It was just a game, but the Atlanta Falcons’ loss to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl felt like Donald Trump’s victory on Election Night.
When it comes down to play on the field, the Falcons had an opportunity to capture the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory. Even after squandering a 25-point lead, the Falcons could have iced the game in the fourth quarter by running the ball and kicking a field goal near the 30-yard line. But on 2nd and 11, Ryan took a sack, an offsides penalty was called, and the Falcons were forced to punt. The Falcons’ offense would never touch the ball again as the Patriots captured victory in what stands as the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.
But the Falcons and Patriots represented more than two teams playing a football game. The Falcons represent a place that stands as the last prominent Black city in America. It’s a city where most of the elected officials are Black; it’s home to several of the top Black-owned companies in America; it’s a city that features HBCU colleges such as Spelman, Morehouse, and CAU; it’s the epicenter of hip-hop and culture; and Atlanta is the home of the Civil Rights Movement. Even as gentrification threatens, you would be hard-pressed to find another American city that is as Black and diverse as Atlanta.
On the other hand, New England, primarily Boston, is the total opposite when it comes to inclusion and diversity. It’s a place that is notoriously known as the most racist city in America. Boston was one of the last major cities in America to desegregate its public schools. White public school officials disobeyed the Racial Imbalance Act for decades as other Whites reacted with violence following integration.
While segregation is an issue in every city, including Atlanta, Blacks who attempted to segregate or even visit certain White majority communities in Boston were often met with racial slurs and violence. Following the election of Donald Trump, Boston authorities fielded over 400 complaints of hate crimes in a span of four days.
Boston is a city where racism continues to affect education, employment rates, livelihood, and even the professional sports teams. The Boston Red Sox were the last MLB team to put a Black player on the field. And Black pro athletes who have played in Boston have faced racist insults by White fans.
When it comes to the New England Patriots, they represent everything bad about Boston due to the team’s affiliation with Donald Trump. Trump is close friends with the Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. The team’s three most influential leaders are aligned with a president who continues to embrace bigotry and racist ideologies.
Moreover, Kraft is also a friend of Vladimir Putin. But, allegedly, Putin stole one of his Super Bowl rings during a visit to Russia in 2005. Kraft hopes that Trump can retrieve his ring from Putin some day.
These facts do not suggest that every Patriots fan or player is bigoted. Patriots’ player Martellus Bennett will refuse to meet Trump at the White House when the team visits.
However, the fact that the Patriots’ leaders could surround themselves with people such as Trump and Putin should be alarming. Belichick and Brady have both cheated and used deception to gain victories. They have challenged the integrity of the game of football and basically gone unpunished. It’s a similar tactic being used by Trump to disobey and challenge the U.S. Constitution. Within two weeks of taking office, Trump took despotic actions. It’s up to the U.S. House, Senate, and federal judges to keep Trump in check.
On the football field, the Falcons had a chance to silence the most despicable three-headed monster and team in NFL history. But just like the presidential Election Night, the bad guys won and the Patriots’ evilness, Boston’s racism, and Trump’s insanity will continue to reign.