It’s OK to be white.
On Sunday, more than 110 million Americans will huddle around their television sets and watch the 53rd Super Bowl, a matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots.
After two seasons marred by black NFL players taking a Colin Kaepernick-style knee or raising a ‘Black Power’ fist during the National Anthem, television ratings slightly improved during the 2018 season.
That year, largely because of pressure from the owners of NFL’s 32 franchises, the league saw only a handful of black athletes—who account for 69.7 percent of the players—take a knee during the anthem. A recent poll of NFL fans shows only 24 percent of white fans strongly support the anthem protests, while 59 percent of blacks do (47 percent of white fans and 7 percent of black fans strongly oppose them). Though the kneeling stopped, the owners did create an $89 million fund for the players to hand out to “improve social justice and racial equality in our country.”
The league came under fire when five black coaches were fired at the end of the season. The NFL has a rule—called the Rooney Rule—that requires any franchise with a head coach vacancy to interview at least one black candidate for the job. Before the black coaches were fired, the New York Times wrote that the league “was strengthening rules that obligate teams to consider minority candidates when hiring coaches and executives in their front offices.”
Richard Lapchick, the director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) and primary author of the recently released report, “The 2018 Racial and Gender Report Card: National Football League,” tracks the racial hiring practices for the league in several categories: players, assistant coaches, head coaches, team vice president and above, senior administration, and professional administration.
The Grade Mr. Lapchick gave the league for players—72.6 percent non-white—was A+. He gave an A- for NFL head coaches (before the five blacks were fired), and an F for CEOs/Presidents, only 9.38 percent of whom are people of color.
The formula is simple: the more non-whites, the better the grade—and the better the coverage from the press, which bemoans the dearth of black coaches and thinks it’s unconscionable if whites are hired in their places.
Mr. Lapchick happily notes that the NFL will soon have a “Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer” in March of 2019. He will:
strategically lead all of the various initiatives related to diversity and inclusion across the NFL. This role is a new position and highlights the increased emphasis on continuing the League’s progress when it comes to improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace and in all aspects of its business.
With all this whooping about diversity, an anomaly does not go unremarked: the whiteness of the New England Patriots during their historic run under Tom Brady. For this year’s Super Bowl in Atlanta, all eyes are on Mr. Brady, the 41-year-old quarterback, who will be playing in his unprecedented ninth championship game in 18 seasons (this will be his third consecutive shot at the Lombardi Trophy, and Mr. Brady holds a 5-3 record in the Super Bowl).
The white quarterback, along with white wide receivers Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan, white tight end Rob Gronkowski, and white running backs Rex Burkhead and James Develin, are an anomaly in the “vibrant” NFL. They have a vast overrepresentation of skilled white players who not only excel, but dominate.
As the New York Daily News noted about last year’s Patriots team—which lost the Super Bowl—its whiteness stands out:
Hogan, who helped push New England to its second Super Bowl in three seasons by making nine catches for a franchise-record 180 yards in the AFC championship win over Pittsburgh, joins Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola as a trio of white pass-catchers forming the backbone of the Patriot receiving corps, an anomaly in a league where just one other team (the Green Bay Packers, with Jordy Nelson and Jeff Janis) even rosters as many as two white receivers.
They’re the latest products of an aerial assembly line made up of players the rest of the NFL might have considered spare parts, but even without injured tight end Rob Gronkowski, they’ve been more than enough for Tom Brady, who’s thrown at least two TDs in four of his last six games. And next Sunday in Super Bowl LI, they’ll aim to outdo the far more prototypical Atlanta Falcons receiving corps of Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu.
Both Jones and Sanu are tall and acrobatic—and black . . . .
So [head coach Bill] Belichick has focused on the skill-position guys, often white, that other teams routinely overlook. . . .
The Patriots’ roster has so consistently been defined by white players underrated by the rest of the league that when white Clemson receiver Hunter Renfrow torched Alabama for two TDs in the BCS title game, Twitter instantly fitted the redshirt sophomore for a New England jersey.
It’s long been believed, by black players such as NFL Hall of Famer Chris Carter, that the primarily black NFL defenses underrate New England’s white receivers because they think white players are slow, and this helps the Patriots.
One black sports columnist, Jason Whitlock, even says it’s OK to hate the Patriots because they are so white:
‘In a league dominated by African-American players, the Patriots are the outliers,’ Whitlock explains. ‘They are the suburban two-parent home team of perceived white privilege. The Patriots are Duke basketball. . . .
‘In this era of “fake woke,” it’s cool, and socially acceptable to hate Brady, Gronk and Edelman. . . . Hating the Patriots and Duke is the international signal that you’re pro-black and free of racism.’
Writing at Very Smart Brothas, a black entertainment web site, Damon Young (who also writes a column for GQ.com) also noted it wasn’t racist to hate the New England Patriots because they have so many white players:
You do not have to search very far to find good and moral reasons to hate the New England Patriots . . .
And yes, it is fine to hate them because Bill Belichick seems to possess a white-skill-position-player generator. Wes Walker. Rob Gronkowski. Danny Woodhead. Chris Hogan. Julian Edelman. Danny Amendola. Rex Burkhead. THESE ARE NOT THE NAMES OF REAL PEOPLE! THESE ARE THE NAMES OF PEOPLE CREATED BY A WHITE-SKILL-POSITION GENERATOR. Besides New England, there are, like, three white running backs and receivers in the NFL total. The Patriots, however, have 952 of them.
This cannot be a coincidence. It just can’t. … SOMEONE IN NEW ENGLAND IS MAKING THE DECISION TO REFRESH THE BATTERIES FOR THE WHITE-SKILL-POSITION GENERATOR.
So yes. Hate away. . . . Because even if these things weren’t true, you can’t be racist against white people, so this entire piece is based on a rhetorical question!
So even if you are not a fan of the NFL, or don’t like the antics of black players who knelt during the National Anthem, there’s nothing wrong with rooting for the New England Patriots and Tom Brady to win Super Bowl 53. In a league where 72.6 percent of the players are POC, there’s nothing wrong with cheering for a team that looks a little more like you.
It’s the white thing to do.