Four lessons the NFL could learn from ABC

South Florida Times - - OPINION -

his­tory and jus­tice, just as Muhammed Ali has been hon­ored for protest­ing the Viet­nam draft.

2. Stand up for and de­fend the dig­nity of the peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing your brand among the most valu­able in the world. ABC built one of the most di­verse au­di­ences in en­ter­tain­ment by ush­er­ing in con­tent that is cre­ated by, starred in, and catered to mi­nor­ity au­di­ences. "black-ish," "Scan­dal," "How to Get Away with Mur­der," and "Grey's Anatomy," - suc­cess­ful shows cre­ated and pro­duced by women of color whose ap­pear­ance Barr pre­sum­ably equates to apes. ABC made the bold, or maybe just fis­cally pru­dent, de­ci­sion to stand in sol­i­dar­ity with its di­verse au­di­ence and tal­ent pool.

How­ever, af­ter mul­ti­ple de­mands and com­plaints from Don­ald Trump, in­clud­ing that the “un­grate­ful son of a bitch” should be forced off the field, the NFL ac­qui­esced and forced ev­ery player off the field or to their feet. Adding in­sult to cen­sor­ship, they did so without con­dem­na­tion of the Pres­i­dent or the re­sent­ful fans who have used racial ep­i­thets in ref­er­ence to protest­ing play­ers. The NFL demon­strated zero al­le­giance to the play­ers that made it the most prof­itable ath­letic en­ter­prise in Amer­ica. Not ex­actly the best way to in­spire mo­rale and loy­alty.

3. Do not ca­pit­u­late to a tyran­ni­cal Pres­i­dent’s at­tempts to use his po­lit­i­cal pul­pit to bend the pri­vate sec­tor to his will. Prior to Barr’s in­sid­i­ous re­marks, Trump raved about her rat­ings and boasted about their close re­la­tion­ship. Nat­u­rally, fol­low­ing her de­par­ture he did what we all ex­pected… de­fended Barr and at­tacked ABC for pre­vi­ous state­ments made to­wards him. Many ex­pect Trump’s at­tacks to­ward ABC to con­tinue and pos­si­bly es­ca­late, but the net­work has re­mained un­wa­ver­ing, and I sure hope they con­tinue to.

The NFL failed to demon­strate the same for­ti­tude to­ward sus­tained at­tacks from Don­ald Trump, who has had the League in his crosshairs since they blocked him from buy­ing an NFL team over a decade ago. Fol­low­ing sus­tained at­tacks against the play­ers and en­cour­ag­ing fans to boy­cott pro­fes­sional foot­ball, the NFL com­mis­sioner and team own­ers (a group of all white men with one sin­gle ex­cep­tion) made a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion to com­ply with Trump’s de­mands.

This leads me into the fi­nal les­son the NFL could learn from ABC.

4. Put some women of color in charge at the NFL front of­fice. It took less than 3 hours for ABC Pres­i­dent Chan­ning Dungey, a Black woman, to can­cel the high­est rated show on her net­work fol­low­ing Barr’s com­ments. In to­day’s at­mos­phere of height­ened ex­pec­ta­tions of cor­po­rate re­spon­si­bil­ity many en­ter­prises can learn from such de­ci­sive ac­tion. There is sim­ply a greater so­cial con­scious­ness, sen­si­tiv­ity, and re­spon­si­bil­ity amongst com­mu­ni­ties that are most af­fected by op­pres­sion. And in Amer­i­can so­ci­ety, over the long­est sus­tain­able time, that com­mu­nity has been women of color.

A League that spent decades cov­er­ing up ir­repara­ble phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal trauma to its play­ers, that shows more con­tempt to­ward peace­ful protest then it does to­ward do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, and that is more con­cerned with white com­fort then it is with Black lives, is a League that can take notes from an in­sti­tu­tion that was bold enough to get it right…de­spite what it might cost.

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