Dear Tennessee Titans Organization,
America has been dealing with racial tensions for many years. However, recent events (stretching as far back as the shooting of Michael Brown and Mr. Kapernick’s “national anthem protests”) have highlighted how deeply the issue runs for some.
In this calendar year, the killing of Mr. George Floyd (as well as Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, etc.) at the hands of a police officer struck a nerve with black Americans who carry a sense of fear over police contact. These tragedies also revived concerns over racial disparities in police interactions. The cries for “equality” and against “injustice” ring throughout America again.
Tied to this outcry was a revival of the Black Lives Matter movement (from hereon, BLM). Mostly out of the news in recent years, BLM has made a comeback following these high-profile and widely reported incidents between black men and white police officers. They have organized protests to oppose police brutality and pressured businesses and organizations to champion their cause, which they outwardly claim to be “equality and justice.”
No doubt, unaffiliated groups hijacked some peaceful protests of police brutality and injustice. Fueled by an anti-American and anti-police ethos, these groups purposely incited violent riots which included assaulting police, destroying private property, and looting. The chaotic images of burning buildings and police in riot gear being pummeled by frozen water bottles and fireworks shocks the conscience of the average American.
Every American citizen (and to some extent every institution) must decide how they will respond to the current racial tensions in America.
Some have responded by believing the best about America, its founding principles, and its ongoing pursuit of justice and equality. They view the kind of police interactions (like those involving Mr. Floyd) as rare instances, and as examples of “a bad apple.” They see the racial disparities within the criminal justice system, but don’t argue that there is systemic racism or oppression to blame. Rather, they argue for personal responsibility, better schools, stronger families, and more police presence in largely Black neighborhoods.
Others have responded by denigrating the American way of life. They consider the concept of personal responsibility as another example of American colonialism. They view the entire American system (education, economy, expectations, etc.) as “racist” and “oppressive” because it was invented by “whites” and therefore largely caters to “whites.”
These are basically two competing narratives about the problems of race in America. On the one hand, there are serious accusations leveled against America and its “system.” On the other hand, there are serious accusations about the failure of individuals to take personal responsibility for their actions. Both accusations are worthy of our examination. However, regardless of our so-called race, every American must begin with an examination, not of the feelings of some, but of the facts as they are. These are complex issues that require context and the patient nuance that reasonable discussions can produce.
Sadly, the National Football League (NFL) and your organization have chosen to forego such reasonable discussion and endorse a false narrative regarding the racial issues in our country. Either wittingly or unwittingly, you have aligned yourselves with a movement whose mission is revolutionary and contrary to the facts of both American history and current American policy and practice.
As a longtime fan of the Tennessee Titans, I was thoroughly disappointed with the players’ media statement on Thursday, August 27th. Mr. Tannehill’s suggestion that “this country was founded upon racist ideas” and that “those ideas have persisted throughout the last hundreds of years” pushes a narrative that is patently false. His comment that his Black teammates “have to worry about their kids coming home at night” followed by the suggestion that they “have to worry about [whether their kids will] make it out of [a police] interaction alive” contradicts mountains of factual data regarding police interactions with the Black community.
I empathize with any person who feels that way; but feelings do not determine reality.
Because your organization has permitted this response to go unchallenged and uncorrected;
Because there has been no media statement condemning the violence, rioting, and looting in connection with racial protests;
Because your organization along with the NFL will further divide the country by allowing organized protests of the National Anthem while allowing equal airtime for the singing of the “Black national anthem” at its events;
Because your organization seems poised with the NFL to sanction the anti-American organization BLM;
Because your organization along with the NFL will permit the wearing of names (such as “Jacob Blake”) or slogans (such as “I Can’t Breathe”) on helmets and official gear;
In short, because you are pushing forward a false narrative of indiscriminate police brutality and the systematic targeting of unarmed Blacks, and are failing to address the more factual problems of racial issues or promote actual remedies to these problems, I cannot support the NFL or the Tennessee Titans in this 2020 season.
No NFL or Titans gear.
No Retweets, Likes, or Shares on social media accounts.
No viewing of games live or on-demand.
I am not alone in this opinion, as I am sure you have already heard from many, many fans. I do not wish you ill, but I cannot wish you well in the position you have taken.
Kindly reconsider the message you are promoting.
Photo by Dave Adamson on Unsplash