Do you remember the character Can’t Get Right (Bokeem Woodbine) from the movie “Life” starring Martin Lawrence and Eddie Murphy?
Can’t Get Right had all the talent in the world.
His handlers, Claude (Lawrence) and Ray (Murphy) tried all they could to get him prepared for stardom on the baseball diamond.
Unfortunately, he just could not get right.
Well, that’s how the National Football League (NFL) looks right now after reports show that the league assumed former African-American players had less brain power when determining if they should receive money from brain injury (i.e. CTE) lawsuits.
Many former NFL players sued the league when they found out that violent tackles led to head injuries, causing permanent damage.
Now it makes sense that the NFL did not want to hear current players when they used their platform to protest systemic racism in America.
The NFL had a problem with the race issue because they were a big part of the problem.
No matter what people told them about systemic racism in the world, they still blackballed former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and systemic racism.
No matter what people tell the NFL, they continue to ignore the discrimination that takes place in the front office when African-Americans apply for head coaching and general manager positions.
To pacify African-Americans, they started playing the Negro National Anthem (“Lift Every Voice and Sing”) at NFL games in 2020 because I guess they figure Negroes love to dance to music so much that they would forget what they were fighting for.
The NFL even let players put slogans like “Black Lives Matter” on the back of their helmets because I guess in their minds appearing to be on the right side of history is more important than enacting real change.
This week, the NFL’s tone deafness and blatant racism hit the fan.
Sure, football fans knew that back in the day many NFL executives and coaches thought that African-Americans did not possess the requisite intelligence to play the most difficult position on the football field, quarterback.
Even many college coaches believed the same thing back in the day.
That is why many African-American quarterbacks had to switch positions.
That is why 1978 Rose Bowl MVP Warren Moon of the University of Washington had to start his professional career in the Canadian Football League before the Houston Oilers signed him in 1984.
That is also why quarterbacks like Steve McNair found refuge at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) like Alcorn State because HBCUs often embraced their unique skills under center.
But the fact that the NFL still used “race-norming” in the 21st century is beyond mind-boggling and beyond racist.
On June 2, the Associated Press reported, “The NFL on Wednesday pledged to halt the use of ‘race-norming’—which assumed Black players started out with lower cognitive function—in the $1 billion settlement of brain injury claims and review past scores for any potential race bias.
“The practice made it harder for Black retirees to show a deficit and qualify for an award. The standards were created in the 1990s in hopes of offering more appropriate treatment to dementia patients, but critics faulted the way they were used to determine payouts in the NFL concussion case.”
Did you catch the key phrase in the Associated Press report?
The report said that the “race-norming” standards were created in the 1990s, not the 1950s or 1960s as racist like to say when they try to deny the existence of racism in modern times.
Although the NFL once believed that African-American players were intellectually inferior, anyone with a brain would have thought that type of ignorance would have subsided so close to the 21st century.
After all, by the 1990s Doug Williams had become the first African-American quarterback to win the Super Bowl, also winning the game’s MVP award.
By the 1990s, Moon was well on his way to becoming a Hall of Fame quarterback, leading the run-and-shoot Oilers deep into the playoffs virtually every season.
Furthermore, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham had become one of the most exciting football players in the world.
And at the end of the decade, the Eagles had made Donovan McNabb the second overall draft pick in 1999.
Additionally, African-American head coaches like Art Shell, Ray Rhodes and Tony Dungey had already found success on the sidelines.
Nevertheless, the NFL still believed that African-American players possessed less brain power than their White peers.
African-Americans expect bias and prejudice from individual White people because after all, America is America.
However, the revelation that the NFL used race-norming as a practice to cheat African-American players out of the money they deserved, shows that the NFL is just as systemically racist as America as a whole.
Now, the NFL has formed a panel of neuropsychologists to propose a new testing regime.
The panel will consist of two female doctors and two African-American doctors.
“The preplacement norms will be applied prospectively and retrospectively for those players who otherwise would have qualified for an award but for the application of race-based norms,” said NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy in a statement.
Despite the NFL finally trying to correct their past mistakes, the norm of the league should have never been racism.
The news this week just makes the NFL look worse and worse every year.
No matter what the African-American community tries to tell them, the NFL just cannot get right when it comes to the race issue.
The league fumbled the Kaepernick issue.
The league continues to fumble the issue when it comes to African-American head coaches and general managers.
And although the league started shouting Black lives matter in 2020, obviously the African-American players that make the game so great must not matter at all to the good ole boys of the NFL or “race-norming” in the league would have never existed.