49ers Offer Social Justice Grants

The San Francisco 49ers are easily one of the most popular sporting franchises on the globe. During the 1980s, they won four Super Bowl titles with Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, and then another in the 1990s with Hall of Fame QB Steve Young. Though in recent years, the San Fran club is far more famous for their former quarter Colin Kaepernick, who was the first professional athlete in America to take a knee during the National Anthem in protest against a nation he claims is racist against minorities and whose police target young black males.

This has been a very controversial line of protesting from the start. The bulk of football fans claim that they agree Kaepernick, or "Kap" as he's called, has every right to protest, yet Sunday isn't the time for it, when people just want to watch football.

Even though the 49ers cut Kap from the roster years ago, they have been going out of their way to support organizations like Black Lives Matter and to show the public at large that they do care about social justice. To really cement this home, they've chosen some recipients recently for grant money, ensuring that only minority candidates qualified for the grants, as a way to support the idea of social justice.

It was announced earlier today, September 10, that the San Fransisco 49ers will be awarding $1 million to organizations dedicated to fighting for social change. These grants have been a long time in the works. They were announced way back on May 30, after George Floyd's very controversial death after a police officer knelt down into his neck for eight minutes.

The football team looked through a variety of applications and potential recipients for over two months, the team's CEO claims, until they found organizations worthy of a financial boost. The Players for Social Justice Council of the 49ers actually had the final say in selecting who would be receiving this money. The qualifying criteria to be eligible to receive this grant money was that these organizations had to be dedicated to (A) fighting for racial equality in policing; (B) had to fight against mass incarceration of African Americans; and (C) had to fight for better educational opportunities for black children and young adults.

California has a long and storied history with black Americans seeking to take action against the police. The riots of the early 1990s spurred by the police brutality against Rodney King set most of the state into huge riots, especially in the LA and San Fran areas, after most of those police officers were acquitted of the charges. Going back even further, California is the state that most famously had their police involved in standoffs with the Black Panther Party, a black liberation movement that was openly militant while also peaceful.

Though when dealing with topics like this, there are always critics out there who wish to voice their disapproval of such grants.

Loud Critics of Qualified Justice

Ben Shapiro had a famous quote whereby he claimed that if one has to qualify "justice" with another word in front of it, it necessarily cannot be justice. After all, claims Shapiro, since when is the idea of "justice" segmented off into certain groups? Many critics along with Shapiro claim that America is going backwards. Popular YouTuber Mark Dice said, paraphrased, that only giving money to minorities is no different in principle than racists in the Jim Crow south only allowing whites to benefit from certain programs. This is something that most Americans agree on; around 70% of Americans polled claim that the idea of "social justice" is the antithesis of justice and is taking us backwards to a time where discrimination was perfectly legal.

Though while the critics seem to take a strong moral stance against these things, it doesn't stop many sporting franchises and corporations from actually embracing the idea that America is a systemically racist and unfair nation that owes its minority citizens extra money as reparations for past and current grievances. It's certainly a hot-button issue in the nation, so much so that it may influence the Presidential Election come November.

All that can be said for sure is that teams like the 49ers are doing the right thing by offering grants to people in need. Time will be the judge as to whether or not they're doing the right thing by excluding so many needy people from these programs through discrimination in favor of others.

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