Tag Archives: Dallas Cowboys

What Black America Must Learn from the Unemployment of Colin Kaepernick and Suspension of Ezekiel Elliott

Public Disclaimer: I am a proud alum of THE Ohio State University and a lifetime fan of the Dallas Cowboys. I promise to let neither of those things significantly affect my reflections on what the 6-game suspension of Ezekiel Elliott means.

In the aftershocks surrounding Ezekiel Elliott’s 6-game suspension for violating the National Football League’s (NFL) ‘personal conduct’ policy, I have heard many of my African-American peers lament that the punishment dispensed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as grossly unfair. A few have taken the step of insinuating that the fact that Elliott’s accuser is a white female is a deciding factor.

Although I consider Goodell’s punishment to be harsh when compared to prior league decisions regarding similar matters, I do not think that the Commissioner’s actions are attributable to any inherent personal prejudice or institutional racism in the NFL. However, I do believe that racial matters impacted the decision indirectly.

If one views the recent ruling regarding Elliott and the continuing unemployment of Colin Kaepernick from an unemotional position they would see that the decisions of Commissioner Goodell and team owners are motivated by rising concerns regarding league popularity; a polite way of referring to league finances. Put simply; the stewards of the NFL brand are caught in a peculiar predicament that forces them to do business in a manner that lessens the chances that those whites purchasing the bulk of game tickets remain loyal to the NFL brand.

When viewed in this light, it is apparent that Kaepernick’s difficulty in securing employment is an occurrence of collusion by NFL owners unwilling to offend patriotic whites who will never forgive the embattled figure for kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. Elliott has likewise been sacrificed to appease women’s rights groups, many of which are filled with black women eager to follow their white ‘sisters’ lead in attacking the Dallas Cowboys running back regarding the highly questionable allegations. Make no mistake about it; the NFL realizes that if such groups disapprove of their handling of the Elliott case, their reaction will be furious and immediate.

In many ways, the most significant lesson that African-Americans can take from both matters is that regardless of the skills black workers possess, they are never so essential to operations that they can not be jettisoned the moment they affect bottom line financial realities. Although difficult for black workers to accept, when it comes to industry, they are never the machine performing the work, they are the grease that will be used until it is of no more use and then discarded.

We must never forget that for American Capitalists, it is ALWAYS about the money. And there is not a darn thing that Black Americans can do to alter that reality in this or any future life.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2017


I have come to understand in life that it is not only logical, but also to be expected that simple minds will always pursue ‘simple things’. dez-bryant-3Actually, when I consider this for a moment, simple-minded people have no choice but to pursue ‘simple things’ because these simple things are all that they have been exposed to and therefore what they value.

Now let me be absolutely clear about what I terming ‘simple things’. When I reference ‘simple things’, I am referring to things that mean absolutely nothing in the truly important things in life, such as: combating illiteracy, working to end global hunger, preventing domestic violence, or contributing to the fight to end the effects of institutional racism.

So I was not surprised, rather a bit annoyed, when Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Dez Bryant gleefully revealed to the media that he owns in excess of 3,000 pairs of Air Jordan’s.

According to Bryant, “nobody, nobody, but Jordan himself” has a shoe collection that rivals his. Trust me when I say this, Dez Bryant, like so many other African-American men of various ages, educational levels, and socioeconomic backgrounds have for some bizarre reason invested a sizable portion of their worth, not to mention finances, into the Jordan brand.

I must tell you that I actually debated with myself regarding the need to address Dez Bryant’s latest episode of buffoonery. The only reason that I ultimately decided to put pen to paper was that after much introspection, I realized that Bryant had much company in his ridiculously juvenile shoe obsession.

Truthfully, I routinely encounter African-American males in possession of the exact same obsession. In fact, many of the alluded dez-bryantto individuals amaze me with their ability to recite the day, month, and year that a particular shoe was released. My chance encounters with such individuals have always left me pondering how much further along they would be as individuals if they pursued worthwhile goals with the same determination they exhibit in learning about and then securing pairs of Jordan’s.

I guess that this piece is being constructed to relate to the grown-ass men who fashion themselves Jordan Brand enthusiasts that neither I nor droves of other African-American adults, are either impressed or amused at your obsession for one obvious reason, that being, in the grand scheme of things, Jordan’s are an inconsequential rapidly decaying tangible reminder that “common sense ain’t all that common.”

Please do not be mistaken and think that my denouncement of Dez Bryant and like-minded African-Americans, male as well as female, dez-bryant-4with a shoe obsession are the lone targets of my diatribe. If you believe that, well, you are sadly mistaken and probably not that smart. My aim is much wider than merely Dez Bryant and those that ‘swear’ by overpriced Jordan’s, rather it extends to those within our community who mindlessly spend outlandish monies that could and should be allocated for investments that could extend their riches over several generations. I am speaking about African-Americans who spend their monetary resources on ridiculously priced purses, hair (need I even go into this), brand name clothing, and the list goes on.

What makes such purchases even more ridiculous is that many within our community foolishly believe that these items have some type of value to them. In actuality, these eroding tangible items are of no more value to them than the trinkets that Europeans traded for our ancestors centuries ago. Put simply, there is no more significant sign of mis-education to be found among our people.

If I were permitted I would share with those within our community who seek to buoy their esteem via trinkets and even consider such items to be a crucial aspect of their financial portfolio advice that I once heard a financial planner share, “if it is on your ass, then it is not an asset.” I hope that these fools get the message.

Dr. James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016


Considering the current ruins that the franchise finds itself in, it is slightly embarrassing to say that I am a life-long fan of the Dallas Cowboys. However, there was a
time when the Dallas Cowboys were the gold-standard of not only the National Football League but of all professional athletics. I fondly recall the epic battles that the Cowboys undertook against storied franchises like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and the hated above all Washington Redskins.

Although I wish my expression for the Washington Redskins could be something other than pure unregenerate hatred that covered not only the NFL franchise, but also players such as John Riggins, Darrell Green, Art Monk, Joe Theismann, and Dexter Manley. Of all of the aforementioned individuals, Dexter Manley is the only figure that warranted any sympathy; I must add that the alluded to sympathy extended to Manley flowed from extenuating life circumstances that were no fault of his.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Manley matriculated from Jack Yates High School in Houston’s 3rd Ward. This story is rife with irony when one realizes that Texas Southern University and the University of Houston are literally a stone’s throw away from Jack Yates. None of that seemed to matter as Dexter Manley, a player who was so dominant form his Defensive End position that he earned the moniker of ‘Secretary of Defense’, managed to matriculate from Jack Yates and remain eligible for four years at Oklahoma State University with only a 2nd grade reading comprehension level.

In his biography Educating Dexter, Manley describes a hellish existence riddled with illiteracy, violence, and drug addiction; all while earning nearly one-million dollars a year as a professional football player.

Truthfully, Manley is little more than a footnote in the storied rivalry between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, so I thought it truly ironic that on the final week of the NFL regular season that Manley would reappear in the most unprecedented of ways. Believe it or not, Dexter Manley has managed to secure employment as a television analyst for some off-brand television station.

I must relate to being pleased at seeing Manley in such a position, if immediately gave me that warm fuzzy feeling of yet another African-American male overcoming significant personal obstacle to seize later professional success. Unfortunately, that ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling quickly dissipated when I listened to Manley’s commentary regarding Black quarterbacks.

Manley related to a white co-host the following quip, “…most of the black quarterbacks, they like running, because they’re probably used to running from the law.” Manley’s attempt at humor made me not only shake my head, but also made me wonder aloud at how could someone teach Dexter how to read, yet fail to teach him how to think. It then dawned upon me that I know many people who have somehow learned how to read, yet could not think their way out of a shotgun house.

Although the selection of figures such as Don Lemon, Charles Barkley, and Dexter Manley by national television stations to represent “the Black perspective” on a superficial level don lemoncould be celebrated because they are technically ‘black’, however, such individuals are suffering under the yoke of so many intellectual inadequacies that it is on second-thought insulting for them to be trotted out as even being capable of not only possessing the courage “to speak truth to white power”, but also having escaped the multiple illiteracies (historical, cultural, political) that so many ‘black experts’ are ensnared by. There is absolutely no doubt that news agencies need many more Black News Anchors like TV-One’s Roland Martin or independent Black news periodicals such as African-American News & Issues (Houston, Texas) or The Final Call (Nation of Islam). It is our only hope of having an authentic Black perspective represented.

Unfortunately for Dexter Manley, his failed attempt at humor and inability to think are no longer the secret that his literacy was. Making matters worse, many others prove that they are suffering under the exact same yoke.

James Thomas Jones III

© Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016.