The NFLs Most Valued Cause Is Itself – The Atlantic

Posted: February 9, 2020 at 2:50 am

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Though the NFL didnt admit to blackballing Kaepernick (who remains unsigned), it reached a settlement with him last year. Months later, the NFL and Jay-Zs label, Roc Nation, announced that the artist would lead the Inspire Change partnership, which supports social causes of the players choosing in areas such as education and criminal-justice reform. Jay-Z, who had rapped about turning down an invitation to perform at the Super Bowl at the height of the NFLs public controversy with Kaepernick, insisted the joint venture would be a step in the right direction. But as The Atlantics Jemele Hill wrote at the time, It doesnt matter whom the NFL partners with, or how much money it pours into social-justice causes. The leagues actions come off as disingenuous because Kaepernick remains unemployed as a result of a peaceful protest.

Jemele Hill: Jay-Z helped the NFL banish Colin Kaepernick

By the end of Boldins Super Bowl ad, its clear that the athletes testimonial, however sincere, wasnt a traditional PSA. There was no reference to the work of a specific community-based organization or commentary on what kinds of policies might best combat police brutality. Rather, Boldin invoked his cousins memory specifically to promote the NFLs Inspire Change program; with the spot, the league chose to elevate its own work above everything else. Because Kaepernicks protest ignited such heated responses from conservative viewers, some people have noted that the ad may spark new controversy. But like the work of the Players Coalition itself, this commercial obscures how racial injustice endures: through discriminatory systems, not just the actions of individuals. The Inspire Change ad notes repeatedly that Joness killer was a plainclothes officer, and Jones would have had no way of knowing the man was law enforcement. In other words, the blame is assigned to one bad actor rather than to institutions.

Despite the obvious tragedy of Joness death, the ads sharp turn to a feel-good ending registers as only slightly less opportunistic than two other Super Bowl spots that aired last night: a presidential-campaign ad for Donald Trump, which featured adulatory footage of Alice Johnson, a black woman who was granted clemency in 2018and one for Mike Bloomberg, in which a black woman whod lost her son to gun violence spoke tearfully about the need for reform. Both ads present the actions of their respective politician as a necessary balm for a womans suffering, and the only paths to justice for their slain children and marginalized communities. Ultimately, the NFL ad similarly tugs at heartstrings without answering larger questions; it capitalizes off Kaepernicks original message while excluding him from any record of the leagues evolution.

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The NFLs Most Valued Cause Is Itself - The Atlantic

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February 9th, 2020 at 2:50 am