From The Final Call Newspaper

‘The Swan Song:’ Min. Louis Farrakhan delivers major message at Saviours’ Day in Chicago

By The Final Call
- February 22, 2022

Keynote Address Set for February 27, 2022, at 1 p.m. CDT

CHICAGO—The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan will deliver a major message, “The Swan Song,” at this year’s annual Saviours’ Day convention live from Mosque Maryam, the headquarters of the Nation of Islam. His keynote address is scheduled for Sunday, February 27, 2022, at 1 p.m. CDT. It will be webcast live at

“The significance of the choice of the title and the prevailing circumstances, developing circumstances that we see in the country and in the world should cause us to want to hear what God will say to us through the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,” said Ishmael Muhammad, National Assistant to Min. Farrakhan and Assistant Minister at Mosque Maryam.

“We should set aside the time on that Sunday at 1 p.m. CDT and spread the word and invite others to tune in to hear our brother, our Minister, our teacher, give us a perspective on what is happening in our community, society, country, world and what is on the horizon.”

Min. Ishmael Muhammad described the keynote title as “the finale of a message” and divine warning that Minister Farrakhan has been faithfully delivering for the last 44 years in rebuilding the work of his teacher and Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Saviours’ Day is returning to Chicago for the first time in physical form since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and features Min. Farrakhan’s address.

Muslims, supporters and admirers are expected to line Stony Island Avenue in the South Shore community to welcome the Minister home to the Nation’s flagship mosque, located at 7351 South Stony Island Avenue. Very limited seating is taken. High quality online viewing will be available.

Saviours’ Day is a commemoration of the birth of Master W. Fard Muhammad, the great, divine teacher of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad. Master Fard Muhammad came from the holy city of Mecca in fulfilment of divine prophecy with the power to alleviate the suffering of the Black man and woman in the wilderness of North America, to elevate a people who had been destroyed and to obliterate their enemies. He made Himself known on July 4, 1930, in Black Bottom, Detroit.

“Such a marvelous, magnificent human being worthy and deserving of honor and praise and thanksgiving. Because everything that we have been successful in doing in the Nation of Islam for 92 years, we all owe it to Master Fard Muhammad,” said Min. Ishmael Muhammad. “Min. Farrakhan wanted to deliver what could possibly be his last major address from that house that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad purchased in 1972.

And one day the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, he took the Minister and they drove right outside of the mosque that was a Greek Orthodox church at the time. And the Honorable Elijah Muhammad told the Minister, ‘I would love to see you preach in that house, brother,’ ” Min. Ishmael Muhammad added.

Muslims traveling to Chicago and those watching the keynote from the comfort of their homes, local mosques or study groups are looking forward to hearing from Minister Farrakhan at this year’s one-day event.

Saviours’ Day is an annual Nation of Islam commemoration of the birth of Master Fard Muhammad, the Great Mahdi of the Muslims and the Messiah of the Christians. His coming and declaration fulfills many scriptures; however, perhaps most notable is the fulfillment of the promise God made to Abraham that his descendants would endure bondage in a strange land among a strange people—before God Himself would deliver Abraham’s seed and judge the nation they served.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad would convene Saviour’s Day and deliver an annual major address and expound on the divine wisdom given to him by Master Fard Muhammad.

After the 1975 departure of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, in September of 1977, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan made the decision to rebuild the work of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and reestablish the Nation of Islam. Under Min. Farrakhan’s leadership, Saviour’s Day returned in 1981 in Chicago. In 1983, Min. Farrakhan changed the spelling of the commemoration from Saviour’s Day, as it had been, to the plural Saviours’ Day.

He explained during a message delivered in Gary, Ind., that the change meant that not only was Master Fard Muhammad the Saviour for the Black Man and Woman of America, but that the Muslims in the Nation of Islam had the mission of delivering the word and doing the work of resurrection as “little saviours” for the suffering masses of Blacks in America and suffering people around the world.

Thousands now attend the convention, which has grown to include workshops, plenary sessions, lively discussions, and entertainment, social and educational, activities for children and families, the Drill exhibition and closes with a major address delivered by Min. Farrakhan. It is a joyful and spirited occasion that is looked forward to by members of the Nation of Islam and the Black community.

Some of Black America’s leading political, social, business, sports and entertainment giants have participated in and supported Saviours’ Day conventions. International guests are featured and come to participate in its full schedule of activities. The advent of the Internet has provided another way for people around the globe to enjoy aspects of the convention and access information.

Saviours’ Day has most often been held in Chicago, but previous gatherings have also been held in Gary, Ind., Detroit, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington, D.C. and an International Saviours’ Day was held in Accra, Ghana, in 1994, drawing thousands to the Motherland.

From The Final Call Newspaper

‘Amir stood for love’ Another Black family grieves and seeks justice after police killing

By Brian E. Muhammad, Staff Writer
- February 15, 2022

Demonstrators march behind a banner reading "Justice for Amir Locke and All Stolen Lives" during a rally in protest of the killing of Amir Locke, outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 5, 2022. - Authorities in the US city of Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered in 2020, published body-cam video on February 3 showing the police shooting of a 22-year-old African American man. According to the police, Amir Locke was shot on Wednesday by officers who were executing a search warrant on the apartment he was in, after Locke pulled a gun from beneath a blanket. (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP) (Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)

For cops, it may have been a run of the mill “no knock” warrant in connection to a homicide investigation, but nine seconds after they entered a Minneapolis, Minnesota, apartment building with a key, 22-year-old Amir Locke, who was not involved nor the target of the search, was shot and killed by one of the officers.

Like countless other young, Black men killed by law enforcement, Amir’s life mattered. And to Karen Wells and Andre Locke, Amir’s parents, the young man was everything. All that a dad, a mom, brother, sister, and friend could ask for.

“Amir stood for love,” Andre Locke told The Final Call in an exclusive interview. “His name means prince in certain countries … king in other countries,” he said.

As a father describing a young life that had purpose, he said Amir was respectful and embodied being both a prince and a king like his name. “He believed in God because his mother, as well as myself … believe in God and keeping God first with everything,” he said.

People march at a rally for Amir Locke on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022, in Minneapolis. Hundreds of filled the streets of downtown Minneapolis after body cam footage released by the Minneapolis Police Department showed an officer shoot and kill Locke during a no-knock warrant. (AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa)

Amir like his father was into music and aspired to a career in the music industry. The elder Locke is a recording and hip-hop artist known as “Buddy Mclain” in the industry. He was formerly known as “Lil’ Buddy Mclain” and under the advice of Amir he dropped “Lil” from the name. “Amir told me to recreate myself and I dropped the Lil’ and now they just call me Buddy Mclain,” he reflected.

He said his son’s ambitions wasn’t limited to music alone. Amir was passionate about helping and creating something for youth. He wanted to change and drive the Black community to do other things than focus on music. “Amir was focused on business. He admired Jay-Z and the business that he does,” said Andre Locke. Amir also admired popular motivational duo Wallo and Gillie of the Million Dollars Worth of Game podcast, his father added.

Even at 22-years-old Amir was on “top of everything” and “sharp” on things like credit repair and business lines of credit. He invested time developing himself and studying successful people and becoming empowered. “He just believed in his ambition to drive young people that was around him to do things that are right,” said Andre Locke.

The third oldest in his family of siblings, Amir had a strong family unit. He had strong men in his life and although his parents were divorced and both remarried, they co-parented in agreement with how to raise him.

Amir Locke’s father Andre Locke speaks at a press conference, with Amir’s mother Karen Wells, on left, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Minneapolis. Communities United Against Police Brutality held a press conference at City Hall to ask questions on police action related to the killing of Amir Locke. The Minneapolis mayor has imposed a moratorium on no-knock warrants after Amir Locke was killed as a SWAT team carried out a search warrant in a downtown apartment. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)

“We co-parented with our presence,” explained Andre Locke. “So, he didn’t come from a broken home … he came up with strength on both sides of his family,” he stated.

It was this bright light that police extinguished in the early morning hours of February 2.

Flagrant irresponsibility

Amir Locke was killed when a heavily armed Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) force entered the seventh-floor apartment in the Bolero Flats, where he was sleeping. Seconds after entering, the police officers shot Amir who was under covers asleep, then startled awake in the chaos of yelling cops and flashlights on him. In the body cam video released by the Minneapolis Police Department, there was no time to respond or ascertain if it was a home invasion or not, so he grabbed his weapon, which he is licensed to own.

The police drew anger from critics over their initial story that criminalized Amir Locke by releasing a police report that included a photo of Mr. Locke’s gun and ammunition yet failing to mention the gun was legally licensed to the young, Black man.

Officials said the warrant was part of a St. Paul, Minnesota, homicide investigation. Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman later confirmed Amir Locke was not named in the warrant.

Now another Black family grieves, and a weary community is seeking justice in a nation reckoning with its unchanging disease of racism and disregard for Black lives.


No-knock warrants have come under heavy scrutiny recently. The tactic resulted in the killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2020. Her death sparked debate on the issue and mass protests. Several cities have banned no-knock warrants and Minneapolis restricted its use in 2020.

“As we know (no-knock) is executed disproportionately against Black people,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump, told The Final Call. “We’re pushing for outright abolishment,” he added.

Mr. Crump is representing the Locke family who is seeking a total abolishment of “no-knock” warrants on the state and federal levels.

Atty. Crump said the Locke’s will be joined by Tamika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, and demands that Mark Hanneman, the officer who pulled the trigger, be terminated and held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

Public employment records show Mr. Hanneman has been a cop since 2015. While Amir’s dreams were cut short and his parents suffer the aftershock of losing their son, Mr. Hanneman was placed on administrative leave and retains his near $60,000 yearly pay.

Minneapolis Police bodycam video in Amir Locke shooting. Photo: MGN Online

The family attorney said he believes the city of Minneapolis and the police department were negligent. “We’re looking to hold the city accountable for their flagrant irresponsible policy that they said they had banned,” said Atty. Crump. “Had they done so, Amir Locke would be here today,” he added.

Atty. Crump was referring to a false re-election claim by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey that his administration barred no-knock warrants. Amir Locke’s killing exposed the lie. Although Mayor Frey modified policy on no-knock or “unannounced entry” warrants in 2020, they were never banned. He won re-election last November. With renewed crisis and growing calls for his resignation, Mayor Frey announced a moratorium on the deadly warrants Feb. 8.

White America destroys Black lives

“I was devastated to learn of the killing of this 22-year-old beautiful, young, Black man,” said Student Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad, National Spokesperson of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.

“From all appearances he has a beautiful family and had his whole life in front of him,” she said, reflecting on the situation as a mother and grandmother herself. Student Minister Ava Muhammad was also struck by the fact it happened in Minneapolis where she said inherent racism is more subtle than in the Deep South.

For her, these types of events remind her of what Minister Farrakhan warned Black people about when they became fixated on the issue and destruction of confederate flags and history.

“He pointed to the American flag and said if you have a problem, that’s the flag that all of this occurred under,” said Student Minister Ava Muhammad. “They make mischief by means of the law,” she added. “White America takes Black lives, destroys Black lives like some used tissue paper,” she explained.

On no-knock warrants and the ensuing debate around it, Student Minister Ava Muhammad, who is also an attorney, said such deaths are always encircled with legal language. “We’ve been hearing it since 1555,” she said, “but intensified beginning in 2012 with Trayvon Martin,” she added.

“You’re pulled down into the weeds of these irrelevant details and legalities which are used to justify murdering our children,” argued Student Minister Ava Muhammad. She explained by nature a no-knock warrant actually creates a violent confrontation. By virtue of a person’s door being kicked in, it arouses their survival instinct. “To me, the question is at what point are we going to accept the reality that we cannot live with White people in peace?”

It’s an “unachievable goal” and “a fantasy” and “it’s not healthy to fantasize,” she added.

For Black people, these killings are the same script on repeat.

“The question is which Black family is going to take the hit? The only thing real in it is the loss of life … the destruction of a family and the pain of a community,” stated Student Minister Ava Muhammad. “Separation is the best and only solution,” she said.

For longtime Minneapolis activist Spike Moss, he also sees the focus on no-knock warrants as going down a rabbit hole. The issue is the killing is not ceasing. “Be careful of White folks spinning the narrative,” said Mr. Moss. “They’re spinning the narrative as if the problem is the no-knock law,” he said.

Mr. Moss argues the issue is: “You murdered an innocent man that had nothing to do with what you were doing there.”

It’s clear they have not learned from the long history of violating Black life or George Floyd, the Black Minneapolis man suffocated to death by convicted cop Derek Chauvin in 2020. His killing sparked worldwide demonstrations and calls for police reform.

The policy issues around no-knock warrants can be handled in the courts and the county, argues Mr. Moss. “They’re willing to do that; they are not willing to talk about the murder of a child who was innocent. We have to do that,” said Mr. Moss.

There is nothing new about such killings, considering Mr. Floyd, Daunte Wright, Breonna Taylor, and Philando Castille and the list goes on. In light of the pattern of racial animus and Blacks being killed by law enforcement, the number one issue in Minnesota should not be about no-nock laws, critics argue.

“No, its White people who may or may not be members of Aryan race groups … Klan … Skin Heads … Nazis who are joining law enforcement across this country and can’t wait to harm us,” said Mr. Moss.

Policy, prevention and protests

“The problem is twofold. It’s partly policy and it’s also the continuation of shoot first and formulate a reason later which is what we see time and time again,” said Cheryl Dorsey, retired Los Angeles Police Department sergeant and author.

“For me this is very frustrating because I’m the mother of four Black men, and that could have been my son and I don’t see any end to this,” said Ms. Dorsey.

The 20-year police veteran doesn’t see policy makers as serious about change in policing.

“They placated and strung Black folks along, dangling the George Floyd Justice and Reform Act in our face, knowing full well … they had no real desire, no real appetite to make it legislation,” she said.

Ms. Dorsey isn’t optimistic about serious change occurring in her lifetime. With the pattern of police killing Black people, comes the reaction, the promises and then the broken promises for change, but nothing changes. Ms. Dorsey said Black folks cannot sit and wait and expect other people to change the situation for them. They must engage the political process for legislative change. “I believe all politics are local,” Ms. Dorsey said.

Black folks must have legislators and people in positions of authority like judges and police chiefs, who serve at the pleasure of mayors, governors, district attorneys and sheriffs, who are elected officials. “Until we start looking for folks who have the same type of quality-of-life concerns in these communities, and get them appointed to these positions, we’re going to continue to be victimized,” said Ms. Dorsey.

She pointed to how the GOP and Whites have been relentless in positioning people in power to make decisions, that not only affects them, but adversely affects Blacks. Ms. Dorsey also advocates that more Black people join police forces as an avenue to address issues of police misconduct concerning Blacks.

Ms. Dorsey told The Final Call she’s been met with opposition to the idea of Blacks joining police departments for reasons of not wanting to be part of a system that oppresses. She pointed out other groups like neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan are on record infiltrating law enforcement.

“We have to have that same mindset and until we’re ready to do that hard work, we’re going to continue to be victimized,” said Ms. Dorsey.

The deadly actions of the Minneapolis police against Amir Locke are a part of a sordid history, said Houston-based attorney Pamela Muhammad. “I think that the mindset where Black life is just devalued is what we’re living under,” said Atty. Pamela Muhammad.

She attributed Mr. Locke’s killing to a “reckless police culture” where they break into Black folks’ homes and communities. It’s an “abuse of authority” behind the mechanism of no-knock warrants.

“It makes me want to say, we have to make our communities a safe and decent place to live,” said Atty. Pamela Muhammad. “When we have the opportunity to police, we can avoid as much as possible the intrusion into our community,” she reasoned.

Amir Locke’s death sparked rounds of protests in a city still reeling from the aftermath of the police murder of George Floyd. Despite the brutal cold and snow, days of action and demonstrations grew in mass over the killing. Images flooded social media of an estimated 1,000 students who staged school walkouts demanding justice.

There were posters and photos of the 22-year-old Amir Locke with hashtags in support and placards reading, “We are Skipping Our Lessons Today, to Teach You One!” Others read “Justice for Amir” and “We deserve to Live.”

For the families that have gone through this experience and may go through it, Andre Locke said “enough is enough” of the excuses.

“Amir Locke will be the difference,” he said.

From The Final Call Newspaper

Lawsuit exposes NFL’s racism, limited chances for Black coaches, executives
By Anisah Muhammad, Contributing Writer
- February 8, 2022

Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores gestures during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

On the first day of Black History Month and with the Super Bowl, the most watched U.S. television broadcast approaching, Brian Flores filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and the league’s 32 teams alleging discrimination in their hiring process. In the lawsuit, the former head coach of the Miami Dolphins expressly named the New York Giants, the Dolphins and Denver Broncos.

The exposure of the NFL’s racist hiring practices started with a congratulatory text from Bill Belichick, head coach for the New England Patriots, to Mr. Flores, his former assistant coach.

“Sounds like you have landed – congrats!!” Mr. Belichick texted, according to screenshots included in the lawsuit. “Did you hear something I didn’t hear?” Mr. Flores responded.

Despite finishing last year’s season with eight straight wins for the first time since 2003, Mr. Flores, who is the Black son of Honduran immigrants, was fired as head coach for the Miami Dolphins in January and started interviewing with other teams. He had an interview scheduled for the head coach position with the New York Giants that he thought he had a shot at.


Mr. Belichick told him he heard Mr. Flores was their guy and that he hoped “it works out if you want it to!!” Only, Mr. Flores wasn’t their guy. Brian Daboll, who also served as assistant coach for the Patriots, was their guy. Mr. Daboll is White and has never served as an NFL head coach. He was previously the Offensive Coordinator for the Buffalo Bills.

Despite the text exchange with Mr. Belichick, Mr. Flores proceeded to sit through a dinner with Joe Schoen, the Giants’ newly hired general manager. The next day, Jan. 27, he sat through an extensive job interview, already knowing Brian Daboll was selected for the head coach position.

But that was not Mr. Flores’ first “sham interview,” the lawsuit states. In 2019, he was scheduled to interview with the Denver Broncos. However, the team’s general manager, president and others arrived to the interview an hour late looking “completely disheveled,” appearing that they had been “drinking heavily the night before.”

“It was clear from the substance of the interview that Mr. Flores was interviewed only because of the Rooney Rule, and that the Broncos never had any intention to consider him as a legitimate candidate for the job,” the lawsuit reads. “Shortly thereafter, Vic Fangio, a White man, was hired to be the Head Coach of the Broncos.”

Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores talks to the media before practice at Baptist Health Training Complex in Hard Rock Stadium on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Fla., in preparation for their game against the New York Jets on Sunday. (David Santiago /Miami Herald via AP)

Mr. Flores expressed some of his feelings during an interview with CBS Mornings. “I’m gifted to coach, and I love coaching, and I want to coach. … But this is bigger than coaching. This is much bigger than coaching,” he said.

Another Black former NFL head coach, Hue Jackson also came forward stating that during his tenure with the Cleveland Browns, the ownership and executives intended to lose games during his tenure, making him the fall guy for the team’s poor record. “No, I was never offered money like Brian [Flores] had mentioned,” Mr. Jackson explained in an interview with CNN. “I think this is a totally different situation but has some similarities,” he said.

Mr. Flores said he and his attorneys Doug Wigdor and John Elefterakis filed the lawsuit so that they could create change.

“And that’s important to me. I think we are at a fork in the road. We are either going to keep it the way it is or go in another direction and actually make some real change in where we are, actually changing the hearts and minds of those who make decisions to hire head coaches, executives, etcetera,” he said.

The Rooney Rule and ‘fixing’ the game

The NFL adopted the Rooney Rule in 2003. It originally required every team with a head coaching vacancy to interview at least one or more diverse candidates before making a new hire. It has since expanded to require at least two interviews with non-White candidates and now includes general manager jobs and equivalent front-office positions.

With Mr. Flores’ firing, there was only one Black head coach left in the NFL out of 32, Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers. There have only been 15 Black head coaches since the Rooney Rule went into effect 19 years ago and 23 Black head coaches in total from 1989 to the present. Meanwhile, the majority of NFL players, 58 percent, are Black, with 25 percent White, according to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport’s 2021 Racial and Gender Report Card for the NFL.

Dr. Ketra Armstrong, professor of sport management and director of the Center for Race and Ethnicity in Sport at the University of Michigan, described the Rooney Rule as a “sham,” a “facade,” “window dressing” and “performative.” She told The Final Call that what is being seen from the NFL is hypocrisy.

“When the interests converge on winning, the NFL celebrates Blackness, but they can’t celebrate and recognize Blackness in the role it can play in their leadership and in their ownership,” she said.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks with reporters before NFL football practice, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Gary Sailes, a retired professor from Indiana University who continues to teach a course on sports and social justice, told The Final Call the Rooney Rule doesn’t have teeth. He described it as “nothing more than an admirable beginning.”

Though his research has disclosed that Black male coaches have a greater winning percentage than their White counterparts, especially on the college landscape, Black coaches just “don’t have a membership card to the old boys’ network, to the club.”

Dr. Greg Carr, chair of the Africana Studies Department at Howard University, said to The Final Call if the courts allow Mr. Flores’ case to proceed and gets to the discovery phase where witnesses come in, the NFL will be in trouble.

“Because then you depose under oath Coach Bill Belichick who sent those texts. And of course, the first question Flores’ lawyer is going to ask is, ‘Coach Belichick, who were you talking to? Who told you that the White boy got the job?’” Dr. Carr said. “At that point, all hell breaks loose, because now you uncovered what Flores and everybody else was saying all along.”

He explained that usually in employment discrimination cases, courts refuse to equate percentages with behavior and require that the individual demonstrates and shows evidence that he or she was discriminated against. With Mr. Flores’ suit, “It’s not just statistics,” he said, commenting on the screenshots of the exchange.

Dr. Carr believes Brian Flores won’t settle. “He has decided that he’s willing to sacrifice his individual—his individual job security, his individual potential to work in the field that he spent most of his life—on principle,” he said.

The NFL released a statement following the lawsuit, saying their clubs “are deeply committed to ensuring equitable employment practices and continue to make progress in providing equitable opportunities throughout our organizations. Diversity is core to everything we do, and there are few issues on which our clubs and our internal leadership team spend more time. We will defend against these claims, which are without merit.”

The Giants released a statement saying they hired the individual who they felt was most qualified.

Mr. Flores’ lawsuit also alleges that Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told him in 2019 that he would pay $100,000 for every loss to have first pick in the draft for the next season. The lawsuit states Mr. Ross also began to pressure Mr. Flores to violate the league’s tampering rules by recruiting a prominent quarterback.

The Dolphins released a statement saying they deny any allegations of racial discrimination and that “the implication that we acted in a manner inconsistent with the integrity of the game is incorrect.”

Gary Sailes said the allegations can’t be proven without a recording or an email, but that there’s always been conversation about intentionally throwing games to get a high draft pick.

“Without hard evidence, Brian is going to look like the bad guy here, because the league can just deny, deny, deny, deny,” he said. “We call that gaslighting. The league can just gaslight as much as they want, whether it’s true or not.”

According to ESPN, Mr. Jackson said the Browns had a “four-year plan” that incentivized losing during the first two years; bonus money was available if certain measurables were met such as aggregate rankings, being the youngest team and having so many draft picks. He said that plan led to his 1-31 record during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, which gave Cleveland the No. 1 overall draft pick in back-to-back years, the sports network reported.

Mr. Jackson said he told Browns owner Jimmy Halsem that what the team was doing “would hurt every Black coach that would follow me,” reported ESPN. Mr. Jackson, now head football coach at Grambling State University, an HBCU, also stated he had evidence to support his claims. The Cleveland Browns refute the allegations.

Meanwhile, former and current players have expressed support for Mr. Flores and the reality facing Black coaches on social media and sports talk shows.

Colin Kaepernick and NFL’s history

For many, Brian Flores’ lawsuit is a reminder of what former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick faced after taking a knee during the national anthem to protest and draw attention to police brutality in 2016.

“You saw this in how they handled the Colin Kaepernick situation, for a man just protesting against police brutality. And you saw how the owners handled him, that he even had to sue all of the NFL owners for denying him a job,” said Nation of Islam Student Minister Darryl Muhammad of Macon, Ga., who has coached football.

He said Mr. Kaepernick’s actions started to peel back the onion “so that you could see the raw, naked hatred, good ol’ boy racism” that was not only exhibited by the owners but also by fans and some of the White players.

In the lawsuit, Mr. Flores described the NFL as “racially segregated” and “managed much like a plantation.”

Dr. Carr was driving in Nashville, Tenn., listening to a White, conservative talk show when he heard one of the guests say, “In the NFL, the players are slaves.”

“And he said, ‘Well, because the fans who go to NFL games are largely White because of the price of the tickets and they cost so much money. So, you have rich White people in the stands. And then on the field, you got players and they make money. They make a lot of money, and they should get compensated because they are athletes and they’re professionals and they should be compensated. However, the owners own them,’” Dr. Carr recounted.

“​​This wasn’t me. This wasn’t The Final Call. This wasn’t BET or Black News Network or Roland Martin,” continued Dr. Carr. “This was a White man talking to another White man in the South on a conservative AM radio talk show who said the players are slaves on the plantation in the NFL.”

Beverly Aiken-Muhammad, wife of Nation of Islam former Student Fruit of Islam Captain Tim Muhammad of Atlanta, Ga., has been watching football since she was 13. At that time, she said, there were no Black coaches, no Black quarterbacks, and most of the players on defense, offense and special teams were White.
In this Oct. 2, 2016 file photo, from left, San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Santa Clara, Calif. A new poll shows that most white Americans disapprove of athletes protesting during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

“When you look at Flores, you have to say it’s about time that we had a lawsuit like that, because he’s not just filing a lawsuit about becoming a coach,” she said. “He’s filing a lawsuit against being fired in the name of other coaches that came before him, which no one ever hears about.”

Throughout her life, Ms. Aiken-Muhammad has called a few games, and as a parent, she helped coach the offensive line and special teams at her son’s high school in Washington, D.C. She recounted some of the history of Black coaches in the NFL, one being Dennis Green, who coached the Minnesota Vikings for 10 seasons and had eight playoff appearances.

“He had one bad season because they traded all the good football players, and they fired him,” she said.

Ms. Aiken-Muhammad said Mr. Flores, who has four Super Bowl rings on his belt and turned around the Miami Dolphins, “one of the worst teams” that “everybody had given up on,” has every right to sue the NFL.

Houston Texans former head coach David Culley, who is Black, was also recently fired after just one season of coaching what Min. Darryl Muhammad described as a “trash team.”

Several sports media outlets reported the Texans had Josh McCown, who is White with no head coaching experience at any level as a finalist for their head coach vacancy. At Final Call presstime, several news outlets reported that the Texans were set to name Lovie Smith, who is Black as their next head coach. Mr. Smith, had two previous head coaching jobs with the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was the current defensive coordinator with the Texans.

But there are already some analysts questioning if Smith, like Culley is merely a “transitional” coach and is possibly being set up to fail. The Dolphins named Mike McDaniel the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator, who reportedly identifies as “multi-racial” to replace Mr. Flores. Critics point out this does not solve the ingrained, deep-rooted racism that permeates the NFL.

“You have had White coaches that have been a failure everywhere else but then they keep getting a second chance and a third chance. And this is part of his lawsuit, that the Black coaches don’t get the opportunity” even if they might be more qualified, ” said Min. Darryl Muhammad.

A Black NFL

As a part of the lawsuit, Brian Flores is calling for several things to happen: increase the influence of Black individuals in hiring and termination decisions for general manager, head coach and offensive and defensive coordinator positions; increase the number of Black offensive and defensive coordinators; incentivize the hiring and retention of Black general managers, head coaches and offensive and defensive coordinators through monetary, draft and/or other compensation such as additional salary cap space; and complete transparency with respect to pay for all general managers, head coaches and offensive and defensive coordinators.

There are only two non-White NFL owners: Shahid Kahn, Pakistani, who owns the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Kim Pegula, Asian, who co-owns the Buffalo Bills.

Gary Sailes advised Black people who want to own an NFL team to look at the model used by Michael Jordan, who is the majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, and Magic Johnson, part-owner of the LA Dodgers in Major League Baseball.

To see change, Dr. Armstrong is advocating for training in conscious bias and holding teams accountable for representation. She also said Black coaches and Black athletes need to be prepared for leadership through the establishment of developmental pipelines that would nurture and hone Black talent.

Several of those interviewed by The Final Call said for effective change, Black players have to unite and take a stand to stop playing games, and Black fans need to boycott the NFL. Min. Darryl Muhammad said, Blacks need to create their own football league. He echoed words from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, on Black people pooling their resources.

“If you got the Black athletes, those are the ones who are making money for them. Then now, you have all of these rappers, all of these entertainers. When you look at Jay-Z, when you look at Oprah Winfrey, when you look at a lot of them who are billionaires … as the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, we can pool our resources, unite and start our own league,” he said.

He commended Brian Flores for being willing to risk his coaching career to make it better for those coming behind him.

“That’s a noble thing. He already knows the price that has to be paid, and he’s willing to sacrifice himself. That’s what any other great leader would do, Jesus on down to Minister Farrakhan, to make things better for others coming behind him,” he said. “So, if there is any great change that will come, he will always be talked about and he will always be remembered.”

From The Final Call Newspaper

‘Things seem to be going in the wrong direction’ Police logged increased fatal shootings in 2021

By Nisa Islam Muhammad, Staff Writer
- February 1, 2022

WASHINGTON—An’Twan Gilmore, a 27-year-old Black man, was asleep at the wheel of his idling BMW with his foot on the brake. On the late summer night last year, several District of Columbia police officers approached his car. They noticed he had a gun in his waistband. The officers knocked on the window to wake him up. Suddenly, according to witnesses and police body cam footage, his car started moving.

The officers immediately ordered him to stop which he did. But the car started moving again. Without warning, in less than a second, Officer Enis Jervic fired 10 shots at Mr. Gilmore at close range. The car continued moving, eventually stopping at the end of a street, where police had blocked the path with at least two squad cars.

Mr. Gilmore joined the 1,134 people in 2021 killed by police, according to a recent report. Most killings began with police responding to suspected non-violent offenders, like Mr. Gilmore asleep in his car. Or when no crime had been reported. One-hundred-seventeen people were killed after police stopped them for traffic violations. One-hundred and four people were killed after police responded to reports of someone behaving erratically or having a mental health crisis.

Blacks, while more likely to be killed by police, were more likely to be unarmed and less likely to be threatening someone when killed.


Protesters confront police over the shooting death of Daunte Wright at a rally at the Brooklyn Center Police Department in Brooklyn Center, Minn., Monday, April 12, 20121. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)

“Year over year, we’re not seeing a reduction in fatal police violence,” Samuel Sinyangwe, the data scientist behind the Mapping Police Violence report, told The Final Call. “Despite a lot of things that have been proposed (police reform), a lot of legislation that has been passed, we’re not seeing at the national level, a huge reduction of police violence. If anything, things seem to be going in the wrong direction.” The report was released in January.

Mapping Police Violence collected data for their 2021 report from obituaries, public records and databases like Fatal Encounters and the Washington Post. The federal government tried to create a national database on this issue, but the Use of Force Data Collection program is expected to close this year. Fewer than 60 percent of the nation’s law enforcement agencies reported data to the program.

“The numbers we are seeing are just the tip of the iceberg,” said Hamza Muhammad, a retired D.C. police officer, told The Final Call. He received his Islamic name from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan for his work while a police officer helping Muslims rid Mayfair Mansions apartments of drug dealing and shutting down a notorious open-air drug market in the late 1980s. He was also an outspoken critic of the department he worked for and organized Black officers to confront racial bias and abuses on the streets.

“I want it to sink in that 40 percent of the police departments don’t even report to the Justice Department their police involved shootings. We don’t have those numbers so we don’t have an accurate picture of what’s going on,” he said.

“The problem is yesterday’s serve and protect cop has been replaced with today’s law enforcement officer. His only job is to follow the law. He’s not concerned with justice and mercy. He’s the one that’s killing the people. He never should have been on the force, but it all starts with their training. I’m a former recruit trainer. That’s where it all starts,” said Mr. Muhammad.

Undoing a toxic warrior mentality

The U.S. Justice Department has tens of millions of dollars in grants available for police departments to use for training. But the Justice Department does not regulate how state and local police departments use the money for training. Consequently, substantial money is paying for training that emphasizes a warrior mentality with violence over de-escalation and often demonizes social justice groups, who protest police abuses.

In Maryland, new legislation requires recruits that complete use of force training to pledge to conduct themselves in a way that respect human life and act with compassion towards others. It’s one attempt to dislodge a toxic warrior mentality.

“There are additional systems that are being put in place for accountability purposes,” commented Major Sabrina Tapp-Harper of the Baltimore City Sherriff’s Office, who also serves as chair of the National Black Police Association. “By doing that, there’s an expectation of improvement in policing. These improvements have been set out over time. They all are not happening at once.”

2021 also set a record with 21 police officers charged with murder or manslaughter during an on-duty shooting. That is the highest in a single year, according to a database by Bowling Green State University criminal justice professor Philip Stinson that started tracking such incidents in 2005.

But the officers charged were more than likely prosecuted by a Black woman, the Mapping Police Violence report found. Fewer than three percent of killings by police annually result in officers being charged with a crime. Black female prosecutors, who are small in number, were nine percent of all prosecutors who charged officers with a killing between 2013 and 2021.

Baltimore City’s States Attorney Marilyn Mosby came to national attention in 2015 when she prosecuted police officers in connection with the death of Freddie Gray who died as a result of injuries sustained while in custody. She didn’t win the case but many saw charging five officers as sending a needed and justified signal at a critical time, with thousands protesting police shootings and killings.

“Black women, prosecutors are disproportionately represented among those that actually end up charging police officers and convicting them. I think that speaks to the fact that who your local prosecutor is, could matter in terms of your likelihood of getting some sort of accountability after the police kill somebody,” said Mr. Sinyangwe. “It shows that a lot of prosecutors probably have that power, but are unwilling or unable to leverage that power to actually hold the police accountable in their jurisdictions.”

Black female prosecutors have also advocated for different approaches to public safety, including offering mental health services instead of sending officers to people in crisis. The Mapping Violence Report identified 104 people who were killed after police responded to reports of someone in mental or behavioral distress. In Eugene, Ore., the CAHOOTS program responds to 40 percent of mental health or disorderly persons calls citywide. In Denver, the STAR program responds to 29 percent of welfare check, disturbance, suicidal or intoxicated persons calls in designated neighborhoods.

Policy changes don’t always result in positive change.

“In Berkeley they had a very narrowly tailored policy focused on car equipment violations. It did seem to reduce (police) stops for equipment violations in the city, but because they had made that policy so narrow, the police just ended up continuing to stop a whole lot of people for moving violations, driving five miles over the speed limit,” said Mr. Sinyangwe.

“It points to the limitations of very narrow policies and the need for more far reaching change,” he said.