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[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ootball, a sport that has manifested into a capitalistic business, an essence that of which every U.S. citizen is aware of, as well as people across the world. Football is an industry, and just like every other huge cash cow industry in America, it requires cogs at the bottom to make it work.

That would be the players, predominately African-American players, who are stripped of individuality and conditioned to be apart of a team and to “eat, sleep, live football”. Discouraging critical thought, and encouraging being a tool for a football team. Football is a sport that is controlled by White Dominant-Culture and punishes anyone who goes against it. Dominant-Culture is the most widespread and most influential culture within a society, and since the U.S. dominant culture is white, so is football.

The most recent and blatant example of this is Colin Kaepernick. Mr.Kaepernick started for the San Francisco 49ers and led them to the NFC Championship in 2014. Kaepernick started protesting during the National Anthem by taking a knee during his third pre-season game on August 14th 2016. That season he did not start, and later in the off season he was cut from the team, and has not signed to another team, because not one of the 32 teams will take him. He was literally exiled for standing up for African-American lives from a league that is predominately African-American. This is because the people at the top- coaches, team owners, general managers, the commissioner, the people who make almost twice the money than the players- are predominately white, and get to enforce their culture into the league.

Football forces human beings to be tools at the disposal of the coaches, general managers, and team owner. That means, any rebellious activity results in punishment. Football is notorious for having a rape culture, being homophobic, and not being supportive of African-American rights.  While the goal from birth for football players is for them to only be focused on football and not have views or opinions on everything else, there are people like Colin Kaepernick who see the truth in this country.

 “If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”

-Colin Kaepernick.

He knew what would happen if he stood up for his life, if he went against the Dominant Culture.

All three of my roommates play football, and one of them said to me things such as “I don’t pay attention to politics because I just want t0 live my life and play football”, “I hate it when people post anything else but football on Twitter”, and “I watch ‘Blue Mountain State’ because it’s about football and you don’t have to think for it to be funny”. This kind of ignorance is extremely common, and it is dangerous because it blocks avenues of knowledge to millions of football players across the country.

If you look into college and professional football, the players are majority African-American, this means that millions of African-American men are trained by white college coaches to be obedient and have their only interest be the sport. This is extremely problematic because there has been no media exposure of white coaches being in support of ‘Black Lives Matter’ so if the player can’t perform at a high level, they would otherwise not be valued. We all saw a talented player such as Colin Kaepernick being exiled because he went against the coaches, evidently losing his value to them as a person.

I played college football and I quit earlier this week. I could not stomach contributing and being a tool for a culture that discourages critical thinking and individuality. A culture in which homosexuality is taboo, and that allows men who abuse women to be paid millions of dollars. One that doesn’t value the African-American lives that contribute the most to the sport, only their ability to perform at an elite level. I personally could not put my body at risk for a coaching staff that does not recognize the affects of racism, and this is extremely common across most teams both professional and at the college level.

Football is a culture based around ignorance to the real world. I am dedicating my life to combating racisim and fighting for marginalized groups. It is not right that an NFL team owner with a net worth of 17.8 billion can make another 7.8 billion while children of color are living in hell, and are brain washed by white controlled media to dedicate their lives to a sport. As this next football season starts coming up, I hope that I continue to see players taking a stand for the lives most discriminated in this country, because Black Lives Matter.

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Ricky Cruz
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