The NFL and American politics have something in common. Race is theater, the land of make-believe. In American politics, President Joe Biden and the Democrats are excitedly bragging about nominating a Black woman to be the next Supreme Court Justice.
There’s nothing wrong with that. But, there is something disingenuous about making it the centerpiece of the eventual nominee’s qualifications coming from Biden. When Biden was a Senator he used to brag about sponsoring every crime bill in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. Those crime bills were much more oppressive to minority communities than white communities, creating laws and harshening penalties that put thousands of young Black and Brown men in prison. Back then Biden used to warn of the dangers of ‘thugs.’ It’s the exact racially coded language Democrats call you a racist for now.
Unless you are a Democrat.
Additionally, when Biden was on the Judiciary Committee, tasked with starting the confirmation process for federal judges, he tried to block judges of color from serving on federal courts. In 2003, points out former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, Marc Thiessen, Biden blocked a Black woman, Judge Janice Rogers Brown, from becoming a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, using the filibuster he recently called a relic of Jim Crow.
Speaking of Jim Crow, Judge Brown’s grandparents were sharecroppers. She became the first Black woman to serve as an associate justice on the California Supreme Court. Eventually, Judge Brown was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and when Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announced her retirement Brown’s name resurfaced as a potential nominee.
Biden was opposed to her becoming the first Black woman nominated to the High Court. As Thiessen writes, “Biden appeared on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’ to warn that if Bush nominated Brown, she would face a filibuster. “I can assure you that would be a very, very, very difficult fight and she probably would be filibustered.”
See. This isn’t about race. Brown is a conservative justice with libertarian leanings. In other words, Brown doesn’t pass the political purity test. Not only that but Democrats, the party of ‘diversity,’ can’t allow the other party to nominate Justices of color.
Biden labeled another Bush favorite, Miguel Estrada, ‘especially dangerous’ before he could have also become the first Latino Supreme Court nominee. Democrats, including Biden, made sure that didn’t happen.
Race is all for show. To fool people.
The same goes for the National Football League. In 2003, the NFL implemented the Rooney Rule that requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation positions.
There are only two current Black NFL head coaches, less than there were when the Rooney Rule was put into place. Former Miami Dolphins head coach, Brian Flores, is suing the league. Flores, who is Black, turned the Dolphins into a competitive team, finishing the 2021 season with a 9-8 record.
After being fired from the Dolphins, Flores interviewed for the vacant head coaching job with the New York Giants. But, this, too, was just for show. The Giants had already decided who their head coach was prior to that interview. This is confirmed in a text message New England Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick, mistakenly sent to Flores. Their pick was a different Brian, Brian Daboll, a white man.
Flores is alleging he was only interviewed by the Giants to meet the Rooney Rule requirement. In other words, Flores is saying publicly what is already well known, the Rooney Rule was created to placate concerns over the NFL’s lack of diversity in head coaching and front-office positions.
Flores is right to sue.
Race in politics and the NFL is theater. Politicians hype race up when the subject makes them look good. But, a closer look at their record reveals one thing, politics is only about winning. And winning starts with appearances. The same goes for the NFL, a league where almost 70% of the players are Black. They created the Rooney Rule so both the media and fans would back off.
As a white male, I know I’m being played even if the NFL and politicians have convinced themselves they are doing the ‘right things’ about race. As a student of Civil Rights, I know they aren’t. The powers that be are acting.
I have much to learn, always will, especially about race, but there is one lesson I learned back in 1988 from Public Enemy. That lesson is ‘Don’t Believe The Hype.’