No Better Time Than Right Now For Black NFL Ownership
Amid the disturbing claims of racism, sexual harassment and hush money payouts Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced he was putting the team up for sale at season’s end. Once widely regarded as one of the National Football League’s most influential owners, it seems Richardson’s racist tendencies and questionable office manners have caught up with him and now he is prepared to run away from it all now that the bright lights are squarely on him. Good riddance i say.
In a league that is seventy per cent black there is a glaring lack of diversity among its ownership ranks, outside of Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, who was born in Pakistan, and Bills co-owner Kim Pegula, who was born in South Korea, NFL ownership is lily white. So when most of the league’s african american players urged by Colin Kaepernick began to draw attention to the social injustices going on in minority communities around the country there was simply no understanding from the majority white NFL ownership. One of the more vocal opponents to player protest was Jerry Richardson.
Panthers players became frustrated by restrictions put in place by Richardson that would have put them at risk of some form of punishment if they were to publicly address social issues, he simply could not relate to them.
“Politicizing the game is damaging and takes the focus off the greatness of the game itself and those who played it,” Richardson said in a statement at the time.
Not only could most of the league’s ownership not relate to the player’s concerns. The president of the United States somehow found time to get away from more important matters to criticize Kaepernick and NFL players on an almost daily basis. Some steps in the right direction have been made since then as the NFL it seems had began to get the message about the concerns of it’s players.
However since some of the ghastly detail of the climate within the Panthers ownership under Richardson leaked out and he expressed a sudden desire to sell the team, rapper Diddy says he wants in. The 47-year-old hip hop mogul once made unrealistic overtures about buying the entire NFL but as a team owner ? Well that certainly is more realistic even though Diddy’s net worth is “only” 820 million the Panthers are worth an estimated $2.3 billion.
While Diddy’s desire to buy into the NFL was met with laughter and disdain by some skeptics, other athletes and celebrities took to twitter offering to pitch in . Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, former NFL players Maurice Jones-Drew, Greg Jennings , Shawn Merriman and hip hop star Luther Campbell pledged to throw in a few dollars to the cause. During the heat of the NFL vs Kaepernick debate this exact type of collective effort was a part of the water cooler talk among many sports fans in particular african americans. Let’s start our own league. We make up 70% of the players in this league.
A wealthy african american group can certainly pool their resources and buy an NFL team. It would be a good move by the NFL to seriously consider an offer from such a group. If the league wants to improve it’s relationship with the majority of it’s black fan base that would be a great start. Considering also the racial climate in the country right now , i think this would be a touchdown and a two point conversion for the NFL to contemplate black ownership.