A new football season is almost here, and thank heavens we’re past all the angst about the kneelings. It was touch and go there for a while, but we’re all adults and were able to see the real issue and … Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, what a riot, of course we’re not past it, we’re a nation of six-year olds who elected a two-year old to run the place.
Quite a bit has happened since last I wrote about this. Mostly, it’s involved a lot of screaming from the six-year olds, some clever responses from players (Malcolm Jenkins holding up signs, Randy Moss’ tie), and some idiot owners sounding more idiotic than usual, which is pretty difficult for this particular owner (his name rhymes with Terry Tones).
In other words, same old same old.
But fear not, intrepid NFL-watcher, I’m here to rescue you. As a public service, here are a few responses to many of the things being screamed over the last few months. I’m sure this will clarify things completely.
- “Free speech! 1st Amendment! Other things I’ve heard of I know nothing about!” — We do not have free speech at our place of employment. If you work at the counter of McDonalds and tell everyone who comes up, “You know, you would get much better food at Chick-fil-A,” you would be right, but you would be fired, and you would have no recourse. (You would probably be able to get a job at Chick-fil-A pretty quickly, though.)
- “No free speech! Get back to work!” — They do not work for you. You have no say in what they can or can’t say, or do, at work. Only their employer does, and so far, they haven’t restricted anything. The Chick-fil-A guy doesn’t get to come over to McDonalds and tell their employees what they can or can’t say. You don’t get to, either.
- “They’re rich, we pay them a lot of money, they make a lot of money, etc.!” — Where is it written (in the Constitution or elsewhere) that only poor people get to protest things? Perhaps you were napping during your American History class: those fifty-six guys that signed the Declaration of Independence? They were all rich! Also, you don’t pay the players a dime. You pay the owners. Big difference.
- “They’re disrespecting the troops!” — First, they’re doing no such thing. No one has said anything about the troops. You’ll pulling things out of the wrong end of your body to try to make this about the troops. Second, you apparently would be surprised to find out that most troops/vets know what they’re fighting and/or fought for — the right for people to live free, which means the right to protest. Third, it was a vet who suggested Kaepernick take a knee (instead of sitting).
- “Dak is a sellout, an embarrassment!” — Guess what, you’re free to protest, he’s free not to protest. See how that works? (Although, given Jones’ idiocy, I really, really, really, really wish Dak would protest, just to watch Jerry backup faster than a stuntman in a Ferrari.)
- “Why don’t they do something instead of protesting?” — Many of the players are doing something. Kaepernick, to choose one, has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to communities. Many of the other players work in their communities. Here’s a thought — why don’t you “do” something instead of protesting the protest?
- “We back the blue!” — Bully for you. But do you do it blindly? Do you back bad cops?1 Or “good” cops doing bad things? Or bad policies? Ever read/seen Serpico? The issue isn’t supporting cops. It’s why people are dying when they shouldn’t be, and why a (hugely) disproportionate percentage of them are black.
- “Respect the flag!” — First, they do respect the flag, probably more than you do. They know what it stands for, and they know when we as a nation are failing what it stands for. But more importantly, you don’t want them to respect the flag. You want the appearance of them respecting the flag. Do you think everyone standing respects the flag? Of course not. But you don’t care, because they look like they’re respecting it. And that, really, is the core issue — you care more about what things look like than how they really are. (The words “whitewashed tombs” come to mind.)
- “I’m never going to watch another NFL game!” — Perfect. You are free not to do so. You will have ignored the whole issue, but, hey, it is a free country. But could you please, pretty please, shut up about it while you’re not watching?
- “Why are they protesting? What is so bad it brought them to this point? How can we help make it better?” — Right, like anyone’s said that. But imagine what a different conversation we could have if someone did?