Killer Mike and El-P at NYCs Meadows Music and Arts Festival in 2017
Killer Mike and El-P at NYC's Meadows Music and Arts Festival in 2017 Nicholas Hunt/Getty

In strong terms, MC/producer El-P of the popular hiphop duo Run the Jewels rejected the NFL's request to air their ominous, rugged track "Legend Has It" during the Super Bowl. (The song appears on the soundtrack to Black Panther.) Disgusted by the football league's decision yesterday to fine players who kneel during the national anthem, El-P aired his grievances about the matter on Twitter.



Love Mercury Music Coverage?

It's a bit rich—in two senses of the word—that owners would make a move to stifle the legitimate expression of employees who help them to make enormous sums of money annually. In a league whose on-field personnel is about 70 percent black and in a nation still afflicted with racism on macro and micro levels, players should have an outlet to raise awareness of injustices that directly affect them, their families, and their friends. With this ruling, the NFL committed a tone-deaf, offensive penalty that looks like it's going to hurt the league more than boost its fortunes. And in an interview this morning with Fox News, so-called President Trump, in yet another demonstration of his extensive ignorance about American law, is bleating about deporting pro football players who kneel during the anthem. To where, one wonders? Oh, don't worry about the details—this pronouncement was made simply to whip up Trump's know-nothing base, and to distract from mounting Russia-collusion bombshells that will hasten DJT's descent into lunacy—and eventually prison, if justice prevails.

My advice to NFL players—no matter their race—to stiff-arm this repulsive rule: They should give black-power salutes during the anthem... which, it should not go unobserved, is an irredeemably ugly piece of music and a lyrical fiasco. Or, failing that, they should find another clever, symbolic method to bring attention to the oppression that people of color inordinately suffer in the United States. Or—if they really want to keep politics out of sports—maybe leagues should simply do away with playing the national anthem before events. Seriously, who's going to miss this jingoistic musical monstrosity besides sappy chumps who think they're "patriotic"?