Sports

Getting a Black person to defend you against racism means you’ve hit rock bottom — the NFL proved that by hiring Loretta Lynch


Loretta Lynch

Photo: Getty Images

Guilty people tend to do guilty things. The simple-minded do dumb stuff, like returning to the scene of the crime. The smarter ones will appoint someone from their accuser’s group to defend them. The NFL does a lot of stupid things, but they’ve never been dumb. Hiring Loretta Lynch as counsel is proof of that, and it’s proof of how far they’ll go to keep white supremacy alive within their league.

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The announcement that the first Black woman to ever serve as the United States attorney general would be defending the NFL in a case in which Brian Flores, a Black man, is risking his career and livelihood to hold the league accountable for how they’ve mistreated and overlooked Black coaches for decades was a gut punch to many.

Black people were pissed. White people were confused. And people of all colors seemed to fall for the misdirection. The NFL called a play-action pass and everybody bit on the run.

Lynch isn’t the problem here. Lawyers, especially the Black ones, have to go against their moral code to do their jobs daily. Defending somebody they think, or know, to be guilty comes with the territory. And as historic and powerful as it was for the first Black president to appoint the first Black female Attorney General, let’s not forget that the job description of that role is to be the “nation’s chief law enforcement officer,” which is why it’s so often referred to as the country’s “top cop.”

Top. Cop.

Marinate on that one.

The fury and disappointment that people are feeling about Lynch’s decision to defend the NFL aren’t wrong, just misplaced. The energy towards Lynch should be transferred to her new employer. They’re the ones that have created a league that’s 70 percent Black where 24 of 32 teams have had only one or zero Black coaches. The Bills, Commanders, Cowboys, Falcons, Giants, Jaguars, Panthers, Patriots, Rams, Ravens, Saints, Seahawks, and the Titans haven’t had a Black head coach at all. Loretta Lynch isn’t the reason why the NFL has only had two Black club presidents, currently only has seven Black general managers and only two African-American coaches. Mike McDaniel doesn’t count, given that he identifies as “human.”

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The NFL built this system of racism within their league, and it starts at the top with the owners — who are the ones that Flores is really targeting in his lawsuit. There’s a reason why this league has never had a majority Black owner, because that would mean that America is OK with America’s favorite sport, in America’s most profitable league which was responsible for 75 of the 100 most-watched programs in America in 2021, are fine with somebody Black having that kind of money and power to influence how America’s game is played.

This is why it was so laughable when some got excited at the potential of that changing when it was reported that Byron Allen and Robert F. Smith could be bidders for the Denver Broncos, thus giving one of them a chance to become the NFL’s first Black owner. And that’s not to say that Allen and Smith don’t have the money, skill, or intellect that it takes. They’re both beyond worthy. It’s just that the NFL doesn’t play that.

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This is a league that just hired Lynch to defend them in a lawsuit stemming in racism just a few years after dealing with a collusion case from Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid that was also about racism.

This is a league that has former and current coaches like Urban Meyer and Bill Belichick gallivanting with Trump at his parties during Super Bowl weekend. Never forget that Belichick’s boss — Patriots owner Bob Kraft — was caught in a prostitution and sex trafficking sting just two years ago.

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This is a league in which someone like Michele Tafoya can be considered a feminist hero for being a sideline reporter after making a great living off the backs of Black athletes, all to immediately start attacking Kaepernick and Black America in retirement.

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This is who the NFL has always been and who they currently are. So while I understand why people are mad at Loretta Lynch. I’d much prefer it if people were more upset with the league that put themselves in a position so bad that Loretta Lynch is the only option they have.

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