Why Don’t Black Football Players Just Quit? Consider the Following…

By:  H.T., Website:  Rogue Black Nerd

One question often asked by black people these days is, “Why, in light of Colin kaepernick and the statements of the owner of the Houston Texans, would any black athlete still decide to play on a team?”  The answer, sadly, is both simple but also incredibly depressing.  See, to understand the rationale of a black football player, you must understand the logic of how black athletes are socialized.

A black male athlete, simply put, has the biggest ego of really any group growing up.  Granted this is earned as they tend to be physically gifted individuals that, if they go pro, have literally spent their whole lives being told they are superhuman essentially.  I should know as my younger brothers are both student athletes, the youngest playing high school football.  To understand why black players refuse to abandon football even in the face of having to fight for basic human decency from the team owners, you can trace it all back to high school.  For players groomed to go pro, being a high tier athlete despite the pressure is also full of perks.  While the endorsements are years away as is the money, the most basic and ubiquitous perk remains…having a draw to women.  Yes, from the time these young men were on a field, they like any other black athlete get to enjoy being worshiped by women left and right.  Do I blame anyone who enjoys that?  No, but nevertheless, this plays partially into why they are hesitant to leave.

By college, the benefits of high school are now raised exponentially.  Aside from women, now the college opens up new social opportunities and adventures, along with the potential prospect of being good enough to if not skip college altogether to go pro at the end of it.  Combine this with the fact that likely the only reason the player may or may not have gotten into college in spite of their grades is because they’re such good athletes, and it’s likely that of the few that go one and done, they don’t have a fall back plan.  Then there’s the issue of money.  Should a player make it to the league and get a near max contract for joining, chances are they likely will have money issues because simply put, life happens.  A prime example tying all this together is Andre Rison, a former Michigan State University player who went pro only for his then girlfriend, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez, to burn his house down at the height of his career.

Now you ask, what does all this have to do with why players refuse to stop playing, even if it’s just a strike to demand better contracts for other players?  Keep in mind, NFL teams are filled with players that have no guaranteed money in their contracts.  The answer is many things.  For one, like essentially every black athlete, these men are taking care of entire families off their money.  Combine this with the pressure that has been mounting almost since birth about being a big pro athlete with a lot of money and things only get worse.  Along with that comes the women issues, namely the fact that of all the ways men get their egos stroked, you can’t deny the allure of beautiful women clamoring for you left and right.  And because of that, many of these athletes likely are giving one or multiple women money, either voluntarily or quietly under duress.  This along with the usual divorce, is just the simplified list of reasons that these men refuse to stand up for themselves.  It’s why we have so few Marshawn Lynch’s and many men trying to be the next OJ Simpson.  These men are hard conditioned.

So what do we do?  Well, there really isn’t a fix to this issue.  These are men who have been faced with the prospect of potentially being crippled mentally and physically and still choose to play, so I’m not sure what threat could get them to leave.  Perhaps the reason this is so hardwired into the psyche of black athletes is because it’s the logic of older black people passed on to their children.  These young people were raised by elders that worked jobs filled with racism and bigotry to the point that they simply grew to accept it as their families relied on them.  This mentality never died, it simply evolved to telling the black people with the good jobs to take it on the chin.  The difference between this and say OTHER professions that black people are in is that if just enough of them stood together, the league couldn’t ignore them all.  But they don’t, not because they won’t, but because sadly the pressures of the older generation to let Mr. Charlie say what he wants as long as he pays you is deafening.  The sad fact of things is that for this generation of black men, either by design or by the nature of people, the allure of just going along to get along is far more enticing than simply having the right to peacefully protest.  And this is likely how it will be as long as these men can still make a small fortune off playing in the NFL.

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