Home Commentary Columns Questioning National Football League Moral Stance on Race

Questioning National Football League Moral Stance on Race


By Allen Jones

If signed, Arizona businesses would have had the right to refuse service to gays on religious grounds. February 24, 2014 the NFL slipped a memo to the Arizona governor via the press: “Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law…” Hint, hint.

The following day, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a bill she was expected to sign into law. However, I wonder. If it had not been for the fact that Super Bowl XLIX (49) scheduled for Feb. 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona was so close, would the the NFL have cared?

During a 1986 campaign for governor of Arizona, Evan Mecham promised to rescind Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a paid holiday. Once sworn in as governor in January 1987, Mecham followed through on his promise, which set off a boycott of the state.

It took the NFL four years before jumping out of bed with Arizona. In 1991 the league moved the site of the 1993 Super Bowl from Phoenix, Arizona., to Pasadena, California. The following year, Arizona citizens voted to enact Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

It is undeniable that the NFL has power to influence change. However, I also wonder if the Super Bowl was not scheduled to be played in Arizona, would the NFL had bothered to flex its muscles in that Arizona situation too? Flexing NFL muscles as a matter of morals seems immoral when it seems self-serving.

More than 11,645 Blacks have moved out of San Francisco in just the last ten years and City Hall has only responded with a 2012 follow up report of a 2009 Black out-migration report, which was commissioned based on a forty year trend of declining SF Blacks.

With that typical pattern of action towards its Black population, it would not surprise any remaining Blacks if, the $25 million San Francisco spent to win the right to host the 2016 Super Bowl included dinner at the Mission and 4th Street Denny’s. The walls had beautiful old photos of proud Black families throughout the restaurant, sued several times in the early 1990s for racists acts. And you did not have to be Black to notice one other mystery, no Black employees.

Meanwhile, San Francisco city leaders continue their own shenanigans, which suggests City Hall is using “Cost of living” as a door stop excuse, in order to allow more blacks to leave the city by the thousands. The economics is the big reason but it tends to be used to cover up the lack of respect so many Blacks have experienced here.

Nevertheless, my oldest brother was not fazed by the high cost of living in San Francisco. With no subsidies, he was able to move back into the city and rent a nice house. He was simply respected by a landlord who judged him and his wife to be; by the content of their character.

Both economics and disrespect are contributing factors causing so many to leave San Francisco but the homeless and imprisoned Black population, which remain disproportionately higher are also disturbing factors.

In any event, the NFL, which has approximately 70% Black players should at the very least, show Black San Franciscans a little more respect than City Hall. Doing a little soul searching is a start.

Memo to the NFL: The “San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce” is not boycotting San Francisco’s travel and tourism industry because it is trying to drive its members out of The City, they are boycotting for respect from The City’s travel and tourism industry.