Peyton Manning is the National Football League. He is the face, heart, mind, and soul of America’s national pastime, I’d submit, our national religion. Manning is the “preferred” face of the NFL, and you’d better believe it. In the sport’s world, he’s sanctified. Across America, the Manning name is “all American” gridiron gladiator royalty… aerial aristocracy if you will. Peyton possesses a pigskin pedigree that personifies excellence through preparation, precision, and determination - combined with class.

At this moment, Manning’s name is now being injected into the sports bar and boardroom conversation about “who” will buy one of the NFL’s flagship organizations, the Denver Broncos. The premier franchise, today without a head coach, will be on the auction table sometime this year after all the soap opera drama ceases. His inclusion is a game-changer.

Manning instantly leaps to the forefront of the speculative conversation for obvious reasons, ranging from his royal football family to his down-to-earth folksy personality, his charisma, and his small personal fortune. Additionally, the co-investors Peyton could easily muster with a phone call - if he so desired - would be not impressive but phenomenal. Manning could construct an elite and notable investor group. Who wouldn’t want to partner with a living icon to join the elite NFL ownership country club?

If this is the case, I’d like to suggest to Peyton: do the right thing, change the direction and course of the Denver franchise, as well as the NFL by partnering with Black investors. Arguably still the poster boy of the league, Manning could create a 50/50 partnership, dragging the elitist NFL ownership roundtable into the 21st century.

Why not right here and right now?

At some point in the story of the National Football League, the ebony gladiators who are the on-field product and labor force must be allowed to own at least some of a franchise. There must be a first step on the path to fairness and inclusion in the boardroom. White men can’t pimp, exploit and maximize the blood, sweat, and tears of Black gladiators for what is now 80 plus years.

Push has come to shove.

Manning could either join or construct an investor group that is diverse and more reflective of the NFL and America in 2022 as opposed to 1957. One which might include music icon Jay-Zee, Black Billionaire Robert Smith, the wealthiest Black man in America, who was born n’ raised in Denver’s Park Hill. Micheal Jordan, Oprah…

There is today, at last, a list of qualified (rich) Blacks for Peyton to ponder.

And if Manning is searching for a local connection, investors with a foothold and presence in Denver, across the state and throughout the Rocky Mountain empire, Dave Logan’s name will rightfully pop-up, and in the next breath should be Charles Johnson - the former CU Buff Signal Caller who led CU back to relevance and the Orange Bowl, with a foot in local business, community, and media.

I believe Manning’s, as well as the NFL league prior partnering with Papa Johns’s John Schnatter, the somewhat openly bigoted pizza magnate, was a tactical blunder which both parties regret, and this next public move should reflect a more “enlightened” Manning and NFL owners. Both parties have an opportunity to actually to transport their stone-age operation into the civilized 21st century.

And need I remind any sports fans that John Elway and Donald Trump are friends… #7 went to #666, oh sorry #45’s Presidential anointment. We know “who” Elway stands and sides with. At least with Peyton at the helm, there exists a snowball’s chance in hell that he’ll actually invite or share power with Black folks.

Perhaps Teddy Bridgwater’s stability will usher in more than winning again, after the bad taste left in many folk’s mouths after the league handled Vance Joseph with the same dismissive and condescending manner they handle most Black coaches. Unquestionably, in the eyes of league ownership, Black folks have an assigned place where they’d like to keep us. They’ve conceded they can’t stop the rise of Black Quarterback, regardless of how much the good old boy base desires to. Even so, they’re holding the red-line of discrimination in the coaching ranks and just pretty much refusing to allow Blacks in as owners.

Let me circle the block and hammer that point home: the NFL roundtable has regrettably conceded they can’t stop the rise of “the Black Quarterback,” regardless of how much the good old boy fan base and corporate sponsors yearn to. They’re holding the red-line of discrimination in the coaching ranks, while just pretty much refusing to allow Blacks in as owners.

Elway clearly has a seat at the Trump country club bar, however Peyton, and perhaps Archie, and Eli would have a more enlightened and inclusive vision for the organization. The team might be as open-minded and progressive as the front-range metropolis it represents in the Sportsworld.

Within the Sportsworld, which reflects and embodies the fragmented and highly flammable real world, Denver presents an opportunity for folks of color, and White folks to smoke the peace pipe, break bread and do business together.

Look, the Rocky Mountain franchise can remain the “plaything” of another wealthy fatcat, billionaire owner, and his stable of millionaire gladiators - both getting filthy rich in their antiquated institution, or…, it can be an example of a 21st-century business organization.

I’m hoping Manning is a different kind of NFL owner... and does the enlightened thing.

BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Desi Cortez, who also writes for BlackAthlete.com & NegusWhoRead.com, was hatched in the heart of Dixie, circa 1961, at the dawning of the age of Aquarius, the by-product of four dynamic individuals, Raised in South-Central LA, the 213. At age 14 transplanted to the base of the Rockies, Denver. Still a Mile-Hi. Sat at the foot of scholars for many, many moons, emerging with a desire and direction… if not a sheep-skin. Meandered thru life; gone a-lot places, done a-lot of things, raised a man-cub into an officer n' gentleman, a "man's man." Produced a beautiful baby-girl with my lover/woman/soul-mate… aired my "little" mind on the airwaves and wrote some stuff along the way. Wordsmith behind America's Ten Months Pregnant . . . Ready To Blow!: Even Trump Can't "Make America White Again." A New, More Inclusive, Diverse 21st Century America - Love It . . . Or Get The Hell Out!. Contact Mr. Cortez and BC.

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