HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (FNN NEWS) – A group of Alabama clergymen in Huntsville and Madison have galvanized to stand with Colin Kaepernick in light of his current lack of employment in the NFL with the #BlackOut movement. Their Facebook video, recently released, has already gone viral, netting well over 2 million views. After Kaep’s highly controversial nonviolent protest of the national anthem last season as a means of drawing attention to unjust brutality by law enforcement against and murder of people of color, NFL franchise owners have cited fear of backlash from corporate sponsors and a certain segment of their fan base.
Pastor Debleaire Snell, Senior Pastor of First Seventh Day Adventist Church, pointed out what he saw as a hole in that argument. In the video, he points out the irony that Kaep, who used nonviolence, is currently unemployed, while the NFL has employed people who have been convicted of violent crimes such as domestic abuse and sexual assault.
“It’s interesting that they’ve capitulated thus far to a certain segment of the fan base while fearing no backlash from the African American community. The African American community makes up 15% of the NFL’s overall viewership…They’ve made the calculation that states that even though they’re going to silence one who stood up for values that have meaning to us, they have an expectation that African Americans are going to be there on opening day, watching and patronizing their product.”
-Pastor Debleaire Snell
The clergymen named the movement after the NFL’s former “blackout policies,” which Snell explained in the video: When the NFL found that a certain stadium failed to sell out its tickets, the NFL would then “black out” the televised airing of the game in that local market, forcing the fans to buy tickets to attend the game.
However, unlike many social justice hashtags that catch on and quickly fizzle, these gentlemen have attached actionable steps to give their movement roots and legs.
STEP 1: BOYCOTT THE NFL
Pastor Troy Garner of Fellowship of Faith Church spelled out clearly: “As long as Kaepernick is without a job, we refuse to watch the NFL, we refuse to purchase any NFL paraphernalia endorsed by the NFL, and we refuse to engage in fantasy football.”
STEP 2: COMMUNITY SERVICE
The movement calls for a commitment to use the time fans would normally dedicate to watching or attending games to instead volunteer, mentor, and otherwise serve the nation’s African American youth every Sunday during the seventeen weeks of the NFL season. This commitment stands regardless of whether Kaepernick regains employment in the NFL or not.
STEP 3: SPREAD THE WORD
This step involves fans speaking with the indelible power of their wallets. In the video, All Nations Worship Assembly Pastor Adrian “AD” Davis put it this way: “Let us make it clear that since our lives matter so little to them, their product will matter even less to us.”
STEP 4: TAKE A KNEE
Lastly, the movement calls for a commitment to prayer every morning at 6 a.m. for the nation’s youth, communities, and local and government officials.
The clergymen made sure to connect their anti-NFL movement to the larger challenges of hatred, discrimination and injustice.
Oakwood University President Dr. Leslie N. Pollard stated this in the video:
“…This protest is not anti-flag because people of color love the stars and stripes. It is not anti-American because people of color have loved this country even when this country has not loved us back. And this protest is not anti-veteran because we support those who have made sacrifices so that our liberties have been secured. This protest is to ensure the rights of all Americans, regardless of color or creed, to be heard.”
In recognition of last weekend’s events, Oakwood University Church Chaplain Andrew Pileggi also made this statement in the video: “We black out hatred. We mourn for our brothers and sisters in Charlottesville, Virginia, and we pray for the healing of that community along with the healing of our nation.”
In closing Snell noted, “This thing is bigger than Colin Kaepernick…tomorrow it could be your liberties, your perspective, your worldview that’s at stake. He is symbolic of all of us.”
Willie David is Florida National News Founder and Publisher. | email@example.com