What the New NFL Policy Tells Us about Corporate America

So the NFL has decided to put a stop to the spectacle of players kneeling for the national anthem. From this point on, such players will face a fine. Of course this news has generated the expected outrage that one would expect. It was hard to turn on a television news show and not see some media personnel talking about the players being on a plantation or losing their free speech rights. Funny how these folks were not too keen on free speech rights for the Benham brothers, Eric Walsh and Kelvin Cochran. But I dealt with that bit of hypocrisy in a previous blog and will not revisit it here.

What I want to do is see if we can learn something about the heads of the NFL, and by extension the rest of corporate American by this incident. One possible lesson is that this is all about the almighty buck. The NFL simply lost too much money last year. They figured out that there were more Trump fans to lose than “woke” fans. So they simply decided that they did not want to allow politics to interfere with business. After all people look to sports to escape, so who can blame them for trying to stay neutral on contentious political issues.

Except that the NFL has not shown itself willing to shy away from controversial political issues in the past. Remember when the NFL threatened to boycott Texas when transgendered bathroom laws were being considered? That certainly created the opportunity for them to lose fans and they did not blink. So I do not think the lesson here is that the NFL will turn away from controversial political issues if their revenue is threatened.

But there is now a new potential lesson. It seems that the NFL owners are willing to fight for some issues but not others. To be clear, they are eager to fight for issues concerning the rights of sexual minorities. They are not so eager to fight for the right of people of color. So in essence what we have learned is that the NFL cares more about the rights of sexual minorities than the rights of African-Americans.

Am I exaggerating? Let’s compare the issues. Whether you agree with their tactics or not, the NFL players are fighting against the possibility of police brutality. Literally they are fighting for the lives of black men. The transgendered bathroom bill threatened to take the right away from someone with a penis using a woman’s restroom. Are these rights comparable? Would you rather be forced to use a restroom that you prefer not to use or be cracked over the head, or possibly killed, by a police officer? That is an easy call for me.

Since the executives and owners of the NFL care more about a transgendered person using a desired bathroom than whether a police officer kills a black male, the evidence is clear that favor sexual minorities over people of color. Of this I am 99.999 percent certain. But that leads to the next question which is why there is this favoritism for sexual minorities? After all if this about protecting marginalized groups then should there not be the same concern for both? I am not quite certain that I have the answer for why that is not the case for these executives and owners, but I am willing to speculate about it.

As a basis of this speculation I want to refer back to research I presented on this blog a few weeks ago. That work showed that sexual minorities gain some support from Christianophobia. They get more support from the affinity some have for them but they gain an additional boost for the policies they desire because of the anti-Christian hatred among some individuals. It seems likely that these individuals envision support for sexual minorities as a way to strike at Christians.

I have argued in the past that big business has shown evidence of anti-Christian hatred. This is due to the fact that those with Christianophobia tend to be white, male, wealthy and highly educated. Those are characteristics you would expect from CEOs at large businesses and from NFL executives and owners. So it is reasonable to suspect that this type of anti-religious bigotry may impact the decisions of those executives and owners. Indeed, it is likely that the NFL owners run around in a social network of other wealthy highly educated white men who share their anti-Christian sentiments.

This gets us back to why the NFL cares more about sexual minorities than people of color. Supporting people of color does not provide those with Christianophobia the benefit of punishing Christians. But if one can shoot down religious freedom laws, then that “benefit” can be obtained. If one can force Christian groups off campus because they do not conform to modern sensibilities about sexuality, then once again it is a win for Christianophobia. Attempts to force Christian schools to change their policies on issues concerning sexuality as we saw in California also can feed this anti-religious bias.

This explanation does not only apply to the NFL. I contend that we see this in business in general, especially large corporations. Notice that businesses do not engage in boycotts because of racism or sexism or poverty or well you name your favorite form of oppression. But they will leap at an instant to boycott anything the Human Rights Campaign tells them to boycott. I am not saying that a CEO will not make a statement about racism, but when was the last time a corporation threatened to boycott a state over a purely racial issue? I cannot remember such a time. As it concerns racism, businesses are willing to talk. When it comes to homophobia or transphobia, they are willing to punish the evildoers.

My love language is good works. I do not care what you tell me. Show me who you are through your actions whether you care for me or not. I think the actions of the NFL and other business entities have shown us their true political priorities. It is the priorities of the white cultural progressive elite. That white elite may vote for progressive political issues but the cultural issues, especially as they may impact conservative Christians is what he or she is passionate about. Indeed the NFL has shown us that it is on those issues, and only those issues, that the financial bottom line does not come into play.


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  • Salvatore A. Luiso

    I find it difficult to believe that many owners of NFL teams are part of the “white cultural progressive elite” and that Christianophobia is prevalent among them. I suspect that their moral stances are based on the bottom line more than anything else. Their stance on transgendered bathroom laws in Texas may appear to contradict this, but I think it may not. They may have calculated–or miscalculated–that they had more to gain than to lose by threatening a boycott.

    I can easily believe that most, if not all, of the NFL owners do not care about the misconduct of police officers toward African-Americans as they ought to. However, even people who care deeply about this problem of American society think that refusing to stand for the national anthem is not a good way to protest against it. In fact, it seems obvious to me that it is a bad way to protest against it, because the response to the protest has focused far more on the manner than the cause. Instead of talking about police brutality, people are talking about standing and kneeling for the anthem. Not only that, but people who could be moved to sympathize with the players who protest against police brutality instead become unsympathetic because they see the gesture as unpatriotic and anti-American.

    Therefore, I recommend players use another form of protest: one which will actually generate sympathy, concern, and support for their cause–whether or not they stand for the national anthem.

  • Tov

    “It seems likely that these individuals envision support for sexual minorities as a way to strike at Christians.”

    Clearly, there is something about Judeo-Christianity that is even more irritating that Islam, which speaks for itself. If you ask people headed toward the one-world government what would happen if all the men in an entire state became feminized, if it would it improve the world, many would say of course it would.
    Corporations have no more affiliation with God that did ancient Rome. Is it any wonder that Jesus and His disciples were not having heated debates about which Ceasar to vote for — notwithstanding, the church has been in free fall for quite some time. The church has been under attack by the enemy not because it was the apple of God’s eye, but because it has been bereft of the Spirit for the most part from its inception — the corporations even more so.
    It makes sense to me that He who “restrains”, in 2 Thessalonians 2, does so through the Ekklesia, constituting a Remnant, and not necessarily anything that passes for a church, even places who have no interest in conforming to the image of the Son of God.