“Of course I think he’s been blackballed, obviously. Maybe the players agree that there’s a place for politics in sports, but I don’t think the teams, or the organization, or even the fans believe there’s a place for politics in sports. I think people want you to do your job and shut up — score a touchdown, dunk a basketball, hit a home run and call it a day. We’ll buy your jersey, and that’s it.”
—-Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, speaking about the current fate of ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who remains unsigned after spending much of last season refusing to stand for the National Anthem because the United States “oppresses black people and people of color.” Bennett’s comments came during an event at the artsy social justice warrior hang-out Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C.
It’s an admittedly perverse selection for the ethics quote designation, since Bennett meant the statement as criticism. He went on to say that he endorses professional athletes taking pubic stands on social issues to “inspire others” to engage in mass action and demonstration. The 31-year-old defensive end, who makes about 10 million dollars a year, drew attention to himself in February when he opted out of an Israeli-government-sponsored trip to register his pro-Palestinian views, as if he actually knows enough the 80-year-old conflict to intelligently protest anything. This is about par for the course in the field of professional athlete off-the-field grandstanding.
Bennett was correct in his rueful description of the state of the culture, however. There is no place for politics in sport. Sport is entertainment, and fans follow sports to escape real world problems, not to be lectured on them by pseudo-educated celebrities with neither the training, skills or expertise to justify the giant megaphone celebrity affords them. Kaepernick’s stunt created a media circus around his struggling team, the San Francisco 49’ers, distracted its management fans and players, and cost the NFL viewers and advertising revenues. Since he was unable to articulate an intelligent rationale for his protest, it was also useless. Naturally, Kaepernick was cheered by the Left, and defended by many journalists as well as athletes who think their physical gifts should entitle them to social influence they don’t deserve.
If Kaepernick was the star performer many thought he would be a few seasons ago, The King’s Pass would have acquired a multi-million dollar contract by now. But now Kaepernick is just not good enough for any team to be able to justify signing someone who can’t be trusted not to put his own need for attention above the welfare of his employer, team, fellow players and sport. Revealingly, once his employment prospects started looking dicey, he announced that he no longer will “take a knee” during the anthem, but will stand, because he believes there has been positive change in America and doesn’t want to detract from that. Wait..what exactly has been the great change in the nation since January that makes him believe it’s a respectable place now when it wasn’t before?
Here’s the great change: now he’s out of a job.
If he is going to be a virtue-signalling blow-hard, at least he could show integrity regarding his alleges cause. Kaepernick is the perfect example of why the less heard from pro athletes about their views on the issues of the day, the better, and why Bennett’s quote describes the situation as it is and ought to be.