Holding Unpopular Opinions is not Cooning
“I never protest,” said Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. “I never protest during the anthem, and I don’t think that’s the time or venue to do so. The game of football has always brought me such peace, and I think it does the same for a lot of people—a lot of people playing the game, a lot of people watching the game—so when you bring such controversy to the stadium, to the field, to the game it takes away. It takes away from that, it takes away from the joy and the love that football brings a lot of people.”
With those words, Dak Prescott ignited a firestorm of criticism for seemingly not supporting NFL players who use the national anthem as a time to protest against systemic racism and police brutality, and rightfully so because his remarks seem understandable for some, but tone deaf for a man of African descent.
However, what is not understandable is the name-calling that occurs in the Black community whenever someone Black, or half-Black in Prescott’s case, says something that many of us disagree with it.
While I have a problem with the Stacey Dashes of the world who think their own people are in the wrong 100 percent of the time, which is impossible, calling people like Dash and Dak Prescott racial slurs like coons and house niggers only divides our community even more than it already is divided.
Unfortunately, White supremacists or White nationalists do not have to do anything to keep us down because we do their jobs for them.
And often we do a better job of hurting other Black Americans than White racists can ever do.
Furthermore, if we insist on calling brothers like Dak Prescott a coon, like rapper The Game did, we at least need to understand the real definition of the word.
Black people have to realize that we cannot change the definition of a word just because we refuse to pick up a dictionary.
The N-word is still a racial slur, not a term of endearment, even when we mispronounce it or misspell it.
Likewise, a coon is not someone who holds an opinion different than ours and different than the majority of other Black people.
By that uneducated logic, all Black people are coons because my sister and I share most of the same DNA and we disagree on a lot of things.
Our shared skin tone and DNA does not make us a clone of the other person.
It just means we look alike and share SOME of the same experiences.
By definition, a coon is a racial slur for a Black person who portrays a negative stereotype of Black people, especially in the media and the arts.
By the real definition of coon, many rappers, including The Game who I am a fan of, are coons because they promote an imagery of Black men as violent, drug dealers, drug users and gang members.
At times, rap music is coonery at its best if we believe actual definitions of words are important.
Make no mistake about it, Dak Prescott’s comments deserve criticism and I no longer look at him with the same respect.
And as a native Houstonian, I never cheered for the Dallas Cowboys and Prescott as a pro a day in my life.
The comments made by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones demanding that his players stand at attention during the anthem sounded like a slave master keeping his property in line and making sure they do not get too uppity.
That type of slave master/slave/work dynamic has always existed in corporate America.
However, employers who consciously or subconsciously think that their employees are just employees and can be easily replaced need to reexamine the dynamics of their business model because that logic is often unintelligent.
In some forms of business, some employees are more easily replaced like in the fast food industry, etc.
But in several professions, the employees are not just employees; they are the actual product that the company sells.
No one goes to the Cowboys game to see Jones walk on the sidelines or sit in his luxury suite, where he sometimes stands for the national anthem and sometimes he does not.
Fans go to the Cowboys games to see players like Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot.
If anyone says differently, they are lying to themselves.
Furthermore, it is a blessing to play professional sports, but it is not a privilege provided by the owners.
God gives certain people certain gifts and with some of those gifts comes millions and even billions of dollars.
The owners of professional sports teams are not giving the players millions of dollars to be nice.
They give players hundreds of millions of dollars, in some cases, because those players bring in billions of dollars to the owners.
Players should not thank the owners for giving them hundreds of millions of dollars unless the owners thank the players for earning them billions of dollars.
Now that LeBron James has left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers, watch his former team decrease in value.
Not only that, watch the economy of downtown Cleveland see a decrease in revenue during basketball season because James brought people to the downtown businesses that surround the basketball arena just because of his presence alone.
Travelers came to Cleveland to see their team take on James and the Cavaliers, not to see the owner of the team sit courtside.
Although Dak Prescott later said that he supports the rights of players to protest during the national anthem, he is missing a point that the protests are making outside of police brutality.
If this generation of Black Americans does not shatter the false sense of superiority that some White people believe in, then when will we ever become bosses and not just servants or employees?
I am not comfortable with the dynamic of White people always being in control of everything in America, and Black people staying subservient.
If that takes making some White people uncomfortable by protesting during the national anthem, then so be it.
God did not put Black people on Earth to make White people comfortable.
But He also did not put Black people on Earth to be divided.
When we call each other racial slurs and other hateful things, we do not help the community, we divide the community.
People like Dak Prescott are entitled to their own opinions.
And we are entitled to disagree with them.
But we should also be entitled and obligated to educate one another and lift each other up when we disagree or misunderstand.
Dak Prescott later said that many people misunderstood his controversial comments.
“I respect everybody,” Prescott explained. “And power to the people that kneel. This (is) what they believe in and they should be able to kneel. For me, the game of football has been such a peace. It’s a moment for me to be at peace and think about all the great things our country does have.”