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NNPA Chairman Blasts NFL for 'Almost a Slave Mentality'

Hazel Trice Edney | 11/12/2013, 8:09 p.m.
NNPA President Clovis Campbell

He continued, "In the interest of fairness and the image of the NAACP, I respectfully suggest that you break your silence."

Brock responded to Boone by email that same day, stating, "The matter you reference in your letter is local in nature and should be handled directly by the Richmond Branch NAACP and Salim Khalfani at the Virginia State Conference NAACP. I have forwarded your correspondence to them and shared the information with the leadership of Bon Secours Health System in Richmond."

In an email, responding to a question from the Trice Edney News Wire this week, Brock said that she had not publically commented on Boone's complaint because it is a local issue.

Brock's email said she had "also discussed the matter in detail with" Campbell, who is serving his second term as NNPA chairman. At a Sept. 17 reception in D.C., Campbell, Boone and other NNPA publishers praised Brock for her leadership and gave her an award for social justice.

While Campbell verbally blistered the NFL, including the Redskins, he balanced his response by saying he agrees with Brock that the issue in Boone's case is local since the economic decisions appear to have been made by the mayor and Bon Secours' Richmond entities.

"At the end of the day, I think [the criticism of her] is unfair just because she works for Bon Secours. That's her day job. We all volunteer at some time with the NAACP," Campbell says, referring to Brock's volunteer chairmanship. "While we want to see Mr. Boone and his publication get what it deserves and more so; that is definitely a local issue."

Boone, who recently announced he has stopped using the term "Redskins" in the Richmond Free Press because it is "racist", argues that the Redskins' and Bon Secours' exclusion of Black businesses underscores and illustrates the team's mentality under the controversial name, which is receiving growing national pressure for change.

In her email to the Trice Edney News Wire, Brock also clarified that the NAACP has long stood against the Redskins name because of its roots in racism. "The NAACP passed a resolution more than ten years ago against racial slurs being used as mascots. In the last few months the NAACP signed on letters with the Oneida Tribe, based in Washington and the National Coalition on American Tribes especially in support of their efforts to change the Redskins name," she wrote.

Neither Mayor Dwight C. Jones; nor Virginia NAACP President King Salim Khalfani could be reached for comment by deadline. Bon Secours representatives did not return repeated phone calls.

Meanwhile, Boone, a recipient of the State NAACP's Oliver W. Hill Freedom Fighter Award, remains focused on his quest for economic justice, promising Brock "fairness and balance" in upcoming coverage of her leadership positions with the NAACP and Bon Secours.

Such economic battles have been hard fought in Richmond and in Black and grassroots communities across the nation. Former Richmond City Councilman Chuck Richardson, known for his historic advocacy for Black businesses and contractors, recalls researching Washington Redskins' racism as far back as 1961. That's when he wrote a research paper in junior high school about the team and how the Redskins was "the last professional football team to allow Blacks to play for them," he said in an interview. "This harkens back to that painful time. It hurt then and I would have thought that a greater degree of change might have occurred, but the mentality still exists. It seems so much has changed and yet so much remains the same."