Image: The Root/FMG

To examine the injustice and inequality that prompted some NFL players to protest during the national anthem, each week, for the remainder of the NFL season, The Root will explore the data behind racial disparities in the two cities represented in the National Football League’s premiere matchup—Monday Night Football.

Tonight, the Tennessee Titans travel to AT&T Stadium to take on the Dallas Cowboys.

Amber Guyger, a Dallas Police officer shot Botham Jean for being at home in his apartment. Andrew Delke, of the Nashville Metropolitan Police Department, shot Daniel Hambrick in the back because he was running away. The Root’s Janelle Ross explains how police shot and paralyzed Leon Ford, this way.

On Nov. 11, 2012, just before 10 p.m., Leon Ford Jr. looked in his rearview mirror and saw flashing lights.

Ford pulled to the side of the road. Almost everything that happened next — whether Ford should have been stopped, what happened when Pittsburgh police officers approached Ford’s car, what Ford and the three officers said and did, even the order of events — is disputed.

But this much is not: Ford, 19 at the time of the incident and unarmed, was shot multiple times and left paralyzed below his waist and now faces up to 20 years in prison. He has been charged with aggravated assault along with two counts of reckless endangerment and traffic violations, including running a stop sign and reckless driving.

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One United, the largest black-owned bank in the U.S., recently unveiled a stunning new piece of art called “Last Man Standing,” by artist Addonis Parker. The art is part of One United’s Take A Knee Campaign and in honor of the movement started by Colin Kaepernick.

In addition, One United announced that it will keep the #BankBlack movement alive by donating to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and to BMe Community, an organization sworn to building a network of black men who have sworn their lives to helping others.

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Between Oct. 25 and Dec. 31, One United will donate to these organizations for each new customer that opens a checking account, with a minimum of $25,000 going towards each organization. All donations will be made in the name of a BMe Community Genius, current candidate for Pittsburgh City Council and survivor of police brutality, Leon Ford.

This is why you should #BankBlack.

And this is why they kneel.


Everyone knows that one of the keys to freedom is financial empowerment. Black-owned businesses are more likely to put money back into the black community and help black causes, while there’s no telling where our money goes when we support businesses like ... umm ... let’s use Nike for example.

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When Nike announced that Colin Kaepernick would become the spokesperson for the “Just Do It” campaign, the internet was abuzz with activity. People on Woke Twitter announced that they would begin supporting the shoe company by purchasing gear. Weeks later, Nike released a Colin Kaepernick shirt that sold out immediately.

Nike’s stock surged. Fortune and Apex Marketing Group report that the ensuing buzz was worth about $43 million in free advertising. In the four-day period after the Kaepernick ad debuted, Nike’s online sales grew by 27 percent, according to Edison Trends, a research company which collects the actual receipts from more than 200 online retailers. Everyone was down to support the cause ...

But not really.

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary from the Colin Kaepernick’s deal with Nike was Phil Knight, the company’s co-founder and largest shareholder. As we were pouring money into Nike’s coffers and sending the stock to an all-time high, what was Knight doing? Well here’s what the Guardian reports:

He has given a total of $2.5m to fund a Republican, Knute Buehler, running for governor in the state of Oregon, where Nike is based. This breaks records for individual political donations in Oregon several times over. And pundits suggest he has given an additional $1m via the Republican governors’ association.

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The Willamette Week reports that Knight did indeed give a $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which funds Republican candidates like Ron “Monkey Around” DeSantis in Florida and Georgia’s Brian Kemp, “The Wizard of Voter Suppression.”

Phil Knight’s company supports the Black Lives movement ...

But not really.


Or maybe, we could use the Dallas Cowboys as an example because if there is any team who hates what Colin Kaepernick stands for it’s America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys. And since the NFL kicked Kaepernick to the curb, black America refused to watch the NFL ...

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But not really.

When NFL teams met to try to reach a deal on the kneeling issue, Jerry Jones was staunchly in favor of punishing players who chose to take a knee during the anthem. He later said his players would “toe the line,” no matter what the NFL said. He was so adamant, that he wanted to fire NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell when Goodell reached an agreement with the players to stay in the locker rooms during the anthem.

But still, black people love the Dallas Cowboys.

Jet Magazine said it is black America’s favorite sports team. Before the Kaepernick controversy, I was a fan, too. Since Stephen A. Crockett and I are seemingly the only two idiots holding out on our boycott, I have given them up. I will never cheer for the Cowboys as long as Jerry Jones owns the team, even if Kaepernick somehow makes it into the league.

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But it doesn’t matter. The NFL’s ratings are up and so is revenue, which means the NFL whiteballed Colin Kaepernick and made a profit, thanks partially to black America.

And despite the Nike-buying and Jerry Jones’ official anti-Kaepernick stance, black America never stopped watching the Cowboys. Every week they have played this season, they have ranked number one or number two in the NFL’s television ratings. Which means that Kaepernick’s most outspoken critic will have more sway, thanks partially to black Cowboys fans.

It’s impossible to believe that people with no interest in football started watching after Kaepernick was banned. Therefore, the only logical conclusion one could reach is that, despite what your followers on Woke Twitter will say about supporting Kaepernick, most black NFL fans never stopped watching the NFL. Meanwhile, the Titans ownership publicly supported Kaepernick’s stance.

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But who the fuck wants to root for the Titans?

Apparently, it’s harder to turn the channel than it is to purchase a pair of Nikes. Opening a checking account a black-owned bank slightly harder than tweeting the #BankBlack hashtag.

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And tonight, two mediocre teams will probably play a mediocre football game and get the highest NFL rating this week because we rarely do the hard thing. Because, just like them, we believe Black Lives Matter ...

But not really.

Nice shoes, though.