So for the last few years, some players at Football games have knelt during the National Anthem to draw attention to racial problems in America. The NFL had allowed it but clearly it pissed some people (like our whiner-in-Chief) off.
The reasons are spurious. It doesn’t disrespect the troops because the National Anthem never used to be about the troops. It doesn’t actually hurt ratings because television ratings are falling for the NFL at the exact same rate they are falling for all other network broadcasts. It doesn’t even disrespect the country because the right to voice concern with what is happening in our country is literally built into the first amendment. Yes, these people protesting are rich but they aren’t protesting for themselves you myopic dickbags. This may be hard to believe, but people can give a shit about others and some try to use their public platform to help those people.
I guess it just pisses off (mostly white) people who don’t think that (mostly non-white) people have anything to complain about.
So the “compromise” the NFL has come up with is to require players to stand during the National Anthem or, if they can’t do that, they can stay in the locker room. Failure to do so will result in a fine levied against the team. The team then can decide what to do to the players including fines or suspensions.
32 people (all but two of them white) have decided that protesting players (who are mostly black) should stay out of sight rather than quietly taking a knee during the national anthem.
Our President has responded by saying that if you can’t respect our flag and country by standing for the anthem, maybe you should leave the country.
So our President has basically told black people in America that they should leave. Because apparently staying out of sight isn’t good enough.
What the President said is really important here. Because you can’t separate the rise of white nationalism from that asshole. When he makes statements like he made this week, he is empowering people who think that America is for white people.
The other part of this conversation is the number of people who respond to all of this by saying technically it is the right of the employer (a NFL team) to impose restrictions on how their players behave in public. Because technically it is. I mean, what the owners are doing is legal.
But it is a straw man argument. So what if NFL teams have the legal right to tell their players to stand up and shut up? By doing so, they are sending the message that their version of patriotism is more important than anyone else’s. Further, they are sending a message that rich people get to control the lives of everyone they pay.
They are forcing players to be patriotic. Which isn’t even patriotic. What will be patriotic is when players kneel knowing there are potential consequences for the action.
And that’s going to happen, by the way. Anthem protests were mostly over. This new policy means they will probably be bigger than ever next season as players engage in a game of chicken with owners to effectively say “OK, I’m kneeling. Now what?”
But please stop defending the billionaires because they can legally do this. Yeah. I get it. They can.
We all know that. Why can’t you all shut up about what they have the legal right to do? If you aren’t OK with it, don’t be OK with it. It’s like you want to hide behind the legality of the action to throw your hands in the air and say “what can I do? It’s their right!”
Are you OK with them taking advantage of that right or not? The rest is window dressing. It’s like saying “I agree with Black Lives Matter but they shouldn’t block traffic.” Fine. You don’t like that some protests block traffic. Do you no longer agree with Black Lives Matter because they blocked traffic?
Either you agree with what the owners did or you do not. Their right to do it is not relevant. When they exercised their right, were you OK with it or not?
I’ll remind those who are paying attention that the two players most readily identified with the anthem protests – Colin Kaepernik and Eric Reid – still don’t have a job. Reid, especially, is considerably better than average at his position and he has been contacted by one team this year. That team owner specifically asked Reid if he would kneel for the anthem.
So making the choice to speak up (by silently kneeling) is costing some people jobs. But we don’t seem interested in the risks those players have taken for exercising their first amendment rights. Only the rights of the billionaires who don’t like what they are doing.
This week, I’ve been listening to white people talk about how these are “important issues” but the anthem “isn’t the right time” to call attention to them. They say that they watch football to “escape” from politics and that minute and a half when someone kneels quietly at the beginning of the game just makes it impossible to enjoy the three hours of football that follow.
Excuse me for being indelicate but fuck them.
While they complain about how politics “invades” their enjoyment of football, pretty much every black man in America sweats out a traffic stop because they want to make sure they don’t get shot. Do these assholes whining about politics invading their play time stand at attention during the anthem? Or do they simply expect the players on the field to do so while they can concentrate on their fantasy football scores?
If you think this is just about the NFL, you are mistaken. It is about black people trying to tell white people something and white people constantly saying “you need to tell me in a different way.”
First, they said “you can’t block traffic or I won’t listen.”
Then they said “you can’t kneel quietly or I won’t listen.”
Now they are saying “Just stay out of sight. Then I promise I’ll listen.”