J. Cole Releases A Powerful Statement About Why The NFL Boycott Remains The Focus

In the wake of Donald Trump’s comments lambasting NFL players who have been exercising their right to free speech by protesting during the national anthem, the protests went to a completely different level today (September 24). Players, coaches and owners who have been ambivalent over the last year, unified in unprecedented ways to repudiate the President’s message of intolerance and to support players’ rights to express their concerns about the police brutality against Black civilians that has gone unpunished for years…decades.

While statements by owners, coaches, players and even commissioner Roger Goodell have been encouraging, particularly after NFL brass seemingly took on a different stance prior to this weekend, today, J. Cole delivered a powerful reminder that more work still needs to be done. Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who galvanized the protests last year, still has not been signed by a team this year, and many believe he has been black balled for his actions on the sidelines and off the field, rather than his performance in games. As a result, a large contingent of people have been boycotting NFL games this season.

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Taking to Twitter, J. Cole provided a cogent and passionate argument for why those boycotts remain as important as ever, even in light of the increased protests and solidarity displayed today between owners and players:

God bless every player that finds courage to kneel today. But the real power comes from you deciding to not watch. Your eyes translate to advertising money for the League and it’s owners. Same ones who speak out against Trump today, are the same ones that denied a qualified man a job because he took a stand against injustice. You and me have the power to deny them our attention ($$ to them) until they make a wrong situation right. How do they make it right? I know there are people smarter than me with better answers. But here’s one. Hire 3rd party investigator approved by NFLPA to determine if kap was denied a job unfairly as punishment for his stance. (I know, I know) And compensate the man for his losses if they determine he was. Bare with me I’m just a rapper.. now look Every day they stay quiet on this they’re saying that they condone what’s happening to Kap and the message it sends.

Well, you have a choice on how you respond to that. You can choose to not watch. if a boycott doesn’t force them to action, don’t even trip. This is where the real flex happens. Black people spend a lot of money with NFL corporate sponsors. White people who don’t fuck with white supremacy spend a lot of money too. So, next you turn your attention to these sponsors. Pick one of the biggest ones and say, ‘do you agree with black balling players when they speak out against oppression?’ ‘If not, why are you spending all this money with a League that clearly condones that? …’ ‘You know what, I don’t think I can spend my money with you no more until you fix this.’ Repeat this with another company, and another. Thats when the magic happens. And sadly, in this capitalistic world we live in, that’s when your voice is heard. When you hurt the pockets. I respect whatever you decide to do. Watch or don’t watch, whatever’s in your heart. But I’m not watching til it feel right. It was hard during preseason and the first week. But then I was like, wait, is it actually hard? Some of us got grandparents that walked miles to work instead of riding bus, just to show the bus companies that they won’t tolerate racism. So when I think about it like that it’s very easy on Sunday to say, ‘Nope, I’m straight.’ This may be the biggest opportunity we have ever been presented to come together and show the world and ourselves our true economic power.

Thank you Colin for your sacrifice.

Ima stop it there. Peace and love to all, let’s give energy to the solutions not the problem. Even if you don’t rock with mine.

Cole’s words about boycotting are accurate and often overlooked. While people remember the marches on Washington and the speeches that took place during the civil rights movement, the countless people who walked to work for more than a year in Montgomery, Alabama and other locations, had an immeasurable impact on the changes that ultimately took place. The same thing occurred in the late 80s and early 90s when students on campuses and concerned citizens around the world led boycotts against organizations that supported Apartheid in South Africa.

Marches and hashtags are powerful, for sure, but, as Killer Mike said last year, in the wake of all the killings that spurned Colin Kaepernick to action in the first place, “I ain’t saying ‘march, hold hands, speak.’ I’m saying ’take your money out of this dog’s hands, out of their paws! Take your money!’…What we’re going to do is to start to divert money from the system. And this works.”