Why Its Hypocritical to Claim You’re “Woke” and Still Watch the SuperBowl.

Today marks one of the biggest days for sports fans and maybe even one of the biggest days in American culture. Growing up, I always enjoyed watching football with my dad and had even more excitement when Super Sunday finally arrived. I truly enjoyed everything about the big game whether it be scarfing down nachos with my family, shushing others to hear the commercials or rooting for the Steelers to get their fifth ring. Like many Americans I enjoy the entertainment of the NFL, but this year was definitely an unusual year for the league.

For starters, this was the first football season following the ousting of Colin Kaepernick. Labeling myself as an advocate for change and someone who has attended Black Lives Matter protests, I almost felt sick at the thought of watching this season knowing that Colin was still being blackballed for taking a knee against police brutality. It also did not help that the President took to Twitter to voice his opinion that players should be fired for not standing for the flag. And on top of all of that, the all white clan of NFL owners decided to agree with Trump and express that they want their players to stand for the national anthem. Luckily for me, my idol Angela Rye addressed that she would be boycotting the NFL for similar reasons. And even though most of you are probably going to watch tonight’s game, I just want you to think about the reasons as to why its hypocritical to call yourself “woke” and help an organization like the NFL increase its profit and power.

Black people and the NFL

Within the last year, football fans witnessed players from across the league take a knee against police brutality and the unjust treatment of black people in America. If you are one of those people that believe kneeling against innocent citizens getting killed is somehow going against the military or the flag then I suggest you stop reading now. Actually, I’m surprised you made it this far. At this point I shouldn’t have to explain why Colin and black players are protesting against police brutality. And I definitely should not have to explain how it has nothing to do with the military or the flag. But if you are one of those people that don’t understand this, chances are you have a significant amount of privilege, you’re a racist, or maybe you’re both. However, if you happen to understand the protests or agree with the players kneeling, then I guess you would consider yourself woke. Just a friendly reminder that 70 percent of the NFL’s players are black men in comparison to the team owners who are 100 percent white. With an organization that makes an enormous profit off the talent of black people, you would think that maybe they could understand the protests or help out with a cause that affects majority of their players. Instead, the NFL decided to end Colin’s career for taking a stance against the mistreatment of black people in this country and continues to agree that it wants all its players to stand for the anthem. It is apparent that the owners do not value their players as humans, but rather see them as profit making machines.

The NFL’s complicity to players’ treatment of women

Now if the NFL’s ignorant response to players protesting wasn’t enough then you should think about the organization’s actions against players who are accused of rape and sexual violence. At a time where the #MeToo movement has received so much public attention it is interesting that certain sexual predators have had zero consequences for their actions from Woody Allen to our President to numerous players in the NFL. Many high profiled players who currently play in the league have been accused of actions that would get your average Joe fired. Adrian Peterson beat his 4-year old son but currently plays for the Arizona Cardinals, Ben Roethlisberger, a two-time rape accuser is still the quarterback for the Steelers and the Giants’ Brandon Marshall has been the subject of at least nine domestic violence accusations. Yes you read that correctly. NINE. In fact in 2015, 44 NFL players were accused of sexual or physical assault, according to Broadly. Its clear that the NFL has a domestic violence issue and has barely taken any steps forward to fix it. So any of you keyboard warriors using the hashtag “Me Too” and calling for the firing of sexual assaulters, lets see you put your money where your mouth is and not support an org that goes against what you’re fighting for.

Justin Timberlake at the halftime show

And finally if this season could not be any worse, the Super Bowl will feature Justin Timberlake out of all performers at the half time show. When you hear “JT” plus “Super Bowl” your mind automatically goes to 2004’s Nipplegate. During a time where women’s voices are finally being somewhat heard its interesting that JT is the chosen performer for this year’s Super Bowl. It also seems unfair that Justin would be asked back to the half time stage before Janet considering he was indeed the one who exposed her breast on live television. Justin never really issued an apology to Janet even though he admitted that she took most of the heat for the incident. Although Janet did not expose herself, she was banned from a planned Grammy performance while Justin indeed performed that same year. Not to mention Janet’s album underperformed roughly five weeks later and Viacom kept her music videos off their properties MTV, VH1, and radio stations under their umbrella. Again, if you consider yourself someone who is for women’s right (if you don’t then thats honestly strange), you can see how it might be difficult to support this particular half-time show given the unfair backlash and opportunities following the controversial incident.

Lets walk the walk and talk the talk

I know most Americans will still watch the Super Bowl and support the NFL, but at the end of the day that is something they will have to be ok with. Yes, I understand it is a great source of entertainment, however if we call ourselves advocates for civil and women rights then we are not moving in the right direction of our goal. During the women’s suffrage movement women would participate in hunger strikes and black people literally took different routes to work to boycott the racist Montgomery bus system. So if citizens before us can endure these hardships for change then its not much to ask us to simply turn off the TV and not watch a couple of games. The great thing about America as that the power really is up to the people. The true difficulty is coming together in order for that power to cause change. If we can just sacrifice the enjoyment of a sporting event it would impact the NFL, just like if we all turn out to vote it would make a difference. So if you really want to see change in this country and move America in the right direction of the way it treats its people then don’t just tweet about it, do something about it. For starters you can turn off the TV tonight.



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