The Super Bowl is heading to Atlanta in 2019, but one of the city’s most iconic hip-hop and entertainment stars will not be there or, it seems, at any other games. T.I. is planning on boycotting the NFL this year due to its national anthem protest rules, he told Jemele Hill at BET’s BET Experience event over the weekend.
T.I.: ‘I think there’s a violation of constitutional rights’
Born Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., T.I. (also known professionally as Tip) had some strong words to back up his decision. His announcement to not support the NFL drew loud applause.
I think there’s a violation of constitutional rights being implemented to minority players who choose to have a peaceful silent protest. … It’s really like you want us to shut up and take what we got coming to us in our communities, and that’s just not acceptable. And if that’s what you think about us, why should we really spend our money and show our extreme support of your corporation?
The 37-year-old also emphasized that fans are powerful, and if they stop supporting the NFL financially, they could accelerate change.
We gotta go to the corporations, stop spending our dollars with them until they press the politicians who press the police to do what we need to do until they respect our lives and consider us as equals or else they don’t deserve our dollars.
NFL players on the sideline will be required to stand during the anthem
In May, the league announced that all players on the sideline during the national anthem must stand, or else their team could face fines and, in turn, the players could, too. The announcement came after nearly a year of badgering from President Donald Trump, who wants players to stand and called those who don’t “sons of [expletive]” and advocated for their release. Now, players who want to protest must do it out of sight.
The rule, in general, seems to be popular with fans.
Two of the most prominent players who have kneeled for the anthem — former San Francisco 49ers starters Colin Kaepernick (who has filed a grievance against the NFL) and Eric Reid (who was a 2014 Pro Bowler) — remain unsigned.