Danny Bridges

One doesn't have to be mensa material to see through the skewed logic of one Roger Goodell when it comes to race relations in America. The NFL commissioner has taken his marching orders from 32 of the richest white men in the country for 14 years now, all the while making them and himself even more wealthy by virtue of commandeering the most powerful and lucrative sports enterprise in the world. Along the way, he's disregarded everything from drugs, domestic violence, concussions, labor strife and certainly race relations in this country, one that provides the very platform for the aforementioned obscene wealth being accrued. 

While all the aforementioned is impressive in the eyes of his employer, his crown jewel was the way in which he systematically was able to "amicably settle" the Colin Kaepernick grievance which in turn served as the official blackballing of a man from ever playing in the NFL again for nothing more than a peaceful protest of police violence aimed at Black citizens. The agreement was confidential and neither Goodell nor the NFL apologized for their transgressions.

Clearly money changed hands, and life went on accordingly for all parties despite the unconscionable way the league had behaved, clearing the way for the NFL to continually print more money than the Federal Reserve and restoring normality to the football world.

Since that less than epic settlement there have been repeated instances of police brutality against Black citizens, and when the heinous murder of George Floyd occurring at the hands of a corrupt policeman emerged on tape in one of the very cities the NFL has a franchise in, it once again was determined they had to act swiftly. 

After consulting with a slick public relations firm, Goodell released a video in which he stated that the NFL was wrong earlier about police brutality, apologizing for such, and pledging to listen more and work with the players in the league to find appropriate solutions for progress. While that no doubt pleased both the owners and his P.R. firm, Goodell stopped short of apologizing to Kaepernick for his peaceful protests, leaving one to think the NFL still doesn't get it. 

Instead of taking this moment to recognize how the NFL disgracefully treated those who simply kneeled during the playing of the national anthem, he completely overlooked the opportunity to rectify the disrespectful way in which the matter was handled, opting instead to not even mention Kaepernick by name and ignoring the unconscionable manner in which the NFL "resolved" the matter.

Goodell clearly bungled the chance to publicly speak out to Kaepernick, and admit that the NFL was wrong in terms of how they treated him. It was also a chance to stand center stage and officially join forces with Kaepernick and work together to foster real change in the constant fight against racism. The question is, if you and l can see these easy solutions, why can't the NFL? Perhaps the owners don't care about it enough to step up and make an impact and are content to take all that television and merchandise revenue to the bank, all the while turning a blind eye to a societal problem as they puppeteer their subservient commissioner into doing what's always best for the collective bottom line. The NFL in this case stands for "No Financial Losses" and that mantra is certainly priority one.

I've never looked to sports to offer a moral compass and you shouldn't either, but with all their self destruction these past four years, I assumed the NFL would someday wake up and take advantage of an opportunity to reduce some pain, but l'm not counting on that. The fact is football fans you can't either. 

All the NFL has to do if they are serious about doing their part in terms of improving race relations in this country is embrace those Black individuals who suit up every Sunday and join them, along with Kaepernick, to foster real change. Something tells me they won't.

Danny Bridges, who thinks Roger Goodell will once again waste his enormous platform for change, can be reached at 317-370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com.

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