In the Black community the Black professional athlete is often seen as a hero and role model. They are viewed as individuals who have overcome the barriers of poverty and racism.Some of these athletes make millions of dollars while other athletes make a comfortable living.
Being a professional athlete affords many liberties that the average person does not have. The most important of these liberties is the ability to speak out and be heard. Some of our greatest athletes of the past used these liberties to help the civil rights movement.
It appears that some Black NFL players of today use these same liberties to “whitewash” racist rants made by White teammates. For example, when Philadelphia Eagle wide-receiver Riley Cooper viciously used the -n- word at a Kenny Chesney concert, many Black players rushed to his defense.
In this Dec. 8, 2011, file photo, Miami Dolphins’ Richie Incognito (68) is penalized as he elbows a Buffalo Bills player during the second half of an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/David Duprey, File)
Miami Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito sent racist email to a Black teammate. Once again Black players rushed to defend racist remarks made by White teammates. The definition of whitewash is deceptive or specious words intended to conceal defects, gloss over failings or exonerate. Many Black players gloss over racist remarks by saying “he is a good person” or “he is a good teammate.” They make every attempt to exonerate theses players.
Football is the ultimate team sport. Participants must rely on one another physically and mentally. This reliance force players to bond in a way that people outside the sport don’t understand.
The locker room has its own culture. Things are said inside this room that the outside world is not privy to. This room is the players sanctuary. However, when White players use the-n- word with such disdain and contempt Black players should always be the first to speak out against such neanderthal behavior.
Whether in the privacy of the locker room or in the public arena Black players should never allow White players to feel comfortable degrading their race. These players should never allow the bond of the NFL to bind them to racist players.
The NFL has many White players who have the utmost respect for Black culture but there are still those White players who think it’s ok to use racist language when not in the presence of their Black teammates.
When Black players hear about these racist remarks they must speak out against these players.
The NFL is 65% Black. Black players should petition the players union to force the NFL to take significant action against racist rants.