Why the NFL is racist. Freshman Year Binghamton Writing 111 Assignment.

Maxwell Schildcrout
Professor Bardou
Writing 111-46
5 May 2020
Research Question: Is the NFL racist?
Thesis: NFL fans do not think the NFL is a racist organization, they cite black players and coaches make a lot of money, which is a very narrow view of racism, but a close analysis of the problem reveals that the NFL is, in fact, racist such as an unequal opportunity for equal ability, salaries by position and race, and the language used by the media to describe black athletes vs. white athletes.

Jergens, Nancy. “Your Child’s Future in Sports: The Real Odds.” IMom, 18 June 2014, http://www.imom.com/your-childs-future-in-sports-the-real-odds/#.Xq8qBZNKjow.
Summary
This source is not a scholarly source; however, it serves as the most useful tool when addressing the common misconception with professional athletes. This source addresses the overworking of children and extreme emphasis stressed on physical training for the hopes of one day becoming a professional athlete.
Analysis
The reality of this issue is that parents are not aware of the complete rarity in becoming a professional athlete; therefore, they are instilling unrealistic expectations, which will set up the children for disappointment later in their lives. “Of all the boys in America who play high school varsity football, less than 6 percent will go on to play at the college level, including those who go on to Division III schools where scholarships are not allowed. Of the precious few who do go on to play college football, only 1.8 percent will be drafted by the NFL. Bottom line? If your child is playing high school football, his chances of making it to the NFL are 0.08 percent.” (Jergens, 2014) The article continues to stress that “Sports injuries are responsible for 4.3 million emergency room visits in the U.S. annually. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)” (Jergens, 2014). These visits can be reduced simply by allowing kids to play sports for fun and not with the unrealistic ultimate goal of becoming a professional athlete.
Reflection
The illusion of sports being the golden ticket out of poverty for black athletes is a misconception. The reality is that most players are not able to become professional athletes, but even if they do defy the odds, these black football players will have to cope with a harsh reality. As professionals, black football players still experience racism and inequality to the white players. I will use this source to illustrate the misconception present and as a starting point to dive into the deeper underlying issues present in the NFL.

Buffington, Daniel. “Contesting Race on Sundays: Making Meaning out of the Rise in the Number of Black Quarterbacks.” Sociology of Sport Journal, vol. 22, no. 1, 2005, pp. 19– 37., doi:10.1123/ssj.22.1.19.
Summary
Black quarterbacks receive stereotypes that have set them up for failure. However, when given the opportunity, they have shown time and time again, they can be successful. “Between 1983 and 1999, black players never made up more than 9% of the total number of quarterbacks in the NFL despite African Americans comprising roughly two-thirds of the league’s total population over those same years” (Lapchick, 2001). The NFL’s cover-up is that they are giving opportunity for a majority of their players to be black; however, they cannot play the premier positions.
Analysis
In the past NFL season (the 100th season), the MVP, Super Bowl MVP, and Rookie of the Year were all black quarterbacks. Lamar Jackson was the unanimous MVP for only the 2nd time in the 100 year NFL existence. This journal does address how times are getting better for NFL quarterbacks. On page 4, Daniel Buffington writes, “In April of 1999, three black quarterbacks were chosen in the first round of the NFL’s annual draft. To this point, only four had been drafted at that juncture in the draft’s entire history.” This statistic helps to prove that things are moving in the right direction and the fact that the three most prestigious awards given at the NFL honors were all awarded to black players.
Reflection
This journal entry is a good source for my research paper because it highlights the rise of black quarterbacks and how there is a brighter future ahead. It is good to use a source that not only shows the examples of racism in the NFL but shows improvements. By observing where the NFL was and where it is today can be a powerful way to examine the changes in the league. I will use this source as we look to a better future in the NFL for black quarterbacks and black players in general.

Kooistra, Paul, John Mahoney, and Lisha Bridges “The Unequal Opportunity for Equal Ability Hypothesis: Racism in the National Football League?” Sociology of Sport Journal, vol. 10, no. 3, 1993, pp. 241–255., doi:10.1123/ssj.10.3.241.
Summary
The NFL is the largest sports industry in the world. The main focus of the NFL is to make money, and they pay their players on a per position basis. The quarterbacks make the most money, and they are predominately white players. Running backs and cornerbacks, who are predominately black players, are not given large contracts, which causes contract holdouts, which force players to miss games and even seasons in recent years. What this journal says is that it is not because black players are not as talented; it is that they are not given the same opportunities as white players, which is unfair.
Analysis
The players are not getting an equal opportunity based solely on the color of their skin. According to a USA Today article from December 17, 1991, in 1990, 92% of quarterbacks were white. The quarterback is the franchise guy, the most valuable player to a franchise, the highest-paid player on the team, and only 8% are nonwhite. 30 out of 32 owners are white; therefore, the precedent is that the quarterback of the NFL team should be white. On the contrary, there hasn’t been a starting white cornerback in the NFL since 2003. There has not been a white cornerback in the NFL since 2003, because cornerbacks are expendable.
Reflection
I chose to use this source in my annotated bibliography because it is a foundation source in my research paper. The foundation for my argument is that black players are not given the same opportunity and are not treated the same way as white players. This journal entry highlights both of these points and many more.

Judson Jeffries, Matthew Bigler. “‘An Amazing Specimen’: NFL Draft Experts’ Evaluations of Black Quarterbacks.” Journal of African American Studies, vol. 12, no. 2, June 2008, pp. 120–41.
Summary
This journal entry is considered a scholarly source. In this source, there is evidence of NFL scouts using different language to describe black quarterbacks and white quarterbacks when preparing the scouting reports in preparation for the NFL draft. The different language used by NFL draft experts causes stereotypes of black players, which limits the opportunity for success before they enter the league. These stereotypes are accepted by the association, which enables this racist behavior to continue.
Analysis
Judson Jeffries and Matthew Biegler discuss how the way that NFL draft experts rate them differently. Judson Jeffries and Matthew Bigler write, “We contend that NFL draft experts consistently rate African American quarterbacks higher than whites in the areas of physical abilities and lower in the area of cognitive abilities, thus perpetuating racial stereotypes of African Americans.” This quotation magnifies the stereotypes which may affect the order in which black players are drafted. In the NFL draft, the higher you are picked, the more money you get due to the way rookie contracts are structured. Therefore, the stereotypes that are present directly affect the amount of money that black rookies make in the NFL.
Reflection
This source is a vital source for my argument research essay because of the racism portrayed by Jeffries and Biegler. There should not be any differences in how players are evaluated due to their race. Especially if one is comparing players at the same position, you should use the same evaluation techniques regardless of the race of the player. The fact that the evaluation techniques are different shows that NFL draft experts do not think that black quarterbacks are capable of doing the same things as white quarterbacks due to their race.

Kahn, Lawrence. “The Effects of Race on Professional Football Players’ Compensation.” ILR Review, vol. 45, no. 2, Jan. 1992, pp. 295–310.
Summary
In this source, Lawrence Kahn reviews the differences in salaries between white and black players. Kahn also examines the differences in salaries between white and black players due to their position. He initially finds that the differences between wages are merely a 4% increase for white players. However, a more in-depth approach is necessary to examine why the differences in salary are present.
Analysis
Kahn observes that football fans are more interested in watching football players of their same race representing their teams in the NFL. What Kahn found was “that white players earned significantly more money in metropolitan areas with larger than average percentages of whites in the population than in other areas, and nonwhite players earned significantly more in areas with relatively high proportions of nonwhites in the population.” Kahn finds that players make more if their teams’ fan base is a majority of the same ethnicity as the player. Therefore the 4% salary gap statistic is incomplete.
Reflection
This source is an excellent source to use for my research paper because it compares NFL players’ salaries by race. It is essential to know that the salary differential may not be as significant as imagined, due to the exaggerated efforts by the NFL to cover-up the racist tendencies in the league. However, what Kahn proves and what I am trying to emulate to my audience by using this resource is that any differential is racist, no matter the significance. I will also examine his argument on the fan’s influence on the salary discrepancies and how different areas attract different types of players based on race.

Maxwell Schildcrout
Professor Bardou
Writing 111-46
5 May 2020
ARE: The NFL: Embedded with racism
Imagine a league or organization that mistreats a majority of its members. How about a racist organization where almost 70% of the players are not white? This league is the NFL. With efforts to keep their image clean, they are trying to cover-up the truth about their league. Michael Bennett, current defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys, was very outspoken when asked by Sports Illustrated his opinion on how the NFL markets its players. He said, “They choose who they want to market. It’s all about: Who’s marketable? Who has the look? A whole bunch of great players never had commercials. Think about Julius Peppers. He hasn’t had the amount of commercials or the notoriety that J.J. Watt [has].” (Yuscavage, 2015) JJ Watt is one of the few premier white defensive ends in the NFL, and the NFL has marketed him as the most recognizable and skilled partly due to his repeated media exposure. NFL fans do not think the NFL is a racist organization, they cite black players and coaches make an abundance of money, which is a very narrow view of racism, but a close analysis of the problem reveals that the NFL is, in fact, racist such as an unequal opportunity for equal ability, salaries by position and race, and the language used by the media to describe black athletes vs. white athletes.
In America, being black is not equal to being white. If someone is white, they immediately have an advantage in all aspects of society due to racism in our country. The NFL is no different.
A TV drama series on Netflix produced in 2018 titled, “All American” is about a black football player who is living in poverty in Crenshaw, California. This player was given the golden opportunity to play high school football at Beverly Hills High School, one of the most premier high schools in California. This TV series allows youth black athletes to believe their only way out is by getting a golden opportunity, which can be a false misconception. “Of all the boys in America who play high school varsity football, less than 6 percent will go on to play at the college level, including those who go on to Division III schools where scholarships are not allowed. Of the precious few who do go on to play college football, only 1.8 percent will be drafted by the NFL. Bottom line? If your child is playing high school football, his chances of making it to the NFL are 0.08 percent.” (Jergens, 2014) Therefore, if you are even lucky enough to be given this golden opportunity, it is not as golden as it may be perceived. If a black athlete in poverty defies the odds and makes the NFL, there is still racism, and obstacles black athletes must endure as they are not treated equally as professionals. I will illustrate the racism these athletes experience after they receive their “golden ticket”.
Racism in the NFL starts at the top (ownership.) There are currently no black owners in the NFL, 30 out of the 32 owners are white males. Countless successful black men in America have made their fortunes in all different industries. Therefore, the reason for there not being a black NFL owner is not a lack of money or experience. They have both. Besides, all money is green. There must be another underlying reason.
If racial ideas are embedded in the league from the beginning, then activities done by NFL executives will not be perceived as racist because they are just following the system. One example of inequality for black athletes in the NFL is evident in the number of black coaches. In order to combat this inequality, the NFL enacted the Rooney Rule. This rule was supposed to eliminate discrimination when looking to fill an open head coaching job in the NFL. The rule forced a team to interview a minority coach whenever there is an opening for a head coaching job.
Let’s look at this rule a little closer. According to a report presented by the NFL in 2019, “From January 1963 to February 2019, only 18 different African American men and four Latino men have served as head coaches in the NFL.” They continue to report that, “Since the start of the 1963 NFL season, 112 white individuals have been hired as an NFL head coach, offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator after a first NFL head coach opportunity, whereas only 18 men of color have been hired as an NFL head coach, offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator after a first head coach opportunity.” (Harrison, 7) In today’s NFL, there are still only four head coaches of color. While the Rooney Rule forces organizations to consider minorities for head coaching positions, the owner makes the final decision. Due to the racially embedded traditions with all factors, the same besides race, history tells us that the NFL owner will pick the white coach over the black coach most of the time.
Another form of racist behavior is stereotyping players to positions based on the color of their skin. NFL owners and coaches are not interested in having black players play leadership positions, especially quarterback. Daniel Buffington, who wrote in the Sociology of Sport Journal, wrote, “Between 1983 and 1999 black players never made up more than 9% of the total number of quarterbacks in the NFL despite African Americans comprising roughly two-thirds of the league’s total population over those same years.” (21) Paul Kooistra can confirm this statistic in his journal entry by stating, “According to a USA Today article from December 17, 1991, in 1990, 92% of quarterbacks were white.” (243)
These statistics would appear to suggest that NFL executives do not trust black players to play a leadership role, such as quarterback. In a study by Matthew Biegler and Judson Jeffries, they discuss the racially embedded stereotype by saying, “We contend that NFL draft experts consistently rate African American quarterbacks higher than whites in the areas of physical abilities and lower in the area of cognitive abilities, thus perpetuating racial stereotypes of African Americans.” (121) This stereotype may impact their draft order. Using different vocabulary is also creating a racist stereotype that white quarterbacks are smarter than black quarterbacks with no scientific evidence to back up that claim.
The stereotyping of black players can be explained further by examining the situation in college football. The SEC (southeastern conference) has had the most players drafted into the NFL in the past ten years out of any other conference in college football. (Richmond, 2016) I gathered data from every player drafted by an SEC team to the NFL, by doing this the goal was to see how many of the quarterbacks drafted were black and see if it compared to the number of black quarterbacks on SEC rosters. By examining the NFL draft history for the past 20 years, (NFL.com, 1999-2020), I found that of the 43 quarterbacks drafted from 1999-2020, only 9 of them were black. When looking for the black quarterbacks who were on SEC rosters, it became apparent that “White players are five times more likely to play quarterback than black players in “predominantly white” conferences.” (Siler,2019) The SEC has a similar framework as the NFL in terms of opportunities for a black quarterback. NFL draft experts and general managers draft their players from the SEC the most out of any other conference. The personnel in charge of the NFL drafts prefer to pick players from predominantly white conferences, like the SEC.
The significance of these quotes is that the NFL is embedding racism into its core beliefs by starting to stereotype before the NFL draft. NFL draft experts have now become accustomed to using different languages to describe black and white athletes. Using different language to describe people is a dog whistle for racism.
Even if given a chance, there is less tolerance for failure due to the small patience coaches and owners have for black quarterbacks. They are stereotyped and considered to have less intelligence, so they are judged purely on athletic talents, like animals. After Detroit Lions linebacker Trevor Bates refused to pay a $32 cab fee, he was arrested. Following the arrest, the Sergeants Benevolent Association tweeted, “Trevor Bates acted beyond that of a wild animal. He refused to be fingerprinted, showed disdain for the officers & decided to punch a Sgt in the face. Fighting with officers he was tasered & ripped the taser prongs from his body. He’s dog crap and the NFL condones criminals.” (Chung, 2019) However, the Justice Committee responded on twitter with the actual story. The Justice Committee tweeted, “Police union boss called a Black teen a ‘mutt’ 4 times. Where’s the outrage? Why isn’t PBA president #PatrickLynch being fired? There’s no difference between being called a mutt & the N word, and there isn’t a scenario that makes racist slurs acceptable.” (Chung, 2019) The Sergeants Benevolent Association has racially profiled this black NFL player and later refers to him as acting like a wild animal (which is associated with black NFL players.)
This racist stereotype was turned on its head this past season in the NFL. Even though black quarterbacks are still not given the same opportunity as white quarterbacks, this past season was the first time in NFL history that the three major award winners were black quarterbacks. These awards are the Most Valuable Player (Lamar Jackson), Rookie of the Year (Kyler Murray), and Super Bowl MVP (Patrick Mahomes.) As a result, the NFL is beginning to recognize black quarterbacks for their accomplishments, and hopefully, this will open up new opportunities for black quarterbacks in the NFL.
However, the NFL continues to treat white quarterbacks more favorably in comparison to black quarterbacks. Brandon Marshall, an NFL wide receiver, commented on how the federal judge handled the suspension of Tom Brady. Marshall was asked if he thought that the situation would have been handled differently if the player being investigated was Cam Newton (a black quarterback) instead of Tom Brady. Brandon Marshall replied, “You can build a case on that, yes.” (Cosentino, 2015) When Tom Brady was asked to show his cell phone for evidence in his trial, Brady threw it against the wall, destroying the evidence. Being a white quarterback, Brady had the case dropped by a federal judge and was only suspended four games by the NFL. Brady was still suspended by the NFL due to constant pressure from the sports world and also to avoid anything that makes the NFL look bad. I wonder if Cam Newton threw his cellphone if he would play another game in the NFL.
Unequal opportunities, specifically at the quarterback position, lead to salary differentials by position. The first scholar to assess the differences in salaries between white NFL players and black NFL players was Robert Mogull. “In his 1973 study, Mogull found a 4% salary advantage for white veterans relative to black veterans, and only a 0.1% salary advantage for white rookies relative to black rookies.” (109-112) For example, the highest-paid position is, in fact, the quarterback, the franchise guy. This study by Mogull is an old and incomplete study in which he failed to point out the differences in salary by position.
Lawrence Kahn can further the research of Mogull. In his study, he found out that 4% (while not inaccurate) does not represent the full situation only white veterans vs. black veterans. After compiling research on all positions in the NFL, Kahn was able to draw a shocking conclusion. Kahn conducted a study where he supposed nonwhites continued to receive the same within-position salary, but with the white representation at each position. What Kahn ultimately wanted to study was how much money black players would make if they were given the white representation at each position. What Kahn found was, “The nonwhite salary would then rise from its $315,200 level to $415,923. Similarly, if we gave whites the nonwhite representation by position but assumed that they retained their within-position salary levels, the average white salary would decline from its $327,987 level to $269,962.” (303) These findings show that white players in the NFL are making more money than they should be with equal representation by position and that nonwhite players are making significantly less than white players, relatively. These statistics help to support the claim that the NFL is exploiting African American’s.
Kahn concluded his findings by saying, “I find that white players earned significantly more money in metropolitan areas with larger than average percentages of whites in the population than in other areas, and nonwhite players earned significantly more in areas with relatively high proportions of nonwhites in the population. These results are consistent with the presence of customer discrimination.” (308) What Kahn can attribute to the salary discretion are the NFL fans’ preferences. NFL teams and owners know that fans prefer to watch players on their teams that are the same race as them, so that they will sign players to their team based on the population of the town of the team. These findings by Kahn can attribute to a racial bias during free agency, and Kahn proves that it can affect black players’ salaries.
One topic not debated extensively by scholars is how the language of the media is different when describing white players vs. players of color. Broadcasters have a significant influence over the fan’s perception of the league. The NFL season is only 17 games; each team plays once per week. “Every Sunday is like a holiday during the NFL season.” (5 Reasons, Bleacher Report, 2012) This feeling created by the fans creates a “trickle-down effect” between the owners/media and the fans. A “trickle-down effect” is what the owner says influences what the media reports, and what the media says influences what the fans believe to be accurate. So, what the owners say does affect the fans.
The former owner of the Houston Texans, Bob McNair, was one of the few owners to state his feelings towards the protesting of the national anthem by several players publicly. McNair said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” (Evans, 2017) As expected, this comment received backlash from the players. One of the best wide receivers in the league, Deandre Hopkins, was very outspoken, and he skipped the next day of practice as a protest to the owner. Two years later, following Bob McNair’s death, the head coach of the Houston Texans, Bill O’Brien, called a meeting with Hopkins due to his increasing influence over the locker room. At the beginning of the meeting, O’Brien compares Hopkins to former NFL player Aaron Hernandez, who was convicted of murder. (Starr, 2020) This comparison confuses Hopkins because he has not done anything wrong. O’Brien continues the meeting by calling out Hopkins for having multiple baby mommas around, which is another stereotype of black males. Michael Irvin, a former NFL player, commented on the results of the meeting suggesting Deandre Hopkins was traded for the equivalent of a “ham sandwich.” (Starr, 2020) Hopkins received backlash from owners around the league because of the false information O’Brien was spreading about him. This situation with Hopkins is similar to the previous situation with Trevor Bates, who was accused of assaulting a police office, because they were both NFL players who had their name and reputation slandered by white men spreading misinformation. Hopkins’ teammates have almost unanimously defended him, citing he is a great locker room guy, team player, and leader on and off the field.
Another example of using racist words is shown in the media. The media uses racist language to report their stories. Last year, Myles Garrett (black defensive end for Cleveland Browns) received backlash from what seems to be every media network in the US after he struck Mason Rudolph (white quarterback for Pittsburgh Steelers) on the head with his helmet. During this fight, it is visibly apparent that Myles Garrett is a more physically imposing force than Rudolph. However, when Rudolph fails to rip the helmet off of Garrett’s head, it is because Garrett is about 40 lbs heavier and much more robust. So as a reaction to this, Garrett immediately pulled off Rudolph’s helmet. Instead of walking away from the situation, Rudolph pursued Garrett (who was being restrained by multiple Steelers players). As a result, Garrett swung Rudolph’s helmet for protection and struck Rudolph on the head.
Judging from the reactions on Twitter, the people around the media were enraged at Garrett. Reggie Bush (Former NFL player, current Fox pregame football host) said, “People getting stomped out, that was a hood fight!” ESPN television analyst Adam Schefter tweeted, “Assault!” Also, @ProFootballTalk tweeted that “Myles Garrett should be prosecuted.”
The language used by the media is drastically different between white and black athletes. The press was suggesting criminal action be pursued against Myles Garrett. They were suggesting criminal action because it was a black player hitting a white player. This sort of backlash is not present in the NHL (National Hockey League). Fighting is allowed in the NHL, and more than 90% of the players are white.
The last component of trickle-down racism is how the media and owners influence the fans. The fans seem to mimic the actions of the NFL elite and media due to constant involvement in their team. The attitude most fans have is relatively consistent no matter what race; they love their team and want to win. When fans interact with the players of opposing teams, racist remarks are hardly often heard. For example, Terrelle Pryor commented on his encounter with a Kansas City Chiefs fan. He said, “Being called a (n-word) several times to the point where an NFL employee had to step to me and stand by me the whole game from second quarter on is the exact reason why guys are kneeling during anthem. I choose not to kneel because as a team we decided to be one and stand, but as I walked in tunnel hearing someone call me a (n-word) and say F you to me. Me flicking the person off is more deserving. I do apologize to my teammates and the organization. But at some point you keep calling us the n-word, we going to start acting up.” (Morgan-Smith, 2019) This interaction between Terrelle Pryor and a fan is an example of how racism towards players is not addressed. The racist fan was allowed to stay, and the black player was guarded so he would not act out. The guarding of Terrelle Pryor shows that the NFL feels like Terrelle Pryor is more of a threat that the white fan. If this is not true, then why was the fan allowed to stay the whole game without being guarded?
These points demonstrate that the NFL is a racist organization; it was embedded with racism. Whenever there is something racist about the NFL in the news, most of the time, people do not know that it is wrong or racist. The only nonwhite owner of an NFL team, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, said it best, “You’ve got a bunch of 85-year-old guys who don’t think they’re racist, but they are racist”. (Staff, Madison365, 2017) There is also a constant spread of misinformation about black football players that affect their way of life and sometimes end their careers.
African American’s are not alone in being discriminated against by the NFL. The Native American’s have been putting much pressure lately on the NFL to change the Washington Redskins logo and team name due to a racist stigma surrounding the team. There is also a movement done by the fans when they participate in a tomahawk chop to help ignite their team and make much noise. This practice has been considered racist as of late. Regardless, fans are not stopping even with pressure by the Native American activists. (Hollingsworth, 2020) The main reason why they are not stopping this tomahawk chop is that they do not know or feel what they are doing is racist, which is the underlying problem in the NFL has racism embedded into the institution. The only way to stop racism in the NFL is if there is an effort from owners, media, down through players, to make a concerted effort to end racism in the NFL. It will not happen.

                Works Cited 

“5 Reasons NFL Football Is World’s Greatest Sport.” Bleacher Report, 9 Feb. 2012, https:// bleacherreport.com/articles/1059863-five-reasons-nfl-is-worlds-greatest-sport#slide0.

Buffington, Daniel. “Contesting Race on Sundays: Making Meaning out of the Rise in the Number of Black Quarterbacks.” Sociology of Sport Journal, vol. 22, no. 1, 2005, pp. 19– 37., doi:10.1123/ssj.22.1.19.
Cosentino, Dom.“Jets’ Marshall: Race a Factor in NFL Discipline.” Nj, 9 Sept.2015www.nj.com/ jets/2015/09/jets_brandon_marshall_skin_color_influences_nfls_d.html#incart_river
Chung, Jen. “NFL Player Accused Of Punching NYPD Officer Called ‘Wild Animal’ By Police Union.” Gothamist, Gothamist, 28 Jan. 2019, gothamist.com/news/nfl-player-accused-of- punching-nypd-officer-called-wild-animal-by-police-union.
Evans, Kelley. “Texans Players Enraged over Bob McNair’s ‘Inmates’ Comment and These Are the Facts.” The Undefeated , 28 Oct. 2017, https://theundefeated.com/features/texans- players-enraged-over-bob-mcnairs-inmates-comment-and-these-are-the-facts/ .

Harrison, C. Keith, and Scott Bukstein. OCCUPATIONAL MOBILITY PATTERNS IN THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. 2019, OCCUPATIONAL MOBILITY PATTERNS IN THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, operations.nfl.com/media/3789/2019-nfl- diversity-inclusion-report.pdf.
Hollingsworth, Heather, and Jim Salter. “In the Super Bowl Spotlight for the 1st Time in 50 Years, the Chiefs Are under Closer Scrutiny for Their Fans’ War Chants and Tomahawk Chops.” Chicagotribune.com, Chicago Tribune, 30 Jan. 2020, http://www.chicagotribune.com/ sports/breaking/ct-super-bowl-chiefs-fans-tomohawk-chop-20200130- u2zjfeby4rcgrlztio6gkmppia-story.html.
Kahn, Lawrence. “The Effects of Race on Professional Football Players’ Compensation.” ILR Review, vol. 45, no. 2, Jan. 1992, pp. 295–310.

Jergens, Nancy. “Your Child’s Future in Sports: The Real Odds.” IMom, 18 June 2014, http://www.imom.com/your-childs-future-in-sports-the-real-odds/#.Xq8qBZNKjow.

Judson Jeffries, Matthew Bigler. “‘An Amazing Specimen’: NFL Draft Experts’ Evaluations of Black Quarterbacks.” Journal of African American Studies, vol. 12, no. 2, June 2008, pp. 120–41.

Kooistra, Paul, John Mahoney, and Lisha Bridges “The Unequal Opportunity for Equal Ability Hypothesis: Racism in the National Football League?” Sociology of Sport Journal, vol. 10, no. 3, 1993, pp. 241–255., doi:10.1123/ssj.10.3.241.

Mogull, Robert. “Football Salaries and Race: Some Empirical Evidence .” Industrial Relations, vol. 12, no. 1, February, pp. 109–12.

Morgan-Smith, Kia. “NFL Player Terrelle Pryor Sr. Slams Racist Fans ‘Keep Calling Us the n- Word, We Going to Start Acting Up.’” The Grio, 3 Apr. 2019, https://thegrio.com/ 2019/04/03/nfl-player-terrelle-pryor-sr-slams-racist-fans-keep-calling-us-the-n-word-we- going-to-start-acting-up/ .

“NFL.com Draft 2018 – NFL Draft History: Full Draft Year.” NFL.com, http://www.nfl.com/draft/ history/fulldraft.
Richmond, Sam. “NFL Draft: Colleges, Conferences Most Represented in Last 10 Years.” NCAA.com, NCAA.com, 28 Apr. 2016, http://www.ncaa.com/news/football/article/ 2016-04-28/nfl-draft-colleges-conferences-most-represented-last-10-years
Siler, Kyle. “Race and Social Class in College Football Positions: Why Black Quarterbacks Are Economically Poorer than Black Running Backs.” Engaging Sports, thesocietypages.org/ engagingsports/2019/10/09/race-and-social-class-in-college-football-positions-why- black-quarterbacks-are-economically-poorer-than-black-running-backs/.
Staff, Madison365. “Jaguars Owner Says Other NFL Owners ‘Don’t Know They’re Racist.’” Madison365, 14 Oct. 2017, madison365.com/jaguars-owner-says-nfl-owners-dont-know- theyre-racist/.
Starr, Patrick. “Report: Bill O’Brien Compares Meeting with DeAndre Hopkins to One with Aaron Hernandez.” Sports Illustrated , 18 Mar. 2020, https://www.si.com/nfl/texans/ news/report-bill-obrien-compares-meeting-with-deandre-hopkins-to-one-with-aaron- hernandez.

Yuscavage, Chris. Seahawks Star Michael Bennett Suggests the NFL Only Markets White Players. 18 Dec. 2015, https://www.complex.com/sports/2015/12/michael-bennett- seahawks-de-suggests-nfl-only-markets-white-players.

Maxwell Schildcrout
Professor Bardou
Writing 111-46
5 May 2020
POP Reflection Page
I will convert my research essay into a POP by choosing the most recent topic in NFL news to debate. I will then observe if there is any racist activity present in these news topics. As a result of the suspension of professional sports leagues due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is not much recent news surrounding the NFL. The latest thing that occurred was the new CBA (Collective bargaining agreement) passed in March of 2020, which will be active through the 2030 season. My audience for my POP is the average NFL fan. I want to bring attention to the fans how the NFL is a continuously racist organization. I want to target the fans because the NFL is an entertainment business, meaning that the NFL is more likely to change policy if their target audience is upset. The NFL does not care if the players are angry. The purpose of this POP is to make fans think about the NFL’s actions through a different lens.
The images I will use will help to emphasize the key points I make as my argument. I will use pictures of player’s quotes/tweets to show how the players are reacting to recent news. The new CBA only strengthens that argument and proves that the entertainment business of the NFL only cares about one thing, money.
What I am going to do is first is determine how many players voted on the new CBA to see if there was a full representation of the NFL player community in the vote. I will then examine the CBA and see what the NFL owners propose in the CBA that is perceived to benefit the players. I will compare the NFL to other leagues like the MLB and NHL. Finally, I will discuss the lack of health care present in the new CBA for players and the potential racial and ethical problems. I will examine the CBA from all these different angles to prove that NFL owners are exploiting African Americans.

POP: The NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement

Roughly every ten years, the NFL has a new labor agreement between the players and the owners. This labor agreement is called the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement.) The negotiation tactics of the NFL during their most recent collective bargaining agreement, in 2020, were not fair. The owners are advocating that the new CBA makes players more money because it increases the minimum salary and the players' revenue percentage. What they fail to bring up are all the flaws that are present in this new agreement. 
The system used to vote on the CBA is flawed. To get the agreement (put forth by the owners) passed, a majority of the players who vote must vote yes. This year, the players passed the CBA with a final vote of 1019-959 (1019 yes, 959 no). According to Peter King of NBC Sports, "Of the 2,500 players eligible to vote, 1,978 men voted...a 79.1 percent voter turnout." He continues to report that of the 79.1% of voters there were, 48.5% who voted, voted no. (King) These statistics show that there was not an adequate representation of the player population in the vote.
I propose a call to action where every player should exercise their right to vote. If the other 20% of players would have voted, maybe the CBA could have failed and been negotiated more. You cannot have your voice heard if you do not vote. Regardless, every person in the NFL must obey this agreement until 2030. The long-lasting agreement allows the NFL to control the players for a long time enabling racist practices to become a precedent. 
An example of a flaw in the new CBA is the increases in the players' revenue share to 48% or 48.5% in exchange for adding a new game to the regular season and two additional wild card games in the playoffs. (Figure 1) An increase from 47% to 48% is exponential, considering the millions of dollars that will be made by having these additional games. A more in-depth look into the agreement exposes some of the flaws.

Figure 1: David Bakhtiari’s, current NFL offensive lineman, tweet on the new CBA

This tweet by David Bakhtiari highlights the emotions of the players in the NFL towards their owners. Most of the owners' concerns are to make money, not the well being of their players. The way that owners are showing that they only care about money is by adding an extra game to the season, which will increase the risk of more injuries across the league. The owners are still making more than the players collectively while still getting another game added onto the schedule, which was part of their plan. Is this type of behavior unique to the NFL, or can we see this in other professional sports leagues?
As a result of observing the current CBA of the National Hockey League (NHL). The CBA negotiated by the NHL and its players, for instance, assures that "NHL owners and players divide hockey-related revenue, making it an even 50/50 split as the current deal stands." (McCarriston) Major League Baseball (MLB) is similar to this in that a "percentage of revenue spent on major league players had stayed in a similar range — between 48.5 percent and 51.7 percent — in each year since 2006." (Lindhberg) 
An interesting question arises, why is the NFL different? Why doesn't the NFL have a 50/50 split between players and owners like the MLB and NHL? The answer is racism. According to an NFL Census in 2016, 504 of the 2201 NFL players are white. That's 26.5% of the NFL player population. (Gertz) The percentage of white players in the league is an outlier compared to other sports. In MLB, there are 57.5% of the players that are white. A more extreme example of this is in the NHL. In this league, 93% of the players are white. The way owners treat NFL players is different because a majority of the players are not white. Leagues in which a majority of the players are white show that there is a 50/50 split. The NFL is structured to exploit African Americans for the profits of the wealthy owners. The facts show that the new CBA was an insult to the players who have been a substantial benefit to the owners. Not to mention the gruesome injuries that some of these players endure, along with brain trauma from playing the most dangerous sports game in the US.
The players aren't even asking to make more than the owners. They want to be equal. George Iloka, who is currently a free agent, wrote on Twitter. He tweeted his thoughts on the NFL CBA and their negotiation tactics. (Figure 2) 

Figure 2: George Iloka NFL free agent tweet about current CBA negotiations

George Illoka is saying that the owners should be splitting the revenues equally with the players and guaranteeing lifetime health insurance for players before asking to add another game to the regular season. The players want a shared revenue system because the system they have right now makes them feel exploited. The players risk their lives every time they step on the field. At the same time, they are being watched by their owners in their protected luxury boxes away from everything. The owners always stress protecting the quarterback, "in 1990, 92% of quarterbacks were white." (Kooistra) However, they do not care about protecting the average African American player. The owners not wanting to protect the average African American player is proven because there is not a lifetime health insurance plan for players in the new CBA. The fact that the NFL does not have lifetime health insurance for the players is not beneficial to the players that retire early due to the excessive amounts of concussions and other injuries. However, once they retire from the NFL and they are no longer representing the league, the owners no longer care about protecting them by giving them lifetime health insurance. 
The new CBA does not follow the intentions of a valid collective bargaining agreement; it does not address the interests of all the players. The NFL is not similar to leagues like the MLB and NHL, making them a racist organization. The NFL owners exploit their workers by taking higher pay while still demanding more in return from the players. The racism in the NFL will not stop until the owners change their mentality of being able to profit off of the success of talented African American football players. 



                Works Cited

Douglas, William. “Take a Look at the Players of Color Who’ve Made NHL 2018-19 Team Rosters.” TheColorOfHockey, 7 Oct. 2018, colorofhockey.com/2018/10/03/take-a-look- at-the-players-of-color-whove-made-nhl-2018-19-team-rosters/.
Gertz, Michael. “NFL Census 2016.” ProFootballLogic, 19 Apr. 2017, http://www.profootballlogic.com/articles/nfl-census-2016/.
King, Peter. “How NFL CBA Vote Impacts Future Seasons, Players.” NBC Sports, 16 Mar. 2020, sports.nbcsports.com/2020/03/16/how-nfl-cba-vote-impacts-future-seasons-players/.
Kooistra, Paul, et al. “The Unequal Opportunity for Equal Ability Hypothesis: Racism in the National Football League?” Sociology of Sport Journal, vol. 10, no. 3, 1993, pp. 241– 255., doi:10.1123/ssj.10.3.241.
Lindbergh, Ben. “Baseball’s Economics Aren’t As Skewed As They Seem.” The Ringer, The Ringer, 21 Feb. 2018, http://www.theringer.com/mlb/2018/2/21/17035624/mlb-revenue- sharing-owners-players-free-agency-rob-manfred.
McCarriston, Shanna. “NHL Owners Will Not Opt out of Current CBA, Here’s What That Means for the Players and the League.” CBSSports.com, 31 Aug. 2019, http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/ news/nhl-owners-will-not-opt-out-of-current-cba-heres-what-that-means-for-the-players- and-the-league/

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