What‘s critical to understand here is that this is more than a call for diversity for diversity’s sake. No one is asking Goodell to check off some invisible box of inclusion, only to get a Black face in a space where none now exists. We know, all too well, that Blackness for Blackness sake is woefully inadequate for true representation and effectiveness (cue Clarence Thomas). Instead, what we’re calling for here is the key missing ingredient that is absolutely necessary to finally, devise an approach to addressing abusive behavior in the NFL in a way that actually matches the context in which it overwhelmingly exists. In essence, what we’re asking for is what the commissioner has already pledged to attempt to do. What we demand, Mr. Commissioner, is that you finally “get it right.”
Now, we of course, know that the problem of domestic violence can be found far beyond the realm of the NFL, and in fact touches every community, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. But the sad reality is that with the lone and tragic exception of Native American women, no other woman in America today is more likely to be beaten at the hands of someone she loves and trusts than a Black woman. Still, precisely because we’ve had a front row seat to the danger that awaits Black men throughout every level of society, and particularly within the space of the criminal justice system, we are especially likely to slip into the role of protector, and privilege the needs of our abuser, even if that means putting our own lives in danger again, and again, and again.