Treatment of Black Athletes in the US

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8th Mar 2019 Sports Reference this

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SUBJUGATION OF BLACK ATHLETES

Black athletes have been the victim of economic subjugation for quite some time. People such as Colin Kaepernick and other African American athletes have tried to fight against this practice. Capitalism and commodification are major reasons why black athletes are told to stick to sports and are denied the rights to be starters as quarterbacks in the NFL. The National Anthem has been a major controversy in which many black athletes have not stood for it, in an effort to acknowledge racism against the black community.

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Commodification means transferring goods, services, and/or people into commodities. In a sense, the individuals are devalued and not treated as someone who is worthy of respect od dignity. For instance, instead of encouraging young black men to get an advanced degree, such as a Master’s degree or a doctorate, many of these men are encouraged to go into sports. However, joining a sport is not encouraged for their own gain, but for a way that other people can make money off of African American athletes, such as managers, coaches, and owners of sports teams in the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

Racism has been a major challenge in the United States, especially in the world of sports. Black athletes have been subjected to subjugation on many levels.  African American athletes have struggled to get starting jobs in sports, such as the NFL. Studies have also shown that the NFL has showed much bias against African American quarterbacks. This shows institutional prejudice and discrimination in the NFL.

Institutional racism is discrimination that is carried out by organizations, governments, or groups. Some groups are stripped of their rights, while other groups possess greater rights. Institutional racism been directed toward many minorities, such as African Americans. White individual rights versus African Americans  [1](Johnson, 2006) [i]One of the ways that black subjugation has occurred in the NFL is the case of black quarterback Colin Kaepernick. His decision to kneel while the National Anthem played was to protest racism in America that minorities face.

The case of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is an incident of racism against African Americans playing in the NFL. Kaepernick, a Black quarterback, chose to to start kneeling during the National Anthem that is heard before every NFL football games. The quarterback wanted to show how much he believes that people live in a racist country where African Americans are not respected. Unfortunately, his actions created a major problem and controversy in the America and the NFL [2](Kane & Tiell, 2017).

Because of Kaepernick’s stance on kneeling during the National Anthem, he has not secured employment in the NFL since becoming a free agent with the team. Several NFL teams, such as the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, and Chicago Bears have needed a quarterback, but they did not sign Kaepernick, a capable quarterback. This shows racism. Kaepernick wanted racism to be exposed.  Kaepernick has helped eradicate racism by giving to charities. He talked to reporters after American noticed that he was kneeling during the National Anthem. According to Sandritter [3] (2016, p. 1), “He spoke about injustice and the fact that he wanted to present an uncomfortable conversation in hopes that the country could become unified on the topic.” Some people lived the life of oppression and discrimination and identified with him (Kane & Tiell, 2017).  Kaepernick was fighting police brutality against black Americans such as Treyvon Martin gtting killed by officer George Zimmerman and Freddie Grey getting his spine broken.

Donald Trump’s reaction to Kaepernick and NFL players kneeling created dissension. He said that NFL players who kneel should be fired. He called them unpatriotic and a disgrace. Trump referred to them as brown people and used swear words to describe black people that signals that racism. This encouraged even NFL players to take a knee during the anthem. (Cummings, 2017) [4]. When Trump told the NFL that anyone that kneels for the National Anthem should be fired, he was demonstrating the power of the bureaucracy. The government got too involved in the situation of the National Anthem and convinced many people to boycott the NFL and not watch it anymore.

The case of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is an example of racism against African Americans in the NFL. Kaepernick, an African American quarterback, decided to start kneeling during the National Anthem that is played before football games to show his disdain for racism that is inherent in the United States. This created a huge controversy in the NFL (Kane and Tiell 2017).

Because of Kaepernick’s stance on kneeling during the National Anthem, he has not been able to find a job in the NFL since becoming a free agent with the team. Several NFL teams, such as the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, and the Chicago Bears have needed a quarterback, but the teams all refused to sign Kaepernick. Many people feel that this is a sign of racism.

Kaepernick was trying to shed light on several issues of racism that exist in society.  Kaepernick has helped eradicate racism by giving to charities. He talked to reporters after American noticed that he was kneeling during the National Anthem. According to Sandritter (2016, p. 1), “He spoke about injustice and the fact that he wanted to present an uncomfortable conversation in hopes that the country could become unified on the topic.” Some people were on his side, as they knew what it was like to experience oppression and racism.  They identified with his words and supported Kaepernick (Kane and Tiell 2017).  Kaepernick was also protesting police brutality against African Americans, such as Treyvon Martin getting shot and killed by officer George Zimmerman and Freddie Grey getting his spine broken for police officers while in jail.

Donald Trump’s response to Kaepernick and NFL players kneeling created much more outrage. He said that NFL players who kneel should be fired. He also referred to them as unpatriotic and disloyal. He also called them brown people and used cure words to describe them. That signals that racism. This encouraged even more NFL players to kneel during the anthem (Cummings 2017). Kaepernick has not been able to secure an NFL job as a back-up quarterback or starter, despite Kaepernick being more talented than many of the quarterbacks that have gotten a chance in the NFL. For instance, the Buffalo Bills needed a new quarterback when they traded Tyrod Taylor. They ended up taking a quarterback named A.J. McCarron from the Cincinnati Bengals. McCarron has only played six games as a starter and has sat behind Cincinnati first string quarterback Andy Dalton for about four years. On the contrary, Kaepernick took the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013. The Baltimore Ravens also passed on taking Kaepernick as a back-up when they needed one, as well as many other teams that needed a decent quarterback but still passed on Kaepernick.

Kaepernick taking a stand for racism has cost him a job in the NFL. However, the story is not over here. Recently, the case has taken a new twist. According to a CNN article, “Colin Kaepernick’s legal team is expected to seek subpoenas for President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other campaign officials relating to the quarterback’s collusion case against the NFL, a source familiar with the ongoing grievance process has told CNN” (Martin 2018, 1).

Because Kaepernick, an African American quarterback, has stood up against racism, he is being punished by many teams in the NFL, who prefer not to have him on the team, due to the controversy that it may cause. Trump has put himself in the middle of the National Anthem situation by calling out NFL players. The traditional trip to the White House by the Super Bowl winner, which this year was the Philadelphia Eagles, was canceled by Trump. Trump said it was due for players not standing for the anthem when the true reason is that the White House did not anticipate that many players showing up for the visit (Martin 2018).

Vice President Mike Pence has also created some controversy about the NFL and the National Anthem. This past year, Pence left an NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts, due to some players kneeling during the Anthem. Pence tweeted that it is a sign of disrespect to American soldiers.  However, if a white man such as Tom Brady would have knelt down during the National Anthem, he may have been forgiven and not subjected to such harsh treatment.

The crackdown on African American players expressing their feelings about racism in the United States is evident in the latest news on the anthem. This is evident in the following passage, “Last month, NFL team owners decided that players must stand during the National Anthem this season, a reaction to fierce backlash against some who took a knee in symbolic opposition to what they view as the systemic oppression of people of color, including by police” (Martin 2018, 2). NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that any player and NFL personnel who refuse to stand for the National Anthem will be fined. Players who do not want to stand may sit in the locker room, while the Anthem is playing. Every NFL team can create rules for players who do not follow them. The fact that most players who do not stand for the anthem are African American is an example of black subjugation on a personal and economic level. If fans see that certain player are always in the locker room during the National Anthem, this can create some resentment that makes the lives and performance of African American athletes who stood up more precarious. Many fans became angry at athletes that did not stand for the National Anthem. Several fans stopped watching football, due to this controversy, these people siding with Trump and influenced by his views on the anthem (Martin 2018).

Perhaps, the black athlete who refused to stand for the anthem will be the will be the first guy who is traded or not kept on an NFL team when a new contract is being created. In this way, the black athletes who do not stand are being subjected to commodification. They are not being valued as people. The real value being placed on the situation by Goodell is in the loss of tickets sales and NFL viewers who stopped watching the sport. Greed and money are more important than the African Americans in this country that are being subjected to economic subjugation and racism every day. The problem of African Americans being shot by white police officers is not something that is being valued by the NFL. The act of African Americans losing their lives over racist police officers is not being prioritized. On the contrary, money and high ratings for the NFL is all that seems to matter to people such as Goodell and people involved in making money from the NFL.

Not respecting African American athletes is something that seems to start in college. A study that examined 168 African American males and how stereotypes and prejudice affected the grades of these African American college athletes revealed interesting results. The study showed the following results, “Racial and athletic identity dimensions were found to moderate the relationships between discrimination and the academic outcomes of these individuals” (Fuller 2017, 402). While African American male college athletes responded well to specific types of stigma, such as academic stereotypes that other people have of them, by being infused with resiliency to get good grades, the same did not hold true when these athletes were exposed to discrimination. When discrimination occurred, the academic performance of these athletes achievement was affected in a negative way. The study results are better described as, “Rather than it being an either/or scenario, this study demonstrates how the tenets of stereotype threat and stereotype management can be both/and with respect to the academic outcomes of African American male college athletes” (Fuller 2017, 421) [5] This shows that how African American students do in school is a combination of many factors that are not that simple to predict

African American quarterbacks are judged more stringently than white quarterbacks and subjected black quarterbacks to more stereotypes. Prior research supports this. A study examines how white subjects “applied stereotypical descriptions of athletes to White and Black professional quarterbacks” (Ferrucci, 2017, pp. 51-52) [6].  The results of the study demonstrated that white subjects stereotyped the “other.” Yet, the subjects applied stereotypes to black quarterbacks, but not white people (Ferrucci, 2017, p. 52). This shows that white people give stereotypes to individuals they feel are not in the in-group. White quarterbacks are regarded as more intelligent and better leaders than black quarterbacks, which shows racism (Ferrucci, 2017).

A recent instance of racism concerns Lamar Jackson, a quarterback from the Louisville Cardinals. The college quarterback is African American. The fact that he is scrambling quarterback, who managed to put up about 1500 yards in rushing this year on the ground has contributed to some racism. Despite the Jackson has putting up over10,000 yards passing and rushing his past two seasons, some people at the NFL Combine have stated that he should switch to wide receiver. One of these people includes Bill Polian, who was in the scouting department for the Buffalo Bills when they had their Super Bowl teams in the 1990’s (Gaughan 2018) [7] A black quarterback who has scrambling ability is often asked to switch positions. However, a white quarterback is never asked to do the same thing. White quarterbacks Steve Young, John Elway, and Steven Grogan were all white quarterbacks who could also scramble well. They were never asked to switch position. In this year’s NFL draft, Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen is being slated as a higher pick and better quarterback, even though his completion percentage is lower than Jackson’s completion percentage (Gaughan 2018).

To stand up for himself, Jackson refused to do the 40-yard dash in the Combine. This is evident in the following passage of, “Jackson dismissed any suggestion of a position switch when talking to reporters at the combine last month. He declined to run the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis and at his pro-day workout on Thursday” (Gaughan 2018, 2).

Furthermore, African American athletes are often regarded as individuals with all brawn and not much brain. For example, a study conducted 17 years ago by the group Children Now showed some interesting results that support the fact that black subjugation happens. When looking at 1500 video game characters in certain video games, almost 300 were categorized as Black males. Almost 85% of these males of those were pegged as built and chiseled athletes. The characters have big biceps and hulking chests. This study shows that a certain image of Black males is being supported. This stereotype is that African American males have better bodies and more physically aggressive at the detriment of one’s brain and intelligence.

Condredge Holloway was an African American college quarterback in the 1970’s, who was also a great scrambling quarterback. However, when he tried to get into the Alabama’s Crimson Tide college program, he was told that Alabama was not ready for a black quarterback and that he could play another position, such as defensive back or wide receiver. This type of discrimination happened, due to the weird belief that black people were not equipped to get into leadership positions, such as quarterback. Holloway went on to play for the University if Tennessee and broke all sorts of records in rushing and passing. It is unfortunate that Holloway never got to play in the NFL, due to racism that is still inherent today (Silva 2011) [8].

On the basis of his assumptions, Dahrendorf argues that society can be split up into the “command class” and the “obey class” and class conflict should refer to situations of struggle between those with authority and those without. Black NFL players haved lacked the authority that white players have and are often punished for expressing their beliefs (Tittenbrun 2013) [9].

Critical Race Theory is something that has been used to describe how black athletes often get the short end of the stick when it comes to transferring from a white college. A study by Cooper and Hawkins focuses on this phenomenon.  The main goal of the study was to “examine the experiences of Black male student athletes who transferred from predominantly White institutions (PWIs) to a Historically Black College/University (HBCU) in the southeastern United States (U.S.)” (Cooper and Hawkins 2014, 80). The study utilized a one focus group interview and two interviews with each African American student athletes who attended a certain university.

Critical race theory (CRT) was applied as a theoretical framework to show how racism has an effect on the participants’ experiences in various educational and sociocultural settings.  The key research topics of interest included identifying the participants’ reasons for transferring from a PWI to a HBCU and understanding their college experiences at the HBCU. Findings revealed participants’ encounters with various forms of covert and overt racism at PWIs resulted in negative college experiences, which motivated them to transfer to a HBCU. Using tenets of CRT and a thematic analysis procedure, the following two emergent themes were identified: “We Were the Outcasts” and “They Want to See You Succeed.” Implications for policy and practice are discussed.

Black quarterbacks have also not led their teams to a Super Bowl that much. The only guys who have done it are Doug Williams from the Washington Redskins and Russell Wilson from the Seattle Seahawks. Cam Newton and Steve McNair lost Super Bowls. When Cam Newton, a black quarterback, throws a fit on the field, yells at one of his players, or pouts about something, he is portrayed a s a guy that is too emotional or out of line. However, white quarterback Tom Brady has shown many instances of bad sportsmanship and excuses are given to him, such as he likes to win. For instance, Brady yelled at his offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on the sideline during a game, but people kept defending him by saying that Brady just gets fired up on the field and loves to win. When Brady walked off the field without shaking the hand of Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, excused for Brady were made, such as him hating to lose and being ultra-competitive. Black quarterbacks do not get that same luxury and are often regarded as too emotional and having an ager issue. That is not fair and shows that there is much racism in sports.

When looking at the Dahrendorf theory, it shows that white quarterbacks are in the command class, while the black quarterbacks are in the obey class. The black quarterbacks are oppressed under the command class of white people. The system still seems to exist in the NFL (Tittenbrun 2013).

One can also get a good look at how discrimination happens by looking at how Ben Roethlisberger’s cases were handled when he was accused of sexual assault twice. In 2009 and 2010, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback was accused of raping to women. One woman, Andrea McNulty claimed that the quarterback asked her to come to his hotel room to fix his television. According to McNulty, when she got there, Roethlisberger grabbed her and raped her, despite her saying no. Roethlisberger also had help covering it up, as stated by the following passage, “The suit alleged that Roethlisberger had raped McNulty in his room at the hotel in July 2008; the suit also alleged that the eight employees had aided in covering up the assault” (Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback, twice accused of sexual assault 2015) [10]. This act of concealing the rape is a good example of how a bureaucracy, a group of people who work together for a common function can be to the detriment of society. The hotel people should not have been trying to cover that rape. Doing that only makes things worse for women and makes what they say not as valued.

Looking at it from a Feminist Theory perspective, one would say how a patriarchy is prevalent in the NFL and many other areas and men are given greater rights and power. Traditional gender roles keep women stuck and suggest that men have the right to take what they want from women, such as sex. It is not right, and the way that society perpetuates the belief is tough (Johnson 2006).

 In another instance, the quarterback was accused of raping a college student in the bathroom of a bar while, while other bodyguards guarded the door of the bathroom. However, the charges were dropped in both cases, and Roethlisberger only had a four-game suspension from the NFL. There was not as much social media in 2009 and 2010 and no video proof was there (Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback, twice accused of sexual assault 2015).

However, African American running back Ray Rice was treated much differently when a video was circulated online of Rice punching his girlfriend in the face and knocking her unconscious in the elevator of a casino. Rice was suspended from the NFL and has not been back in the league since the Baltimore Ravens cut him in 2014. Rice, who has received counseling and has talked about domestic violence to many people all over the world and has still not been let back into the NFL. He has never played since that day, and it is highly unlikely that he will ever play another down in the NFL. Some may say he was let go, due to video proof that the Roethlisberger case lacks, but it seems that racism played a great factor. Like Roethlisberger, Rice did a lot for the community, which is evident in the following words of, “In Baltimore, Rice had a reputation for kindness and generosity and was widely viewed as empathetic and charitable. Rice was a homeless advocate, a relentless supporter of Baltimore’s Make-A-Wish Foundation, and an especially loud voice on the subject of cyberbullying” (Dean 2018, 1) [11].

What happened to Ray Rice can adhere to what Gerald Lensky states in his theory that class is really just “an aggregation of persons in a society who stand in a similar position with respect to some form of power, privilege, or prestige”  (Tittenbrun 2013, 130). When the goal is to get an answer to the question of which person gets certain things and the reasons for it, then power classes are the main aim. He also viewed technology as a gauge to how society progresses, which is explains the Rice case somewhat. If you look at what happened to Rice, social media was more widespread and the video of him punching his girlfriend was there for everyone to see. The burden of proof was not there in the same way that Roethlisberger’s visual proof was not there and failed to exist in the same way. Without that technology, would Rice have been convicted? Rice is also in the race of being black.

In 2014, 12-year old African American Tamir Rice was shot and killed by police officers in Cleveland, Ohio. None of the police officers were found guilty in a court of law. Rice was shot and killed in the city where basketball player Lebron James is famous. A native of Akron, Ohio, James plays basketball in the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. James has been an outspoken activist for Black Lives Matter and some civil rights. However, when he was asked about the court verdict relating to Rice’s shooters not being charged with a crime, James did not offer any input on the subject. Instead, the basketball star just said that he did not have enough facts on the situation to offer insight on the situation. (Gartland, 2016) [12].

Many people found it odd that James did not express more anger and disdain for the police officers not serving any time. Rice was also shot on a playground in Cleveland that is very close to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ stadium. The reason that James did not offer a more definite stance could be due to the fact that James’ big multi-million-dollar contract depends on Cleveland helping to boost his image. Black economic subjugation is something that James may have been worrying about in his decision to not speak out against the law enforcement in the city that he plays basketball in. Angering police officers in the city, people who may watch his basketball games, could have had bad ramifications for James (James & Jenkins, 2014). Would the brands and advertising that James has put his name on pull him from their advertising if he took a stance on the issue of police officers shooting African Americans?

James has referred to Cleveland as his home several times (Berlinger & Martin, 2016, para. 12) [13]. James’ reaction is something that was surprising, which is demonstrated by the following words, “For someone who had taken on the activist role in the past, expectations for James to speak out or provide some sort of support were high. Advocates within the Black Lives Matter movement called on James to take a stand” (Coombs and Casillo 2017, Vol. 41(5) , 428)

 Some people on social media also wanted James to not play games unless the federal Justice Department got involved in the case. However, James did not do that, his desire to play the game of basketball seemingly more important than taking a hard stance on what happened in Cleveland (Coombs and Casillo 2017, Vol. 41(5) ).

Another famous instance of racism is The case of Michael Bennett is another case where people and groups, such as Black Lives Matter (BLM), are citing some racism. In the Super Bowl two years ago, Bennett was watching his brother Martellus Bennett, a player for the New England Patriots, play. When Michael realized that Martellus had won, Michael started to walk on the field to congratulate his brother. However, according to police officers, Michael, who was told that he cannot go through a set of doors, charged through it anyway and knocked down an elderly 66- year old paraplegic woman. She incurred some injuries. Bennett, who was charged and had to post $10,000 bail may end up going to trial for the incident. Bennett could face 10 years in prison if found guilty and the case goes to trial. BLM feel that not enough proof exists to charge Bennett (McManus 2018) [14]

Said Bennett’s lawyer Rusty Hardin, “I just don’t think he did it,” Hardin said. “He certainly didn’t do anything intentionally, or negligibly or recklessly push or hurt her. Now, did something else happen to her from somebody else? I just don’t know” (McManus 2018, 1-2).

The Dahrendorf Theory states that “Relations of command are those where internalized values structure both the rights of principals to give orders and the corresponding obligations for subalterns to obey” (Tittenbrun 2013, 133).

Racism has gotten much worse with President Donald Trump has been elected. His presidency has seemed to shift the country into a nation of people that believe it is acceptable to say racist things, execute white privilege, participate in hates crimes, and ignore the fact that racism exists and needs to be eradicated. I expect to learn different aspects of racism, such as the factors that make it worse, why it still exists, and the various ideas that exist regarding racism (Rein 2017).

As you can see, racism in the NFL, especially against black quarterbacks, can be seen through how players such as Colin Kaepernick, Michael Bennett, and Condredge Calloway, and Lamar Jackson are treated as inferior. However, white NFL players, such as Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger are given the benefit of the doubt. How Trump has gotten in the way and theories, such as Dahrendorf, feminism, and Lensky show racism has been able to persist in the NFL. Ray Rice, despite getting counseling and admitting his wrongdoing and doing community service, has not been let back into the NFL, which signified some type of possible racism.

It is important to keep in mind how we can shift racist beliefs. They often happen when youth and young adults experience up growing up. Most academic institutions do not have classes devoted to racism, its solutions, and the bad effects of racism. This is where social workers cans step in and start creating in-services and seminars on racism for students, teacher and other educational staff in schools. When people are educated on racism, then the likelihood of racism being eradicated in society should lessen.

Racism has been a major issue in the United States. It has been a problem that has plagued law enforcement and the sports world. Research shows that African American people have been shot and killed by police officers more than individuals of other races. Studies have also shown that the NFL has been discriminatory against African American quarterbacks. Both of these issues will describe racism, what constitutes as institutional racism, and examples of racism in the NFL.  Some solutions to this problem, as well as three social works skills that can be utilized to address this issue will be explained in this essay.

Institutional racism is defined as racism and discrimination that is committed by certain institutions, governments, or organizations against certain individuals. Their rights are denied. Institutional racism has affected many minorities, especially African Americans. Other groups, such as white people have more inherent rights than African Americans (Johnson 2006). This racism still occurring today and can be seen in the way that the NFL and other citizens have responded to African American quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his decision to kneel during the United States National Anthem.

The case of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is an example of racism against African Americans in the NFL. Kaepernick, an African American quarterback, decided to start kneeling during the National Anthem that is played before football games to show his disdain for racism that is inherent in the United States. This created a huge controversy in the NFL (Kane and Tiell 2017).

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Because of Kaepernick’s stance on kneeling during the National Anthem, he has not been able to find a job in the NFL since becoming a free agent with the team. Several NFL teams, such as the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, and the Chicago Bears have needed a quarterback, but the teams all refused to sign Kaepernick. Many people feel that this is a sign of racism.

Kaepernick was trying to shed light on several issues of racism that exist in society.  Kaepernick has helped eradicate racism by giving to charities. He talked to reporters after American noticed that he was kneeling during the National Anthem. According to Sandritter (2016, p. 1), “He spoke about injustice and the fact that he wanted to present an uncomfortable conversation in hopes that the country could become unified on the topic.” Some people were on his side, as they knew what it was like to experience oppression and racism.  They identified with his words and supported Kaepernick (Kane and Tiell 2017).  Kaepernick was also protesting police brutality against African Americans, such as Treyvon Martin getting shot and killed by officer George Zimmerman and Freddie Grey getting his spine broken for police officers while in jail.

Donald Trump’s response to Kaepernick and NFL players kneeling created much more outrage. He said that NFL players who kneel should be fired. He also referred to them as unpatriotic and disloyal. He also called them brown people and used cure words to describe them. That signals that racism. This encouraged even more NFL players to kneel during the anthem (Cummings 2017). Kaepernick has not been able to secure an NFL job as a back-up quarterback or starter, despite Kaepernick being more talented than many of the quarterbacks that have gotten a chance in the NFL. For instance, the Buffalo Bills needed a new quarterback when they traded Tyrod Taylor. They ended up taking a quarterback named A.J. McCarron from the Cincinnati Bengals. McCarron has only played six games as a starter and has sat behind Cincinnati first string quarterback Andy Dalton for about four years. On the contrary, Kaepernick took the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013. The Baltimore Ravens also passed on taking Kaepernick as a back-up when they needed one, as well as many other teams that needed a decent quarterback but still passed on Kaepernick.

Kaepernick taking a stand for racism has cost him a job in the NFL. However, the story is not over here. Recently, the case has taken a new twist. According to a CNN article, “Colin Kaepernick’s legal team is expected to seek subpoenas for President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other campaign officials relating to the quarterback’s collusion case against the NFL, a source familiar with the ongoing grievance process has told CNN” (Martin 2018, 1).

African American quarterbacks have also stated that they are judged more harshly than white quarterbacks and subjected black quarterbacks to more stereotypes. Past research supports this theory. A study examines how white subjects “applied stereotypical descriptions of athletes to White and Black professional quarterbacks” (Ferrucci 2017, 51-52).  The results of the study demonstrated that white subjects stereotyped the “other.” Yet, the subjects did apply stereotypes to black quarterbacks, which is evident in the following passage of, “However, the participants rated Black players to be more physically strong and more naturally able than they rated White players. Note that the participants did not stereotype, or other, White players, who can be considered members of their in-group” (Ferrucci 2017, 52). This shows that white people apply stereotype to individual they feel are not in the in-group. White quarterbacks are often looked upon and more intelligent and better leaders than black quarterbacks, which demonstrated racism (Ferrucci 2017).

Colin Kaepernick was trying to shed light on several issues of racism that exist in society.  Kaepernick has helped eradicate racism by giving to charities. He talked to reporters after American noticed that he was kneeling during the National Anthem. According to Sandritter (2016, p. 1) “He spoke about injustice and the fact that he wanted to present an uncomfortable conversation in hopes that the country could become unified on the topic.” Some people were on his side, as they knew what it was like to experience oppression and racism.  They identified with his words and supported Kaepernick (Kane & Tiell, 2017).  Kaepernick was also protesting police brutality against African Americans, such as Treyvon Martin getting shot and killed by officer George Zimmerman and Freddie Grey getting his spine broken for police officers while in jail.

When Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor was benched in favor of white quarterback Nate Peterman, Taylor said that African American quarterbacks are judged more harshly than white quarterbacks and are given less time to perfect their game and improve. This would constitute as racism. As you can see, the black economic subjugation of black athletes is something that has been done many times in sports. Capitalism is the reason for making black athletes oppressed and good for making money in sports, as long as these athletes do not get ahead of white people.

I do not agree with the way that society handles racism. Many people, mostly white people, say that African Americans have the same opportunities as them, but that is not always true. Many African Americans are targeted by the police and also come from neighborhoods that are not kept up and have high crimes rates and high levels of unemployment. This keeps minorities oppressed and unable to be successful and live a decent life. Many times, it the system and laws that keep African American people down, Yet, many white people do not want to acknowledge that the problem of racism exists and is systematic of white privilege that gives white people a higher economic status and more benefits than minorities, such as a greater social status and an easier time getting a solid education and jobs

One possible solution to the problem of racism is to use one’s social work platform to change laws. There should be stricter laws that pertain to police officers who shoot African American individuals or people from other races. As of now, there is no federal legislation that stated repercussions for a police officer that shoots and murders an unarmed person.

One social work skill that can be used to address racism is to use advocacy. Advocating for equal rights for individuals of all races can be accomplished by encouraging law makers to change laws that are anti-racism. One of the first steps is to create petitions that call for racist organizations and racist policies to change.  Removing racist people from positions of power is another reason for a petition. One example of this is the case of Carl Paladino (Harris 2017) [15].

Since many racist attitudes and beliefs stem from what children and young adults hear and see growing up, education is where racism can be stopped. Most academic institutions do not have a class or course that is only dedicated to racism, its solutions, and the negative effects of racism. This is where social workers cans step in and a start writing textbooks about racism that can be used in high schools. Social workers can also assist in establishing in-services and seminars on racism for students, teacher and other educational staff in schools. When people are educated on racism, then the likelihood of racism being eradicated in society should lessen.

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2015. “Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback, twice accused of sexual assault.” Broadly.com. December 8. https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/bmwe8w/ben-roethlisberger-quarterback-twice-accused-of-sexual-assault.

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[1] Johnson, Allen. B. 2006. Privilege, Power, and Difference . New York City : McGraw-Hill.

[2] Kane, Daniel, and Bonnie Tiell. 2017. “Application of normative ethics to explain Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest in the NFL .” Sports Studies and Sports Psychology 1-10.

[3] Sandritter. 2017. A Timeline of Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem Protest and the athletes who joined him. SB Nation. https://www.sbnation.com/2016/9/11/12869726/colin-kaepernick-national-anthem-protest-seahawks-brandon-marshall-nfl.

[4] Cummings, William. 2017. “The Bubble: Trump is winning his ‘war on black athletes,’ liberals say.” USA Today . October 12. http://www.sbnation.com/.

[5] Fuller, Rhema D. 2017. “Perception or Reality: The Relationship Between Stereotypes, Discrimination, and the Academic Outcomes of African American Male College Athletes.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues Vol. 41(5) 402-424.

[6] Ferrucci, Patrick. 2017. “Race and the deep ball: applying stereotypes to NFL quarterbacks.” International Journal of Sport Communication 41-57.

[7] Gaughan, Mark. 2018. “Well- positioned? Lamar Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trphy winner, NFL Draft still having to convince teams that he’s first and foremost a quarterback. Which franchise is willing to listen?” The Buffalo News , April 1: 1.

[8] Silva 2011. The Color of Orange: The Condredge Holloway Story . Directed by Shaun Silva.

[9] Tittenbrun, Jacek. 2013. “RALPH DAHRENDORF’S CONFLICT THEORY OF SOCIAL DIFFERENTIATION AND ELITE THEORY.” Innovative Issues and Approaches in Social Sciences, Vol. 6 (3) 117-203.

[10] 2015. “Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback, twice accused of sexual assault.” Broadly.com. December 8. https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/bmwe8w/ben-roethlisberger-quarterback-twice-accused-of-sexual-assault.

[11] Dean, Josh. 2018. “Ray Rice In exile.” Welder Pubclications, Inc. https://www.mensfitness.com/sports/football/ray-rice-exile.

[12] Coombs, Danielle Sarver, and David Casillo. 2017, Vol. 41(5) . “Athletes and/or Activists: LeBron James and Black Lives Matter.” Journal of Sports and Social Issues 425-444.

[14] McManus, Tim. 2018. “Michael Bennett to plead not guilty if case reaches trial.” ESPN . March 30. http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/22966999/michael-bennett-philadelphia-eagles-plead-not-guilty-case-reaches-trial.

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