DL Hughley: NFL Is Using Jay-Z And Colin Kaepernick To Silence Dissent. ‘They Want Y’all Quiet. They Want You Distracted’
After trying to make Colin Kaepernick go away, the NFL is not interested in having a conversation about social justice and it doesn’t need to partner with Jay-Z for that purpose, says actor, radio host and political commentator DL Hughley.
What the NFL needs, Hughley said, is “your silence, your obedience and your money.”
The host of TV One‘s nighttime talk show, “The DL Hughley Show,” Hughley said he admires both Jay-Z and Kaepernick and can’t question their motives.
“I have watched what (Jay-Z) has done socially and consciously, both upfront and behind the scenes, to change the narrative,” Hughley said. “I can’t question what he’s doing just like I can’t question what Colin Kaepernick is doing.”
However, people are picking sides, Hughley said. That’s a distraction from the real issue, which is the NFL’s treatment of Black people, he said.
I want you to break your bodies in service of my entertainment. And then I want you to shut up.DL Hughley on the NFL’s attitiude towards Black people
“There is no doubt that both of those men have been influential in a conversation this country needs to have,” Hughley said. “What the owners are doing is trying to stop them from having it. What they want is for you to go back and watch the games and be quiet. They want silence and obedience and this is the way they have always done it.
“It shouldn’t be about what Jay-Z is doing or about what Colin Kaepernick has done. I have no reason — nor should you — to question their motives. Question the people who are involved on the other side.”
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In 2019, Jay-Z was critical of the NFL and the way that it handled player protests against police brutality, publicly supporting Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who started a movement by kneeling during the National Anthem. Kaepernick has been blackballed by the league.
The 2019 halftime show saw a growing chorus of celebrities urging entertainers to pull out of the Super Bowl halftime show in solidarity with Kaepernick and against the NFL’s policy of making athletes stand during the national anthem.
The Super Bowl halftime show has long been seen as America’s biggest stage, a chance for artists to perform for 100 million-plus viewers. But in 2019, it was a different picture. Confirmed performers got bad press — “proof of just how far the halftime show has fallen as one of music’s so-called biggest nights,” USA Today reported.
The Super Bowl halftime audience was down significantly in 2019 and the NFL believes it’s partly because Black people were not participating, Hughley said.
In Jay-Z’s new partnership with the NFL, his entertainment agency, Roc Nation, will become the NFL’s live music entertainment strategist, co-producing the Super Bowl halftime show and choosing who gets to perform.
Hughley defended Kaepernick for taking a settlement with the NFL. “What was he supposed to do?” Hughley said. “The most powerful man in the world stopped him from getting a job. The (NFL) owners said ‘We are not going to risk Donald Trump calling (us) out on Twitter.”
Hughley said he has no reason to question Kaepernick’s motives. Instead, he questioned the NFL’s motives in its long history of Black exploitation.
“I have every reason to question the motives of the NFL owners,” Hughley said. “To them it’s, ‘If I can own a Black man I can rent one.’ When they have Black people, what they want from you is obedience and silence. They talk to the people in power all the time. Many of them have had dinners and fundraisers for Donald Trump. If they wanted to do something about what they saw as injustice, they can do it. They’re with those people all the time. They give them money. They get them elected. They want y’all quiet. They want you to be distracted.”
So what does the NFL need Jay-Z for?
“There’s a lot of billionaires. What does (Jay-Z) have? Influence,” Hughley said. “What is influence for them? Silence. ‘I want you to shut up and play and I want the rest of the country to not be distracted.’ To keep doing what we do.”
The NFL team owners are good at dealing with Black people because they’ve been doing it forever, Hughley said. “These are mostly 80- and 90-year-old white men who learned how to deal with Black people for a long time.”
Hughley said the NFL’s actions remind him of a successful slave uprising in Louisiana history. Slaves organized and marched from plantation to plantation. Somebody told on them, Hughley said. Somebody gave the owners a heads-up and they were able to stop the revolt. They beheaded the leaders of the slave revolt and left the heads on spikes for everybody floating down the river to see.
“They also brought the slaves out so they could watch what happens to somebody who displeases them,” Hughley said. “You know what happened to the man who helped them? He was rewarded. He died of old age.”
Both Kaepernick and Jay Z have something to say, Hughley said. “The NFL uses those people for a narrative. This is what happens if you don’t do what I want. This is what happens when you do.”
Instead of questioning Jay-Z and Kaepernick, Hughley encouraged his listeners to question the people who are pulling the strings.
“Question the people who only want you to speak when you’re talking in glowing terms.” he said. “If I can get Donald Trump to come out to a fundraiser, I can talk to him about social injustice. If I can have the police chief in my luxury box, I can talk to him about police brutality.
“The reason that sports has always been used as a driver of social change is because that’s the only way they ever listen to us — when we’re singing, dancing, jumping or running.”
What the NFL wants, Hughley said, “is your silence and your obedience and your money: ‘I want you to break your bodies in service of my entertainment. And then I want you to shut up.'”