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February 29, 2024

NFL Has Become a Woke, Discriminatory, Anti-American Institution

No more Super Bowl for us. College football is more exciting anyway.

Editor’s Note: This column was coauthored by Sarah Parshall Perry, a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

Pro football will be back before you know it. The next NFL draft is in April, and the first regular-season games will be on Sept. 5. But we won’t be watching.

It’s not because we dislike football. Both of us grew up in states with huge football rivalries, and we love what many call “America’s Game.” One of us is the granddaughter of Iowa State’s former head coach (a 1947 Pittsburgh Steelers draft pick), the niece of Colorado State’s erstwhile quarterback, and the mother of two varsity football players.

No, we avoided the Super Bowl because the NFL is no longer the politically neutral, family-friendly organizer of “America’s Game.” It’s an anti-American, “woke” institution that engages in racial discrimination with apparent immunity from the Justice Department, which seems unconcerned with enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it comes to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the team owners.

The Super Bowl has always started with the national anthem, which celebrates not only the birth of our nation, but also our most important national principle: E pluribus unum, “out of many, one.” We are a nation of immigrants from many different countries and cultures, but we have consistently advanced the idea that we are one people.

Despite this, the NFL has implemented a symbol of division, the so-called black national anthem, at the start of every Super Bowl. Now, instead of singing the one patriotic song that expresses our unification as a people, the NFL has added a song intended for only one group of Americans, based on their skin color.

This racist, discriminatory move is part of the “woke” agenda pushed by the radical ideologues who have invaded so many of our institutions. They hate this nation, its culture, and its history, and they think America is the source of all the world’s evil.

But that isn’t all. The audience that watches the NFL is composed of Americans from every political stripe. And we want to watch football being played without being bombarded with virtue signaling by so-called social justice warriors. In 2021, as even The New York Times acknowledged, the NFL allowed players to put “social justice” messages on their helmets.

So, rather than watching our favorite teams and our favorite players take to the gridiron without regard to their politics, we have to be bombarded with their political statements — whether obnoxious, discriminatory, or just plain insipid, such as “Black Lives Matter” or “Inspire Change” or “It Takes All of Us.” (And if “It Takes All of Us,” why play an anthem dedicated to only some of us?)

The NFL also violates federal civil rights laws prohibiting racial discrimination in hiring. It has for years followed a discriminatory hiring policy called the Rooney Rule, named after Dan Rooney, former owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, a supporter of former President Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act, and an outspoken proponent of racially discriminatory hiring practices at the NFL.

The rule has evolved over the years, but at bottom requires teams to “interview at least two external minority candidates in person for open head coach and GM [general manager] positions, and at least two external minority candidates … for a coordinator job [and] at least one minority and/or female candidate must be interviewed for senior level positions (e.g., club president and senior executives).”

In other words, the NFL has a racial and gender quota system in place for the applicants for jobs in their teams. And it has its own Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee to enforce the rule.

The NFL has even implemented a financial incentive for teams to discriminate. In 2020, the team owners approved a policy that if a team loses a minority executive or coach to another team, that team will receive “a third-round compensatory pick for two years,” and if the team loses “both a coach and personnel member,” it will receive a “third-round compensatory pick for three years.”

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees and job applicants from employment discrimination based on, among other categories, race, color and sex. The law covers the full spectrum of employment decisions, including recruitment, selections, and promotions, and applies to employers with 15 or more employees (a criterion the NFL easily meets). But the Justice Department — the nation’s enforcer of Title VII — seems content to ignore the Rooney Rule and the NFL’s diversity quotas.

And if the NFL can get away with “woke” institutionalism and engage in blatant racial and gender discrimination, then what’s to prevent other employers from doing the same?

In the meantime, the DEI ideologues at the NFL’s cushy New York offices who believe in discrimination, exclusion, and indoctrination continue to divide America with their political messaging a bit more every year.

So, no more Super Bowl for us. College football is more exciting anyway.


Republished from The Daily Signal.

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