This week, the American sports world was shocked by a (rather hilarious) controversy involving a shirtless photo of possible first pick in the 2015 NFL draft Jameis Winston. The photo was controversial not because it was lewd or because it captured conduct unbecoming a first pick, but because he appears, for lack of a better word, fat.
This, of course, was much-debated on ESPN this week leading up to the NFL combine; his coach pointed out on SportsCenter that Jameis would be paraded around to GMs and owners in his underwear*, so if he’s still fat they’re gonna see it anyway. I think he was referencing the medical examination process, as part of which each player gets a physical — as well they should, since their physical properties are about to be heavily invested in. However, this struck me** as an alarming image.
What else in our nation’s history involved a bunch of rich white guys (NFL owners are 100% non-black with one Pakistani, and there are only 7 black GMs) lining up a group of predominantly black people (NFL players are over 2/3 black) with no say in their below-market-value compensation (rookie salaries are predetermined by draft position) and valuing them based on their physical attributes?
* I could not find a video or transcript of this, so I’m not sure of the exact wording. I may also be misattributing the source. Womp womp.
** A middle class white guy with exactly zero stake in this statement.