No LeBron, the NFL Is Not Slavery

By Jack Parkos | United States

NBA superstar turned pseudo-political activist LeBron James has recently stated that NFL owners have a “slave mentality”. LeBron James was quoted in his show, The Shop, saying,

“In the NFL they got a bunch of old white men owning teams and they got that slave mentality, and it’s like, ‘This is my team. You do what the fuck I tell y’all to do. Or we get rid of y’all.”

Not only is this claim blasphemous, but it is insulting to people who were actual victims of slavery. Under slavery, slaves were captured from their homes (or were born into it) and were subject to forced labor, daily beatings, and separation from their family. They obviously had no choice in the matter, yet Lebron compared this to choosing to pursue stardom by having a profession of playing a game. No doubt playing in the NFL is hard, but it is nothing compared to slave labor.

Slavery Vs. The NFL

The highest NFL player, Aaron Rodgers, makes 30 million a year with the average player making an average of 2.5 million a year. What was the wage of a slave? Nothing.  They were forced into labor or faced severe punishment. Lebron claims that if NFL players slack off they get punished in a similar manner to slaves. This is an absurd comparison for many reasons, mainly being that slaves were forced into their labor. In the NFL, you sign a contract and voluntarily participate. Nobody is forced into being a professional football player. Former NFL player Antonio Gates disagreed with Lebron James, stating,

“I don’t know all the owners—I know my owner, and, my relationship with my owner has been phenomenal. And, it’s sports. You know what I mean? You get paid to play. We all know what we sign up for a lot of us make a really good living, man, being able to support our families at the same time. So, it is what it is.”

Moreover, if you do bad at your job, then naturally, your boss can fire you. This isn’t magically changed because you make millions of year and play a sport. It is your job. If you don’t do your job, you don’t keep your job. If you do not like your job, you can find another one. That is one of the benefits of the free market. A characteristic of slavery is when one does not have access to the free market. Slave owners did not “get rid of” them and let them go to find a new job. LeBron is truly being insulting by comparing these two immensely different situations.

The NFL has turned thousands of people into millionaires and celebrities by doing what they love. Millions of kids have grown up dreaming to play football. Millions of Americans tune into the sport that has become a huge part of American culture. To compare this to one of the most shameful parts of American history is disgusting. Naturally, he has received much backlash from his comments and rightfully so. His comments were insulting and absurd.


71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

It is Too Late for Slavery Reparations in the U.S.

Slavery market in Atlanta
By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Just as I do not advocate for slavery, a lack of Justice, I do not advocate reparations for enslaved people or their modern descendants. I have written a two-part longer article on American Slavery and its Repercussions: Comparing Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglass, and James Baldwin.

The first issue is that slavery existed in the U.S. This was a problem from our founding and continues to be a point of conflict even today. Few people advocated for manumission in the time of the signing of the US Constitution, but there were some such as Benjamin Lay, John Lay, and others, including the Manumission Society. Most abolitionists believed in the democratic process of slowly transitioning people out of slavery and into their natural state of freedom and liberty. Unfortunately, it took a war, money, and time to finally end slavery in the U.S. Even then, chattel slavery continued among some of the Native American reservations after the Civil War.

The second issue is that politicians rarely kept their promises. Union General William Tecumseh Sherman was famous for wanting to give freed slaves “Forty acres and a mule“. This rarely occurred. In order for reparations to work, they would have had to come right after slavery ended.

As many philosophers, political scientists, and economists have pointed out, the math to provide reparations is nearly impossible at this point. Many different estimates exist. Some have estimated as low as $6.4 trillion, or up to $14 trillion USD. Let’s examine how the math for reparations would work out today.

  1. Person A was a slave and freed with the promise of 40 acres and a mule. The state gave no reparation. Person A, along with Person B who is also a freed slave, have 3 children- Persons C, D, and E.
  2. Persons C, D, and E  were not slaves but receive the will of Person A and B, equaling 80 acres and 2 mules. Splitting this equally between them, someone is already out of a mule, and the acreage is around 26 or 27 acres per person. These children of Persons A and B do not get their parents’ will of 80 acres and 2 mules.
  3. Person C marries Person F whose parents were also freed slaves given the same ungranted promises. Person F is also a sibling of 2 others, meaning that with Person C, they each are told they are owed around 26 or 27 acres and maybe a mule each if they were lucky. They have 3 children, Persons G, H, and I. These children are given a will of their parents, but it is not kept. It is of around 54 acres and maybe 2 mules. But, we are not sure who got the mules from before. Persons G, H, and I also never get the original will or any subsequent offers of reparation. 3 people splitting the 54 acres is 18 acres each.
  4. Person G marries Person J and they were both never slaves, but they have similar circumstances in that their families never received reparations, and they were each a member of families with 2 other siblings that were supposed to split the reparations. This, excluding the mule, is 6 acres per child, making 12 total acres between Person G and Person J to be split between their offspring. If they had 3 children, the math continues to deteriorate the amount due to the following offspring. Eventually, it leads to nearly nothing per person.
  5. As time passes further, and more mixing of races continues, along with more legitimate and illegitimate children are born, there are fewer and fewer claims to reparations to be made, as simple mathematical application shows.
  6. Additionally, if the U.S. government were to make these past-due reparations, it would happen with tax money. Well, not everyone in this country had slaves or benefited from it. Not everyone’s family was here, not even every black person in the U.S. has slave ancestors. So, paying any reparations today would punish everyone, even those that never had slaves or benefited. The craziest part is that the state would force people who are of slave ancestry to pay for wrongs they surely did not commit, just to turn around and pay themselves again via taxation.
  7. In today’s world, how much would the grandparents and each of their children and grandchildren, etc. get? If by now, the amount due per person is so minuscule, and if only the grandparents get reparations, is there Justice? Or will all of those with slave ancestors need a payment? If so, for how long does that need to go? Are we to punish everyone for the sins of their ancestors? That opens an entirely new discussion.

Overall, in order to pay reparations, the state would need an equivalent amount in today’s money, a list of benefactors and list of people to pay for it.

This is simply impossible to determine. How would they pay someone of mixed races, who has ancestors that both owned slaves and were slaves? Would they payment be a lump sum, or sent in installments? What if DNA charts show that some children were born out of wedlock? Who will provide payment from a will for that child and their descendants? Many other questions regarding verification and exact payment would be necessary in order to find out the true modern amount. How will that impact the value of the USD? The notion brings up many difficult economic questions as well.

The questions continue, and for everyone involved, it is quite troublesome. It would be even worse if this came into fruition today. All we know is that slavery was, indeed, wrong. It is disgustingly inhumane and we should learn from that harsh lesson of the past.

Unfortunately, though, if reparations occurred, it should have been immediately after ending slavery within the U.S. Any other plan simply is not feasible.


To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.

Featured Image Source

James Baldwin and American Slavery: The Effects and Repercussions

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

James Baldwin was one of the leading speakers during the Civil Rights movement for equal rights of Blacks in America. Although he eventually moved to France, he continued to travel to the U.S. to speak about race issues. He lived a life of segregation as being Black, a convert to the Nation of Islam, and as being a homosexual. France became a refuge for him in between speaking and writing on the Black struggles faced in America. He pushed the ideas of ‘Civil Rights,’ ‘Affirmative Action,’ and ‘Social Justice.’

It was often Baldwin’s criticism that no matter the increase of success stories in the U.S. for Black people, he felt that because of the origins, establishments of the former enslavement, and segregation of blacks, it was not possible to have equality. Retribution was never given by the U.S. after the freeing of slaves, and this was a sign of a lack of justice in the system that bore him.

Baldwin held a deeply seeded skepticism of people and thought it best to trust no one other than his own experiences (Baldwin, 8). This skepticism was most likely a symptom of Baldwin’s life experiences growing up in a racist society that treated him as being lesser of a human being than Whites for his being Black.  The sad thing is that this was a common thought among Blacks in the U.S. of Baldwin’s day. It was difficult to see the successes that even he had accomplished, and to be grateful for his growth as a person, due to the origins of his ancestry and their poor treatment. Beyond just his ancestors’ treatment as slaves, Baldwin had to live a life of mistreatment and often with a lack of ‘justice.’

As Frederick Douglass’ story pointed out the struggles of actually being a slave and becoming a self-made success, Baldwin’s story shows the backlash of the American system through an ongoing struggle with resentment as Baldwin’s lack of being treated as an equal to Whites. It had been around 70 years since Douglass had passed and Baldwin was still seeing the repercussions of slavery and the mistreatment of Blacks in America, especially in the Southern states. This racism in America had become extensively held conviction for most of the nation, and the culture was not shifting quickly enough for Baldwin and most Blacks at that time. Baldwin’s solution to the problem was to not run away completely, although he did move away to France, his solution was to write and speak out against the racist system, and society itself, and join the Civil Rights Movement in pursuit of ‘social justice’ and Affirmative Action.

A tenet of the Civil Rights Movement was that even forcing society with the coercion of the state was a step in the direction of ending racism and the mistreatment of Blacks in the U.S. Of course, the Civil Rights Movement was also fighting against the legally systematic racism such as that of Jim Crow laws of the South, which enforced segregation at public facilities and transportation. These laws chanted the idea of “separate but equal.” In contrast, Baldwin was in pursuit of ‘together and equal.’

Baldwin’s circle of influential people included Elijah Mohammad of the Nation of Islam. Unlike Elijah Mohammad, Baldwin rejected the idea that Whites were inferior to that of Blacks, and did not see them as being “devils” (Baldwin, 76). Baldwin also did not agree with continued segregation of Whites and Blacks in America, as he saw them as equals. Baldwin’s primary concern was to shape society’s view that Blacks and Whites are equal and should be treated as equals, both in society and by the state. His idea was to “free” White people from the delusion that Whites are superior, and this was the necessary step for ensuring Blacks’ equality and “freedom” from racism. His means of accomplishing this “freedom” were by writing, speaking, and pushing the judicial agenda of the Civil Rights Movement.

It is clear to see the frustration that most black people had in America during Baldwin’s time. They were forced to pay taxes and were still treated as being lesser in a society that treated Blacks as if they were not welcome. Many White businesses did not serve them, whether that be banks, restaurants, retail stores, etc. Everywhere they turned, they were harassed or their rights violated. These violated rights did not just occur within free society, they also occurred in the judicial system where ‘equality under the law’ and ‘justice’ were atypical for Blacks in America. Most Blacks, and people of color, thought the only solution was to force a systematic change in order to gain true equality.

From Thomas Jefferson to Frederick Douglass there were drastic changes made within the state to free the enslaved via the Thirteenth Amendment, grant equal citizenship for Blacks via the Fourteenth Amendment, and enforcing equal voting rights for black men via the Fifteenth Amendment. The fumbling of not ending slavery from the beginning of the U.S. by Jefferson and the Framers of the Constitution led to further victimization and a broken justice system for all. To abrogate the rights of one individual or group is to abrogate the rights of all, as ‘justice’ is the equality of treatment under the law.

The continuation of slavery in America reinforced racism in society and the state, while holding back the growth of those enslaved and the slave owners themselves. From the unbalanced foundation of the U.S. system, inequality and its repercussions were well established. Racism was then destined to take hold as it was then backed by the coercive clutches of government. Even with added Amendments, new laws to get around those were created and enforced. This is the difficulty of a democratic system which tyrannizes the minority by the vote of the majority, and racist laws are a prime example. The benefit of a democracy is that within it people tend to attempt, at least, to correct what was wrong, although it can be a rather slow process.

From Frederick Douglass to James Baldwin, prior to the Civil Rights Act, it does not appear there were many positive changes in the U.S. government system. In fact, racism and inequality persisted throughout both the South and North. This is another example of the dawdling of a democracy. Even after the Civil Rights Movement, racism towards Blacks continued and still exists today. The hesitations and reluctance of Thomas Jefferson are echoed throughout U.S. history until the days of James Baldwin. The repercussions of slavery and systematic racism are ongoing.

My position on slavery is that people are never born to be slaves. This is to say that I do not support the philosophical ideology of Aristotle on this particular matter. I do think that people, in general, have genetic predispositions for certain levels of mental capacities. Just as twin brothers can be born in the same family, with the same socioeconomic class and family, they can have different outcomes, skills, and abilities from each other. This is in part because they are individuals that can decide what to pursue, and also because there is evidence of their innate differences. These differences do not comfort the notion that one brother may or should enslave the other because of any hierarchical claims. One’s intelligence level is only compared to the other’s.

A system of ‘justice’ requires that all people be treated equally under the law, and the determinant of who is and who is not a ‘person’ is not the position of a government. Once there is room for subjectivity in law, the once balanced scales of ‘justice’ are disproportionate. From Jefferson’s ‘antiquation’ of law, or refusing to pass laws required to end slavery, led to ‘dispensation’ which is to say the system only allowed particular instances of ‘justice.’

From the time of Frederick Douglass, Amendments were added, but ‘subrogation’ was permitted, meaning that sub-clauses were provided by State and local governments to find ways out of upholding Federal laws. Finally, from the time of James Baldwin, ‘derogation’ of laws, or the removal of certain laws, was accomplished. Nevertheless, ‘abrogation,’ that is the destruction of ‘law’ and ‘justice’ persisted from the time of Jefferson through the time of Baldwin, and there is evidence that this continues today, all because of the subjectivity allowed into the legislation and judicial system.

Thomas Jefferson’s subjectivity of law was that he felt it necessary to allow government to decide through the voice of a democracy who was and who was not a ‘person.’ So, this continued injustices and slavery. James Baldwin’s subjectivity lied in his concept of ‘social justice,’ as that is by its very definition shaped by the situations and perceptions of a society. ‘Social justice’ is unbalanced and a perversion of ‘justice.’

Although Baldwin’s shared position with the Civil Rights Movement that public services should be shared equally among taxpaying citizens was a push for ‘justice,’ enforcing private businesses and people to provide equal services to Blacks was an attack against ‘justice’ through Affirmative Action. Baldwin’s concern was that the people behind the government system were immoral and that immorality was corrupting the system (Baldwin, 23, 47). I would suggest, then, that is evidence the system has too much subjective power, and the perfectibility of mankind through the coercion of the state is ignorant of empirical evidences contrary to that notion. To believe that it is noble to pursue such a goal in the face of evidence and the very nature of mankind, is utopian and naïve at best.

My position against Affirmative Action is that it is an overreach of government into society. I am aware that this view is not popular and often attacked. After all, Affirmative Action was implemented to attempt to rectify past injustices against Blacks and people of color. It was sort of a ‘reparation’ from slavery through to inequalities of Baldwin’s time. Nonetheless, I see racism as being a moral issue, not a legal issue. I think racism is a natural evil and inclination of the ignorant person, and it takes place universally. But forcing people through the proverbial gun of the government to be ‘ethical,’ does not create ethical people.

The Aristotelian approach here is that moral laws do not make moral people. In order for a person to make a moral decision, they must be free to do so. Simply being racist and not wishing to do business with someone is not a direct attack on someone, it is a personal choice of association and exchange. A free society allows for people to freely associate with whom they please; and in a free society there is a free market that would “correct itself,” like a democracy, in pursuit of the most dollars. A successful business would learn to accept any race, because if they do not, their competition surely will.

So, as a clarification, I do think racism is immoral, and slavery is one of the worst things one can do to another. I do not think a ‘just’ government should be able to regulate immoral behaviors that are of the ‘negative liberty’ type- that is liberties that do not infringe on the rights of others. I do think a ‘just’ government is required to prevent any ‘positive liberties’ which directly infringe on the rights of others. I also think government has the crucially imperative role of preventing and/or punishing those that harm others such as through acts of violence, theft, threats, death, and/or enslavement, etc.

Furthermore, I do not think an entire race is to be condemned because of the actions of a majority. Every action is performed by an individual as suggested by ‘praxeology’ or ‘methodological individualism,’ that is the study of the actions of individuals. Not all black people were enslaved, and not all white people were slave owners.

Some continue to push the notion that all white people in America are to be blamed, even to this day when no legalized slavery in the U.S. exists; this is a symptom of what happened, or a ‘repercussion’ as it were. Perhaps, there is no way to escape the transgenerational trauma that many Black people have from the horrific history of slavery. At least not until individuals, not acting in ‘collectivism,’ begin to stand up and make changes in their own lives in order to see the world for what it now is and what it can become. No matter the case of one’s ancestry, our individual thoughts and actions matter in the present, and we are each responsible for those.

From the establishment of slavery in the U.S. to the unwillingness to end it by Jefferson and others, the repercussions of such injustices were magnified the longer they took place. From Baldwin’s subjectivity of ‘social justice’ through the Civil Rights Movement and Affirmative Action, I can only imagine the continuation of injustices leading to furthering despotism in the U.S. for years to come. I am ever grateful that we no longer have slavery in this nation, and I am happy to see racist laws no longer existing as far as I am aware. To Thomas Jefferson, I am thankful for our nation. To Frederick Douglass I am thankful for the inspiration to pursue ‘Liberty,’ ‘Justice,’ and ‘Freedom.’ To James Baldwin, I am thankful for his desire of integration and charisma for change.


To support 71 Republic, please donate to our Patreon, which you can find here.

Featured Image Source.