I Wonder What Good Will Come Of It

This toxic relationship we have with the NFL

Welcome to another episode of Mixed Signals

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Photo: Kevin Mazur (Getty Images for Roc Nation) the Root

Who’s playing who?!?

Or are they just playing us?

I previously touched upon how lucrative racism is and how deeply interwined its mechanisms are within our economy. As you can tell capitalistic freedom is a form of social currency that is perniciously bought and sold. Because capitalism and discrimination go hand in hand, and makes money fist over fist, the assault on American society is so injurious that it results in some pretty deep and superficial bruising physically and psychologically.

As Jemele Hill laid it bare in an article for The Atlantic, Jay-Z’s newfound intractable relationship with the NFL is about to sever numerous longstanding and intimate (cultural) relationships.

The partnership with Jay-Z is part of the NFL’s larger strategy to continue to absolve itself of what happened to the quarterback and throw enough money at social-justice causes so that the players will no longer feel the need to protest — or, at the very least, keep their opinions about racial injustice far away from the football field. Last year The New York Times obtained audio of the three-hour meeting that took place among owners, players, and executives in October 2017, during the pinnacle of the protest drama. The late Houston Texans owner Bob McNair told the players who were present at the meeting, “You fellas need to ask your compadres, ‘Fellas, stop that other business. Let’s go out and do something that really produces positive results, and we’ll help you.’”

By leaving Kaepernick completely out of the mix, Jay-Z is now complicit in helping the NFL execute its strategy. Now he is an accomplice in the league’s hypocrisy.

The invidious appproach taken by Sean Carter, aka Jay-Z, is perplexing as he has become astutely taken in by the aura and persuasion of capitalism and its zero-sum mystique. Mr. Carter’s adaptations to a capitalistic playbook filled with zero-sum equations and mechanics can be seen as a harnessing, then a reigning in, on the opportunism that the politics of identity can corral.

The NFL has a profound influence in the way it breeds and brands its stables of athletes. The lure and payoff is complicit with not only the inputs of a physical and mental toll of completing a season of football, but in its manifested subjugations and oppressions of racialized outputs that this state controlled entity certainly wields.

To Jay’s credit and rising fortune, I guess they taught you well. I don’t know what Jay’s worth is but it is worth noting that affluenza comes with side affects that includes an infectious stigmatism. In Mr. Carter’s views it is simply time that we move on from the alleged disgrace of Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest of police brutality in racially Black and Brown communities across America. This, of course comes from a distorted nationalist framing that resulted in Kaepernick’s ban from the NFL, which led to his undisclosed settlement by NFL team owners who really wanted Kaepernick to also move on.

Like most toxic relationships it is tough to simply just move on. When you have been lured in by the fame and fortune of playing a violent game from a vulnerable age, you get used to the abuse and the exploitation that comes with the beginning of a toxic relationship. The reasons it is hard to let go is because there is a lot to give up after so much (time and effort) has been invested. The love of the game can be so addicting that its stakeholders see themselves as wanting to save the sport from its bad rap or rep. Heck it even got me — a fan and former player — to believe that this is a relationship I truly need and want, even though its toxicity has proven to not be good for me in so many ways.

And like Jay’s prolific use of the spoken word which catapulted him to such great heights and tremendous social capital, there is enough given here to pause and reflect upon with all its metaphors and allusions to progress, even though the relationship remains the same: toxic. This, as Trumpism settles in.

It appears the more that I write the better I perceive.

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