Sports | March 19, 2021 11:34 am

NAACP Calls on NFL to Rethink Fox Deal Due to Network’s Promotion of “Racial Injustice”

"Fox News regularly attacks the NFL and its players for promoting racial justice," said NAACP CEO Derrick Johnson.

Vikings players kneel during the national anthem
Minnesota Vikings players kneel during the national anthem.
Hannah Foslien/Getty

 In a statement posted on his organization’s website, NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson called on the National Football League to “rethink” its relationship with Fox Corporation due to the way Fox News carries out “un-American attacks on those that stand for racial equity and justice,” including NFL players.

Saying that Fox News represents “the worst traditions of American broadcasting,” Johnson urged the NFL to distance itself from Fox given what the network “has done to harm its players and the franchise” and requested a formal meeting with league executives to discuss the “unscrupulous tactics employed by Fox to underwrite hate speech.”

“Fox actively exploits its Fox Sports licensing deal with the NFL by extracting increasingly high cable subscriber fees to subsidize Fox News programming,” Johnson wrote. “This is the same network that has used its hosts and personalities to regularly attack the NFL and its players for promoting racial justice. However, this is just one aspect of its inaccurate, incendiary coverage of racial injustice. Network personalities routinely attack Black Lives Matter and downplay the existence of systemic racism and police brutality.  A league where nearly 70% of the players are Black and prides itself as America’s favorite sports pastime, should not be complicit in helping to increase the profits of Fox News. “

Unfortunately for Johnson and the NAACP, Fox — along with CBS, ABC/ESPN, NBC and Amazon — just inked a new media rights deal with the NFL that extends through the end of the 2033 season.

For a little more than $2 billion annually, Fox will continue to air its package of NFC games on Sunday and will be able to simulcast its broadcasts on digital streaming platforms. Fox will also have three Super Bowls (2024, 2028 and 2032) between 2023 and 2033.

“It is immensely perturbing that the NFL would consider extending its relationship with Fox, especially after the January 6th insurrection on our Capitol,” Johnson said in a separate statement to USA Today. “The NFL should not be used as a bargaining tool to help fund Fox News’ racist and dangerous programming. Fox News has gone far and beyond to disinform its viewers, inciting hate, bigotry, and ultimately threatening American democracy. We have grave concerns with the NFL’s contract renewal with Fox, and we look forward to having a serious conversation.”