The NFL has been accused of various misdemeanours down the years, from ignoring head trauma to failing to control its players’ off the field activities. Now we can add another problem to the list: allowing hate speech to be disseminated during the Super Bowl via the medium of song and dance.
That, at least, is the view of a group behind an “Anti-Beyoncé Protest Rally”, which is due to take place on 16 February outside NFL headquarters in New York. “Do you agree that it was a slap in the face to law enforcement? Do you agree that the Black Panthers was/is a hate group which should not be glorified?” reads the group’s posting on Event Brite. “Come and let’s stand together. Let’s tell the NFL we don’t want hate speech & racism at the Superbowl ever again!” The group did not respond to the Guardian’s request for more information.
Beyoncé was the star of Sunday’s Super Bowl half-time show, appearing alongside Coldplay and Bruno Mars. She performed her new single, Formation, which referenced the Black Panthers and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The proposed rally is not the only dissent that has risen after Beyoncé’s performance. On Monday the former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani appeared to be particularly incensed by the reference to Black Lives Matter and described the performance as an attack on the police. “I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive,” he told Fox News. “And what we should be doing in the African American community, and all communities, is build up respect for police officers.”
Giuliani also believed the Super Bowl was the wrong platform for Beyoncé. “This is a political position and she’s probably going to take advantage of it,” Giuliani said. “You’re talking to middle America when you have the Super Bowl. So if you’re going to have entertainment, let’s have decent, wholesome entertainment. And not use it as a platform to attack the people who put their lives at risk just to save us.”
This is yet another exhibit in a theory I have long espoused — i.e., that conservatives have binary minds. Black Lives Matter is not an attack on ALL police and people who put their lives at risk. It is attacking bad police and bad police training. Is that too nuanced for people like Giuliani?