Josh Hicks is Managing Editor of WARR and a contributor to The D & Davis Show
The 2017 NFL season can easily be labeled as one of the most chaotic, disturbing and political seasons in its entire history.
Colin Kaepernick’s #TakeaKnee protest became revolutionary with a reach spanning across the entire sports world, sparking numerous protests all season long. President Trump stood in defiance to the League and expressed to to Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners he work for to fire every player that protested against the flag, which in turn caused a temporary united of players and owners to unite against the revolt.
Reports of some owners still having their issues regarding the protests and its effect on players emerged, putting the likes of Houston Texans owner Bob McNair in an unwanted spotlight when he alluded to players as “inmates” who could run the NFL “prison,” and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who despite a very public show of solidarity following Trump’s suggestions later announced if any of his players protest they will be fired.
But just when you thought it could not get anymore interesting this season in the NFL, recent weeks have seen the swift development of Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson putting the franchise he helped found up for sale due to an internal investigation conducted by the team regarding allegations of work misconduct, including usage of discrimination and racial slurs.
With the Panthers up for sale, New York’s very own Sean “Puff Daddy/P Diddy/Diddy” Combs stepped up almost immediately to put in his bid for the franchise, stating on social media he would be a great owner and he would hire free agent Colin Kaepernick to compete for his starting quarterback position. Kaepernick is currently unemployed in the wake of his silent protest of police violence against African-Americans during performances of the National Anthem while a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
If I were Goodell or among the ranks of the owners in the NFL, I would encourage a bid that included Combs. Here’s why:
On top of being a wildly successful performer and music producer, Diddy is an influential businessman, entrepreneur and community activist. Combs continued influence and connection with iconic hip-hop legends like Notorious B.I.G, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, Rick Ross and DJ Khaled makes him relevant public figure indefinitely. As a businessman, he owns his clothing line Sean John and helped improve the Cîroc brand, among other various businesses he owns. As a man of the community, he created Daddy’s House Social Programs which designated youth programs for the inner city youth.
Combs earned his honorary doctorate from Howard University and started a scholarship fund at the school for students who cannot pay for their tuition. Diddy is someone that is beneficial to the black community, which makes up 75 percent of the NFL, and can also help the NFL regarding the new deal the league signed with the players union to donate money to social community issues across the US.
Diddy being an owner of an NFL team can also address the lack of diversity component at the head of the league. Never has an African-American been majority owner of an NFL team and out of all 32 NFL teams, 31 have white owners. The Jacksonville Jaguars have a majority owner who is a person of color, but he is of Pakistani decent. Along with the lack of diversity, he can also assist in solving the issue of the protest and bridging to a common ground between the players, fans and owners.
Diddy is currently looking at putting a financial team together that could include hometown NBA superstar Steph Curry and Kaepernick.
It has been proven, at least anecdotally, that Kaepernick was blackballed by the league, who’s members refused to even offer him a contract for the 2017 season, despite many of the league’s current available quarterbacks having worst career statistics. By giving Kaepernick a seat at the head table would not magically erase the established friction between him and the NFL, but it could boost the league’s relations with its athletes, increase the support that was lost within the communities they represent and establish a potential pipeline for current and future NFL talent to reach the highest ranks of their franchise’s front offices.
Diddy may not be able to afford the team all on his own, his net worth is reported at being $820 million and Panthers are currently worth $2.3 billion with potential for that to rise on the open market. However, with a group that could include Curry, Kaepernick and potentially other iconic black suitors like Oprah, Jay-Z, and Charlotte native and Hornets owner Michael Jordan on the team, the Harlem Shaker could go down as being the man who shook up the NFL’s ownership profile.
Thirty years ago the NFL gained its first black quarterback champion in Doug Williams, over 10 years ago it gained its first black head coach champion in Tony Dungy. It is now time for the league to have a black owner, to make the strides representatively in the owner’s box that have been made on the sideline and in the huddle. A man as determined as proven to win as Diddy has shown himself to be makes a strong case as to why the time to transition is now.
Joshua M. Hicks is a Chicago-based sports writer and broadcaster, follow him on Twitter @jhicks042; Follow We Are Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under We Are Regal Radio