Are blacks ‘primed’ to fall for conspiracy theories? Ex-NFL player explains his 9/11 ‘truther’ past

Donte Stallworth (Flickr/Karen Cardoza)

Are blacks ‘primed’ to fall for conspiracy theories? Ex-NFL player explains his 9/11 ‘truther’ past
Travis Gettys
02 Dec 2014 at 11:43 ET
Donte Stallworth (Flickr/Karen Cardoza)

Former NFL player and current Huffington Post contributor Donte Stallworth explains how he fell down the “rabbit hole” and became a 9/11 “truther” after learning more about the history behind the terrorist attacks.

His past questions and other statements questioning the official narrative of the event became an issue earlier this year, after the online publication hired him.

Stallworth explains in a lengthy piece published Tuesday that he learned in 2008 that Osama bin Laden had been previously connected to U.S. government agents during the Soviet-Afghan war, and that knowledge led him to conspiracy theories about possible White House involvement in plotting the attacks.

“If I’d been so wrong about the alliance with bin Laden, what else was I wrong about?” Stallworth said he wondered. “What else was the government hiding? This, for me at least, is how the door opened. My journey into and out of conspiracy land, however embarrassing it was for me when a recent pile-on began is useful to think about, because I am by no means alone. And we ignore or ridicule conspiracy thinking at our peril.”

Stallworth describes how he began listening to the Alex Jones radio program and watching the online video series “Loose Change,” which he said was appealing because viewers could see the evidence for themselves and make up their own minds about questions the producers raised.

“Another important element in spreading conspiracy theories is to raise questions, in which much dot-connecting is implied, and let the viewers or listeners draw their own conclusions,” the former wide receiver said. “’Loose Change’ gives the viewer the feeling that he and the narrator are on a collective search for answers, and that bond engenders trust.”

Stallworth discusses the history of conspiracy theories and the way real-life, historically verified conspiracies provide oxygen for more tenuously sourced conspiracy theories – which are further inflamed by government secrecy.

“I was particularly primed to believe what I was hearing,” he said. “For many within the African-American community, it is almost commonplace to believe, for instance, that the federal government has been and/or is flooding neighborhoods with guns and drugs that fuel violence within the black community.”

The former pro athlete said black Americans have mistrusted the government from the beginning, when they were brought over from Africa as slaves.

The FBI targeting of civil rights leaders – many of whom were later murdered – and other conspiracies, such as the Tuskegee experiments, have nudged black Americans toward believing the government might have introduced crack cocaine and AIDS into black communities, he said.

Stallworth said polls show he was fairly unusual among African-Americans in believing that “the government knew something about 9/11 beforehand and turned a blind eye or worse.”

But he said black Americans are far more likely than other groups to say they don’t know whether the U.S. government might have been involved in plotting the attacks.

Stallworth concedes he got “deeper into the conspiracy world than (he’d) like to admit,” but he finally began to doubt his conclusions after noticing that every news event signaled a new conspiracy to Alex Jones and similar commentators.

“I think the moment the conspiracists finally lost me came when they started proclaiming that President Obama was the Antichrist, essentially sent to America, presumably from Kenya, by an evil cabal to destroy U.S. sovereignty and establish a global government,” Stallworth said. “Obama has done plenty that I’ve disagreed with, as my Twitter feed will attest, but the Antichrist?”

A friend encouraged him to rethink his views on 9/11, and he engaged in additional research during the NFL lockout three years ago and found many inconsistencies in the conspiracy theories.

“We were attacked by terrorists, and there were multiple institutional failures within the federal government,” he said. “The George W. Bush White House was at the very least unimaginative and deaf to warnings about terrorist attacks on U.S. soil that appeared in CIA briefings for months leading up to 9/11. The government was incompetent, not a co-conspirator.”


I'll take this one, thank you! This guy is a bellwether. With the help of Wiki I will try to explain this in football terms. I don't know much about football but always thought that there was something anti-intellectual about the game and this reinforces my opinion. This is a trick play which, according to Wiki is: A trick play, also known as a gadget play or a gimmick play, is a play in American football that uses deception and unorthodox strategies to fool the opposing team." I am going to take a guess and call this one a " flea flicker ," which again from Wiki is: " Flea Flicker: In the Flea Flicker, the ball is passed or tossed to a player to begin what appears to be a typical rush. The rusher soon laterals it back to the quarterback. The quarterback can then attempt a conventional pass play." So, there you have it along with the bonus fact that this guy is a footballer and will fit right in with the nacho eatin' world of testosterone fueled male bonding and wearing a jersey with someone else's name on it. Nice try, but I a'int buying it and this looks like desperation to me.

My feeling is that someone

My feeling is that someone else wrote this article (or heavily helped with it) as a 'safe' way for him to clear the air and enable him to get his foot in the door at Huffpo. Didn't Jesse Ventura try writing a pro truther editorial and it was quickly removed by the staff there?


Like being beaten into a gang, you have to write a piece like this to be accepted into "the club". I suppose his tickets to next years press club dinner are in the mail now.

Broad sweep

Note how, in trying to sweep aside 9/11 skepticism, the article also takes swipes at those who believe (quite reasonably) that government agencies have been involved in drug trafficking in black communities in the US. The inclusion of this as a target in the hit piece may have something to do with the recent release of the film 'Kill the Messenger,' about Gary Webb.

A lot of people know...

A lot of people know about 9/11. They may not have the details correct, but they know it is a deception.

Just yesterday at the grocery store's customer service, I was waiting in line at the counter. I had to get some different $20 bills, so a machine would take them.
One of my twenties had a stamp on it, saying "9/11 was an inside job". Dang! I was surprised.

I pointed it out to the clerk at customer service, and to the guy who was cashing a check next to me.
I said, "Yea, the evidence is there. Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth have all kinds of evidence on their website which shows that explosives were used. And there is Building 7. Or a person can go to to get the info. A lot of people know...."

And so the guy cashing the check says: "Yea, I wish more people would wake up. Not many know." He knew that 9/11 was a false flag event.

When North Texans for 9/11 Truth marched in the Martin Luther King parades on several occasions with crowds of thousands, we had MANY folks cheering us on, and saying "9/11 was an inside job!" and such.
Many in the Black community are aware. We have African-American preachers in our area who know about 9/11, and share the info.

The footage from some of our previous parades are kind of cool...