NFL Analyst Makes Offensive Remark About Hurricane Katrina
By Dr. Boyce Watkins, PhD
NFL Hall of Famer Dan Hampton has a great deal to apologize for this week. During a broadcast of an NFL game between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, Hampton thought it would be funny to bring up that little thing called “Hurricane Katrina.” Making reference to the fact that the Vikings needed to show up with their A-game, Hampton said, “The Vikings need to go down there and hit that town like Katrina.”
Bad move, buddy, bad move.
There isn’t much to say about Dan Hampton other than the obvious: It didn’t take him long to realize that it might be inappropriate to make jokes about an event that led to the death and displacement of tens of thousands of people. Hurricane Katrina affected lives in a very real way, and Hampton needs to understand that.
Additionally, invoking Katrina into the fantasy world of professional football is only productive to the extent that the success of the Saints has helped to heal the hearts of New Orleans residents who’ve lost everything. So if you can’t bring Hurricane Katrina up in a positive and uplifting way, please don’t bring it up as a joke.
Even going further on that point, for Hampton to make a joke about Katrina would be like making a joke about 9/11. Katrina was our 9/11, and although our nation doesn’t talk about the pain of New Orleans residents anymore, the struggle continues. In fact, the suffering is likely magnified in light of recent numbers showing that black unemployment rose 700 percent more than white unemployment during the month of August.
Many of the faces of Katrina are black, and the suffocating grip of racial economic oppression is rarely stronger than it is in New Orleans. While Dan Hampton is not responsible for all the world’s agony, he should realize that his platform should be used to support and uplift NFL fans and not remind them of the most horrible experience of their lives.
Dan Hampton, I forgive you, but you should certainly be suspended and encouraged to get some sensitivity training. You also owe the people of New Orleans a sincere apology. Football might be a game, but Hurricane Katrina is not.