A group of black conservatives believe that there are more pressing issues in the black community that National Football League players should be drawing attention to in light of protests during the national anthem.
More NFL players started kneeling during the anthem last week after President Donald Trump, referring to quarterback Colin Kaepernick, suggested firing athletes who refused to stand during the anthem. In response to Trump’s comments, hundreds of football players began taking a knee, staying in the locker room or linking arms during the anthem.
The Daily Caller News Foundation talked to three prominent black conservatives, Christopher Harris of Un-Hyphenated America, Antonia Okafor of the EmPOWERed movement, and singer Joy Villa, about the most serious issues in the black community football players should be shedding light on and what effect the protests have on the country.
“If they really want to protest something in the black community, they need to protest black on black crime. They need to protest the lack of education within their community. They need to protest single moms who are stuck on welfare for generations and keep having kids,” Villa told TheDCNF. “They need to protest that they can be sitting watching TV in their homes and stray bullets from gang violence can come into their home and murder them.”
Okafor also agreed that football players should be addressing issues like poverty in the black community and poor schools that don’t teach students the necessary skills to thrive in college or in the workforce.
“I think there are issues when it comes to the black community, like criminal justice reform. I’m a huge proponent of that. I think that it comes down to over-regulation and government,” Okafor said to TheDCNF, noting that groups like Black Lives Matter advocate for reform but tout people who call for more government. “The protests should be focused on that there is more poverty in the African American community, that a bigger percentage of us are in poverty. I’m living in Baltimore, and I see it everyday. Our schools are failing, and they don’t even know that they’re failing.”
Harris argued that football players need to lead by example and demonstrate to young black males what character and being a good father looks like. Harris, while he disagrees with Stephen Curry refusing to visit the White House, touted Curry as an example of a black man children could look up to.
“Leading by example. Unfortunately, athletes and entertainers are the most visible examples that there are in the black community. The reality is that less than a third of black children are growing up in a household with a mother and a father,” Harris told TheDCNF. “If they are truly concerned with the black community as they say they are, then they should start leading by example. If more NFL, NBA athletes conducted themselves like Steph Curry, how different would things be?”
The three conservatives said the protests aren’t helping America or the black community because they’re serving as distractions to the real issues in America and causing divisions within the country.
“In two decades, black and Latino people are expected not to have $100 of wealth, not $1,000 or $10,000 or $100,000 like their white counterparts are, they’re expected to have zero wealth based on a study that came out with Fortune magazine,” Okafor pointed out to TheDCNF. “Obviously all these antics are not helping our community. They’re just distracting us from what the real issues are that are really keeping people from achieving the American Dream.”
Villa said she sees the protests continuing as Hollywood stars jump on the bandwagon to gain more attention for their projects, but she believes that more black conservatives will stand up and speak out against it.
“Unfortunately, that’s what Hollywood likes to do. It’s very group think. So if they see something getting traction and getting media attention, they’ll jump on it simply because it’s getting attention,” Villa said to TheDCNF. “What’s happening unfortunately is we’re losing our quality as Americans, as unifiers and as people who should be joining together to solve the issues in the black community.”