Taking a Knee

A wealthy white friend of mine includes me on occasional BCC emails containing golf jokes, sex jokes, and, every now and then, political jokes. The latest one I got  — and I thought it was pretty funny — proposed a massive boycott of the NFL on our most sacred holiday weekend (Veteran’s Day). The humorous rationale, I learned from the email, was to “hit the owners where it hurts, in their wallets.” If they won’t man-up and fire any player who dares to disrespect our anthem and our flag (and our military and police officers and anyone else in a uniform) then we simply won’t consume their product!

LOL. Good one.

The email also urged me to join a (real) Facebook group dedicated to boycotting the NFL. I could feel the genuine patriotic passion. These people cared.

But I wondered: Had I missed all the other impassioned emails? The ones decrying the killing of yet another unarmed black person by a police officer?

I suggested to my friend if all of us wealthy white guys could get ourselves as fired up over the social justice issues NFL players were protesting as we do for abstract symbols and horrible songs — well, that would certainly be one step toward making America great (again). Where were those emails?

He wrote back (in ALL CAPS) to clarify.  According to his news sources — more ironic humor — 80% of the murdered had refused to put their hands up, so. . .”IT’S SIMPLY ABOUT RESPECT.”

I did not write back. Everything was perfectly clear now. It really was about respect.

My friend and his boycotter cronies, and President Great, and, it seems, everyone who takes umbrage at celebrity athletes using their platform to draw attention to systemic American problems — these folks have far more respect for “everything our national anthem represents” than they do for the citizens who die at the hands of police in highly un-American circumstances. They like to assure concerned ninnies like me that what’s been made to seem like a big problem for black people in this country isn’t really a big problem — it’s a small problem, since, according to their news sources, one-in-five unarmed black people shot by the police were obeying the law when they were murdered. That’s 20%. See? The other 80% deserved to be killed, according to the rules of the game. So Colin Kaepernick and all them other uppity Negroes in the NFL are making it out to be more than it is. In actual fact, it ain’t nothing.

OK. It’s something. But it’s not something important enough that someone should have the audacity to take a knee during the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

According to my way of looking at the world, it is important enough. It’s necessary. Heroes like Kap and all the brave individuals who have exercised their uniquely American right to peaceful protest have inspired revanchist Americans like my friend, swaddled in golf courses and NFL broadcasts, to at least begin discussing the issue. (First rule of all big problems: decades will be wasted while “conservatives” argue that it’s not really a problem; ibid. Cigarettes, Lead, Climate Change.) Taking a knee is a start toward a better society.

Taking a knee has also helped America understand a few things about its anthem:

  1. Terrible song with horrendous lyrics.
  2. The anthem has no place at sporting events, except to remind true patriots how inextricably intertwined are professional sports leagues, corporate advertising, and the U.S. military.
  3. Like most “great” artifacts of our glorious history, it was authored by a slave owner.

With all due respect to the millions of Americans, many of them living south of the Mason-Dixon, who wish slave-keeping were still an acceptable practice, who view black people as a caste of second-class citizens, who have got themselves convinced that all this police brutality nonsense is a giant hoax cooked up by George Soros — I will have to take a knee the next time you send me one of your absurdly funny emails.



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3 Responses

  1. Overviper says:

    You’re so out of touch, dude….
    First off, Colin Kaepernick is a gratuitous asswipe who was using his “protest” to call attention to himself and try to get a better deal. Well, that didn’t work. What did work was him pissing off the very people he needs on his side to put pressure on police to try to stop using their gun as the first response. It should be the last choice. Everyone knows this. Even white people. But me, I’m not a cop and neither are the “professional” athletes kneeling for the anthem. But they should be, and they should put themselves into potentially deadly situations every day and let’s see how they do that job. My guess is it wouldn’t be much different. But they will never do that, they will only complain.
    I did not write the following…but it pretty much echoes how I feel. I am no longer watching football. The man who wrote it signed his name…maybe you should call him and talk to him instead of just insulting everyone who doesn’t agree with your opinion…

    Dear NFL Player:
    “You graduated high school in 2011. Your teenage years were a struggle. You grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Your mother was the leader of the family and worked tirelessly to keep a roof over your head and food on your plate.
    Academics were a struggle for you and your grades were mediocre at best. The only thing that made you stand out is you weighed 225 lbs and could run 40 yards in 4.2 seconds while carrying a football. Your best friend was just like you, except he didn’t play football. Instead of going to football practice after school, he went to work at McDonalds for minimum wage.

    You were recruited by all the big colleges and spent every weekend of your senior year making visits to universities where coaches and boosters tried to convince you their school was best. They laid out the red carpet for you. Your best friend worked double shifts at Mickey D’s. College was not an option for him. On the day you signed with Big State University, your best friend signed paperwork with his Army recruiter. You went to summer workouts. He went to basic training.

    You spent the next four years living in the athletic dorm, eating at the training table. You spent your Saturdays on the football field, cheered on by adoring fans. Tutors attended to your every academic need. You attended class when you felt like it. Sure, you worked hard. You lifted weights, ran sprints, studied plays, and soon became one of the top football players in the country.
    Your best friend was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. While you were in college, he deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice. He became a Sergeant and led a squad of 19 year old soldiers who grew up just like he did. He shed his blood in Afghanistan and watched young American men give their lives, limbs, and innocence for the USA.

    You went to the NFL combine and scored off the charts. Your hired an agent and waited for draft day. You were drafted in the first round and your agent immediately went to work, ensuring that you received the most money possible. You signed for $16 million although you had never played a single down of professional football. Your best friend re-enlisted in the Army for four more years. As a combat tested sergeant, he will be paid $32,000 per year.

    You will drive a Ferrari on the streets of South Beach. He will ride in the back of a Blackhawk helicopter with 10 other combat loaded soldiers. You will sleep at the Ritz. He will dig a hole in the ground and try to sleep. You will “make it rain” in the club. He will pray for rain as the temperature reaches 120 degrees.

    On Sunday, you will run into a stadium as tens of thousands of fans cheer and yell your name. For your best friend, there is little difference between Sunday and any other day of the week. There are no adoring fans. There are only people trying to kill him and his soldiers. Every now and then, he and his soldiers leave the front lines and “go to the rear” to rest. He might be lucky enough to catch an NFL game on TV. When the National Anthem plays and you take a knee, he will jump to his feet and salute the television. While you protest the unfairness of life in the United States, he will give thanks to God that he has the honor of defending his great country.
    To the players of the NFL: We are the people who buy your tickets, watch you on TV, and wear your jerseys. We anxiously wait for Sundays so we can cheer for you and marvel at your athleticism.

    Although we love to watch you play, we care little about your opinions until you offend us. You have the absolute right to express yourselves, but we have the absolute right to boycott you. We have tolerated your drug use and DUIs, your domestic violence, and your vulgar displays of wealth. We should be ashamed for putting our admiration of your physical skills before what is morally right.

    But now you have gone too far. You have insulted our flag, our country, our soldiers, our police officers, and our veterans. You are living the American dream, yet you disparage our great country. I am done with NFL football and encourage all likeminded Americans to boycott the NFL .”

    Ross Adkins

    Senior Production Foreman/Compliance

    COG Operating LLC


  2. Randy skiles says:

    Well said mr Adkins!

  3. captcorajus says:

    Mr. Adkins,
    In case you were out while America happened, here’s a few things you might consider:

    Liberty doesn’t require your permission, Freedom does not require your approval, and justice doesn’t happen
    on a time table that is convenient to you.

    No one dies for a flag or a song. You STAND for the PRINCIPLES they represent. Here are the words, you might have said the a few times, maybe even sang along, but did you actually HEAR THEM??

    Land of the FREE. Home of the Brave. This is not an exclusive to veterans or those who served in the military sir, this is EVERYONE.

    Or this little ditty: … with liberty, and justice for ALL.

    They are kneeling to point out an injustice. YOU are making it about ‘disrespecting veterans’ thus proving their point about institutionalized racism.

    YOU are the insult to the flag. YOU are the insult to freedom and democracy. You like the ‘idea’ of those things, but when you see them in execution is makes you mad, so really you’re ‘just a fan’.