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The NFL and the Black National Anthem

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This article first appeared in New English Review.

There is a reason why NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is so unpopular. I have always suspected that he must be the illegitimate son of some important person. (Actually, he is the legitimate son of former New York Senator Charles Goodell, which may explain how he got his current job.) At any rate, Goodell has guaranteed that the fans will once again greet him with boos when the 2022 NFL Draft rolls around, and he steps out to announce the names of those drafted. The new politically correct NFL has just announced that next year, not only the National Anthem will be played before every game, but the Black National Anthem  (“Lift Every Voice and Sing”) as well.

Please rise and remove your caps.

Ever since the NFL so badly screwed up its response to Colin Kaepernick and the other players who refused to stand for the National Anthem, the league has been bleeding support among the fans. The fact is that Goodell and the rest of the league had no clue how to walk a middle line and avoid pissing everyone off-which they have managed to do-piss everyone off. All of their “Salute to the Military” stunts have been painfully transparent as PR attempts to stop the bleeding. 

While there is nothing really objectionable in the lyrics of the Black National Anthem, one has to ask, what does this achieve? Does this solve any of the problems that afflict black communities in America? No. 

I also question the timing. If this were the year 1968, I could understand. Personally, I have come to terms with what Olympic athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith did, raising their fists during the Mexico City awards ceremony in 1968. It was a different America then. Colin Kaepernick never lived in those times.

Of course, to call this song a black national anthem is a contradiction in terms. National Anthems are about nations, as the term makes clear. It is not about races. Our nation is comprised of many races, and to honor one with an anthem is-as liberals would say-exclusive of every other race. I do not wish to make light of the history that African-Americans have suffered, slavery and Jim Crow, but playing a black national anthem in front of large crowds comprised of many races, is not going to do anything but cause new problems.

I need not ask what the response would be if someone came up with a White National Anthem, and believe me, I have no wish to hear it. I know how divisive it would be. It would also be dismissed as racist. Then again, what’s next, a Brown National Anthem, a Gay National Anthem, Transgender National Anthem….where does it end? You think those Super Bowl pre-game ceremonies are too long now. Just wait.

And what happens in an NFL stadium next season when the Black National Anthem is played and some non-black fans decide not to stand? What happens if a black fan stands for the Black National Anthem and sits for the National Anthem? Do you think maybe there are going to be a few fights among fans next year? This is the last thing we need.

But that’s the way it will be because we are living in times where bad ideas are now in charge. And this is the worst idea since the NFL named Roger Goodell as commissioner. 


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