Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Mike Tirico and Roger Goodell Are Starting the Season With a Useless Conversation About Race

Mike Tirico and Roger Goodell are the two most useless people in America when it comes to talking about race.
Mike Tirico and Roger Goodell are the two most useless people in America when it comes to talking about race.
Image: Screenshot: NBC

Here comes the bullsh*t.

Before the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs kickoff, excerpts of an interview between NBC’s Mike Tirico and Roger Goodell will be shown before the game.

Advertisement

You can watch it now if you like. Here’s the link.

I’d suggest not wasting your time. It’s 26:39 you’ll never get back.

Why?

Because while conversations about race and the NFL are extremely important, they’re utterly useless when these two men are involved.

Advertisement

On one side, you have Goodell. The man that runs a league that’s still blackballing Colin Kaepernick – Eric Reid doesn’t have a job, either by the way – and has failed in every single category when it comes to race throughout his tenure.

And then there’s Tirico. A Black man that refuses to accept that he’s Black. In case you forgot, Tirico considers himself Italian. In 1991 a 24-year-old Tirico told the Syracuse Post-Standard that he wasn’t sure what race he was, although most people assumed he was Black.

Tirico is the Blackest Italian of all time.

“When people go around and say, ‘You are black’ — well, I don’t encourage it, but by the same token I don’t back off of it, “ he said. “If you want to call me that, that’s fine. But, you know, in my whole family, there’s nobody I know who is black.”

Advertisement

He followed that up by telling the New York Times this in 2017.

“Why do I have to check any box?” said the self-proclaimed “Italian guy from Queens.”

Advertisement

“If we live in a world where we’re not supposed to judge, why should anyone care about identifying?

“The race question in America is one that probably never produces a satisfactory answer for those who are asking the questions.”

Advertisement

Within the first 25 seconds of the interview, Tirico fumbles. He refers to things as social justice, not racial justice. And he says “anthem protests” when mentioning Kaepernick. Here’s the thing, Kaepernick never protested the anthem. He kneeled peacefully while it was played because police in this country really like shooting Black people. The same ones that look just like Tirico.

As expected, it got worse.

Goodell’s first words were this:

“All of us went through a process of learning and trying to understand what our players were protesting.”

Advertisement

This is a lie.

Players have been telling Goodell, NFL owners, White America, and the world their reasons since the fall of 2016. They all just made a willful decision not to listen or care. It took a global pandemic and the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, as well as the shooting of Jacob Blake, for things to register.

Advertisement

It should never take all that just to get someone’s attention.

This is followed by Tirico having the audacity to ask DeMaurice Smith, an actual Black man who serves as the NFLPA’s Executive Director, if Kaepernick still wants to play.

Advertisement

Smith said yes, but we already knew that because Kaepernick told us.

 

Advertisement

“Our biggest thing with everything today was making sure we had transparency with what went on. We weren’t getting that elsewhere so we came out here. I’ve been ready for three years. I’ve been denied for three years,” Kaepernick explained last November, when the NFL tried to host a scam of a workout for him.

“We’re waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running. To stop running from the truth. To stop running from the people. Around here we’re ready to play. We’re ready to go anywhere.”

Advertisement

A few weeks later, Goodell said, “We’ve moved on” from the former 49ers quarterback. The only way you can see him on a football field now is if you play with him on Madden.

Advertisement

The irony is that Thursday night’s game will take place between two teams that epitomize the intersection of racial issues and the NFL. The Chiefs are in Missouri, the state where Michael Brown was gunned down by police, while the Texans used to be owned by a racist who compared players kneeling to “inmates running the prison.” It’s also the state where Atatiana Jefferson, a Black woman, was shot and killed by police for just being in her own home, and where Botham Jean, a Black man, was shot and killed in his apartment by an off-duty officer who claims she thought it was her apartment.

When you hear the Black National Anthem sung on Thursday night — as if a hymn can instantly cure 400 years of systemic racism — and when you see the end zones filled with messages like “End Racism” and “It Takes All of Us,” I want you to realize that this is the NFL doing the least and acting as if they’re doing the most.

Advertisement

Because during the pregame festivities clips of an interview were shown with two men discussing racism and the NFL. It featured a Caucasian from Jamestown, New York, and an “Italian” from Queens.

Saginaw Native. Morehouse Man. Syracuse (Newhouse) Alum. 2019 NABJ Award Winner. 2016 PABJ Journalist of the Year. I only eat my wings lemon-peppered. And I like brown liquor & brown women.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter