By Jeffrey Boney (Houston Forward Times/NNPA Member)
Hey, dope fiend? Yeah, I’m talking to you. Don’t look around. We need to have a serious talk about your addiction to the National Football League (NFL).
The truth is that, consuming the NFL on all of its various platforms, is like a drug for many of us (it’s just the plain truth)…and it’s extremely hard to get the “New Jack City” ‘pookies’ of the world to put down that NFL pipe, because it’s calling them every day, all day.
These NFL dope fiends can’t get enough of watching their favorite NFL team play, or watching any team play, for that matter, because that NFL pipe has become so addictive to them that nothing will get in the way of them getting their fix. These NFL dope fiends can’t stop subscribing to their favorite NFL TV package; or tailgating in the parking lot; or going down to their favorite sports bar to watch the game; or constantly checking on the NFL scores on their social media newsfeed or their downloaded sports app. NFL dope fiends just can’t help themselves. This is what happens when you’re addicted to a drug like the NFL.
Trust me…I know this from personal experience.
I, like most of you, have been addicted, too, but I have chosen to put the NFL pipe down this year and sober up. The NFL had become so powerful, that it was forcing me to choose between accepting things about the NFL that I knew were blatantly wrong and staying true to my convictions and the things I strongly believe in—fighting for equality and justice. I could not, in good conscious, allow the addiction I had, regarding the NFL, allow me overlook the truth and stay silent about the hypocrisy displayed by the NFL as it relates to quarterback Colin Kaepernick. That’s why I had to put the NFL pipe down, cold turkey.
If it isn’t clear to the rest of you NFL drug addicts out there by now, let me make it real plain for you.
The NFL, and the NFL team owners, who have been leading the charge, have shown their true colors by proactively colluding together to deliberately blackball Kaepernick and keep him out of their league, by any means necessary, while simultaneously attempting to silence his voice and seeking to make him out to be an example that no other NFL players would want to follow.
Thankfully, the momentum (started by Kaepernick’s bold stance to take a knee) has started a movement that has accomplished the complete opposite of what the NFL, and its owners, had intended. More and more NFL players, as well as people all across the country, have gotten on board with Kaepernick’s original message of taking a knee to bring attention to the injustices experienced by people of color in this country, carried out by rogue members of law enforcement.
From the very beginning, Kaepernick indicated that his protest was never about disrespecting the flag, the military or our veterans; he made it clear that his protest was strictly motivated by what he viewed as a failure by America to address the oppression that people of color have been experiencing in this country. Nothing more, nothing less. So, for some people, especially people like President Trump, to push a false narrative that the protests are about the American flag or the American military, while continuing to support the NFL’s deliberate blackballing of Kaepernick, it’s clear to me that those fans have hit the NFL pipe a little too hard and are high as a kite.
Here you have a man in Kaepernick, who was named the Week 1 NFLPA Community MVP for his outstanding community service and commitment to making America’s communities better places to live, even though he wasn’t on any team roster. Then, as we see this false narrative about Kaepernick permeating the minds of many people like a drug epidemic, we see yet another rogue cop get away with murder in America, after St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson chose to acquit Jason Stockley—the police officer who murdered Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011.
Here you have a police officer who chased Smith down and is heard on police dashcam video saying, “going to kill this motherf****r, don’t you know it,” before getting out of his car and firing five shots into Smith’s car, subsequently killing him. A handgun was then suspiciously found in Smith’s car, but had no evidence of Smith’s DNA on the gun. The gun did, however, have 100 percent of Stokely’s DNA on it—all but proving that the gun had to have been planted in the car by Stokely after the murder. And how did Judge Wilson rule? I’m glad you asked. In his ruling, Judge Wilson said, that the dashcam audio and video proved that the pursuit was stressful, and that, “people say all kinds of things in the heat of the moment or while in stressful situations.” Judge Wilson also wrote the following about whether the gun, that had none of Smith’s DNA on it, was planted or not: “Finally, the Court observes, based on its nearly thirty years on the bench, that an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly.”
Wow…just wow! And you have the nerve to ask why Kaepernick is taking a knee?
Ever since Kaepernick began his protest during the 2016 NFL season, countless unarmed Black men and women have died at the hands of trigger-happy members of law enforcement, with the majority of those rogue law enforcement officials getting away with murder, with no accountability for their actions. According to a report by the law enforcement watchdog group Mapping Police Violence, police killed at least 336 Black people in the U.S. in 2015 and at least 309 Black people in the U.S. in 2016. In addition to these startling figures, the report also shows that Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than White people, with 33 percent of those Black victims being unarmed, compared to 18 percent of Whites. So far in 2017, police have killed approximately 207 Black people, and sadly the number is climbing.
Based on their past decisions regarding select players in their league, the NFL is seemingly okay with endorsing, and having a nonchalant attitude, regarding drug abuse, domestic violence, murder (alleged), racist comments, DWIs, animal abuse, etc., but clearly doesn’t seem to care about a Black man exercising his first amendment right to protest unjustified police brutality and the legally sanctioned police killings of Black men and women all across this country.
That is why I had to make myself put down the NFL pipe. No drug in this world is strong enough to keep me that addicted, to the point where I lack conviction, willpower and moral principles. I can only imagine how hard it must be for you to put that NFL pipe down, because I know how addictive it is, but there’s hope for you. You can be free and kick this addiction if you really want to—just like I did.
The first step is acknowledging that there is a problem that must be fixed. Let’s start there. Let’s acknowledge the real reason Kaepernick started taking a knee, and let’s start supporting him and his efforts wholeheartedly and with conviction. This is bigger than Kaepernick getting signed to a contract or being back in the NFL. This is about addressing a problem that is bigger than Kaepernick and bigger than you and I. So, what will it be? Will you be sucking on that NFL pipe this week, or will this be the week you officially kick the habit? Let me know how things are working out for you, and please know that I’m always here to help you deal with the withdrawal symptoms that come along with kicking the habit, so that you won’t relapse.
So, go ahead, dope fiend. You can do it. Go ahead and put that NFL pipe down.
Jeffrey L. Boney serves as associate editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Boney is a frequent contributor on “The Nancy Grace Show” and “Primetime Justice” with Ashleigh Banfield. Jeffrey has a national daily radio talk show called “Real Talk with Jeffrey L. Boney.” Follow Jeffrey on Twitter @realtalkjunkies or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.