There Are Currently No Black-Owned NFL Teams, But It Almost Happened Several Times

Black NFL players

The NFL, which was founded in the year 1920, has had millions of African American fans and thousands of African American players, but not one Black-owned NFL team.

In 1971, a black group once petitioned the NFL for their own franchise which would have been 'The Memphis Kings'. The story was well covered by mainstream news, but the NFL wasn't as enthusiastic. A league executive at the time denied any knowledge of the effort and said the NFL had no current plans to expand.

The following year, in August 1972, players Rommie Loudd and Jim Brown met with officials in Orlando, Florida, about starting a Black-owned team. However, this too was unsuccessful as they failed to negotiate a stadium plan or attract enough Black investors.

Later, Rommie Loudd ran into a slew of legal problems and controversies and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Regarding the case, Sentinel-Star editor Jim Squires once said, “The rather enthusiastic reporting of Loudd’s arrest appeared to contain some exaggerations, if not inaccuracies."

In a prison interview with The Washington Post, Loudd said, “They just wanted me out of the way. That’s why they framed me, they didn’t want a black man to head up an organization that might be worth $25 million someday.”

In 2018, rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs and NBA player Steph Curry were a part of a consortium of investors to purchase the Carolina Panthers, which could have made the team majority Black-owned. However, they later pulled out due to racial tension in the NFL when many players chose to kneel during the National Anthem to bring attention to unarmed African Americans being killed by police.