters, by association, and Police Officers are all racists,
    per MSM.
    I wonder what are the odds of that actually being accurate?….

    While we recognized the horrible injustices being done, what prompted this?
    Did Trump voters and Police go looking for ways to show racism,
    create horrible injustice?
    Is the left completely innocent, always?

    Was there an action to prompt injustice, that started slow and escalated?
    Still, No reason to condone horrible injustices,
    sometimes there is more to the story, not being told…to further the desired narrative

    As a white male, I have been treated unfairly by police on two occasions.
    (I know, not enough times to voice an opinion)

    Art, you are right, no sports in the near future will be non political. i see that now.
    The audience is quite large. Hard to resist, for the passionate.

    Some go looking for it, to keep the narrative alive to match their belief agenda.
    Have a nice day. I will take my sport entertainment, one day at a time.

    • Nate G

      We all have prejudice. Fear and anger get stoked. Add in privilege and power and things get oppressive fast.

      It is hard work to breakdown and examine our own biases and fears. Most avoid it as it is painful.

      • art thiel

        Racial tribalism has been with us forever. That’s not an excuse; just a past that a progressive civilization should by now recognize is toxic to health and civic life.

    • Will Ganschow

      Until no one is racist, everyone is racist. You have a nice day as well.

      • BB46

        Not true. Everybody is unique and has their own opinions. Can’t choose sides for them,,,, or speak for them.

        • Will Ganschow

          I didn’t go to that Sunday school.

          • BB46

            I didn’t hear that anywhere near Sunday school. LOL

        • art thiel

          I would suggest that racism is not an opinion; it’s a learned value judgment that is personally, socially and politically toxic.

          • Kirkland

            Exactly. Little kids don’t care what their new playmates look like, until they hear adults saying they should.

    • Husky73

      I want to know one thing of others— are you a Trump voter? If the answer is yes, I politely exit. Some people, you have to love from a distance and hope for enlightenment.

      • art thiel

        You’re not exiting. You’re engaging. That’s OK.

    • art thiel

      You sound as if you think Black people are making up their rage as an excuse to break things and throw bottles at cops. They’ve tried non-violent protests. They’ve tried local and national legislation. They helped elect a black president.

      The progress against systemic racism has been incremental.

      Unarmed black men continue to die at the hands of police in the streets in disproportionate numbers. One cop even had the audacity to kneel on a handcuffed black man’s neck in broad daylight while being recorded, casually confident he would get away with murder. I’m guessing that’s a tad more severe than your “unfair treatment.”

  • Will Ganschow

    Every action taken makes a difference Art. What seems to me to make a difference is whether an action connects to the bearers heart. I think in some way you were saying that.

    • art thiel

      In a radio interview, Jerry Jones said he’s OK with whatever the players want to do. That is a response to pressure, not a change of heart. Jerry will always be Jerry.

      His heart’s inability to get past prejudice is exactly what I’m talking about. Tolerating a game protest is just bidness to him.

  • Husky73


  • woofer

    NFL players are in a unique position to lead on racial harmony issues. There are lots of them and the split between black and white is roughly equivalent. The NBA can be more outspoken, but a group of black players with one gangly Serb stuck in the back row is harder to take seriously as a glorious coming together. The demographics of the NFL are built to have a broader and more credible social impact.

    But expecting a warm supportive public embrace complete with funding support for political activism from NFL owners seems naive. A benevolent neutrality plus some money for feel-good public events is more realistic. Remember, the last time the players and owners had this conversation was over Colin Kaepernick. Neutrality would be a significant step forward from there.

    • art thiel

      Spoken like a true white guy, woofer. What has white neutrality gotten Black people? Nothing. What have incremental improvements done? Little. Here we are, going over much of the same ground that MLK and the civil rights movement did in the 1960s. This moment can be crucial to progress, however uncomfortable it makes you feel, apart from “feel-good” gestures.

  • Kirkland

    This could end up like the French Revolution. An abused underclass is about to let loose on the elite either unable or unwilling to understand their bad situations. Except replace “Let them eat cake” with “Stand for the national anthem”.*

    Does the NFL have an equivalent of MLS or the NHL’s Black Players’ Association, which actively campaigns for racial equality and against police injustice? They not only take public actions, but they also work with the leagues’ offices on promotion of these goals. And in the wake of the Jacob Blake tragedy, they put out forceful public statements against racism and led walkouts of scheduled games. A majority Black league like the NFL could use such a united front.

    *I’d also include the working class along with Blacks. What good is the stock market when a growing share of the population couldn’t keep their heads above water even before the pandemic?

  • jafabian

    I’ve always wondered if all the attention to players kneeling would be the fuss it is today if POTUS didn’t wage his attacks against athletes and their protests.

  • SeattleSince57

    In the sports world,
    For someone to win, someone has to lose.

    In real life,
    For someone to ‘win’, someone has to lose?