I think we are witnessing the last days of the NFL. I don’t think it will die out in a year or two or even five. I say give it ten to fifteen years and the NFL as we know if will be history. I don’t think any boycott on either side of the national anthem debate will hurt the NFL. They are way too big for that and I doubt the sincerity of those that claim to be boycotting.
I think the demise of the NFL is going to come about because of today’s young athletes. When I say young I mean 10-17 years old. Children are always listening and they are hearing and seeing the conversations adults are having about the flag, patriotism and police brutality. If football doesn’t fascinate an American boy in his youth the passion will probably never be there and that will affect the fan base and NFL recruitment.
I grew up in the Detroit area and I have vivid childhood memories of Detroit Lions games being viewed in my home. I recall one game when I was around three that I was watching with my dad and he threw a shoe at the TV. (If you know anything about the Detroit Lions you can understand my father’s frustration.) My mother was a Detroit Lions fan when they had their 0-16 season. And I remember many Thanksgivings being ruined because of the way the Lions performed on national TV. These memories never leave a person.
I live in Kansas City now and I’ve developed a fondness for the Kansas City Chiefs but the Lions are always going to be my team and the Chiefs are my backup team. But if the adults around me as a child weren’t interested in football or were angry at the NFL I don’t know that I would have much interest in the sport as an adult.
As a Black woman if I was the mother of a young son I don’t think I would encourage him to play organized football. I’m not sure I would encourage my son to play any sport for anything other than exercise and socializing. I’ve felt this way for years due to the rough nature of football and the fear of my son suffering permanent brain damage due to concussions. But I don’t think that pro sports is a good career choice for Black men anymore. Despite the money, fame and passion for the game I don’t think it’s worth it.
Black men in the sports world are treated terribly these days. Cam Newton is one of my favorites and he has been treated like garbage by fans and the media. My favorite Chief Marcus Peters gets dragged on social media after ever game despite being a key player on a 5-0 team. He has consistently sat down for the national anthem this season and does not explain his reasons for doing so. I think he’s smart for that because he would be criticized for anything he said.
I’ve read stories about high school athletes being kicked off of their football teams for taking the knee. I saw a different story about a high school student that protested during the anthem and he was bullied on social media for it. I see no reason to encourage a young Black boy to participate in organized sports. There’s nothing in it for them unless they swallow their pride and become a prized animal of sorts for another man. It seems that America wants its pro athletes to perform for them, take the pictures but keep quiet like one of the horses in the Kentucky Derby.
I saw a documentary on TV once about football and concussions. An expert on the program said that if a small percent of American mothers refused to let their sons play football it would change the game. I can see many American mothers refusing to let their sons play football because of the national anthem controversy regardless of the side they fall on.
But if Black women refused to let their sons play ball or if Black boys decided to take interest in the arts or choir or horticulture the NFL as we know it dies. It will not survive. In ten years I will be fifty two. I will probably still be alive and completely coherent. I will remember men, athletes, performers named Neon Deion Sanders, Barry Sanders, Megatron, Tyreek Hill and Odell Beckham that lit up the football field.
The field of athletes that feeds into the college system and into the NFL will be weakened if American Black boys are disinterested in or hold disdain for the NFL and their fans. There won’t be many if any exciting, charismatic athletes like those I mentioned earlier in the future. And even if there are a few they may not have much competion which leads to the downfall of America’s favorite sport.
There are some good White football players. There are some great White quarterbacks, some good defensive players, kickers and punters and then there is Gronkowski and the man who makes my heart go pitter pat, Travis Kelce. But the NFL’s personality, style and soul has come from Black men and they aren’t going to find it again outside of Black Americans.
Without African Americans the league will be much slower, more reserved and honestly dull. No one, not even the fake hillbilly patriots are going to watch that. But the NFL juggernaut will go down without a fight. They will do something to try and reclaim their brand. In the future the NFL will probably be like gladiator matches in ancient Rome. They will probably release wild tigers into the stadium in order to speed up the slow pokes.
Or perhaps they will draft athletes. By that I don’t mean “Yaaay, I’m a first round draft pick so now I’m gonna buy my mama a house!” I mean please show up to this office at the appointed time or face consequences Marquiese. Marquiese will probably end up wrestling tigers too. In an ever increasing callous society that is infatuated with violence and doesn’t love people I think it could happen. At that point the NFL will be desperate for ratings and will do anything to recoup lost revenue.
I’m sure the NFL is at the end of its golden age. I’m going to enjoy it while I can and watch it’s slow downward spiral. I can’t be alone in having resentful feelings toward these controlling racists that demand that Black men salute “their” flag. I can’t be the only person that is appalled by the way so called fans talk to athletes on social media. Even with the promise of fame and riches it seems like a dead end and I wouldn’t want any son of mine entertaining hateful Neo Nazis or aveage Americans, it’s getting hard to tell the difference, while sacrificing his body. Nope, I’d rather my son be a dentist.
I’ve always enjoyed sports because it’s objective. There beginnings, religion, political and social connections were irrelevant. Athletes earned their spot in the NFL because they were the best and the team managers wanted to win. Now athletes are getting picked off because of their beliefs. The league won’t be as competitive and everyone that actually knows the sport will be aware of it. The NFL, just like American democracy itself is another institution that is suffering because of America’s commitment to racism and White supremacy.