MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - A group of Madison County men are calling for people to boycott the NFL. Seven church leaders and Oakwood University's President are asking people to join their cause.
Pastor Debleaire Snell said they're boycotting because of Colin Kaepernick. Kapernick made headlines when he took a knee during the National Anthem, during the 2016 NFL season. "He did this to kind of raise awareness, to the number of brown and black individuals that have been beaten or killed at the hands of law enforcement across this country," Snell explained.
As of now, Kaepernick hasn't been signed for the 2017 NFL season. "I find that strange seeing that the NFL has employed individuals of sexual assault, domestic violence, cruelty to animals and driving under the influence," Snell said.
He said some NFL owners have stated they haven't hired Kaepernick because of fears of backlash. Snell said African-Americans make up 15 percent of the NFL's viewership and believes Kaepernick not being signed sends a message. "Even though they are going to silence one who stood up to values that have meaning to us, they have an expectation that African-Americans are still going to be there on opening day watching and patronizing their product," Snell said.
He said if Kaepernick can take a knee for minorities then they can stand with him. They are asking people to join their cause and boycott the NFL. "This protest is not anti-flag, because people of color love the stars and stripes. It is not anti-American because people of color have loved this country even when this country has not loved us back," Oakwood University President Leslie Pollard said.
Their cause is #BlackOutNFL. The group has posted a viral video talking about why they have decided to boycott a sport they all love. "What we wanted to do was to create a movement. A call to pastors, churches, leaders throughout the city and throughout the country to join us in this blackout. This isn't about a football thing, this is much bigger than football." Snell said.
They already have a lot of support, but there are people against them. "For those people who disagree, tomorrow it can be your prospective, your world view, your philosophy that comes under fire," Snell explained.
Instead of watching football on Sundays they are asking people to do community service, help spread their message and pray. They are asking everyone to join their cause regardless of their race.
Snell said other churches around the country have reached out to join their cause. More information about the movement can be found on their Facebook page.