THE COST OF TAKING A STAND
By Patrick Freeman
The Mighty O’Ba Sports Report
BUFFALO, NY : The year was 1993 and most NFL players were celebrating their victory in free agency; but Freeman McNeil, who was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against the NFL never benefited from his sacrifice. McNeil would have been entering in his 13th year with the New York Jets before deciding to retire.
While covering the Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets game in 1995 I had the privilege of interviewing McNeil in the press box of the old Meadowlands Stadium. “He stated that he was essentially forced out of the league.”
Despite being 34 years of age, which is old for a running back, he had no lucrative deal on the table for him despite the sacrifices he made over the years. This seems to be the same story for a league that goes after the leader to discourage uprisings on these paid fields of physical endeavor that we call American football.
This technique historically has often been used to discourage organized uprisings against the powers. The object is to target the leader of movements. even in defeat the lead person is often times punished so that others will see the price for rising up against the power structure.
Many leaders of movements have paid the ultimate sacrifice…
If you remember what was done to the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Patrice Lumumba, and Malcolm X, the price of leading has often times hurt those willing to stand out front against the establishment. In this regard, Freeman McNeil is no different than Curt Flood, another one who sacrificed his career so major league baseball players would be paid their full value…
Kareem Abdul – Jabbar paid a lifelong price for not participating in the 1968 Olympic Games. “He stated that in 1968 after the assassination of Dr. King, he just did not feel in his spirit to participate in the Olympic Games.” Another reason, the international Olympic chairman Avery Brundage was still in that position and in 1936, he discouraged Jewish athletes from participating in the games because it would upset Adolf Hitler.
Despite being one of the greatest athletes of his generation, he has been denied the opportunities that one of his stature is most deserving.
Today we see the ostracizing of Colin Kaepernick as the head of the most recent player
protests in which the owners have no doubt made a secret pact to exclude him from
being judged based on his athletic skill. If this was not the case then why is Colin not
even being afforded a try out?
The treatment of him by the NFL owners will be where history will bookmark their questionable behavior and ultimately each decision they made in an effort to discourage any form of protest that could ultimately affect their income.
Most people still have failed to catch on that the United States government is
one of the biggest sponsors of the NFL. The government has been funneling tax dollars
into the league now for over ten years. They use NFL games to build up support of
military recruiting and patriotism. The NFL owners realize that they made a serious error in forcing players to be on the field for the national anthem.
Prior to 2009 players did not take the field until the anthem’s conclusion but the greed of NFL owners now have exposed the league to something that has been traditionally avoided? It also has opened the eyes on how the league treats many players that have stood up to their questionable policies both on and off the field.
We often times forget those athletes that made principal stand against policies and the
price they pay for leading on these issues. It’s a decision which will grossly affect your
economic life, many of them have been denied opportunities to achieve their full
economic potential because of they have sacrificed so others may be treated fairly.
The Mighty O’Ba