You’ve heard of Black Power.
Maybe, just maybe Black athletes all over this country are finally starting to realize they have Player Power.
And make no mistake about it. It is more powerful than any league, power college conference, commissioner or owner in this country. Yes, even stronger than Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones.
Banned together, with a common goal, these players are powerful enough to force change. And best of all, they can make change happen fast.
The money attached to sports in this country is so huge — in the billions — and so important that this tail wags the dog. Clearly, it’s not the other way around.
And if played right, owners, and the powers that be, would have no other choice than to follow their lead.
Enter Kansas State football players. They have spoken.
Kansas State players announced on Saturday that they will not not play, practice, or meet until a student at the university is dismissed for a tweet posted earlier this week.
Several Wildcat players, including stud receiver Joshua Youngblood, posted an image on Twitter with a statement about their boycott.
Here’s what the players posted:
“To our family at Kansas State: Due to the recent disparaging, insensitive, and unsettling comments made by a fellow student, we as a football team, after consultations with students from campus organizations, as well as students from the general student body, feel it is best for us to stand with students.
We are demanding that Kansas State University put a policy in place that allows a student to be dismissed for displaying openly racist, threatening or disrespectful action toward a student or groups of students. We have resolved that we cannot play, practice, or meet until these demands are heard and actions taken. We love Kansas State but must stand together and protect all students moving forward.”
The players, and rightly so, took exception with a post by Kansas State student Jaden McNeil, basically mocking the death of George Floyd who was murdered in plain view by a white Minneapolis cop.
The tweet (which has since been deleted) can be seen here. ↓
Floyd’s death sparked outrage and protest all over the country by all kinds of people in an attempt to stop police brutality and social injustice in these United States.
Bravo to these young men who chose right over football. Their stance is so strong and powerful.
You can bet Kansas State will act and act quickly.
Just like they did when University of Missouri players took a similar stance.
In 2015, Mizzou’s president and chancellor both quit after the football team walked out. Black students said the administrators had done too little to combat racism on campus.
Hence, more than 30 players from Missouri’s football team said they would no longer take part in football-related activities while the school’s president was in power.
Those guys were brave. They put their college careers and scholarships on the line. And they won big off the field.
Just last week in Cincinnati, we saw two Black baseball players at the University of Cincinnati start a petition to get their school to take Marge Schott’s name off the school’s baseball stadium.
The school agreed with the players, citing the former Cincinnati Reds owner’s “record of racism and bigotry.”
As statues and monuments of Confederate and racist figures come down all over the country and the world, it might continue in the sports world as well.
Rupp Arena could be next? It’s named after Adolph Rupp, the legendary University of Kentucky basketball coach who many considered a known racist. That name would be gone in a flash if Black players refused to play in the arena in downtown Lexington.
We saw how fast the NBA forced Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell his team after tapes surfaced of him being racist and degrading Black people. In 2014, players threatened not to play in the postseason if Sterling was allowed to continue ownership.
One of the biggest misses by Black players, however, came in the NFL. The players could have forced the owners to hire Colin Kaepernick. A simple boycott of games until Kap was back in the league would have done the trick. But the players would have to be unified.
The league can take action against a few players, but not the entire league, especially when 70 percent of that league is Black.
And these powerful Black players can force another much-needed change in D.C. The Washington NFL franchise has a racist nickname. For decades, Native American groups have tried to get that ugly name removed, but without success.
Washington owner Daniel Snyder said it won’t happen under his watch. But if his Black players refused to wear their helmets and uniforms as long as it bears that moniker, Snyder simply wouldn’t have a choice but to change it. The loss of revenue or even the franchise as a whole would change his mind quickly.
In these times, instead of just seeing Power to the People, we’re seeing Power to the Players.