What would you think if you were to learn that the Green Bay Packers are practicing systemic racism?
Over the past four years, since Colin Kaepernick first protested, the Packers refused to support any effort to help prevent the murder of many, many unarmed African Americans, including George Floyd.
The franchise has been in existence for over 100 years; its visible workforce is approximately 70% African American. Not counting players, coaches and scouts, there is barely any racial diversity in the rest of the organization, and it is geographically located in the heart of the Oneida Nation. Yet, the organization has an all-white executive board, and not a single Native American on its entire board of directors.
During his 12-year reign as team president and CEO, Mark Murphy has handpicked the executive board.
That looks, sounds and smells like systemic racism.
Announcing the firing of head coach Mike McCarthy in December 2018, Mr. Murphy said the coach, “… has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers.”
Apparently, Murphy’s exclusion of minorities from positions of leadership and ignoring racial and social issues represents his expectations and standards for the Packers.
Would those be yours?
Once this information is made public, expect Murphy to mumble something like, “Bu, bu, bu, bu, but we’re gonna change.”
Only now, after the most intense and wide-ranging movement has made it safe and comfortable for white corporate executives to stand for racial justice, has Murphy come out of hiding on the issues.
In the aftermath of Floyd’s murder, it has become even more clear how out of touch the Packers’ “leadership” has been — for many years.
Mark Murphy and his management team only became willing to take a stand regarding social injustice 11 days after Floyd was killed — when it was popular and safe.
The Packers have thrown a paltry $250,000 at the issues in hopes that we fans are too stupid to understand that four years of inaction and silence are part of systemic racism. Murphy has offered to personally match the team’s donation. His tax write-off, publicity-seeking gesture smacks of a white executive buying off four years of white guilt for being an active participant in a prejudiced system.
This is where the Green Bay Packers franchise is during year 12 of Murphy’s regime.
The Packers’ current “leadership” understands two things: money and image.
It’s past time that major sponsors, especially Wisconsin-based sponsors, stop enabling the Packers organizational racism and insist on a leadership change. We all should.
Boyles, who lives in rural Portage, co-authored “The Lombardi Legacy,” “The Lombardi Impact” and “Lombardi’s Left Side” with Hall of Fame linebacker Dave Robinson; Herb Adderly was also a co-author on “Lombardi’s Left Side.”