When Deflated Footballs Are More Important Than a Racial Slur

Recently the self-regulating, non-profit called the National Football League (NFL) that does not pay any income taxes added more ridicule to its shameless history when it penalized the New England Patriots for using under inflated footballs during its American Football Conference (AFC) game against the Indianapolis Colts on January 18, 2005.

You may be saying what is the big deal about using a deflated football? Football purists say that some quarterbacks prefer an under inflated football because it permits them to grip the ball better. They say this allowed Patriot quarterback Tom Brady, a distinct advantage particularly while throwing the football as he led his team to a 45-7 blowout of the Colts.

This month the NFL released a report about the deflation of footballs during the AFC Championship game compiled by attorney Theodore V. Wells, Jr. He concluded that it is “more probable than not” that New England Patriots personnel deflated footballs during the game with the Colts and that Tom Brady was aware of their shenanigans and condoned their actions which gave the Patriots an unfair competitive advantage.

As a result of this cheating by the subsequent Super Bowl Champions, the Patriots were fined $1 million and will forfeit a 1st round draft pick in 2016 and a 4th round pick in 2017. To add insult to injury, their MVP/All-Star quarterback Tom Brady, was suspended for 4 games of the upcoming season.

Lost amid the blather about pounds per square inch in footballs is the fact that the maestro of this Deflategate drama, the NFL, is one of the weakest symbols for inclusion in the entire sports world.

• Despite the fact that African Americans make up nearly 67% of the players in the NFL, there is not one single African American owner of a NFL team.
• Pakistani-born businessman Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars is the league’s first and only nonwhite majority owner.
• Only 28% of the management positions in the league office belong to people of color.
• Of the 29 NFL team managers, only 7 of them are people of color.
• Of the 32 head coaches only 5 are people of color.
• For the quarterback position, only 17% of African Americans play this important role.
• Of the 32 punters, only 1 African American can be found in this group.

The numbers were even bleaker for women despite being a key portion of the NFL fan base.
• Women only hold 19% of team senior administrative positions.
• Among team vice presidents, women held a paltry 15% of these posts.

Further lost in the endless psychobabble about the smoking gun behind Deflategate is the history of the NFL giving sanctuary to a football team that embodies the most racist slur you could ever say to an American Indian as a mascot symbol.-the one and only Washington Redskins.

Again, you may say what does this have to do with the federal government? It has plenty to do with the federal government. The federal government enables this racial slur as well. It allows the use of this racial epithet during fund raising activities for the Combined Federal Campaign. It allows its employees, contractors and customers to bring all manner of R-word memorabilia like hats, t-shirts, jackets, head bands, coffee cups, screen savers, calendars and all things R-word into the workplace.

On my daily commute to my federal agency, by the time I get on and off the metro, enter my federal office building and get seated in my chair, I have witnessed the R-word at least 5 times. The security guard shows me his R-word lunch pail. The custodian models his R-word jersey. As I enter the elevator, I see out of the corner of my eye, an office door decorated with the R-word. As I exit the elevator on my way to my cubicle, I pass a work space of a colleague that is awash in R-word propaganda.

What is the big deal? American Indian federal government employees have the lowest engagement levels of any racial group in the federal government. Who cares if the federal government is not a place where our country’s first citizens and their ancestors can meet their full potential.

After all, we have more important things to worry about in the world like deflated footballs.

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