BALTIMORE, MD (December 19, 2017) – The NAACP issued the following statement regarding KRON-TV anchor Henry Wofford’s use of racist stereotypes to insult and belittle Sean “Diddy” Combs’ interest in purchasing the Carolina Panthers NFL team.
“Wofford’s comments were an insult not only to Mr. Combs but to all men of color who, despite high levels of achievement and accomplishment, are marginalized according to ugly racist stereotypes. A late apology does little to negate Mr. Wofford’s harmful words – and his co-anchor Darya Folsom’s supportive laughter – or address environments where this type of stereotyping is acceptable.
“The NFL faces a severe racial divide between players and executives that has contributed to a culture of intolerance towards racial justice priorities and where the protesting of police brutality draws scorn rather than support. Rather than mock, we should all promote individuals like Mr. Combs who seek to push the NFL away from a plantation mentality and open its ownership ranks up to diversity.”
“According to University of Central Florida Professor Richard Lapchick’s 2017 ‘Racial and Gender Report Card’ for the NFL, Black players make up roughly 68 percent of NFL teams, but there are zero Black owners or presidents across the league. The racial divide applies to other positions of power as well: the vast majority of head coaches, assistant coaches, general managers, and vice presidents are white.
“Wofford’s comments also distressingly echo intolerant statements made in October by NFL team owners, Jerry Jones and Bob McNair. Mr. Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, made tone-deaf comments threatening to bench any players on his team who chose to protest police brutality. Two weeks later, during a landmark meeting between players and owners, Mr. McNair, Houston Texans owner, was quoted as saying, ‘We can’t have the inmates running the prison.’McNair’s nasty remarks were made utterly without regard to the problematic nature of his ‘owner’ title or the concerns about police brutality which fueled players’ protests.
“The NAACP refuses to accept NFL executives or TV personalities using their platforms to fuel and promote racist stereotypes.”
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.