Newswire : Is the NFL’s new National Anthem policy legal?

Civil Rights Activists, NFL Players react to new policy

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

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Civil rights activist Tamika Mallory speaking at demonstration against new NFL national anthem policy
Protesters held a rally in front of the National Football League’s New York City headquarters on May 25 after the league announced new rules that punish players who don’t stand for the national anthem.
Tamika Mallory said that the NFL owners were acting as a “proxy for a fascist president” and that the new policy was an attempt to “resurrect slavery in the 21st century” and punish Black players. The kneeling protests started when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting during the anthem and then kneeling as a protest against police brutality.
“ What is being said is that the n–gas don’t have basic rights,” Mallory said. “And I want to say today that Ida B. Wells, Dr. Martin Luther King, Marcus Garvey, the four little girls in Birmingham are turning over in their graves right now about the disrespect, the disgrace, that is happening in this country.”
Mallory continued: “If we, as Black people, lay down and allow this system to continue to oppress us, we are the ones to be held responsible.”
Civil rights activist and author of “The Revolt of the Black Athlete” Harry Edwards told USA TODAY that the NFL’s new national anthem policy was “the dumbest move possible.” “They put the protest movement on blast,” Edwards said. “They just created a bigger stage than ever.”
In a recent commentary for Vox.com, Harvard Law School labor professor Benjamin wrote: “This new league policy is meant to enforce a particular vision of patriotism, one that involves compliance rather than freedom of expression.”
Sachs wrote that the new anthem policy was illegal—for a host of reasons.“The clearest illegality derives from the fact that the league adopted its new policy without bargaining with the players union,” Sachs wrote. “When employees, including football players, are represented by a union, the employer—including a football league—can’t change the terms of employment without discussing the change with the union. Doing so is a flagrant violation of the employer’s duty to bargain in good faith.”
ESPN.com reported that President Donald Trump supported the NFL’s policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem or remain in the locker room, during an interview with Fox News. “I think that’s good,” Trump said. “I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms, but still I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”
Many players have already indicated that they are not happy with the new rule.
In a statement released on Twitter, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins wrote: “While I disagree with this decision, I will not let it silence me or stop me from fighting. The national conversation around race in America that NFL players forced over the past 2 years will persist as we continue to use our voices, our time and our money to create a more fair and just criminal justice system, end police brutality and foster better educational and economic opportunities for communities of color and those struggling in this country.”
In an interview with ESPN, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin called the president “an idiot…plain and simple.”
“I respect the man because he’s a human being, first and foremost. But he’s just being more divisive, which is not surprising. It is what it is,” Baldwin said. “For him to say that anyone who doesn’t follow his viewpoints or his constituents’ viewpoints should be kicked out of the country, it’s not very empathetic, it’s not very American-like, actually to me. It’s not very patriotic. It’s not what this country was founded upon.”
Baldwin continued: “It’s kind of ironic to me that the president of the United States is contradicting what our country is really built on.”
In his Vox.com commentary about the NFL’s new national anthem policy, Sachs wrote that now that the owners have made it a workplace rule to stand during the anthem or stay in the locker room, any player who takes the field and takes a knee is protesting an employer rule. That protest, Sachs said, “is unquestionably protected by federal labor law.”
The NFL pre-season begins in August.

Newswire : Super Bowl Viewers Infuriated by truck ad featuring voice of Dr. King

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Image of church and truck in commercial that uses the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the St. Louis American and Victoria Burke of NNPA

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – A Ram Truck Super Bowl LI commercial sparked outrage by using a recording of a Martin Luther King Jr. speech to push car sales, In the 30-second ad, a recording of Dr. King’s 1968 a speech serves as the soundtrack for snapshots of everyday Americans engaged in community service.,“In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ram truck owners also believe in a life of serving others,” the ad’s description said.

The reaction was swift and harsh. An overwhelming consensus concluded that the ad was a tactless attempt to capitalize on Dr. King’s legacy. Among those offering backlash was the King Center .A tweet from the King Center read: “Neither @TheKingCenter nor @BerniceKing is the entity that approves the use of #MLK’s words or imagery for use in merchandise, entertainment (movies, music, artwork, etc) or advertisement, including tonight’s @Dodge #SuperBowl commercial.”

Although the center carries on King’s teachings, a separate entity controls King’s speeches and image — Intellectual Properties Management Inc. Eric D. Tidwell, managing director of the organization, which is run by King’s son Dexter, said in a statement early Monday: “We found that the overall message of the ad embodied Dr. King’s philosophy that true greatness is achieved by serving others. Thus we decided to be a part of Ram’s ‘Built To Serve’ Super Bowl program.”Tidwell’s response came after an endless evening of criticism. When writer Michael Arceneaux wrote on Twitter, “So that means the King children allowed Dr. King’s voice to be used to sell me a Dodge truck,” Bernice King replied with a single word: “No.”
April 4, 2018 will be the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, at the hands of James Earl Ray.
“The worst commercials are those that use icons like Martin Luther King Jr to sell things like a Dodge Ram truck,” tweeted Boston Globe Deputy Bureau Chief Matt Viser. He wasn’t the only one who noticed.
“So, Ram Truck appropriated Martin Luther King Jr. and used an all white cast + one token black to sell trucks to Trump supporters as if we’re back in the 1950s. #SuperBowl,” stated Lucy Amato on Twitter.
“Using a “Martin Luther King” speech and completely taking it OUT OF CONTEXT for a truck commercial is a disgrace,” another Twitter user reacted in a typical statement.
Super Bowl advertisements have become an annual obsession as the expensive and targeted marketing to a huge audience has become a place where products are debuted for the first time. Super Bowl ads have also become an annual time to analyze and study the many marketing strategy, as well as the “hits and misses” of the ads seen during the game.

It’s likely that the ad featuring King’s voice and words will likely be the source of analysis over the coming days. The ad might also reignite discussion on some of the decisions being made by Dexter King and Martin Luther King III regarding the use of their father’s image and words.

Newswire : NAACP and Africa-America Institute announce Alliance

Partnership includes Pre-K to College Curriculum on the African Diaspora

By: Malik Russell/ mrussell@naacpnet.org

 

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                                               Derrick Johnson, NAACP President

PASEDENA, CA (January 15, 2018)—On Monday, January 15, 2018, the holiday marking the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the NAACP and the Africa-America Institute announced a groundbreaking partnership during the 49th NAACP Image Awards.
The NAACP will work with the AAI on the development and distribution of a curriculum designed to highlight the accomplishments, achievements and history of Africa and its Diaspora.
“It’s appropriate that on a day that we honor Dr. King as well as promote positive images of people of color, we announce to the world a partnership that includes a curriculum, learning exchange and a network for advocacy and activism on behalf of those of African descent in the United States and abroad, “said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP.
“AAI has a long history of academic exchange and educational meetings between Africa and America. Now is an extraordinary time and opportunity to partner with the NAACP and together connect the more than 42 million Afro-descendants with the brilliance of the African history and its contribution to modern civilization,” added Kofi Appenteng, President of the Africa-America Institute.
The curriculum from the NAACP/AAI Alliance will include content such as Africa’s Great Civilizations, the critically acclaimed series by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Partners and NAACP chapters will benefit from organized screenings and lessons with an early education focus on positive identity formation and a more advanced curriculum that includes studies in social sciences.

A campaign kick-off will take place in February of 2018 as a part of Black History Month.
ABOUT THE AFRICA-AMERICA INSTITUTE (AAI)
The Africa-America Institute is the premier U.S.-based international organization that works to increase the capacity of African individuals and institutions through higher education initiatives, leadership development, professional workforce training, convening activities, program implementation and management.

ABOUT THE NAACP
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.

 

Newswire : Martin Luther King, Jr. was a champion for equity in education

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, at march in Selma, with children of Rev. Ralph Abernathy
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s influence on the Civil Rights Movement is indisputable, but his fight for equity in education remains a mystery to some. That fight began with his own education.
“He clearly had an advanced, refined educational foundation from Booker T. Washington High School, Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary, and Boston University,” said Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., the founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “His education in his speeches and sermons and writings were apparent and he wanted us all to have that type of education.”
King completed high school at 15, college at 19, seminary school at 22 and earned a doctorate at 26.
“Dr. King laid down the case for affordable education for all Americans, including Polish children—from the ghetto and the barrios, to the Appalachian mountains and the reservations—he was a proponent for education for all and he believed that strong minds break strong chains and once you learn your lesson well, the oppressor could not unlearn you.”
Rev. Al Sharpton, the founder and president of the National Action Network (NAN), said that NAN works with Education for a Better America to partner with school districts, universities, community colleges, churches, and community organizations around the country to conduct educational programming for students and parents.
“The mission of the organization has been to build bridges between policymakers and the classrooms by supporting innovations in education and creating a dialogue between policymakers, community leaders, educators, parents, and students,” Sharpton said. “We’re promoting student health, financial literacy, and college readiness in our communities, just like Dr. King did.”
King was a figure to look up to in both civil rights and academia, Sharpton told the NNPA Newswire.
“Then, when you look at his values, he always saw education, especially in the Black community, as a tool to uplift and inspire to action,” Sharpton said. “It’s definitely no coincidence that a number of prominent civil rights groups that emerged during Dr. King’s time, were based on college campuses.”
Sharpton added that King routinely pushed for equality to access to education.
“Just as importantly, he always made a point to refer education back to character—that we shouldn’t sacrifice efficiency and speed for morals,” Sharpton said. “A great student not only has the reason and education, but a moral compass to do what’s right with his or her gifts. It’s not just important to be smart, you have to know what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Dr. Wornie Reed, the director of Race and Social Policy Research Center at Virginia Tech who marched with King, said when he thinks of King and education, he immediately considers the late civil rights leader’s advocating that “we should be the best that we could be.”
“King certainly prepared himself educationally…early on he saw that education played a crucial role in society, but perceived it as often being misused,” Reed said. “In a famous essay that he wrote for the student newspaper at Morehouse in 1947, he argued against a strictly utilitarian approach to education, one that advanced the individual and not society.”
Maryland Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings, who remembers running home from church on Sundays to listen to King’s speeches on radio, said King had a tremendous impact on education in the Black community.
“Dr. King worked tirelessly to ensure that African Americans would gain the rights they had long been denied, including the right to a quality education,” said Cummings. “His fight for equality in educational opportunities helped to tear down walls of segregation in our nation’s schools.”
Cummings continued: “He instilled hope in us that we can achieve our dreams no matter the color of our skin. He instilled in us the notion that everyone can be great, because everyone can serve and there are so many great advocates, who embody this lesson.”
In support of education equality, civil rights leaders across the country are still working to ensure all students, regardless of color, receive access to experienced teachers, equitable classroom resources and quality education, Cummings noted further.
For example, the NAACP has done a tremendous amount, across the country, to increase retention rates, ensure students have the resources they need, and prepare students for success after graduation—whether it be for college or a specific career path, Cummings said.
During his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway, King said: “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”
The need for high quality education in the Black community is universal and the route to get there may be different, but education does matter, Jackson said.
“Dr. King told me he read a fiction and a non-fiction book once a week. He was an avid reader and, in the spirit of Dr. King, today we fight for equal, high-quality education,” said Jackson. “We fight for skilled trade training, affordable college education and beyond.”

NAACP National Board makes dramatic move to regain relevance

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

cornellbrooks_3794_fallen_web120.jpgCornell Brooks of the NAACP

Why did the NAACP’s national board vote to part ways with their president, Cornell William Brooks? Several longtime members contacted by the NNPA Newswire were shocked to hear the news. Brooks, 56, has served in the position since May 2014. Some NAACP insiders said that there was a lack of communication between the NAACP’s large board of directors and Brooks. Others say that a lack of fundraising prowess was the reason.
On the day the board voted to end Brooks’ tenure as president (his current contract expires on June 30), NAACP Board Chairman Leon Russell announced that the 108 year-old organization is “re-tooling” and embarking on “an organization-wide refresh” in response to the “audacious challenges” in “today’s volatile political, media and social climates.”
During an interview with American Urban Radio Networks, Brooks was asked why he was being let go. He responded: “I can’t point to any substantive reason. What I can point to is this: the NAACP over the course of less than three years, is more visible, more vocal, growing in members, donors, presence in the courts and in communities across the country.”
Brooks continued: “We’ve had nine court victories against voter suppression in ten months. We not only demonstrated in Flint, we filed suit in Flint…online membership is up 87 percent and online paper membership is up seven percent. Online donations are up 800 percent,” Brooks added. On May 21, Brooks was bombarded on Twitter with positive praise from well-wishers for his three years as NAACP President.
Brooks was also instrumental in spotlighting the damage President Donald Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions will likely do to voting rights with a demonstration in Alabama that resulted in Brooks’ highly publicized arrest.
During a May 19 media call on the end of Brooks’ presidency, NAACP National Board Chairman Leon Russell and Vice Chair Derrick Johnson told reporters that the search for a new leader will start immediately and focus on, “renewed nimbleness and vigilance so that we can aggressively respond to the current climate of political unrest as well as the assault on human rights.”
Russell also added that, “we don’t have a job description in front of us.”
Russell said that there would be a, “system-wide and strategic revisiting of processes…that will ensure the NAACP can address these 21st century challenges.”
Russell also said that he and Johnson would manage the day-to-day NAACP operations on an interim basis until a replacement for Brooks is found. They also announced a NAACP “listening tour” in an effort to be informed “by the people we serve” and to “harness grassroots energy” while at the same time listening also to current staff, past leaders in the Civil Rights Movement and “philanthropic” groups.
The NAACP makes this startling leadership change at an incredibly crucial time. President Donald Trump is reeling amidst accusations of collusion with the Russian government, during the 2016 election season and obstruction of justice involving former FBI Director Jim Comey’s investigation of it. Attorney General Sessions easily represents one of the biggest threats to policy issues disproportionately impacting African Americans.
But the NAACP has clearly taken a back seat in terms of national attention. Younger, tighter and more focused movements such as Black Lives Matter, Color of Change and now The Indivisible Movement have leveraged social media and narrowed priorities to push there agendas as the NAACP has remained in a traditionalist managerial model that would appear ill-suited for the times.
The vote by the 64-member NAACP national board to part ways with Brooks took place during a quarterly board meeting in Florida and on the same day that Dr. Rev. William Barber stepped down as NAACP North Carolina State President. Barber has led the Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina and won political and public relations attention as a result. He is now focused on a diverse “poor people’s campaign” modeled after Dr. Martin Luther King’s own work.

Lauren Victoria Burke is a speaker, writer and political analyst. She appears on “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin every Monday. Lauren is also a frequent contributor to the NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com. Connect with Lauren by email at LBurke007@gmail.com and on Twitter at @LVBurke.

Ali’s stance on Vietnam War emboldened MLK to oppose conflict

By George E. Curry Editor-in-Chief

EmergeNewsOnline.com

 

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WASHINGTON – Muhammad Ali’s decision to risk going to jail by opposing the Vietnam War provided Dr. Martin Luther King with the strength to come out against the war publicly for the first time, according to the board chairman of King’s old organization.

Bernard Lafayette, a longtime Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) field organizer and current board chairman, said in an interview with EmergeNewsOnline.com: “He was the reason Martin Luther King had the courage to come out and take a stand against the war, even though Martin Luther King’s own board was not in favor of it.”

He added, “I don’t remember any exact quotes, but Muhammad Ali is the one that pushed Martin Luther King to take a stand.”

Ali, who was a global icon in and out of the boxing ring, died June 3 in a hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he had been admitted with respiratory problems. He was 74 years old. A private funeral service will be held Thursday in his hometown of Louisville, Ky. followed by a public memorial on Friday.

On April 28, 1967, at the height of the Vietnam War, Muhammad Ali refused to be drafted into the U.S. Army, citing religious reasons. He said, “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong.” Ali, who had converted to Islam three years earlier and changed his name from Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. to Muhammad Ali, was immediately stripped of his heavyweight championship title.

He was convicted of draft evasion on June 20, 1967, sentenced to five years in prison, fined $10,000 and banned from boxing for three years. He remained free while his case worked its way through the appeals process.  On June 28, 1971, a unanimous Supreme Court overturned his conviction, granting him conscious objector status.

Ali’s standoff with the federal government captured the attention of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the preeminent civil rights leader of that period.

Like Ali, he took a stand against the Vietnam War, a position that was opposed by many of his fellow civil rights warriors, including NAACP Executive Director Roy Wilkins and National Urban League President Whitney Young, Jr. On April 30, 1967 – just two days after Ali refused to take a step forward to be inducted into the Army – King gave a major address against the war at Riverside Church in New York City.

“I speak out against this war, not in anger, but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and, above all, with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as the moral example of the world,” King said. “I speak out against this war because I am disappointed with America. And there can be no great disappointment where there is not great love. I am disappointed with our failure to deal positively and forthrightly with the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism. We are presently moving down a dead-end road that can lead to national disaster. America has strayed to the far country of racism and militarism.”

While then-president Lyndon B. Johnson objected to King’s opposition to the war, the nation’s first African American president praised Ali for his unpopular stand. In a statement, President and Mrs. Obama said, “Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it. We are all better for it.”

They explained, “He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t. His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing. It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail. But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today.”

The former heavyweight champion occupied a special place in Black America. Like Joe Lewis had instilled mass pride in an earlier generation, he did the same for the succeeding generation.

The Louisville, Ky. native won a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome and turned pro later that year. On Feb. 25, 1964, Ali scored an upset knockout over Sonny Liston in the sixth round, becoming heavyweight champion. In addition to predicting the round his opponent would fall, Ali provided the most colorful quotes of any boxer before or afterward.

“The Louisville Lip,” as he was sometimes known, was famous for saying, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee – his hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.”

In case you didn’t get the point, he said, “I done something new for this fight. I wrestled with an alligator. I tussled with a whale. I handcuffed lightening. I thrown thunder in jail. Only last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I’m, so mean I make medicine sick.”

Not all of his lines were original, but that did not seem to matter. For example, he often said, “I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and got into bed before the room was dark.” A variation of that quote is widely attributed to Negro League baseball great Josh Gibson describing Cool Papa Bell. But Ali could get away with claiming it.

After being banned from boxing, Ali returned to the ring against Jerry Quarry in Atlanta on Oct. 26, 1970. Ali knocked him out in the third round.

Many of Ali’s fights had catchy titles, most of them supplied by him. His 1971 fight against Joe Frazier was billed as the “Fight of the Century.” He defeated George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), knocking out Foreman in the eighth round. After splitting two bouts with Joe Frazier, Ali defeated him in 14 rounds in the “Thrilla in Manila.”

Ali retired in 1981 with a 56-5 record and the only person to hold the heavyweight championship three times. In 1984, he was diagnosed with Parkinson disease.

“Later, as his physical powers ebbed, he became an even more powerful force for peace and reconciliation around the world,” Obama said of Ali. “We saw a man who said he was so mean he’d make medicine sick reveal a soft spot, visiting children with illness and disability around the world, telling them they, too, could become the greatest. We watched a hero light a torch, and fight his greatest fight of all on the world stage once again; a battle against the disease that ravaged his body, but couldn’t take the spark from his eyes.”

Jesse L. Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, said of Ali, “He sacrificed the heart of his career and money and glory for his religious beliefs about a war he thought unnecessary and unjust…He was a champion in the ring, but, more than that, a hero beyond the ring. When champions win, people carry them off the field on their shoulders. When heroes win, people ride on their shoulders. We rode on Muhammad Ali’s shoulders.”

Another civil rights leader, Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, said: “I believe Muhammad Ali was the greatest athlete of the 20th century. Whether he was the greatest boxer in history may be debated for generations. But none has had a greater impact on American culture and social justice.”

On Twitter, Rev. Al Sharpton, president and founder of the National Action Network, said Ali “was and always will be the greatest.” Sharpton said, “We should all strive to embody the virtues he possessed.”

Even Ali’s former opponents had nothing but praise for him. “It’s like a part of me just passed w/him,” George Foreman Tweeted. “It’s hard for me to think about being n a world without Muhammad Ali being alive.”