The incessant din on social media re African Americans boycotting all things NFL because Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a contract with any National Football League team makes no sense. Yes, demonstrations at the NFL stadiums, like the one leaders of the National Action Network are planning for the Los Angeles and Oakland area, will draw attention to the issue. However, it will not impact the NFL financially in one way. The NFL is in business to make money for its rich member owners. Boycotts are generally intended to impact a company or organization’s bottom line. Let’s face reality folks.If every Black person who had gone to an NFL game in the last 10 years decided they would not buy even a discounted ticket to a game, the impact would not be felt on the league’s bottom line. Let’s start to put the money in perspective.Think about everyone whose home you have had dinner with and the people who have had you in their homes for dinner-in the course of your entire life. Give your best guesstimate at how much all of those people made per year from their jobs. Odds are the total doesn’t come close to the $34 million dollars NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made in 2014. His salary has been bumped up since then. The National Football League is about numbers – numbers with dollars signs in front-not emotions. Which is more evidence why talk of a boycott having any impact is pure fantasy.
Understandably people are beyond upset given Mr. Kaepernick rated well above being an average quarterback was not signed by any National Football League team since he became a free agent late last year. Most NFL coaches and owners who have spoken on the matter dismiss allegations Mr., Kaepernick doesn’t have a new contract with any team because of his refusal to stand. It’s the refusal to sign him that has much of the African-American blogosphere in an uproar and calling for a boycott of all things NFL.
I am positive many, if not most African Americans, football fans or not, want to support Mr. Kaepernick. Unfortunately, the threat of a boycott is not the vehicle to get him any closer to getting him a new contract. Absent of some benevolent owner, with a gargantuan social conscience, this may very well be a fight Black people want to reconsider consider and redirect the anger and energy toward something more likely to yield favorable results. That doesn’t mean Mr. Kaepernick’s name should stop rolling off our lips, or his story should disappear from our newspapers, blogs, and websites. What it means is accepting that that the rush to discuss mounting a boycott against the league is cathartic at best. It helps relieve some pent up anger but does nothing to dismantle racism and unjust causes.
The potential impact of African Americans not watching NFL games is negligible at best. Look at the number of tickets sold and the revenue from those tickets, juxtapose that to the reality that there are approximately 25 million African-Americans adults in the U.S. , not all are NFL fans, and it is easy to conclude us not buying tickets means nothing to the league’s bottom line. http://www.statisticbrain.com/nfl-ticket-and-revenue-statistics/
Whether it is a restaurant that serves you a horrible meal, a retailer than deliberately overcharged you, or an entity that violates your civil rights; when you boycott you are looking to impact that operation’s bottom line. The hopeful take away is the whoever is being boycotted will realize they can not continue the offensive behavior and not lose money.
A boycott is a great strategy when you can somehow measure the impact of that action and if affects the bottom line. Boycotts also hold enough sway to get the offending party to reverse course. That was the case in the mid-1950s when Black Birmingham residents stopped riding the city buses. Because African Americans comprised the majority of bus patrons, their absence created an almost immediate revenue drain. The bus company had no other recourse after more than a year of boycotts to reverse policy about Black people’s accessibility and places on the bus. Not only was it an identifiable request, it was measurable. It strengthened whatever Black solidarity already existed because all Black people were in the same circumstance.
In the Kaepernick instance, people will demonstrate. We should demonstrate. We should protest at the top of our lungs because what the league is doing exceeds the bounds of what is wrong. Demonstrations and protests call attention to the inequitable treatment of Mr. Kaepernick. However, whatever they call it those who are dissatisfied with the NFL will not be boycotting. It is rather simple-for every season ticket holder there are at least two ready and capable of financially replacing that person. The “boycott” will have no impact on those sales.
One of the most plausible reasons the 29-year-old Mr.Kaepernick hasn’t done more than thank his legions of supporters is because he realizes there is nothing the Black general public and other backers can do. Even a couple of coaches who say Mr. Kaepernick would be a good fit for them have been overruled by the team owners.
Some have criticized other NFL players, Black and white, for not standing en masse with Mr. Kaepernick. With the average player’s salary at slightly more than $4 million, and no plausible opportunity to make nearly that much after retiring from football; players are clearly putting personal interests ahead of any social causes, such as ending police brutality.
There is a host of realities that we must face in this situation-irrefutable facts including:
No African Americans are at the owners’ meetings to help his or her colleagues understand the cultural difference
- On our best day, in our best year Black people can’t impact the NFL’s multi-billion dollar empire
- Television networks collectively pay nearly $20 billion annually for the rights to broadcast NFL games
- The signage you see in and around every stadium is a multi-million dollar cash cow for the teams
- All NFL team already have this year’s millions of dollars in hand from season ticket holders
We simply may have arrived at a point in history where kneeling in solidarity with a young pro athlete is the best we can do. It is probably best for folks to keep doing whatever it is they are doing to protest Mr Kaepernick’s treatment. Call it a protest, call it a demonstration but don’t say you are boycotting.