© 2024 WYPR
WYPR 88.1 FM Baltimore WYPF 88.1 FM Frederick WYPO 106.9 FM Ocean City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Had enough NFL malarkey? Try puppies instead

English bulldog puppy
Kerry Bogert
English bulldog puppy

For a variety of reasons, I don’t have a pet, but next Sunday evening, I intend to immerse myself in puppies.

I’ll be engrossed in the action of Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl, the 18th of its kind. And if I get tired of all that cuteness, I’ll find a streaming show I’ve been meaning to binge on or do some reading or something.

I’ll do anything but watch the football game that everyone else in the United States is watching.

It’s the best way I know to show that I’ve had enough of the National Football League’s malarkey, malarkey, of course, being a Joe Biden-approved stand-in for the word I really want to use, but can’t, because of FCC guidelines.

For years now, as a Black man and a husband, brother of three sisters, uncle to nieces, I’ve had to maneuver around the blatant racism and sexism that are seemingly inherent to the nation’s most popular sport, professional football. When Sashi Brown takes over as president of the Ravens April 1, he will immediately double the number of Black team executives among an association of 32 teams from one to two. While there are seven African-American general managers, there are no Black owners and only one Black coach in a league whose playing base is 70 percent Black.

And need we rehash the Colin Kaepernick saga?

Still, as abysmal as the NFL’s history is on matters involving people of color, its record regarding dealing with sexual harassment is just as bleak.

The newly rechristened Washington Commanders alone have been plagued with consistent and persistent allegations of misconduct throughout the organization. That includes a fresh charge revealed last week that the team’s owner, Dan Snyder, allegedly parked his hand on the thigh of a female employee under a table during a work dinner.

And, on top of that, Snyder and the league apparently worked out a cozy little arrangement where neither side would reveal details of a probe into the alleged shenanigans without the approval of the other. The final straw, for me, was a class action lawsuit filed last week by now former Miami head coach Brian Flores against three teams and the league itself.

In the suit, Flores alleges, with specificity, how he was drummed out of Miami and given what amounted to sham interviews with the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos. Those interviews were to help the teams comply with the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which is intended to help people of color get coaching and front office jobs.

Flores, who is 40, is likely committing career suicide, like Kaepernick before him. He may never coach again, but he’s willing to march into hell for the heavenly cause of getting true equality for Black men. And I’m here for all of it.

Towards that end, I would hope that every Black player in Sunday’s game, would take a knee during the anthem to show solidarity.

And I would hope that the All-Star halftime show crew including Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, would refuse to perform, though that’s wishful thinking.

Anyway, I’ll be rooting for some unknown beagle or spaniel or boxer to win. I hope I won’t be alone.

And that’s how I see it for this week.

Twitter: @SportsAtLarge

Email: [email protected]

Milton Kent hosted the weekly commentary Sports at Large from its creation in 2002 to its finale in July 2013. He has written about sports locally and nationally since 1988, covering the Baltimore Orioles, University of Maryland men's basketball, women's basketball and football, the Washington Wizards, the NBA, men's and women's college basketball and sports media for the Baltimore Sun and AOL Fanhouse. He has covered the World Series, the American and National League Championship Series, the NFL playoffs, the NBA Finals and 17 NCAA men's and women's Final Fours. He currently teaches journalism at Morgan State University.