Yes, the NFL’s taunting penalty is racist

Yes, the NFL's taunting penalty is racist


Mike Edwards got called for taunting after his second pick 6 on Sunday.

Mike Edwards got called for taunting after his second pick 6 on Sunday.
Image: AP

The thing most people don’t understand about racism is that it goes beyond hating someone based on the color of their skin. It’s also about a power dynamic that gives the “hater” the ability to be detrimental to their victims.

For example, like calling flags on Black players for being “too Black” while playing a game.

If you haven’t noticed, the way that the NFL — and its officials — have cracked down on taunting in the first two weeks of the season has upset players and fans across the board, as the “No Fun League” is living up to its reputation once again.

Spinning the ball at a player, jawing at someone, crossing your arms to say “I just stopped you,” or any type of “excessive” banter are all things that will get you flagged now, with the first violation costing you a $10,300 fine and a second infraction coming with a $15,450 hit to your wallet.

Read this next part very carefully, because I mean every single word of it.

This is Roger Goodell’s version of the dress code David Stern mandated for the NBA in 2005, as he wanted to clean up the appearance of a Black league so that he could sell it to global (white) markets. And after the fallout from the NFL’s continued blackballing of Colin Kaepernick and exposure for race norming, this is the NFL’s way of telling white America: “Hey, don’t worry. We still have these ni**ers on a tight leash.”

“We get kind of sick and tired of the taunting that does go on from time to time on the field,” said Giants owner John Mara. “We tried to balance the sportsmanship with allowing the players to have fun and there’s always a fine line there, but none of us like to see that. It’s just a question of whether you can have rules that can be enforced and without taking the fun out of the game too, but nobody wants to see a player taunting another player. I know, I certainly don’t. I think the rest of the members of the competition committee feel the same way, too.”

By the way, that “competition committee” mentioned by Mara? It consists of 10 members handpicked by Goodell and only one NFLPA appointee. So much for player representation.

Never forget that in 2017, Mara publicly admitted that the reason the Giants didn’t consider signing Kaepernick wasn’t because of any offensive schemes or quarterback depth, but because Mara was shaken to the core by all the “emotional mail” he received from fans opposed to the move. However, this is the same man who not only kept kicker Josh Brown on the roster after knowing he had been arrested for domestic violence, but then gave Brown a raise after signing him to a new two-year deal. Brown wasn’t cut from the Giants until there was an outcry from the media and the public, proving that Mara has a history of not actually caring about anything that has to do with integrity or rules.

And then there’s Bill Belichick, the man simultaneously viewed by many as the greatest coach and greatest cheater in NFL history.

“In general, I don’t really think there’s a place for taunting in the game,” Belichick said on WEEI Boston on Monday. “I think that’s poor sportsmanship and it leads to other things. It leads to retaliation, and then where do you draw the line? I think the whole idea of the rule is to kind of nip it in the bud and not let it get started.

“I’m in favor of that. I think that we should go out there and compete and try to play good football and win the game on the field. I don’t think it’s about taunting and poor sportsmanship. That’s not really my idea of what good football is.”

I’m confused.

Is this the same man who once told his team, “There’s nothing wrong. In fact, you should be excited when you make a play. Hell, look at all the work you put into it?”

Sure is. He even added: “And when you can show that picture visually to your opponent, that’s what intimidation is.”

It’s never lost on me that when white players get fired up or upset on the sidelines, it’s instantly viewed as passion and love for the sport. But, when Black players do it, it’s “too much,” “out of control,” or it “crosses the line.”

Black joy has always been viewed as criminal.

A blind person can see that the racial dynamics of the NFL workforce mirrors that of corporate America. The league’s workforce (its players) are overwhelmingly Black. Middle management (coaches and coordinators) have a few minorities across the company. And the executives (owners and league office) are virtually all white, meaning that people who look like the workers are never adequately represented in the meetings that will affect them the most.

It’s textbook Racism 101, and as you can see, it can be applied to almost anything, as taunting is just the latest rule put in play to make sure the “inmates don’t run the prison.” Eventually, one of these calls will wind up determining an important game on a big stage, which will lead to more outrage from fans and players. And when that happens, the NFL will put Tony Dungy on TV to speak on their behalf, as he so often does whenever the league needs him to put a positive spin on one of their racist decisions.



Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.