We need to talk about Black America.
I mean, we don’t, but according to Skip Bayless we do, so here we go.
Recently, Skip Bayless fired off a show promo tweet asking ” Is Deion’s Colorado now Black America’s Team?”
Social media was not kind to Skip, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and explore the segment that actually aired on Undisputed.
Skip Bayless asked the question to Richard Sherman and Keyshawn Johnson, based on an article written by Mike Freeman of USA Today, in which Freeman says:
“As Deion Sanders continues to capture the fascination of college football, even when his team gets blown out, something else is happening. It may not make headlines, but it’s happening all across the country. In Black homes. In Black businesses. Black fathers and sons, Black moms and daughters, Black friends and workmates – so many in the Black community are talking about Sanders. They are saying that Colorado is Black America’s team.“
To Richard Sherman and Keyshawn Johnson’s credit, they seemed to understand the question while being a little confused by the premise.
Richard Sherman said Deion’s “got a lot of fans in the black community, and he’s got a lot of fans in every community.”
Keyshawn Johnson said “Everybody wants to roll with Deion, because it’s Deion.”
Not everybody. Just ask the people that wanted him to stick it out at Jackson State and continue to help uplift HBCU’s. Just like Deion Sanders, those people aren’t hard to find.
My instinct is reject this premise altogether, because THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS BLACK AMERICA.
We don’t have one voice, or one interest. What race of people does?
We’re not a monolith.
If you’re black, maybe there’s an added incentive for you to have a rooting interest in Deion Sanders’ success.
Every positive indicator you can grasp onto is a helping hand when it comes to both self-affirmation and raising up the next generation.
But I guarantee you that if you say Deion Sanders’ name at a gathering of Black Americans, that are supposedly united around wanting to see University of Colorado succeed, you’re going to get the whole spectrum of opinions.
And that includes people who don’t care about Deion Sanders at all, and will never care.
Believe it or not, not every black person cares about sports.
10 million people tuned in to the last Colorado game. There are over 40 million black people in America. The math ain’t mathing.
And if you do care about sports, especially college football, are you rooting for Deion Sanders to the point where you’ve left your allegiance behind? Do you want him bringing the Buffaloes to your town to beat up on your school?
I know I don’t.
And they didn’t by the way. Go Ducks.
My point is that it’s silly to consider any group of people to be one thing, on one team. White people never have to deal with this.
Even if there’s something that is disproportionately loved by caucasians, like pickle ball, or pumpkin spice, or Duke basketball, or the movie Rudy, it would be absurd to say something is being embraced by all of White America.
But when it comes to minorities, for some reason we entertain the premise on a live television show moderated by Skip Bayless?
If there was a meeting that we were all supposed to be on Team Deion, I must have missed it!
For another example of this, look at what’s happening with the Washington Redskins… or Football Team… or Commanders.
A petition is going around from an organization called the Native American Guardians Association that wants new owner Josh Harris to change the name of the franchise from the Commanders back to the Redskins.
And the reaction online has been “I thought Native Americans were the ones that wanted the name changed, why can’t they make up their mind?”
Well maybe because there is no “they.”
Native Americans aren’t one thing. So much so, that it’s where we literally get the term “tribal.”
Holding an entire group accountable for the opinions of one part of that group is how the entire indigenous community ended up having treaty after treaty carve up their land, culture and resources.
Look, I don’t care how well intentioned Mike Freeman was, his column is what gave Skip Bayless permission to go out on TV and present the idea that Black America has some sort of hive mind.
Presenting the idea that an increasing number of black people are rooting for Deion Sanders isn’t dangerous, but the idea that it isn’t possible for opinions on Deion Sanders to vary because of one’s skin color is the exact reason that every time I tweet about Coach Prime, I have trolls in my mentions saying that I only support him because he’s black.
We’re giving permission for idiots and racists to think like idiots and racists.
Let that sink in.