Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is in the midst of a battle off the field. On Tuesday, he aims to appeal his 6-game suspension by petitioning NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. The suspension is a result of domestic violence allegations brought against Elliott nearly a year ago by his former girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson, who is white. Zero charges and zero arrests were brought against Elliott at the time, but the luring suspension could be his first form of punishment for this incident, aside from his reputation being smeared.
Usually, race would not matter in this situation–domestic violence is domestic violence–but Elliot claims that Thompson told him, “You are a black male athlete. I’m a white girl. They are not going to believe you.”
References to the movie Get Out cloud my vision as I try to understand this situation, specifically Thompson’s racist comment that Elliot is “100% sure” she said. In the movie, Chris (played by Daniel Kaluuya) is dating a white woman, Rose (played by Allison Williams), who through twisted events, tries to own his mind while Chris maintains use of his body. Countless times, Rose makes sexual innuendoes during intense moments in an effort to distract Chris from figuring out her plot.
In the end, they become bloody and bruised after attacking each other down a side street; Rose becomes incapacitated while Chris exhales in relief. What we think to be a cop car pulls up and immediately Chris shows the all too familiar sign of surrender with his raised hands. The suspense of the moment is felt when all the viewer sees is the police car lights. Anyone who dabbles in white privilege knows just how the story ends if it had been the cops who showed up: Chris, standing over a bleeding-to-death Rose, ends up arrested and in jail without the officer knowing the full context in which Rose was operating before her injury. Thankfully, his best pal Rod (played by Lil Rel Howery) gets out of the TSA car, takes Chris home, and the audience is able to sigh in relief.
There are so many moments of white privilege throughout Get Out. Thompson seems to be relying on the same power when making her comments and formal complaint. Similar to Rose, on September 21, 2016, Thompson attempts to use sex as a tool to blackmail Elliott. Charles Robinson of Yahoo sports reports on a text message exchange between Thompson and a friend. Take a look at the thread below.
[Thompson]: What if I sold mine and Ezekiel’s sex videos
[Friend]: We’d all be millionaires
[Friend]: We could black mail him w that
[Thompson]: I want to bro
[Friend]: Let’s do it
[Friend]: Id be like look give me 10k or I’ll just sell our sex videos for the same amount flat
[Friend]: Me and my friends tryna go on vacation and get boob jobs
(the report notes a pair of blank texts)
[Thompson]: 10k Bitch I want 20k
[Thompson]: Go big or go home
[Friend]: That’s fine too
Clearly, the “sex slaves” so vividly discussed in Get Out seem to be Thompson’s big pay day. It is unfortunate that professional athletes are targets for money, sex, and blackmail, especially if white privilege tells white girls that they can get away with treating black men as ruthlessly as Thompson appears to be doing.
If Elliot is surprised at Thompson’s racist statement or her string of text messages, then he clearly did not see Get Out when it hit theaters. Get Out is a masterpiece that thoroughly addresses how complicated and exploitative relationships between black men and white women can become.
By no means is this meant to demonize Thompson, but there is a long history of white women targeting black men, especially athletes, and fabricating an assortment of complaints. The case that sounds vividly in my mind is Emmet Till. Carolyn Bryant recently admitted that she lied when she testified in 1955 that Emmett Till offended her. At the time, her lie resulted in her husband and his brother forcing Emmet Till to carry a 75-pound cotton-gin fan to the Tallahatchie River bank and strip naked as signal to commence the beating, eye-gouging, gunshot to the head, and tying of his unrecognizable body to the cotton-gin with barbed wire.
A calculated discarding of 14-year-old innocence at the hand of a white women’s lie. While Till’s murder occurred in 1955, it remains relevant today because Carolyn Bryant has only recently come forward with a recanting story. Never mind that a young boy never made it to adulthood, let alone back home that dreadful night, Carolyn Bryant apologized so not all is lost.
While Till’s case is on the far end of the spectrum, there have been countless other cases of white women accusing black men, only to later find out the women were lying. They may not be as repugnant as Till’s story, but they are equally as disparaging. Acknowledging this history, it is hard to believe Thompson’s allegations after she has reportedly made such a loaded, racist comment. However, Thompson could be telling the truth; after all, 25% of women have experienced domestic violence. But history tends to repeat itself, and right now false allegations by white women against black men are in excess.