Conservatives are in an uproar. The NFL, you see, has gone too far.
I wish I could tell you the uproar was over the NFL’s concussion issues or the terrifying realities of CTE, or the NFL’s domestic violence scandals or the NFL’s sexual assault scandals. You Google NFL and the words “domestic violence” or “sexual assault” and you will get a scary number of legitimate hits.
These are all serious issues; each and every one, and all worthy of an uproar.
But no. Conservatives aren’t angry about any of those “silly” things.
They have focused their rage on something truly important -- the NFL player national anthem protest!
You know the one I’m talking about. The one Colin Kaepernick started last year? Kaepernick, that outspoken, black, male, Muslim who rocks a huge afro (a veritable list of things that make white folks really uncomfortable). Well, as the story goes -- Kap kneels during the anthem, to raise awareness to social injustice and police brutality against people of color.
That’s why Colin Kaepernick knelt. That was last year. Conservatives were in an uproar last year too. But this time, it’s much worse.
Last week a few players knelt during the anthem in support of what Kaepernick began a year ago, which led President Donald Trump to say at an Alabama rally:
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired! He's fired!'”
Okay. Whatever. Trump yells weird things that have nothing to do with government or his job is nothing new.
But man, did Trump’s comments get under the skin of NFL owners, coaches and players. All but two team owners issued statements denouncing Trump’s words and supporting players right to peaceful protest. The following weekend, hundreds of NFL players knelt during the anthem, while some players stood and linked arms in solidarity and one team did not even take the field until after the anthem ended.
The NFL didn’t line up in support of Kap but when Donald Trump calls NFL players, “SOB’s” suddenly, the shit hits the fan. Or, as former NFL great, Shannon Sharpe said on Fox Sports’ Undisputed:
“I’m disappointed. And I’m unimpressed. Because this is the tipping point. Of the 7,537 things that President Trump has said in the last 50 years, him (Trump) calling an NFL player an SOB is what brought the NFL, the owners and its players, together. And while some might be moved by the conscience of these NFL owners, it wasn’t their conscience that moved them. It was the cash.”
Sharpe points out that several NFL owners gave “...a million dollars for the inauguration of President Trump” even after they ignored all of The Donald’s racist and sexist comments throughout the Presidential campaign.
Sharpe continues, “And now they (NFL owners) seem to be shocked (at what Trump says about the NFL). Every author that’s written a book about President Trump, and they started writing books about him in the 1980s, they say he is exactly today as he was then.”
Perhaps Sharpe is right. Perhaps the majority of the League’s owners don’t give a rat’s ass about social equality and instead see free publicity for their team and therefore -- extra cash. Last year, when conservatives were in an uproar over Kaepernick’s kneeling protest, do you recall seeing and / or reading about any such wide spread NFL solidarity for him?
I don’t either.
But the solidarity is there now. And I’m happy to see it. It’s the right thing to do. Obviously.
But some folks are going crazy. As always.
How bout them super vocal, rage fueled Cowboy’s fans who screamed into the Texas winds they were “one hundred percent positive!” that “Boys” owner, Jerry Jones will fire any “ungrateful, disrespectful” player who knelt during the anthem?
Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, kneels during the national anthem.
Is Mr. Jones doing it for cash, as Mr. Sharpe suggests, or in solidarity? Or both?
I don’t know. And I don’t really care. But I do know, despite world wide / US issues blowing up all week long -- hurricanes, war threats with North Korea, healthcare reforms -- President Trump had to weigh in on the NFL.
Again, and again, and again.
As President Trump leads the way, emboldened racist Americans step up across the country and voice their concern over these “ungrateful, disrespectful” -- NFL players. (And we all know that what they really mean is, “ungrateful, disrespectful -- n****rs!).
Like Paul Smith, a fire chief in Pennsylvania. He took to Facebook and called out head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tomlin’s Steelers waited in the locker room until after the national anthem ended and then took the field. Tomlin is one of the few black head coaches in the NFL. Smith writes on Facebook:
"Tomlin just added himself to the list of no good N****rs! Yes I said it."
How about John Valko, WI restaurant co-owner. Valko, again on Facebook, in a now deleted post, writes:
“Kill the idiot players. Execute them. They are nothing but garbage. The league is screwed up if they think it is their right. It is their duty to respect our country and our flag. They should go kneel in front of a freight train. Shame on these stupid misfits of society. They need to die.”
Even semi famous people are getting in it. Taya Kyle, the widow of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle told the NFL off, in a ridiculous condescending and naïve open letter. She writes:
“(NFL…) You were doing your part to bring people together and heal the world … You were doing your part celebrating each other based on skills, talent and a joint vision without regard to color and religion ... You were doing your part and we were doing ours. We showed up cheering and groaning together to as one. We talked in the concession lines and commiserated and celebrated our team together. Did it ever occur to you that you and we were already a mix of backgrounds, races and religions? We were already living the dream you want, right in front of you … Your desire to focus on division and anger has shattered what many people loved most about the sport. Football was really a metaphor for our ideal world – different backgrounds, talents, political beliefs and histories as one big team with one big goal - to do well, to win, TOGETHER … You dear NFL, have taken that. You have lost me here.”
Damn you, NFL players! You were just about to solve racism with your next Play Action Pass and you went and ruined it all with your fucking kneeling!
Look -- NFL players kneeling or standing during the anthem is not a federal issue. So President Trump can STFU about it. The NFL is a business and is not beholden to the Tweet Whims of President “Tiny Hands.”
If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell tells NFL coaches & players what they can and can not do during the national anthem, well, that’s one thing, because he’s their boss. And the boss usually gets a say in how his employees behave.
Well - Roger Goodell, the man in charge of the NFL, has come out in full support of players protesting during the national anthem. Sorry, Mr. President -- the boss has spoken. End of discussion.
But it’s not just Trump and mostly white private citizens that are in a tizzy, it’s also, mostly white conservatives politicians and pundits that are freaking out too. And all of them love to use the words, “ungrateful” and, “disrespectful” about mostly black, NFL players.
All of this is what led Trevor Noah of the Daily to Show to ask, “ungrateful to whom” in this delightful six minute Daily Show clip that you should totally watch -- “When is the Right Time for Black People to Protest.”
Conservatives -- enough with the “ungrateful” -- “disrespectful” BS! As Trevor Noah points out, “That’s some sneaky ass racism.”
Though it’s really Noah’s Dr. Seuss inspired closing lines in the above linked video that sum it all up rather nicely.
(Since most folks don’t click on links. I’ll recreate it for you here)
When is the Right Time for Black People to Protest?
By Trevor Noah (and probably Daily Show staff writers too)
“It’s wrong to do it in the streets.
It’s wrong to do it in the Tweets.
You CANNOT do it on the field.
You CANNOT do it if you kneeled.
And don’t do it -- if you’re rich.
You ungrateful -- son of a bitch.
Because there’s one thing that’s a fact.
You CANNOT protest if you’re black.”