What did the Cowboys’ pre-anthem kneeling really mean?
Simple. It did not mean a thing – at all. It was an easy way to appease the good ol’ folks paying for tickets and watching the games. It was a statement. A statement that spoke volumes without saying anything at all. It was an affront to the 70 percent of the NFL who make NFL owners’ pockets fatter. It did not recognize the nation’s ongoing issue of discriminate police brutality towards a marginalized race. The kneeling was posturing – albeit likely successful in appeasing the sleepy fans.
For this “boycott” or “protest” to be successful, it will require the loss of money – and lots of it. Who brings in the big bucks for the NFL? The ticket sales? Advertising? It’s the NFL employees – the players who drum up the viewership, the sponsorships, the ad sales. What happened if those employees refused to play? Would all 70 percent be terminated? If they were, what would be the end result? Money loss.
America the Capitalist. Americans care about money more than they care about race, nationality, politics or anything else. The only way to effectively make a change is to hit them where it hurts. I’m not a BLM guy or a change agent in that sort, but in a capitalist society focused on making money, that’s what matters, so it goes without saying that “losing money matters.” If the “70 percent” sacrifice (which is not likely), it would force the owners into LMM membership. Much like the members of BLM who feel that the united front is necessary, and who felt like they had no other choice than joining an organization devoted to saving Black lives, those owners would be forced into the membership of LMM – because for greedy billionaires, Greenbacks matter, and thus losing money matters.
A few weeks ago, Jerry Jones made a statement by kneeling pre-anthem. Soon thereafter, he made another declaration – kneel (disrespect) the flag and don’t play. But it looks like everyone one is still playing – oh wait, that’s because nobody knelt or disrespected the flag, as so many in Great America see it. But I wonder what would have happened if they all knelt? Would everyone not play? Would Jones be okay with losing all that money? Doubt it.
Jones’s bold declaration has opened to door for the rest of the racist owners to say how they really feel. Most recently, the Houston Texans’ owner and billionaire, Robert “Bob” McNair, made an “arguably” ambiguous statement in a closed-door meeting in which he stated, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” Some have attributed this to him characterizing the players; he says he was referring to how the NFL owners and league office employees interact. But does it matter? And guess who recently came out to defend him – Mr. Jones.
Rightfully, many Texan players were outraged at this remark, and some even discussed walking out of practice or not playing – but ultimately the decision was that most would kneel and lock arms during the national anthem. That’s great. Big accomplishment or not, they all still played, they all still received checks and most notably, apologetic owner Bob still had his prison running efficiently. You would think that such inflammatory statements would ignite a fire, but it only sparked a kneel, while everyone’s bank accounts stayed safely out of harm’s way. The power of the green is real. It has historically kept the rich man rich and the poor man poor. Sacrifice is hard, but in the end, if you want change, someone has to do it. But who is someone? And when will they refuse to just kneel down?
Corwyn M. Davis is the Managing Partner of The Davis Law Group. He is an adjunct professor of the trial advocacy program at The University of North Texas at Dallas’ School of Law.