A brief history.
The earliest NFL players were everymen; just ordinary guys.
In the early days, rules prohibited most substitutions, so they played every down and on both offense and defense. Meager pay and a sport struggling for popularity meant players worked other jobs and the league struggled to attract talent.
On Nov. 12, 1892, a guy named William Heffelfinger received $500 in cash for playing in a football game; the first evidence of a person being paid to play.
The player’s lives didn’t revolve around the game. Even though they were paid to play, which made them “professionals,” hardly anything else was professional about their weekend “jobs.”
The game and the players changed over time as the rules changed, and as the league became more competitive, popular and prosperous.
Seeking to expand the sport, in 1936 the first NFL draft was held. It was designed to create a path from college to the pros. Only 24 of the 81 drafted players signed contracts with the NFL — a reflection of the league’s inferior status and low pay levels. The number one pick in that first draft, Jay Berwanger, turned down $125-$150 per game to play. He took a job as a foam rubber salesman instead.
The years immediately after World War II saw African American players begin to return to the NFL. While several had played in the league’s early days, the league had effectively banned black players from 1933 to 1945. Even though racial integration was slow to come to the NFL, the number of black players has increased dramatically since their re-introduction in 1946 until now, when they have become a sizeable majority – 70% of all NFL players are black.
Today, NFL Players at most positions are bigger and stronger than their predecessors. By 2015, the average height for NFL linemen had reached 6’5” and average weight was up to 312 pounds. These men are giants compared to an American man’s average of 5’8” and 195 pounds.
NFL players are not only physically big men but they earn big money too.
The minimum salary for first-year NFL players (2017 season) was $450,000, or $26,470 per week. Additionally, there are many opportunities for bonuses, including a roster bonus, a signing bonus (which can be in the millions), contract incentives, and other creative ways to earn money.
While some of the highest-paid players receive multi-year contracts for millions of dollars per year, the average salary of an NFL player is only $1.9 million per year. How DO they manage on such a pitiful salary?
In addition to the published salary figures, many popular athletes also have lucrative arrangements with sponsors that sweeten the financial pot through product endorsements and commercials. It’s not only a very financially rewarding career, but also brings with it iconic status and celebrity just like movie stars and rock stars who always get preferential treatment at restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, and just about anywhere else where their presence is known.
But all of that is apparently not enough for some who also want to become political pundits.
Take Colin Kaepernick for instance.
It began in August of 2016 when Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem stating that “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” He continued, “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Blacks are oppressed?
So, Kaepernick was protesting the systematic oppression of black people in America?
If blacks were really oppressed, why wouldn’t the NFL prohibit black players from playing – or at least hire fewer of them? Or pay them slave wages instead of tens of millions to play a game?
Why wouldn’t the oppressors prefer to be paying those millions to white players rather than to black ones? If the country was truly oppressing blacks, you can bet that we wouldn’t see 70% of the NFL and 74% of the NBA (they’re all millionaires) being blacks, would we? How could something so blatantly disproportional happen in an environment that is oppressive to blacks?
And it’s not only sports, its entertainment as well. More than 81 percent of Billboard Top 10 best-selling albums are now made by non-white or mixed-race groups of artists. Does that sound like “oppression”?
And another area that, at one time was closed to blacks, but now has black representation far exceeding the 13.3 percent they represent. Pay attention to television commercials and watch for blacks. I can guarantee that you’ll see black people represented in disproportional quantities. There’s no oppression of black actors in TV commercials either. Blacks even have their own television networks too, like BET (Black Entertainment Television) and OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).
And in view of affirmative action programs and preferences given to blacks and “people of color” in countless areas of life in America like government contracts and college admissions, it’s ridiculous to maintain that blacks are oppressed.
And here’s some additional evidence illustrating the lack of oppression of blacks: according to the African American Mayors Assn. there are 500 black mayors across the country – including 32 Black mayors of cities with more than 100,000 people. How’d that happen in an oppressive society?
And the topper: how did a black man (Barack Obama) get voted to the highest office in the land if the country oppresses people of color? If blacks were truly oppressed, wouldn’t Hillary Clinton have won the Democrat nomination in 2008 instead of Obama? And Obama couldn’t have been elected without white votes – there simply weren’t enough black votes to elect him without help from white voters.
The statement that blacks are oppressed in America is ludicrous; blacks are free to pursue any career they choose: doctors, lawyers, teachers, police, etc., limited only by their own intellect, education, and effort. Their only limitations are self-imposed.
Police using black men for target practice
And Kaepernick’s second statement makes a similar outlandish accusation that throughout the country, there are bodies of black men killed by police littering our streets. Contrary to that Black Lives Matter narrative, the police have much more to fear from black males than black males have to fear from the police.
In 2015, a police officer was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was to be killed by a police officer.
Black males have made up 42 percent of all cop-killers over the last decade, though they are only 6 percent of the population. That 18.5 ratio undoubtedly worsened in 2016, in light of the 53 percent increase in gun murders of police officers — committed vastly and disproportionately by black males.
In 2015, 258 blacks were killed by police. While that’s a disturbing statistic, it’s hardly indicative of rampant racism resulting in the indiscriminate killing of blacks by white police. What’s more troubling is that 6,000 blacks were killed by other blacks in the same year and that doesn’t seem to be worth any mention – 258 vs. 6,000 – and yet no protests of black-on-black killing? Why?
Could it be that the racial agitators only quote the number of blacks killed by white police to inflame the black population to rise up against the white majority and demand concessions? They need to stir up resentment and distrust; they need to keep the pot boiling.
I’m tired of it
And now, the NFL protesters are joining with the racial agitators to exacerbate the widening gulf between the races. What they’re demonstrating is the same attitude of confrontation and belligerence that gets blacks in trouble when confronted by lawful authority (like police). I’m not seeing suggestions for cooperation and unity coming from these activists – only defiance and provocation.
Do the protesting players believe that whites have caused black-on-black crime, out of wedlock births, a disdain for school and education, drugs and gangs, etc.? Do they believe that protests, demands, and riots will cause those problems to be magically “fixed” by white people without any buy-in by blacks?
Obama got the ball rolling and by then the time he left office, he left racial respect and trust in tatters. And now, seeing groups like Black Lives Matter (BLM) openly and blatantly call for violence against whites and just about any black in the public eye calling for the overturning of the white majority in deference to their demands.
And the NFL players (almost all black) now using a sports entertainment venue to lobby for more concessions to blacks, while showing disdain to our flag and national anthem, is too much – I’ve about had it. I’m sorry to say that these NFL protests have turned me against much of what I see among activist blacks. I’ve started by boycotting NFL games, no more Thursday, Sunday, or Monday games. No more buying NFL team-branded sporting goods. A fan boycott will have little effect on current players, but it will impact those still in college today who would have expected to play in the NFL in a few years.
I hate that it’s come to this. I was pleased when Barack Obama was elected, not that I favored him – I didn’t, but like many others, I thought that it indicated that racial harmony was right around the corner. Like most, I felt that blacks and whites had made genuine progress in getting along during the prior decade or two. I knew that we’d need mutual respect and trust between us to address the problems faced by the country and on the world stage. But over the past 10 years or so, we’ve become more antagonistic to one another, not more trusting.
I don’t know where this is going, but I’m going to have to see more than the constant degradation and belittling of white people before I’m ready to be more amenable to lending my assistance to solve black problems.