Meet the 2017 BE Modern Men: Week 2

Cornell Belcher of the 2017 BE Modern Men

Did you miss any of our second week of BE Modern Men for 2017? 

This year’s 100 Men of Distinction continue to inspire with their stories, this time sharing the best advice they’ve ever received. Our second set of 10 honorees kicks off with political pollster Cornell Belcher and also includes men who are spreading the benefits of a vegan lifestyle, spreading the Gospel through hip-hop, spreading the joy of reading to children, and spreading a message of hope to the streets.

BE Modern Man Cornell Belcher Cornell Belcher


Meet ‘The Democracy Disruptor’ Cornell Belcher


Best advice: “If you don’t know the answer, simply say you don’t know the answer.” 

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man John Lewis Bad Ass Vegan John Lewis (Photo by Nicole Kent)


Meet ‘The Bad Ass Vegan’ John Lewis

Health Consultant / CEO and founder of Bad Ass Vegan

Best advice: “‘Impossible is just a big word used by small men.’ Meaning nothing is impossible and if you are willing to work for it and grind for it, then it shall be.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man Tony Simmons Tony Simmons aka DJ Tony Tone (Photo by Nialah Baker)


Meet ‘The Christian Hip-Hop DJ’ Tony Simmons

DJ / Radio Personality

Best advice: “There is so much advice that I get because I listen and watch. But one thing that comes to mind is when people show you who they are, believe them.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man Vaughn L. McKoy Vaughn L. McKoy (Photo by Christian Del Rosario)


Meet ‘Mr. Empowerment’ Vaughn L. McKoy

Attorney / Speaker 

Best advice: “Loyalty above all else but honesty.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man Othell J. Miller Othell J. Miller (Photo by Jaded Baracaldo)


Meet ‘Mr. Theater’ Othell J. Miller

Teacher / Actor

Best advice: “Don’t keep your product or service in the lab forever trying to make it perfect. Put it out and let the market offer feedback on how to refine it.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man Kenneth Braswell Kenneth Braswell (Photo by Joseph El-Wise Noisette)


Meet ‘Mr. Real Dads Read’ Kenneth Braswell

Executive Director, Fathers Inc.

Best advice: “The best advice I received was from Coretta Scott King while honoring her at the first annual Black and Latino Achievers Banquet in Albany, New York. While signing one of Dr. King’s children’s books for a friend, she noticed an error in one of the dates for the Selma March. She paused and began to tell me how important it was to protect your name; that it was my responsibility to protect who I am by being a man of integrity, truth, and transparency. That means it is also important to make sure people spell and say your name correctly. She stressed to me that anything out of the context of truth is an inaccurate representation of who I am.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man Kalan Laws Kalan Laws (Photo by Janae Anderson)


Meet ‘Mr. Dope’ Kalan Laws

Professor / Fashion Stylist and Blogger

Best advice: “Let love guide you! My initial understanding of that statement was from a romantic context; however, as I have grown, so has the life of that piece of wisdom. I know now that being guided by love is not meant to be a statement of folly or whimsical emotional decision making, but a statement that requires one to love themselves in a way that reflects honor, intention, and forthrightness, and love others the same.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man Cleamon Moorer Jr. Dr. Cleamon Moorer Jr.


Meet ‘Mr. Higher Learning’ Dr. Cleamon Moorer Jr.

Dean, College of Business, Baker College 

Best advice: “The best advice that I ever received came from my father: ‘Son, don’t stop on the hill, go all the way to the mountaintop.’”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man Jahi Rawlings Jahi Rawlings (Photo by Stan Johnson)


Meet ‘Mr. Sports & Entertainment’ Jahi Rawlings

Founder and CEO, Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League

Best advice: “Never give up. The tough times prepare you for success.”

Read his full profile here.


BE Modern Man Frank E. Brady Frank E. Brady (Photo by Jay Kemp)


Meet ‘The Hope Dealer’ Frank E. Brady

Spoken Word Artist / Dream Director, The Future Project

Best advice: “‘Your gift will make room for you and bring you before great men, keep allowing the Lord to order your steps.’ —Raymond T. Cash” 

Read his full profile here.



It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.

Come celebrate the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction at the first-ever Black Men XCEL Summit, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Hearing Aid Care and Maintenance

Millions of Americans deal every day with some type of hearing loss. Although this this product is tiny, is can be expensive, therefore requiring information to correctly preserve its function and situation. Millions of Americans still depend on these gadgets that are little to create a difference in their own life.

Within the years, some key improvements have been created by hearing products. In reality, it is often noted time, the unit have been created to be smaller and more successful over that the digital hearing-aid was stated in in the 1950s and the littlest one to-day can create outcomes that are huge. To the device, directional microphones were put in the starting in their design to enable the wearer to concentrate on one-on-one conversation as well as the capacity to converse in places. As you can suppose, these versions weren’t as helpful as suppliers and those to day discontinued their production till about the 1990s where engineering actually took a flip for the better.

Hearing-aid technologies provide a range of possibilities, meeting the requirements of variety of folks, today. Some are more complicated or more costly than the others, but these digital or gadgets nonetheless need the assist of an experienced audiologist to select the correct item and proper-fitting. The price of the gadget can surpass $5 and can commence below $2,000. Combined with the installation comes good care, which may help keep it operating precisely and extend the life span of the hearing-aid. They’re an expense for particular.

As an expense, care makes your funds go quite a distance. Understanding repair, clear and the way to store your hearing aids in Oklahoma City will keep it working as it absolutely was meant to and might avoid the need for recurring repairs over time. First, in regards to the shell, the the top of hearing aid ought to be stored clear. Aids typically have particles from oil or dirt in the grooves. Using an absence of treatment, possibly are functioning precisely or perhaps not fitting precisely. Chemical and water cleaners needs to be avoided in your hearing aid. Tissue or a moist fabric needs to be watchfully utilized to wipe down the hearing aid. Many kits contain a brush that will be of good use for earwax buildup. The microphone is acutely fragile also it’s essential never to poke the port. During cleansing, the microphone should constantly be facing the ground as well as the brush that is provided ought to be used. Wax buildup could be prevented by daily cleansing together with the brush .

In the event you have any queries or need further help on the appropriate cleansing techniques, it’s recommended that you simply ask your audiologist. They are the specialists in this area and will gladly evaluate these procedures along with one to ensure effective hearing aid performance. As it pertains to moisture, a hearing aid can lengthen their life and drying container or a support package will assist keep dampness from building-up inside the hearing aids. Be certain before putting them in a great spot so that you can help them as long as they possibly can to consider the batteries from the hearing-aid. This, also, will extend battery life. Signs of batteries are scratchy sounds output, distortion, improved suggestions, intermittence or odd and uncommon sounds like static. As some batteries might only last a week or two proper battery treatment demands program everyday or weekly screening. It’s recommended that a spare battery that ought to also be stored in a great location is usually carried by a person using a hearing aid.

Although batteries nowadays are made to last considerably longer lengthier than in the immediate past, drying is advised with all the use of possibly a forced-air blower (no, maybe not a blow dryer) or a can of compressed-air such as the kinds employed to clear a key pad. Moisture can occur from even sweat or rain. Climatic circumstances and your activity level are a couple of the most frequent identified variables impacting dampness buildup. People with people who sweat or high ranges of bodily physical exercise are susceptible to moisture problems as it pertains with their hearing devices. Likewise, residing in locations of large humidity can also irritate its performance. Whether from external or internal sources, moisture ought to be averted as most useful you are able to. Some aids will stand as much as moisture than the others. Consult your audiologist to determine whether they advise drying containers or particular dry help kits and also discuss your particular lifestyle together. Your audiologist can assist you pick the correct aid that’ll support your present lifestyle in the event that you are a bodily individual and danger more perspiration than the others. This, subsequently, will assist you get the most from the hearing aid.

Many folks are interested in the common whole life of a hearing system. Their longevity depends on the sort of help in addition to good care they’ve gotten. Problem fixing care and methods can aid prolong the life span of course, of the gadget. For the most portion, the hearing aids of today’s are excessively trustworthy, long-lasting and powerful. Things might go incorrect, but it is possible to save time plus money in the end by avoiding pricey and serious repairs, when you care for them properly. Information on appropriate treatment is a potent device in this circumstance. Not only are hearing aids heading to boost the standard of life, however they’re worth the additional treatment which they require.


Black Men XCEL: Rae Holliday Inspires BE Researcher to Pursue Her Dreams

Rae Holliday of the 2017 BE Modern Men

In recognition of our very first Black Men XCEL Summit, celebrating the best of black male achievement, the Black Enterprise staff is sharing their stories of the men who’ve had an extraordinary impact on their own lives…

Tiamari Whitted on Black Men XCEL Freelance Researcher Tiamari Whitted


Who is the man in your life who’s inspired you to excel?

Rae Holliday

How would you describe the impact he’s had on you?

The impact he had on me was to encourage me to follow my dreams and to never give up no matter how long it takes you—age does not matter.

What’s your fondest memory of him?

Going to his first workshop, it was not your regular workshop. We were all supposed to meet at one location but something happened and we ended up going to an Irish pub not far from where we were supposed to meet originally. Rae went on to share his journey with us on how he got started, and I was just amazed at how he accomplished so much in such a short period and that he had hiccups as well but that didn’t stop him. The two stories that stuck out to me were 1. when he met Beyoncé and she knew who he was and 2. the story of how someone very close to him passed but she passed with her dreams not being heard. When he said that, it really touched me. I don’t want to leave this world not living my dreams and without taking a risk to accomplish them.

After the workshop, I was able to sit down with him and tell him my story and he looked at me and said, ‘I want to do a one-on-one consultation.’ Inside I was so thrilled and excited, but I kept calm. We finally met up about a month after the workshop and the consultation was an eye opener. He answered every single question I had. Rae Holliday is the most humble man I met in the entertainment industry; it blew me away how nice he was.

Rae Holliday of the 2017 BE Modern Men Rae Holliday (Photo by James Anthony)


What’s the biggest lesson he taught you?

To not be afraid. And that it’s OK to start over. You don’t have to know everything to get started, just do it and if you fail, get back up and try again.

What are you doing to make him proud?

I went back to school to obtain my M.B.A. in media management. And I landed my first media job in publishing. I’m a freelancer, but it’s a start, and I’m not stopping until all my dreams are fulfilled.


Register now for the Black Men XCEL Summit and join us for a celebration of black men!

Are Fibroids Holding You Back From Achieving Your Professional and Personal Dreams?

Gessie Thompson, fibroid coach

I am one of the 80% of black women affected by fibroids by age 50. I was diagnosed with fibroids—smooth muscle tumors that form in the uterus—in 2001 at the age of 30.

Gessie Thompson, fibroids coach Gessie Thompson


From that moment on, I began a 14-year battle to overcome fibroids, the resulting infertility, and a litany of other medical challenges. The road to my healing was a long and grueling one that included:

  • 10 surgeries—five of them for fibroids
  • 5 in-vitro fertilization cycles
  • 1 heart-wrenching miscarriage
  • 120+ days combined in the hospital
  • a high-risk pregnancy that resulted in my unborn baby fighting the fibroids that were siphoning off her blood supply at 21 weeks in utero
  • my heart stopping on the delivery table
  • and, thankfully, Nia, our miracle baby, being born at 2.5 lbs and 14 inches!

While our family enjoyed a storybook ending, my heart aches for families who are still fighting fibroids and infertility. Many of these women have their personal and professional lives derailed by infertility, hemorrhaging, life-threatening anemia, debilitating cramps, embarrassing incontinence, and so much more.

As I struggled to find out why these foreign masses kept invading my body, I grew frustrated as gynecologists repeatedly told me that the cause is unknown. Furthermore, little to no research was/is being done to unearth the answer. But one word kept popping up in my findings—estrogen. While doctors hesitated to name it as the root cause, they did agree that estrogen fuels the growth of fibroids.

In 2015, I was introduced to the work of Aboriginal Medical Association naturopathic physicians Dr. Amsu Anpu and Dr. Amun Neb. While other doctors seemed unsure, they unequivocally asserted that estrogen dominance is the root cause of reproductive diseases such as fibroids, infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and more.

Through my partnership with Dr. Amsu and Dr. Amun, we co-founded the holistic 90-Day Hope Beyond Fibroids Elimination Program. And using the four parts of our program—coaching, diet, herbal supplements, and medical qigong—we have helped women eliminate up to 50 documented fibroids, infertility after 12 years, and more without surgery. Here are two critical things every woman battling fibroids and infertility should know:

The Process:


Estrogen dominance develops in our bodies through…

  • Stress stemming from high-pressure working and living, spiritual and emotional factors, tidal waves of the toxin cortisol into our bodies.

  • Diets rich in estrogen. Some of the super foods that many of us trust, like green tea, flaxseeds, spinach, wheatgrass, and more, are actually growing our fibroids!
  • Pollutants, including:
  1. Prescription drugs, such as contraceptive pills and other estrogen-based synthetic drugs.
  2. Pesticides that make food products grow quickly also fuel our bodies with toxins.
  3. BPA plastics; Bisphenol A (BPA) is an endocrine disruptor, which interferes with the production, secretion, transport, action, function, and elimination of natural hormones. We unknowingly expose ourselves to them every day.
  4. Products that contain toxins we ingest through our nasal passages and skin, such as beauty and cleaning products.

The Solution:


A lifestyle of healing that reduces stress, starves the body of estrogen, and incorporates the right kinds of movement and exercises.


I cannot imagine what my life would be like today if I’d allowed the pain of my process to stop my pursuit of motherhood. One of the greatest lessons learned on my journey of healing was that I had to stop being superwoman and start prioritizing my spiritual, emotional, and physical health. It’s time you do the same.


Hope Beyond Fibroids CEO Gessie Thompson coaches women to heal their wombs from fibroids and infertility holistically. From diet to stress management, her Hope Beyond Fibroids Elimination Program teaches lifestyle changes that have resulted in documented cases of women eliminating up to 50 fibroids and one mother giving birth to her miracle baby after being unable to conceive for 12 years!  Learn more at

7 Healing Charlottesville Tweets From Business and Political Leaders

Many remain stunned at the display of hate, racial intolerance, and a brutal act of violence that held the Virginia city of Charlottesville under siege this past weekend.

(Image: Twitter/@jxsonturner)


People are flocking to social media seeking some sort of answers as to why racism still continues to plague American society and to express their frustrations, dismay, and outrage.

Barack Obama and other leaders from the business, political, and media worlds, expressed some of the most powerful and poignant thoughts about the turbulence at Charlottesville on their Twitter feeds:



Diallo Riddle Talks ‘Silicon Valley’ and New Show ‘Marlon’

Diallo Riddle Photography: Ricky Middlesworth Grooming: Andrea Pezzillo Styling: Michael Mann

Diallo Riddle has had a very extensive career getting his start on shows like Chocolate News on Comedy Central and writing from 2008–2012 on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. 

Black Enterprise recently caught up with Riddle to discuss his reoccurring role on HBO’s Silicon Valley, where he played Paul the attorney to CEO Gavin Belson, (Matt Ross), providing legal counsel for the over-the-top tech company Hooli and his new show, Marlon, where he stars alongside Marlon Wayans, the unstoppable, larger-than-life personality and unpredictable internet superstar.

Diallo Riddle Photography: Ricky Middlesworth Grooming: Andrea Pezzillo Styling: Michael Mann (Image: Ricky Middlesworth Grooming: Andrea Pezzillo Styling: Michael Mann)


How much research did you have to do in regard to portraying Paul’s character on HBO’s Silicon Valley?

I did probably more research than I needed to. I have a friend who is a corporate lawyer for a company like Hooli who actually was in on the big startup phase so I quizzed him every night about things that I could ad-lib, things that I could say, because I didn’t have to audition for that part, they really liked my audition for another part, so they really just handed me that part, but the lawyer talk is its own language. Whenever you play a lawyer, whenever you play a doctor, you just want to make sure that you speak with the cadence of the people in those fields would speak with.

It was a lot of prep and I do like to over prepare but in the end, the one thing that I do enjoy about that character is that, as time went on, he got to be the straight man of the scene to Gavin Belson’s absurd character. So as time [went] on, Gavin became more and more absurd and I got to just sort of just give my facial expression and say something back to him in a deadpan manner. I really do love playing the straight man. I love playing the character that’s sort of just standing back watching a character destroy himself.

Tell me more about the Marlon show and what the audience should expect from it. 

Easily one of the best jobs of my life and I thank Marlon so much for it. I mean like literally, he’s the nicest guy. It’s easy to forget that he himself has been famous for two decades and it keeps him very balanced in a weird way.

The show takes on a serious divorce but, it handles it in a way that I think makes it a show that can be enjoyed by the entire family. In the show, Marlon and Essence Atkins play a husband and wife who got divorced but they’re still seeing each other all the time because they want the children to have a very traditional childhood.

It’s based a lot on Marlon’s real life marital situation where the marriage didn’t work out but, they still see each other all the time because Marlon wants to be a part of the kid’s lives and there is a certain looseness and there’s a certain casual informality to the way that the couple still interacts with one another so what you see is a very non-traditional family set-up but a lot of the traditional family love.

I think it’s a family show and it’s funny and it’s Marlon being Marlon and it’s based on his real life. Even the character I play Stevie is based on a real life guy, who I’ve met that’s just sort of a really quirky character.

In the show, Marlon plays a guy who’s made his money by being a new media star so he’s one of those guys who’s got millions of subscribers on YouTube and that’s sort of how he makes his living and he has a friend who suggested to him ages ago that this was coming and that this is how he should make his money so he owes my character that bit of loyalty, also, they went to college together.

Beyond that, I’m a complete leech. Like, I’m just a guy who’s sleeping on his couch, I’m borrowing his clothes. [Laughs] He turns to me as a confidant only when he can’t turn to Essence’s character and my advice is terrible, so really I’m just a guy that’s surfing along on a wave of goodwill that I earned when I gave him a good suggestion about two years ago.

Marlon premieres at 9 pm ET/PT with two back-to-back episodes on Wednesday, Aug. 16.

G League President Malcolm Turner Talks League Growth and Partnerships

Last week, The Shadow League had the opportunity to speak with NBA G League President Malcolm Turner about all of the big things in store for the rapidly developing league, including Gatorade’s partnership, the growth in the number of teams, the relationship with the NBA, and global expansion.

(Malcolm Turner, President of the G League. Image: Courtesy of The Shadow League)

As President, Malcolm Turner oversees the business and basketball operations for the NBA G League.

Under Turner’s leadership, the League experienced a dramatic and groundbreaking transformation to become the NBA G League in the first title partnership of its kind. Since assuming his current role in November 2014, the NBA G League has grown to a record 26 teams for the 2017-18 season, with continued expansion on the horizon as the League continues to fulfill its mission of having 30 teams.

Turner has big plans for the League and with the support of Gatorade, the NBA, and a growing fan base, the G League has a bright future ahead of it.

Watch The Shadow League’s full interview below:


—Additional reporting by Ricardo A. Hazell


‘Detroit’ Tells A Gruesome, Horrifying Story That Must Be Seen


Detroit is a powerful film that uncovers a series of events that led to the killing of three unarmed, black teenage boys by white police officers. The movie is set during the 1967 Detroit riots, where outraged communities destroyed public and private property in protest against unjust social and economic conditions in the Motor City.

Rather than digging into the impact of the riots, a large portion of the film is spent recounting the real-life horror that a group of young black men and white women experienced inside of the Algiers Motel on July 25, 1967. Police believed that a sniper was hiding out in the motel and tried to force the victims into a confession by viciously interrogating and beating them. These scenes of brutality are severely uncomfortable and raw to the point of nausea. By the end of the movie, I (and others I watched the film with) was left feeling angry and unresolved, especially in light of the recent acts of police violence against black bodies in the age of smartphones. Still, that didn’t deter me from seeing the film twice. For me, the film was a painful reminder of why we cannot forget, neglect, or trivialize the systems of oppression that continue to kill African Americans. It exposes the grit of racism in a way that cannot be erased from memory and reinforces the need for us to fight for freedom. It also gives voice to the real-life victims—Carl Cooper, 17, Fred Temple, 18, and Aubrey Pollard, 19—who never received justice.

Detroit (Image: file)


In an interview with Black Enterprise, actor John Boyega talked about his role in the movie as Melvin Dismukes, the black security guard who volunteered to assist police in finding the sniper at the Algiers. Nevertheless, he found himself in a compromising position that night, feeling helpless while watching the brutality.

“I relate to the character in a sense that he is a man that is open to several different perspectives, he’s open to several different views,” said Boyega, who starred in Star Wars. “He was a working man, but at the same time was pushed into a situation in which he was trying to protect other black men.” He added that Dismukes “had to kind of stand up to racial injustice but in a very subtle and depressing way.”


BE also spoke to actors Algee Smith and Jason Mitchell who talked about how hard it was to make the film due to its heavy context.

“It affected me a lot,” said Smith. “We had a hard time decompressing, I had a hard time letting that go [once] leaving the set.” “It was uncomfortable,” added Mitchell. “Sometimes you just need an emotional draining to let it out.”



“Detroit” is currently playing in theaters around the country.

The Issue With Moms Popping Placenta Pills to Treat Postpartum Depression

The birth of a baby can bring on a multitude of emotions from joy and excitement to anxiety and fear. One that you might not expect is depression. To head things off at the pass, a growing number of mothers in the United States, in efforts to prevent postpartum depression, are eating their own placentas. Many are doing so in the form of placenta pills. The practice, known as human placentophagy, is an ancient Chinese tradition believed to prevent postpartum depression. This practice is also believed to have other health benefits such as increasing breast milk production, stabilizing hormones and boosting energy levels post childbirth.

Rebekah Vardy Instagram


What is Postpartum Depression?


According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 11%-20% of women will experience postpartum depression (PPD) after childbirth. The symptoms of PPD  can be debilitating for these women. Symptoms last beyond 1-2 week postdelivery. And its onset can occur anytime during the first year after baby. Symptoms can include bursts of crying out of the blue for no reason, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, feelings of hopelessness, extreme sadness or irritation, being unable to concentrate, and not feeling like you’re bonding with your baby.


Why the Placenta?


The placenta is an organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy. It provides oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby and removes waste products from the baby’s blood. Because it’s so instrumental for a baby in utero, it’s believed to be powerful and that eating it will have health benefits for the mother too.

But you may want to hold off—science is still out to lunch on this. There are no solid scientific studies that validate the proposed health benefits and there also hasn’t been anything to say it’s a bad thing, until now. It was found that ingesting placenta pills caused one Oregon baby to be infected with Group B streptococcus, according to a new report detailing the case that was published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Watch Nurse Alice on KTLA 5 News discuss what happened to one mom and baby duo affected by tainted placenta pills.

Safety and regulation of placenta preparation


Currently, no standards are established for the consumption of placentas. The practice is not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. Still, there are numerous companies and, what it’s termed in the community as “placenta arts specialists,” across the country that offer to encapsulate placentas. The placenta pill processing company in this particular case was not identified. However, according to the CDC, the company website said placentas are prepared by being cleaned, sliced and dehydrated at a range of 115 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s then ground up, formed into pills and stored at room temperature. The CDC hypothesized that it was likely that the placenta was not heated at a high enough temperature to kill the group B streptococcus bacteria that was found in the pills. The Association of Placenta Preparation Arts, a group for placenta preparers, issued a set of standards they believe all specialists should follow. The standards, including the temperature at which the placenta is processed, were not listed on the organization’s website, though they do recommend both food safety and blood-borne pathogens safety training for individuals who prepare the pills.

So if you or someone you know is contemplating on eating their placenta—proceed with extreme caution. Make sure you speak with your OB-GYN doctor prior to doing so to better understand the risks and to know whether it’s a safe option for you and your baby.



Blackballing of Kaepernick May End My 50-Year Love Affair With the NFL

Anybody who knows anything about professional football knows that it makes no sense for free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick to be unemployed by the National Football League. For me, it’s personal; his being blackballed by league owners may end my 50-year love affair with the sport, at least on the professional level.

(Image: Instagram/kaepernick7)


I’ve been in love with the NFL since I was an 8-year-old with my first electric football set. (Google it.) My team: the New York Football Giants, of course.

But over the past five years, it seems the NFL is doing everything it can to drive me away, ranging from turning blind eyes to domestic violence (until the infamous Ray Rice videos forced the league and its owners to deal with it), to covering up and avoiding accountability for brain injuries to its players (again, until forced to deal with it, including by a pattern of players committing suicide).

Now, the blackballing of Colin Kaepernick because of the way he chose to bring attention to racial injustice (including the repeated killings of unarmed black people in encounters with law enforcement officers paid and ostensibly trained to protect us) might be the last straw for me. Kaepernick is still good enough to start on at least a half-dozen NFL teams, and qualified to play backup (and certainly third-string) on most of them.

(Image: Instagram/kaepernick7)


Americans have a right to peaceful protest, period. And positive change in America has never happened without such protest, certainly not for African Americans. All-Pro NFL defensive back Richard Sherman is absolutely right; Kaepernick’s being unemployed as an NFL quarterback has nothing to do with football, and everything to do with “boy, stay in your place” justice. Worse, in the minds of too many people, black athletes are paid to stay in their place, and can expect to be deprived of their livelihood if they don’t.

The NFL gives opportunities to former and alleged criminals as a matter of routine, to say nothing of the questionable morals and character they tolerate in players, coaches, and other NFL personnel. (By the way, Michael Vick: Have a seat. Please.) Kaepernick’s protest is neither illegal nor immoral, nor has his character ever been called into question. The hypocrisy is mind-boggling.

Enough, NFL. I can’t. Really.

This is not about standing in solidarity with Kaepernick on the issue of racial injustice and the disastrous and repeated misuse of deadly force by law enforcement, though I agree with his stance. For me, it’s about the right of every American to peacefully protest without the threat of being stripped of his or her livelihood, regardless of race, whether I agree or not.

After a love-affair spanning nearly 50-years, I am seriously considering a breakup with the National Football League (with the exception of watching classic NFL Films footage, which is more about art appreciation than sport). At the very least, I may forego watching any NFL games until Kaepernick is added to the roster of an NFL team.