As the topic of racism’s incestuous relationship with the NFL rears its ugly head once again, the wife of an NFL player has begun to publicly share a sampling of the racist messages she is being sent on social media in response to her interracial marriage to a Black man.
Allison Rochell, who got married to Indianapolis Colts defensive end Isaac Rochell in April, posted a photo of the happy couple to her Instagram last month to emphasize to her more than 31,000 followers how much she loves “my favorite person.” But the post’s replies were replete with all kinds of racist responses.
Weeks later, on Sunday, Allison Rochell decided to acknowledge the racist comments and shared screenshots of them on her Instagram Stories to provide a sample of the type of anti-Black hatred she had been receiving. She captioned her Stories with four words: “reminder this still exists.”
In one example that sums up the sentiments of all the comments she received, one person wrote, “race mixing is communism.” Another comment included monkey emojis. Yet another claimed her children would be “dysgenic,” a term defined by Merriam Webster as “tending to promote survival of or reproduction by less well-adapted individuals (such as the weak or diseased) especially at the expense of well-adapted individuals (such as the strong or healthy).”
After receiving some media attention, Allison Rochell apparently deleted the screenshots.
However, a similar post on her TikTok account, which boasts more than 660,000 followers, remained active as of Monday morning and shared the same screenshots and others.
To be sure, there were plenty of people posting comments in support of the Rochells. However, that positivity was overshadowed by the glaring racist hatred being spewed in order to ruin a social media moment intended to spread love.
Allison Rochell’s social media activity came on the heels of the revelation that a current NFL head coach used racist terms when referencing Black people in an email from 2011.
Jon Gruden, who coaches the Las Vegas Raiders in a professional football league, was outed last week as having written an email in which he mocks the name and features of NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
“Dumboriss [sic] Smith has lips the size of michellin [sic] tires,” Gruden wrote, using a familiar racist trope while disrespecting his first name.
Gruden, for his part, claimed in an apology that he doesn’t “have a racist bone” in his body.
But the way racism and racist things keep getting associated with the NFL is hardly a coincidence, something due in no small part to the continued fallout over the perceived blacklisting of free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick over his kneeling protest used to bring attention to police brutalizing Black people.
This is America.