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So, Super Bowl LVI is going down Sunday. And while I’m a fan of football, there’s a few controversial things going on that’s making me question my plans to tune in. 

ICYMI, new allegations of racism have been swarming, claiming that the league discriminates against Black candidates seeking team coaching positions. Leading the charge in this argument is Brian Flores, former coach of the Miami Dolphins

Flores said the Miami Dolphins management made failed attempts to pressure him into making unethical decisions during his tenure as head coach. Despite having back-to-back winning seasons with the team, Flores was let go two years before his contract ended.

Since separating with the Dolphins in January, Flores has unsuccessfully interviewed with the New York Giants and Denver Broncos. After putting two and two together, Flores came up with racism in hiring practices and is suing all three teams.

NFL team hires Black coach as racism lawsuit surfaces

Then earlier this week, the Houston Texans made an announcement that they’d hired former Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach, Lovie Smith

Listen, after being accused of racist hiring practices, bringing a Black man on as the head coach of an NFL team is hella suspect and a convenient coincidence. Flores’ attorneys say it’s phony affirmative action on the behalf of the NFL in hopes that these new accusations go away.

Really, this could be a case of Brian being blackballed, which ain’t cool. But, at the same time,  it’s not as if the NFL doesn’t have a resume of racism–especially considering the Colin Kaepernick situation.

To refresh y’all memory, Colin Kaepernick the quarterback for the 49ers but was blackballed by the league for taking a knee on the football field, during the singing of the National Anthem in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Not one team would hire this man.

At that time, racial tensions were high and the NFL’s actions generated a lot of backlash from the public – including rapper and billionaire Jay Z – and led to a boycott.

Jay-Z and the NFL

Here’s where the tea gets real hot.

Back in 2018, Jay Z dropped a line in the song Apesh*t that said, “I said no to the Super Bowl: you need me, I don’t need you. Every night we in the endzone, tell the NFL we in stadiums too.”  with images of people taking a knee in the video. This was one of a few clapbacks in response to the NFL’s request for him to perform at that year’s Super Bowl halftime show, with speculation that he’d turned it down in solidarity with Kaepernick.

But then in 2019, Jay-Z and Roc Nation went public announcing a partnership with the NFL. Whew, Lawd! 

Some people accused Jay of betraying the still unsigned Colin in doing this deal. But, Hov fired back by saying that his partnership was to advance the organization’s social justice initiatives and curate the Super Bowl halftime show entertainment.

What will come out of this year’s Halftime Show?

That messiness has since died down but fast-forward to this year where we have another violation by the NFL. The wrench in all of this is, this year’s halftime show will include performances from Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and Eminem with Jay Z and Roc Nation running the show.

Long story short, here’s what I wanna know–what’s going to be Jay’s and the other artists’ comments or actions in response to these new allegations? Where does the line get drawn in working with organizations that uphold systemic oppression and racism? Is Jay a true partner or a puppet? And will the NFL ever give its Black players and staff the respect they deserve or actually be held accountable for its racism?

The National Delegation of Skinfolk is holding the line for a response from somebody.

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work--"If not me then who?" As a strategist and injustice interrupter, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for radical...

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