What hath Colin Kaepernick wrought? This debate was very black and white (sorry, couldn’t resist) to me last year. Colin Kaepernick chose to use our National Anthem and his fame as platforms to protest what he saw as institutional injustice against black Americans. I disagreed with his decision to use the National Anthem. It seemed to me that his fame gave him plenty opportunity off the field to become as active as he desired in pursuit of social justice. But that was then. This is now.
Allow me to ask you a question. If you ran a business, and your family depended on you to bring home the bacon to make ends meet, how would you feel if one of your employees disrupted your business to make a social statement about an issue very important to that person? Can anyone seriously suggest that you wouldn’t make it very clear to that person that your place of business is not where such disruptions should occur? And can anyone seriously suggest that if that person continued to disrupt your business you wouldn’t terminate that person’s employment? Of course you would.
I cannot tell you how much I wish the President would focus on health care, tax reform, and matters pressing around the world. Weighing in on this situation during his speech in Alabama last Friday night was incendiary and unhelpful to anyone.
People already knew where they stood on this issue. The President of the United States stepping into the middle of the discussion served only to dump fuel on the fire. I guess it is the reaction of the NFL and now most team owners that bemuses me. The talking heads have droned on about how teams on Sunday displayed unity by locking arms together, or in some cases, by staying in the tunnel during the National Anthem. Give me a break! Owners and coaches were scared to death that their players would divide between themselves over the issue at hand, and the result would be implosion on the field. What we saw on Sunday was self-serving unity.
Why can’t the NFL take a non-political position and make it clear that its players are free to do whatever they want to do on their own nickel!? How can the NFL possibly condone any of this behavior during before, during, or after a game, when players are still in their uniforms, and representing their teams and the league? It is ridiculous.
So here is where I am on the issue. The whole thing is totally bonkers. The President was wrong to step into the breach. The players who are falling into line under the mantle of “unity” are either deluding themselves or too stupid to see they are being used, and NFL leadership, owners, and coaches have lost the plot; full stop.
Let’s get back to honoring our flag and our country and playing football. These players are famous. They can find other times and places to pursue their respective quests for social justice. In short, knock it off!
More to follow-