Sunday, NFL Superbowl in Phoenix, AZ. Given the history of the NFL and indigenous issues this location is ironic. Yet most fans will be oblivious to the implications as they are too wrapped up in the game. It is the largest single annual sporting event. I would like to see this power brought to bear for good on the issue or racism. I have worked for close to 2 decades on this issue and while some progress is made obviously much remains to be done. Entrenched interests are powerful. Money, lots of money is involved.
The amount of money around sports in general is all but impossible to calculate. For the single game on Sunday here are some examples
- Legal gambling: $100M
- Ad cost: $150,000/second, $4.5M/30 seconds
- Ad revenue: $10M/ad
- Ticket sales: average resale over $11,000/ticket
- Benefits to region: estimated $500M
Even though the New Englad Patriots did not make the game this year because of contractural arrangements with the NFL and broadcasting rights they too will share in the profits. This does bring the issue of the continuing racism in all Major League sports organizations home to Massachusetts, where I now live. Every league has a team that is exploiting Native American indigeous identity for profit. These stereotypes promote racism and continue to teach our children that disparaging a race of people is appropriate and acceptable. How important is this to us? One week after the Super Bowl my local high school basketball team is playing the North Quiincy High School team, the Red Raiders. Here is their mascot:
Truthfully I am not surprised. I am saddened that this remains in front of our children in the 21st century. It is not surprising given the aggressive, degrading and racist state seal, pictured below, on the side of Massachusetts State Police cars as well as in our courthouses, city offices and legislatures.
It is time, today, to start the process of change. We are in fact all in this together. As I have often written and said: Humankind shares one home only, earth and we have to do it better. Start looking around, right where you are, where do you see racism? How can you begin to do the right thing, recognize it, start the process of change? Can you ask questions about it? On Sunday during the game ask about the Washington D.C. NFL team identity--why is Dan Snyder still allowed to promote overt racism? Could the team instead open a conversation around change, progress and new understanding? Maybe the conversation can start in Cleveland around the MLB team identity there? Or just maybe, right here in Massachusetts will our city, county, state and federal officials and agencies, our spiritual leaders and communities, our amazing schools and universities and yes, our great people and families see the responsibility we all share given the absolutely unique history of our state. Will they, will we have the courage to open the conversation? I have personally asked many to do just this, repeatedly, across all dividing lines and interests lines. Personally I do this with every post here. I am one woman and I cannot bring about this change alone. Will you join me?
The truth is everyone alive today is a survivor of all that hs come before us. We share that status. By waking up and breathing today we can know that life is indeed good--if we choose, if we decide to take that perspective. Or we can become bitter, entrenched, defensive, greedy, arrogant, oblivious--the negative list is endless. For myself I choose the positive: hope, energy, love, connection and community. I say yes to each and every day--do you?