By Joshua M Hicks (@jhicks042)
ed. note — ITS, which normally runs each Friday, is running on Sunday this week to commemorate Joshua’s debut on CLTV’s Sports Feed this evening. Make sure to watch.
Nick Bosa will likely remain a distinguished representative of the legendary Ohio State football program after being drafted No. 2 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
You could also say that Bosa may have a bit of the social agitator in him, he famously sat out half of his last season as a Buckeye to focus on the draft, furthering a trend among mostly powerless college prospects that gives them more autonomy to determine their future.
However, the younger brother of Los Angeles Chargers standout Joey Bosa has a history of distinguishing himself online for much different reasons.
Leading up to his draft selection, which at times saw him as a contender for the first overall pic, past (and since deleted) social media posts of him calling Colin Kaepernick a “clown” for his protests and featuring derogatory comments about Black cultural leaders like Jay-Z, Beyonce, Serena Williams and Draymond Green resurfaced.
Bosa apologized for his extensive line of incendiary comments at his post-draft press conference, this is after mostly playing off the tweets as a non-factor in the days leading up to the draft.
It would seem the NFL and its media partners heard Bosa loud and clear –very little was made of Bosa’s controversy outside of sports media and not very much deep analysis was offered in those occasions.
This instance highlights two points that continue to define the NFL: social justice is only taken seriously on a selective basis and as long as you can play the game at a high level and do not offend the sensibilities of those in charge of the league (i.e. protest for progressive change) you will have a place on a NFL team’s roster.
Let’s be mindful of the fact that social justice as a whole is not a foreign concept in the NFL. The league does pride itself in giving back to the various communities that are affected by their teams. They have various foundations, including the NFL Foundation and Players Care Foundation, constantly supporting the narrative of diversity, inclusion and philanthropy, and provide assistance/support against sexual abuse and mental health.
We must also not forget to highlight the fact that NFL teams themselves also have their own community service obligations, like the Chicago Bears, who last football season announced their player-led local social justice initiatives, involving plans regarding education, community/police relations and criminal justice reform. However, those social justice initiatives that the league spearheads rarely actually provides protection to their employees, the players.
Sports fans — more specifically, socially conscious sports fans — should not be surprised by this narrative of the lack of social justice the league applies when it comes to specific situations. Kareem Hunt was suspended and released for the last few games of the season by Kansas City, including the playoffs, after video of his involvement in a sexual abuse at a Cleveland hotel surfaced, an incident he lied to the Chiefs about.
Only months later, though he was not a great candidate for a guaranteed deal and he was staring at a multi-game suspension upon being signed, he was still brought in by his home team (Cleveland Browns), the team located where the hotel incident took place. Hunt will miss half of this upcoming season, but he still has a second chance in the league.
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Former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster was released by that team after he was arrested for domestic violence. Three days after his arrest, although he was on the Commissioner’s Exempt List, Foster was picked up by Washington off waivers.
With those charges eventually being dropped, the league has decided not to suspend Foster for any games this upcoming season and only fined him a couple game checks for violating conditions that the league required of him after his two-game suspension last season. In any event, Foster’s incident, like that of Hunt and in the ongoing case of Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill, prove that standards are low for a specific kind of violation of the social norm.
But even worst than beating or violating women for the NFL is violating the league’s relationship with thoughtless patriotism and selective representation — Colin Kaepernick performed peaceful protests against social justice inequalities, defending the rights of the kind of people who make up most of the league’s rosters and was promptly blackballed out of it.
The actions against Kaepernick led into a collusion case that proved the league’s guilt and ultimately reached settlement out of court.
In a typical corporate working environment background checks are made of all prospective employees, and some background checks include what you post on social media. Ask a Black person if they’d be afforded a job if a company saw the kind of insulting series of content attached to Bosa’s social media credited to them, regardless of some of it being as much as six years old. It’d be very difficult to imagine an employee orientation to come.
I may be a changed man, but since it’s been posted on public display, it prevents me from any second chances in that corporate environment. Bosa’s racial social media posts resurface, and he gets a slap on the wrist for being a top player in the draft. As a matter of fact, he gets a supportive tweet from the tweet master himself Donald Trump, a man who in a tweet Bosa called one of the “greatest men of all time.”
Trump, as only he can, went so far as to congratulate Bosa’s selection while completely ignoring the University of Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray going No. 1.
Murray, a black man — who hasn’t made his political allegiances painfully obvious — only became the first player in American professional sports history to be selected No. 1 overall in both the NFL and MLB drafts. He who is supposed to “Make America Great Again” is pretty bad at recognizing true greatness. Surprise, surprise.
This is the unfortunate reality that we live in, and when more situations rise like this in the NFL, which they likely will going forward, we should no longer be shocked, just disappointed that so many still accept this type of behavior within our society.
Joshua M. Hicks is a Senior Writer for WARR Media