As far as I’m concerned, neither of the teams on the field won the Super Bowl. Something wonderful happened along the way, and we had a consciousness-raising event.
So many who could’ve been performers for the half time show said “NO” to invitations to be there. Others made it known before being asked that they would not perform if asked because they were supporting former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. What they did was spectacular, but the issue is bigger than Colin. They were making a score for Black dignity. Some of them have made mistakes in the past, but on this issue, they’re right.
Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, claims that teams don’t believe Kaepernick could win games for them. A similar excuse is one many of us have heard all of our lives when it comes to getting an opportunity to try. Even when we have super, proven skills and a massive amount of education and training above our competitors, we often lose to those who’re inferior on all accounts, so, as we say down South, “that dog won’t hunt.”
I’ve had my problems with some of those who are supporting the cause for which Kaepernick took a knee, but their speaking out now says to me they at least know right from wrong.
I’m not so sure if others get it, whether they understand the power of unity. Jermaine Dupri didn’t have to support the event. His work is already well known and appreciated by many people. He’s already earned a lot of money, so why? The Super Bowl needs people like him more than he needs the Super Bowl. It’s no sacrifice for him to support the cause, but instead, he chose to host a concert series called “Super Bowl Live.”
I guess social justice has no meaning for him. Maybe nobody told those who insisted upon performing that Colin does not protest for himself, he does it to raise awareness of police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues.
The performer that hurts most is Gladys Knight singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” because she’s so widely admired for her music. I realize Atlanta is her hometown, but she didn’t need the exposure. She has long been a superstar.
Those who refused to support the Super Bowl are the real winners. I can only hope that those who could not resist performing will do something to redeem themselves. In the Black community, we always have important causes for which we have to fight, so all is not lost for them. They can still help to do something good for Black America.
There is a bill in Congress on Voting Rights and Anti-Corruption they can support. Bennett College urgently needs funds to stay open — as do many historically Black colleges and universities. Rep. Lucy McBath from Atlanta already has challengers for the next election after winning her race just a few weeks ago; she could use early support to protect her seat. Sen. Kamala Harris is leading the presidential race and could use help. The Progressive National Baptists need support for their campaign against Wells Fargo for causing so many in the Black community to lose their homes; they ask that we stop banking with Wells Fargo. The National Congress of Black Women, National Black Alliance and Clear the Airwaves need help with the Respect Us campaign by refraining from spending money with McDonald’s, Subway restaurants, Kohl’s, JCPenney’s and Adidas so long as they spend their advertising dollars on radio stations that play hateful, derogatory, misogynistic rap.
Those are some of the ways all of us win something bigger than the Super Bowl.
Williams is national president of the National Congress of Black Women.