Comment Of The Day: The NFL Anthem Protest Ethics Train Wreck, Part One

Yeoman commenter Chris issued a detailed response to the first of two posts about the anthem protest fiasco. It’s not all rebuttal, and raises other related issues; Chris is clear and articulate, and I wanted to get this up now so commenters could respond here.

I’ll just argue immediately with one of Chris’s points, because I have always found it bizarre when I have encountered it elsewhere.  The Left’s aversion to rituals like standing for the National Anthem or saluting the flag seems to me to be a wonderful example of missing the crucially important forest for a scrawny tree. Rituals, traditions and ceremonies bind people, cultures and societies together. They also bind other cultures together, including small ones, like families. Singing and listening to that Anthem at public events is at worst harmless, and at best a binding and powerful group experience. I feel sorry for people who don’t or can’t experience it, just as I feel pity for those who cut themselves off from the culture’s celebration of Christmas to show their aversion to Christianity or religion. I have seen what havoc is raised in a family when a long and beloved tradition is suddenly rejected by a child. The family is wounded, and all its members are affected. This is just a microcosm of what happens in a nation when there is the kind of widespread rejection of values and symbols that Chris and those like him advocate.

The National Anthem at sporting events is theater, spectacle, and symbolic. Anyone on the field is part of the spectacle, and has the power to diminish the experience for people who care deeply about it. They also harm the tradition itself. For an organization like a sports team, it is important to make any on-field display professional, uniform, and pleasing to the audience. A player intentionally refusing to conform with the ritual and thus disrupting it is, at the minimum, rude and selfish. A team has every justification to take measures to prevent some players from standing respectfully, others kneeling, others turning their back, some waving competing flags and others making farting sounds. It looks bad. It will turn the tradition into a farce. Most important of all, it weakens the country and the culture. National pride and respect is part of the connective tissue that ensures the strength and health of any society. I cannot fathom why so many on the Left cannot grasp this concept, and I have dark suspicions that they do grasp it, and this is why they try to tear our traditions down.

Commenter John Glass also passed this along:

The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the NFL League Rulebook. It states: ‘The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. ‘During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition… …It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.’

Any employer has a right to set such rules and conditions for on the job conduct, and any employee has a right to ply his trade, or another, elsewhere.

Here is Chris’s Comment of the Day on the post, The NFL Anthem Protest Ethics Train Wreck, Part One:

sports should not be made a party to the current progressive indoctrination strategy of making everything in American life a political lecture

I agree, which is why the National Anthem should not be played at sporting events.

Nobody pays to go to sporting events to see continuations of the political disputes and debates they watch sports to avoid. Sports is entertainment, and entertainment is escapism.

I agree, which is why the National Anthem should not be played at sporting events.

It’s a useful distinction, and there is no question that the President, as misguided and inappropriate as his remarks were, wins the argument with the many, many millions who just want to watch their favorite teams without being bombarded by political bombast and grandstanding.

I agree, which is why the National Anthem should not be played at sporting events. (And was Trump’s statement not political bombast and grandstanding?

Players are welcome to have political views and to take part in demonstrations and other activism, but not while wearing their uniforms, and not on the field.

I agree, which is why players should not be forced to take part in a political demonstration during sporting events.

Yesterday, over a hundred NFL players “took a knee” during the National Anthem to protest…something…as the news media cheered them on.

It was very clear to me what they were protesting; you describe it here:

The US doesn’t need any more division now, and Trump’s crude outburst was indefensible. Presidents should not comment negatively on the conduct of citizens when they are acting within their Constitutional rights. Nor should they interfere with the policies and disciplinary decisions of private businesses

That’s what they’re protesting. It’s what I would be doing too. I’ve said before that I think flag burning is idiotic, but if Trump followed through on his threats to make flag burning illegal, I would become a flag burner. There may not have been a specific threat here, but the principle is the same. If Trump calls people who take a knee during the national anthem “sons of bitches,” then let me be a son of a bitch.

I am certain he did not; we know by now that Trump just blurts stuff out without considering consequences of any kind.

All the more reason there should be consequences for this.

which he did, and which President Obama also did when he endorsed and defended Kaepernick’s stunt last year.

This is not even true. Obama defended Kaepernick’s right to protest, and explained his reasoning. But he did not endorse his protest, and also said this:

“I think that it’s also important for us to recognize that sometimes out of these controversies, we start getting into a conversation, and I want everybody to listen to each other. So I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat, and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing. But I also want people to think about the pain that he may be expressing about somebody who’s lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot.”

What? You hate it that showing disrespect to the flag and the national anthem and following the example of a man who said that he couldn’t honor a nation that “oppressed” blacks is seen as disrespect for the flag, our institutions, and the soldiers who fought to preserve that nation you have so much contempt for?

This is deeply unfair. The argument is that our country is not living up to the ideals that the flag stands for. That is not disrespectful toward the flag, and invoking veterans (plenty of whom support Kaepernick’s protest) is pure emotional manipulation.

If you just want to to “send a message of unity and being together,” why not just hold hands and hug?

Because Trump did not call players sons of bitches for holding hands and hugging. He called them sons of bitches for kneeling during the national anthem. So….the best way to show unity with the teammates he targeted is to kneel during the national anthem. Obviously.

Why is refusing to stand for the anthem appropriate?

Why is it inappropriate?

If spectators and fans have to be subjected to this non-sports spectacle,

They are already subjected to a non-sports spectacle: the National Anthem.

shouldn’t the message the players are sending be clear and productive?

It’s perfectly clear to me. You don’t want to understand it.

We want our sporting events, broadcast to the world, to feature on-field demonstrations against the Presidency?
That is irresponsible, self-destructive and insane.

As long as the President continues to use his platform to demonstrate against private citizens engaged in peaceful, silent protest, private citizens have not only the right but the ethical duty to defend each other from his unprovoked and un-American attacks. Failing to do so would be unethical.

 

209 Comments

Filed under Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Race, Sports, U.S. Society

209 responses to “Comment Of The Day: The NFL Anthem Protest Ethics Train Wreck, Part One

  1. 1. You are putting words in their mouths: why are players aping Kaepernick, if they aren’t protesting the same thing? If a player gave the finger to the crowd and the President said he should be fired, would that justify a protest where everyone on the field emulated the gesture?

    2.The question was whether Kaepernick’s conduct was appropriate, It wasn’t. By defending it, Obama endorsed it in his typical feckless, way. He shouldn’t have said anything at all. Just as Trump shouldn’t have.

    3. As is too often the case, you just ignore the parts of the post you have no argument against. Oh–is the distinction between this protest and the one in Charlottesville the fact that it was “silent.”? Nice try.

    Here was the real distinction: the Charlottesville protest was with a permit, and not in the workplace, by employees, imposing on the public and breaking the terms of their employment.

    • Chris

      Thanks for the honor of COTD, Jack.

      I should clarify that I hold no aversion to the national anthem or the pledge of allegiance, which I lead in my classroom on a daily basis. I briefly considered taking a knee today–I had my students read and write on this issue today–but decided against it on the grounds that I try and keep my own politics under wraps in the classroom. I did tell them I found the language used by the president inappropriate, after showing them the clip of his remarks, and I said that a role model for children should not use such language. That was a necessity–I can’t have them thinking it’s OK to talk like that in class just because the president does. But I also explained Trump’s side–that he believes the protest was disrespectful to our country. I also explained the NFL at this point has the right to fire players who protest in this way.

      Despite my own decision to participate in the pledge and the anthem, I still believe it is a political decision, and that political decisions should not be forced on anyone through threat of punishment.

      A team has every justification to take measures to prevent some players from standing respectfully, others kneeling, others turning their back, some waving competing flags and others making farting sounds. It looks bad.

      Of course turning one’s back, waving competing flags and making farting sounds can and should be prevented. Taking a knee is not the same.

      1. You are putting words in their mouths: why are players aping Kaepernick, if they aren’t protesting the same thing?

      Haven’t many of them mentioned “unity” as their exact reason? This seems clear to me; their fellow player was attacked and they are supporting him for it.

      If a player gave the finger to the crowd and the President said he should be fired, would that justify a protest where everyone on the field emulated the gesture?

      No. Like the president’s comments, doing that would be profane. Taking a knee is not profane.

      2.The question was whether Kaepernick’s conduct was appropriate, It wasn’t. By defending it, Obama endorsed it in his typical feckless, way. He shouldn’t have said anything at all. Just as Trump shouldn’t have.

      Again, he defended his right to do it. That isn’t an endorsement, any more than you’ve endorse Trump’s travel ban. Perhaps he shouldn’t have said anything, but what he did say was a defense of both sides, and to say he only defended one is misleading.

      3. As is too often the case, you just ignore the parts of the post you have no argument against. Oh–is the distinction between this protest and the one in Charlottesville the fact that it was “silent.”? Nice try.

      Here was the real distinction: the Charlottesville protest was with a permit, and not in the workplace, by employees, imposing on the public and breaking the terms of their employment.

      I see a clear distinction between marching through the streets with torches yelling “Jews will not replace us” and taking a knee. Why don’t you?

      And let’s not ignore that a woman was murdered in Charlottesville. Did Trump call the murderer a “son of a bitch?” No. He reserved that for Kaepernick. Let’s not pretend we don’t know why.

      • Glenn Logan

        Despite my own decision to participate in the pledge and the anthem, I still believe it is a political decision, and that political decisions should not be forced on anyone through threat of punishment.

        Chris, this is simple misapprehension or… something. Reciting the Pledge and Anthem are not political. In fact, they are intentionally apolitical. They are intended as homage to the ideal of America, not the reality. We all know America is imperfect, that injustice of all types exist here, and that the past included the extreme evil of chattel slavery as a legal institution.

        But those historical facts don’t represent the ideal of America. Freedom and justice for all. Rejection of tyranny. Acceptance of difference. Many more that need no exposition.

        These are the things that the Pledge and the Anthem represent. It is what we should all aspire to. That’s the bond, the thread that holds the country together, the hope that we can achieve at least some of these ideals, albeit imperfectly and in fits and starts. But we do, and we need to be reminded of it. This is a way to do that, to remind us that we are all citizens of one country, not some group of loosely affiliated religious, ethnic, racial and sexual groups.

        • “Chris, this is simple misapprehension or… something. Reciting the Pledge and Anthem are not political. In fact, they are intentionally apolitical.”

          It isn’t, or shouldn’t be partisan, nothing inherent in the Anthem, nor on the flag is divisive among party lines. Unless Democrats want to put forward that they have a problem there (I of doubt they would.). But! It IS political if you see something wrong with patriotism. It’s partisan if you see the two sides of the conflict being “nationalist” and “globalist”.

          • Chris

            I didn’t say it was partisan. I said it was political. I agree that the flag, anthem and Pledge should not be divisive along partisan lines. It shouldn’t be divisive at all. We should respect people’s right to do it, and their right not to. That’s my stance.

        • Chris

          That is a beautiful interpretation of the anthem, Glenn. I simply don’t think it is the only valid one.

      • Chris wrote, “I should clarify that I hold no aversion to the national anthem or the pledge of allegiance, which I lead in my classroom on a daily basis.”

        You lead your class in both the national anthem and the pledge of allegiance daily? Is that what you meant to imply?

        What age group do you teach.

        • Chris

          Poorly structured sentence on my part. Just the pledge, and only fourth period as that’s the designated time to do it. I teach three two-period blocks of eighth graders.

      • luckyesteeyoreman

        3. Gad, Chris, you really are behind the times. The woman in Charlottesville who died – I am not saying she was not struck by a car, and will neither claim nor deny that the driver may have espoused vile sentiments – died of cardiac arrest. She was grossly overweight, outdoors for an extended period on a very hot day. Her cardiac arrest could have been as easily caused by dehydration, or the sound of a counter-protester’s club slamming into something, or mere fright at being caught in a panicked crowd without knowing exactly what the panic was about. You’re not going to get away with an accusation of murder on this blog, or an accusation that Trump is a racist and Nazi because he did not utter “son of a bitch” in some perfectly “egalitarian” way. YOU are insinuating that the death of one person is a “burned Reichstag” event.

        • Chris

          Heather Heyer died of a heart attack after being hit by a car. The man who hit her with his car is on trial for murder. Your insane claim that the heart attack was caused by dehydration, and not the car that deliberately hit her, comes directly from neo-Nazi websites desperate to exonerate the neo-Nazi who deliberately hit her with his car.

          Go peddle your Info Wars style conspiracy mongering and Nazi apologist bilge elsewhere. It is beneath the standards of this blog as well as any standards of decency.

          • The fact that a man who drove a car that MIGHT have struck Heather Heyer AND contributed to her death is “on trial for murder” is NOT a fact that “a woman was murdered in Charlottesville.” Go peddle your conspiracy-based paranoia, lack of respect for the rule of law and due process for ALL, and slimy insinuations about fellow commenters on some other blog. Were you on the scene as a direct witness? No. So shut up.

            • The focus on this episode has always been a distortion however. (I think it’s likely that the driver gets convicted of murder. If you intentionally drive a car into a crowd, if anyone dies, be it of trauma, heart attack, or fright, its murder unless the cause can be completely separated from the attack.

              But, you know, during Occupy Wall Street and its stupid offspring, individual protesters committed rape, broke drug laws, engaged in assaults. Even though the organized mob or real and pseudo protesters created the environment where these crimes occurred, the news media went out of its way to separate the bad OWSer from the others, who were presumed “good.” In this case, however, the opposite narrative has been not only assumed, but hardly challenged. Why?

              • luckyesteeyoreman

                “If you intentionally drive a car into a crowd, if anyone dies, be it of trauma, heart attack, or fright, its murder unless the cause can be completely separated from the attack.”

                Certainly, I can see plenty of reasons to consider whether murder, specifically, was attempted. But at this point, I remain unconvinced that the manner in which the car was operated, in Charlottesville where the woman died, was even necessarily and unquestionably an “attack.”

                Jack, I won’t make a bet with you, but I do believe the jury selection will eliminate any and all candidates who give the slightest hint of considering a benefit of doubt like I have hinted of having, above. I do indeed understand the frustration of, say, BLM sympathizers who do not trust juries’ conclusions because the process of jury selection is not trustworthy.

              • It is about principals, not principles.

            • Chris

              Wait, lucky. You’re suggesting the attack in Charlottesville was a false flag and that the victim died because she was fat–a claim you got directly from white supremacist websites–and you’re calling me a paranoud conspiracy theorist?

              Hilarious. Utterly hilarious. Thanks for revealing yet again who you really are, lucky.

              • Wait, Chris. I am not suggesting anything. You are. I stated that:
                – the woman who died in the Charlottesville chaos was fat, and
                – the “root cause” of the woman’s death is not established, only suspected to be linked to an act by someone else who was driving a car

                And yes, I will now state AGAIN, more bluntly, as it is now clearer than ever to all who read here:
                Chris, you are a paranoid conspiracy theorist.

                What a self-damning failure of a way for you to keep playing your pathetic game of lies, deceptions, and delusions for leftist causes, to wit: “Thanks for revealing yet again who you really are…”

                I was not, and am not, and in the future will not be, hiding anything about “who I really am” – as if I am diligently plotting some sneaky course of ethics-subversion and people-besmirching, designed to hoodwink, beguile, and lead astray into radical rightwingdom anyone who reads what I write. I had “revealed” who I am, long before you made that even more pathetic (and delusional), mean-spirited, pseudo-clever accusation, via “Thanks for revealing yet again…”

                Just to clarify for you, Chris, yet again: I am NOT a leftist. Still, you can be assured that I will never accuse you of complicity in the attempted genocide of Americans and the extinction of America. But, using your way of thinking, you should be at the ready at all times to immediately acknowledge the fairness and validity of anyone’s accusation of you along those lines.

                Perhaps you will be encouraged, Chris, to know that the late Heather Heyer – grossly overweight, outdoors for a long time on a very hot day, and (probably) more physically active during that time in that hot outdoors on that day than she had been for weeks, if not months or even years – also chose to wear all black clothing. You know, just to keep cool, like all the “woke” and “progressive” leftists do.

                So laugh it up, Chris – the more appropriate and constructive, correctly pitying laughter is at yourself; you just don’t know it.

              • luckyesteeyoreman

                [trying a second time to post]

                Wait, Chris. I am not suggesting anything. You are. I stated that:
                – the woman who died in the Charlottesville chaos was fat, and
                – the “root cause” of the woman’s death is not established, only suspected to be linked to an act by someone else who was driving a car

                And yes, I will now state AGAIN, more bluntly, as it is now clearer than ever to all who read here:
                Chris, you are a paranoid conspiracy theorist.

                What a self-damning failure of a way for you to keep playing your pathetic game of lies, deceptions, and delusions for leftist causes, to wit: “Thanks for revealing yet again who you really are…”

                I was not, and am not, and in the future will not be, hiding anything about “who I really am” – as if I am diligently plotting some sneaky course of ethics-subversion and people-besmirching, designed to hoodwink, beguile, and lead astray into radical rightwingdom anyone who reads what I write. I had “revealed” who I am, long before you made that even more pathetic (and delusional), mean-spirited, pseudo-clever accusation, via “Thanks for revealing yet again…”

                Just to clarify for you, Chris, yet again: I am NOT a leftist. Still, you can be assured that I will never accuse you of complicity in the attempted genocide of Americans and the extinction of America. But, using your way of thinking, you should be at the ready at all times to immediately acknowledge the fairness and validity of anyone’s accusation of you along those lines.

                Perhaps you will be encouraged, Chris, to know that the late Heather Heyer – grossly overweight, outdoors for a long time on a very hot day, and (probably) more physically active during that time in that hot outdoors on that day than she had been for weeks, if not months or even years – also chose to wear all black clothing. You know, just to keep cool, like all the wise and “progressive” leftists do.

                So laugh it up, Chris – the more appropriate and constructive, correctly pitying laughter is at yourself; you just don’t know it.

          • Chris wrote: “Heather Heyer died of a heart attack after being hit by a car. The man who hit her with his car is on trial for murder. Your insane claim that the heart attack was caused by dehydration, and not the car that deliberately hit her, comes directly from neo-Nazi websites desperate to exonerate the neo-Nazi who deliberately hit her with his car.

            Go peddle your Info Wars style conspiracy mongering and Nazi apologist bilge elsewhere. It is beneath the standards of this blog as well as any standards of decency.”

            One thing I notice happeningon this Blog — and I completely understand it — is that there is a battle to keep things more or less in the center. There is a good deal of ‘Thanks, wonderful post!’ and different effusions that are exchanged between those supposedly opposed in political orientation. The ‘center’ that is defined holds at least basically to the same premises, and for this reason it has always seemed to me, Chris, that you are simply just a wee bit to the left of most of the so-called Conservatives who write here. If you could only work out your (minor) differences!

            What is interesting to me is to try to define what exactly you are attempting when you apply the labels that you have to Lucky. To my view, what I notice is an attempt to marginalize him (though in fact I do not think he can fairly be described as you have, and it is true that some of my ideas — openly and honestly expressed — are more in that vein) and in this way, in Forum Politics, maintain the conversation in a nice, acceptable territory. It is certainly fine to do that and I assume it makes you feel better when you are more in agreement than in disagreement, but it does not reflect what is going on in the country. It doesn’t really speak to the nature of the conflicts, the reason why they exist, and the reasons why they are coming up so strongly now. My personal view — and I admit that I really enjoy battle and argument — is to try to get everything out on the open. Here, on this Blog I notice, there is an attempt to keep things under wraps. I think that many who write here are afraid of the consequences of the present and afraid to really see, and accurately define, what is going on.

            I want to say that though I have often made efforts to express a rather extremist conservatism, and I am of the opinion that it is not good for a nation to base itself in Universalism and Multiculturalism (and my views can be explained and decent arguments made), that I am forced as a result of my study and analysis to clearly state that I must break ranks with the ‘conservative right’ and the classical American Right as I define an anti-war and anti-neo-imperialist position. As I have said in other posts recently, if America is to be defended it is to be defended through its republicanism, not through its nationalism. What resulted from the Cuban adventure of 1898 and the Phillippine American War pf 1899 (an extension of the same Spanish conflict) represents the beginning-point through which the Republic was altered and significantly betrayed. It moves from that through the presidency of Woodrow Wilson directly into WW1, and it was there that the severe errors were made that have evolved into the terrible errors which now define America-as-Nation.

            I know now that when I express this, or when I refer to the specific events, and the mendaciousness of the players, that the American conservative Right will turn against me (so to speak) to the degree that their personal identity, and their national identity, are blended together into a national creed. The only position that I can see that I can ally with is something akin to ‘paleo-conservatism’. Interestingly, the Progressive reform movement in the United States in the late 1800s and into the early 1900s, was a movement attempting to define a reform-conservatism and they were battling, in essence, plutocracy and elite subversion.

            And as I have said (and no one has yet made any comment!) it seems to me fair, intelligent and reasonable to notice that the destructive policies of republican subversion (subversion of the republic) that began with the neo-imperialist war-footing in 1900 … one hundred years later culminated in the events of 9/11 and the complete and absolute deception and manipulation of the American populace. It represents the destruction of the vision of ‘conservative American ideals’. It represents the most severe, the most obvious, intention of destroying the Republic. But what is most important is that it represents the total betrayal of people, all people within the country. The meaning of this event, and the events that have followed it, are what need to be seen and talked about. There are now tens of thousands of people, and many professional organizations, that have come out in opposition to the ‘official narrative’.

            I have to thank this Blog for helping me to get to the position of understanding I now have insofar as, all along, I have been forced to ask Why are things as they are?

            In my view, once one has defined who it is that that undertook this terrible and defining attack, one can better understand in real terms who one’s real enemy is. But it requires the initial definition, and of course the ability, the capacity, to make the definition. What stands behind it is, quite literally, tyranny of a most extreme sort. But then also social engineering, social manipulation, and the construction of a ‘Nation’ which is no longer nor truly a ‘republic’. To be able to get to the bottom of all this — to be able to see clearly, and to think clearly — is a tremendously demanding endeavor.

            As to the events in Charlottesville, it is still wise (and despite your typical knee-jerk reactions against your ‘favorite enemy’ the Nazi!) to take into consideration that we cannot always be certain what we are seeing. Like anyone else I assumed that a racist activist drove his car into the croud with the intention of hurting or killing people. It seems the obvious and safest interpretation. But I will suggest that when one looks into it there are anomalies. One is that he was driving quite slow. Did not deliberately drive up on the side-walk when he could have struck many more people. And there is the ‘report’, true or false I do not know, that he was trying to get away from a violent encounter with some of the (aggressive) counter-protestors. It is also true that Heyers cause of death (if the report of what her own mother said is true) was heart attack, not her body being crushed by the car.

            Beyond this, I have no clear understanding of what really happened there. But there is one more thing I do want to say though it too will not, I do not think, be at all well received on this Blog. And that is that the ‘powers that be’ have often shown themselves at crucial junctures in American history, especially postwar 2 history, to get directly involved in behind-the-scenes manipulations. This of course happened with the ‘Black Liberation Movement’ with the FBI infiltrations. It also happened on the Indian reservations back in thr 1970s. And there seems to me no doubt that it is going on now. I mean, if one accepts the clear evidence that 9/11 was a government Op, and there is almost no chance that it was not based on the evidence, then we can clearly see that there is a military-police-state force that will stop at nothing to influence events and steer them where it desires.

            I believe that I am ‘doing the hard work of ethics’ insofar as I am attempting to get to the core of what is wrong or *what is really going on*. I do tend to think in large terms or in macro-political or meta-political terms. But I do not think I am a destructive person per se. (Despite of course what you say about me!)

            The other part of this is that, very clearly and very obviously, the national government of the US, starting in WW1, set out to villify the German nation and this villification has become a mythological component of the way that Americans see reality. This needs to be un-done. And to do that means to undo American mendaciousness. And this is no small task because *your* identity is tied to lies, is bound-up in lies. When the person and the personality are wedded to certain lies, it is a very involved endeavor to separate them.

            I am here to help! 😉

          • Thank you so much Alizia for that interesting expository post! I wish I could have said all that so clearly!

            I guess if I can’t get any praise through natural means I can get it artificially … 🙂

            • luckyesteeyoreman

              Okay, Alizia, I will praise you with faint damnation.

              I appreciate your reply to Chris, and I don’t mind your “ranking” of my “rightness.” I appreciate your civil explanation, at length, of your perceptions which lead you to conclude what is wrong and needs to be fixed [in a country you neither reside in, nor are a citizen of – correct?]. I will concede, based on what I read in your comment that I am replying to right now, that you might have better insight than I into Chris’s thinking.

              Do you really believe that Americans’ mendacity is somehow a cut above (or, below) that of people everywhere? I mean, regardless of whatever the actual truth is about history?

              “Conspiracy of consensus,” I accept as a reality. Social engineering for purposes of producing a conspiracy of consensus, I can accept as a reality, too. But “hyper-competent governance,” I cannot accept – whether the governance flows from all manner of conspiracy among a plutocracy, or hijacked democracy, or just plain old, fake republican “governors.” I hope that will help you to understand my hostility to “big government,” and specifically, my hostility to, and lack of trust of, the “yoooge,” oversized, over-intrusive, unaccountable, congenitally inefficient and wasteful, inherently oppressive and deceptively destructive current Executive Branch of what is called the United States Government – a “government,” or institution of governance, that derivatively further suppresses my trust of both of that Government’s other two constitutionally ordained Branches.

              And now, we have available a conspiracy-phile’s (and conspiracy-phobe’s) most insidious tools to date – the cyber tools – which can, and are, and will be, used to simultaneously (1) promote continuous foment and fractionalizing, and (2) socially engineer sufficient numbers of people toward a self-centralized plotter’s desired conspiracy of consensus, so as to fulfill whatever power-quests the cyber-controllers (or, their controllers) select. We are indeed in an infowars zone. It’s only going to get worse, for the foreseeable future. At this point, only a global catastrophe of humanly insurmountable proportions – for an example from the natural (beyond human) environment, a Coronal Mass Ejection – can rescue humanity from itself along the current, illiberal course.

              • Hello there. I am a naturalized US citizen. I lived quite a number of years in Sacramento. I know the Bay Area pretty well. I used to go back and forth to Panama but now live in Colombia. My parents live in Bogota. I live in an out-of-the-way part of Colombia about 4 hours from Cali. My sister is here with me and my BF comes and goes (from N Europe). We live in the house of my brother-in-law who is American and an ex-patriot. He has a philosophpy background and a huge library.

                If I did not have a connection via citizenship to the US, audacious and pretentious though I am, I do not think I would feel justified in spilling out my opinions. Pretention though is my strong suit and, if I may say so myself, I am darned good at it and getting better. 🙂

                If I understand Chris, and I may not, it is because I was first attracted to all the dialectics of the Left. At a certain point, I flip-flopped to the other extreme … and then deliberately took it to the farthest extreme. The most extreme philosophical/spiritual position is found in someone like Savitri Devi (there is an interesting talk about her by Jonathan Bowden on YouTube). She defended Hitler as a manifestation of Vishnu (!) It sounds quite weird of course but the world of ideas, and the power of ideas, is an amplitude. I feel I have a certain power when confronting people like Chris (who is really only mildly progressive) because I can place him on a very long continuum. He is a reactionary of a special post-ww2 sort.

                If I speak about ‘mendacity’, I do so with a couple of goals in mind. And I try to be frank. One of my reasons is that I discern that the typical American conservative is deeply involved in lies. The American who has not examined him or herself most often has a structure-of-view of the world, and America’s place in the world, that has been deeply molded and modified by propaganda. To me, this is just the most basic material. No big deal. I am just now catching up on Woodrow Wilson and the first international adventures of the US as it became a global power. I could cite very many different things (based of course on the reading I am now doing) but I will spare you. The point is that it took mendaciousness and manipulation to trich the Republic into violating the rule about ‘international embroilments’. The other main feature of WW2 is that it began to demonize the German and that demonization has become a psychological feature within the American psyche. They really imagine that they went forward to ‘save the world’ but they went forward, in fact, to capture empire. Americanism and the Americanopolis, and the war-machine of the US, has been built on this strange ground. The American who can tell the truth, tells it because he sees it clearly.

                If I point to this particular mendacity I do so without considering how much, or how little, others lie. America is a special case because, after the WW, it became the largest and most powerful country. In my view, if one is going to successfully define a patriotic program, it can only come about through back-tracking. Back-tracking as I mean it is to return to constitutional defensible roots. And to understand where the wrong turns were taken. But if I make a critique of any sort and type I have zero interest in offending anyone. My object is to get to a clear explication of the present, simply to be able to say what it is. There is no topic that I see it necessary to push off the board. I can talk about Jews (my family in fact), Blacks, Mexicans, Meso-Americans, Homosexuals, Latinos as a group (they make me sick in so many different ways) and also about feminism, liberation movements, Latin American nationalism and so much else without getting in the least bit upset. But I always feel I have to be careful because others get so bloody upset. The smallest thing and many people — I will mention Americans because this is an American blog filled with Americans (and one lunatic Canadian!) — get spansmatic. I need not mention names…

                I think I understand what you say about Big Government and such. I think that everyone should do some historical research into the collusion between that big government and the industries and the war-powers: it is these things that define America. So, the last two paragraphs you wrote make a great deal of sense to me. I understand and agree with what you are saying. I also appreciate that you understand — that is if I understand you right — the issue of ‘genocide’ of (original) Americans.

                I only suggest that to understand Chris (and millions just like him) one has to understand their ‘anthropology’. Unfortunatley, the post WW2 progressive has absorbed a strange version of it and cannot — will not — make necessary distinctions. A human being is, for them, a mere ‘unit’ and a blob of protoplasm. You can pick one up from far away and drop him (or her) down and *it* will take up the assigned function. The anthropology that I define is radically different. But to get to that definition, I admit, I had to ‘transgress’ and read inappropriate materials.

      • Why is turning your back to the flag different than taking a knee? Why do you believe that turning your back to the flag should be discouraged?

        • Chris

          I think it’s different for a few reasons. One, taking a knee to a person or icon is usually not seen as a sign of disrespect, but one of honor. Of course, the players in this case are clearly violating the accepted code of conduct for the flag, and it can’t be argued that they are doing so to show the flag *more* honor than it’s owed. At the same time, they are still facing the flag, and engaging with it; turning one’s back to it would represent a complete rejection, while taking a knee is intended to show respect while also acknowledging that we are not fully living up to our ideals. It’s a complex stance, but I don’t think it’s a disrespectful one. It’s a *questioning* stance, a stance that shows ambivalence and tenuousness–which is what many African-Americans justly feel about their people’s experience in this country. But they aren’t turning their backs on it; people on one knee eventually get up. When the time is right.

          This will probably be declared authentic frontier gibberish, and maybe it is.

      • Rob Palmer

        Your argument seems to be the Heckler’s veto; some people are upset by National Anthem, so best not to play it at all. I’ve noticed these arguments are only ever made in favor of one side. If the gay flag upsets people, too bad. Put it up on the Whitehouse. The more evil homophobes we trigger, the better.

        Really though, how can the NATIONAL ANTHEM even be controversial?

        • Chris

          My argument is that if people don’t want political speech on the field, they shouldn’t demand players engage in political speech on the field. Of course, we disagree over whether the anthem is political speech, so we are at an impasse.

          • Rob Palmer

            Saying the national anthem is “Political Speech” implies there’s some kind of debate to the existence of the country. What are you, a Royalist?

            • Chris

              I…don’t agree. Jehova’s Witnesses don’t say the pledge; they don’t, as far as I know, object to the existence of the country. I’ve never heard anyone who objected to the pledge argue that the US shouldn’t exist, nor have I picked up on that implication. There are plenty of reasons to object to the pledge that don’t imply the country shouldn’t exist.

  2. Steve-O-in-NJ

    “I cannot fathom why so many on the Left cannot grasp this concept, and I have dark suspicions that they do grasp it, and this is why they try to tear our traditions down.”

    Oh they do grasp it, Jack, they certainly do. Some of the true believers on the left reject it, some of the more cynical see rejection of it as just one more way to give the rest of the nation a hard time. What the left wants, as I will explain further later, is a monopoly on honor, in which only they can have honor and only they can dole it out to approved events and individuals. The national anthem is not an approved event, since it was always tainted by being a war song, and now is tainted more because its author was a slave owner.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      OK, now the whole post:

      I’ve written at some length upon the ridiculous recent attempts to pull down statues and symbols that have stood for decades because someone suddenly decided that they were offensive and couldn’t be tolerated another minute. I talked about how this was probably a bad idea that would set a bad precedent, would create hard feelings, couldn’t erase historical fact, and was subject to abuse by those seeking to raise their own profiles while not really accomplishing anything positive.
      I never really addressed the questions of who we choose to honor, why we choose to honor them, and whether the reason we choose to honor them is enough. The fact is there is no one-size-fits-all definition of worthiness for honor, and there is no fixed set of criteria that need to be met before someone is deemed worthy. There is certainly no person or persons vested with the national or even the statewide authority to rule on worthiness.
      Individuals are honored for various reasons, although most boil down to some form of achievement – something or several somethings the proposed honoree did that were positive or had a great influence on many. Character also figures into the equation, but very rarely is someone honored only for his character unless he is a literal or figurative saint, and even then deeds are typically associated with that character.
      The fact is that no one is ever honored simply for being a nice guy who wasn’t disliked by those he encountered, or for not doing anything bad, or even simply for being a day-to-day hardworking guy like the proverbial street sweeper in Martin Luther King’s speech. With respect to Dr. King, who we’ll talk a little bit more about later, no one ever said, nor is likely to say, “here lived a great street sweeper, who swept his job well.”
      The proverbial street sweeper will likely get a cheap electroplate gold watch and a handshake upon retirement and be largely forgotten once those who knew him are gone. He is simply not someone whose continuing influence, for good or for ill, will be felt long after his time in this world is over, nor someone whose deeds merit memorialization or dissemination beyond his immediate community. Whether this is because he did not have the talent to achieve such deeds or the opportunity to achieve them never presented itself (or he never sought it out) is immaterial. When deciding who to honor, the question is never what would have happened, or what could have happened or what might have happened, it is only what did happen.
      Some might attempt to minimize the influence of individuals, arguing that great events were going to happen sooner or later, or that developments were bound to eventually happen. That might well be the case, however, such reductionism is really just a different way or arguing what would have or might have happened. The fact is that behind every event or every development is an individual or several individuals that made that event or development happen and shaped it into what it became. It is those individuals’ influence that the world continues to experience, and to those individuals that properly goes the credit or the blame for that influence.
      Some try to minimize Columbus by arguing that America could not be discovered since it was already inhabited, or that Leif Ericsson had been there already, or that he never actually set foot on the mainland of North America. Such reductionism is an attempt to ignore the proverbial elephant in the room, however, whether by semantics, or by referencing a previous expedition that neither stayed very long nor established a continuing link, or by a different trick of semantics. There is no getting around the fact that Columbus was the man who organized and sailed the expedition that established a continuing link between the Old World and the New World, and that all the other blocks that eventually formed the structure that is the current world’s most powerful nation, from John Cabot’s actual landing on the North American mainland, all the way up to today, build on that foundation. Arguably he is the man with the greatest continuing influence of all, apart from the founders of the major religions and possibly Johann Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press.
      Some try to minimize Thomas Jefferson by arguing that the tensions between the American colonies and the United Kingdom ran too deep and would have eventually exploded anyway, or that he did not actually fight in the Revolution, or that he did not write the Constitution himself. Again, this is an attempt to simply look past the mountain in the path, by speculation, by implication that one type of service is less credible than another, or that absence from one pivotal event takes away everything else. The fact is Jefferson was the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence, who introduced the concept of religious freedom, and saw it later become the basis for the First Amendment. To this day we are living with his influence.
      I could give more examples, but, more often than not, there is no way around real achievements and arguments that this or that achievement was less or not really an achievement are unconvincing and transparent.
      The question is properly whether achievements alone are enough to render someone worthy of honor without a second look at their character. If that look is taken, how closely should the achiever’s character be scrutinized, and what if anything is cause for disqualification from honor?
      There are no simple answers to those questions. The answers you will get often depend on who is being examined, who is doing the examining, whether or not the examiner has an agenda, and, if so, what that agenda is.
      Certain individuals have grown beyond being historical figures to become symbols for whole ethnicities, nations, or faiths. The members of those groups so symbolized understandably do not want their symbols examined too closely, leave alone attacked. An outsider may see them more clearly in some ways, less in others. Many more have become admired figures on one side of the political aisle, and anchoring points for the ideology of that side. Those on the side so anchored understandably don’t want their anchors attacked. Those on the side not so anchored are eager, in some cases perhaps too much so, to attack the anchors of those they are opposed to. Those who do the actual honoring with statues, awards, etc. named for their particular figure are usually not outsiders and do not see anything wrong with raising a statue of Columbus in a city where Italian immigrants got their start, or giving a medal in Michael Collins’ honor to an outstanding Irish-American public servant, or presenting an award named for Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson to an outstanding high school student in Virginia.
      These questions are by no means unique to the United States. Europe is quite liberally marked with statues and monuments to historic figures, some of whom might strike one as odd – failed rebels, rulers who might now be considered tyrannical, even a few regicides, and many figures who would be considered heroes by one nation or group, but the most evil of villains by others.
      There should be a presumption of good faith in the giving of these honors. Most come at no small expense, and the idea that one group would raise, then pay a huge sum to oppress another group is somewhat preposterous.
      One would also think that there should be a presumption against denying an honor to any historical figure who is not an out and out villain. However, even that last presumption breaks down fairly easily. To a Turk, Kemal Ataturk is the hero who ruled Turkey with an iron hand while leading it into democracy. To an Armenian he is simply one more Turkish brute who abused his people. The truth is far more complicated, of course. To a Romanian, Vlad Tepes was a brutal but effective ruler who kept their nation from being conquered by the east. To most other people, he is the basis for the legend of Dracula. Again, the truth, at least as it has come down through the ages, is not so black and white. However, if you suggested to the Romanians that Vlad was a villain, you would get a stony stare at best, and speaking ill of Ataturk in Turkey is punishable by two years in prison. One can only wonder what will happen as Western Europe receives increasingly more and more foreign refugees and migrants hostile to honored local figures such as Charlemagne in France and Godfrey de Bouillon and Leopold II in Belgium.
      The United States stands in a somewhat unique position as a mixture of many cultures, both ethnic and regional, and with a unique history. Most of the cultures have produced high achievers and achievements worthy of honoring, and the history, though not always attractive, has produced many achievements. However, despite the myth of the “melting pot” the fact is that many of the cultures have remained hostile to one another, and have a very difficult time seeing those who they view as wrong honored.
      Initially it was just a question of further scrutiny of the record to see if some of the honored figures were in fact worthy, with the intent being to present the facts and let the readers decide who was worthy, and if the new information changed anything. However, recently this questioning has taken on the tone of a cultural war waged by the political left, with the intention of not presenting new information, but of depriving those not on the left of their honorees, and so to create a system in which they are the only ones with honor, and only approved achievements by approved individuals are worthy of them doling any out.
      The first battle in this war is the ongoing fight against the memory of the Confederacy. Admittedly, the Confederacy got off pretty lightly. No one was executed, no one was charged with treason, and even Jefferson Davis spent very little time in prison. Nothing was outlawed except slavery, and, in fact, a conscious effort was made to include the memory of the cause going forward, which is why there are all those military bases with names of Confederate officers. The Confederacy was not a good cause, it involved breaking faith with the Constitution and enshrining man’s right to own man. However, that cause also ended 152 years ago when Robert E. Lee, military genius and one of the most principled men ever to wear the uniform of the United States Army, surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant, the one man who was his equal on the battlefield and who had three equally talented lieutenants (Sherman, Thomas, and Sheridan), while Lee had lost his best lieutenant (Jackson) in the hour of his greatest victory. No one seriously tried to revive the Confederacy again. The region is decidedly conservative and perhaps sees the past through too rosy a lens, but, legal oppression was long over. At this point, however, self-proclaimed experts and leaders are attempting to tell them they have to give the past and their heroes up, even take the punishment not meted out a century and a half ago.
      It isn’t ending there, though. Columbus is the next target and the Founding Fathers are after that, achievements aside. If the examiner of the proposed or existing honoree is looking only for reasons to screen him out of worthiness, that is all he will find, and I submit that is what the left is now trying to do. They do not want to find new individuals worthy of honor nor do they seek to bring honor to worthy honorees whom history has passed over. What they want is a monopoly on honor, because only their beliefs and principles are worthy of honor and the power both to dole honor out only to individuals and ideas they deem worthy and to veto or withdraw honor to individuals and ideas that they deem unworthy. They are willing to do it through the process where they have sufficient votes, such as big liberal cities that are often blueberries in seas of red wine, but, if they run into resistance, as they did in Charlottesville or as they are in the northeast cities that are still loaded to the gills with Italian-Americans, they do not hesitate to turn to vandalism or other attacks, then justify them by saying the objects of their attacks are not worthy of honor anyway. It’s frankly just a slightly different approach to Orwell’s “who controls the past controls the present, who controls the present controls the future” or Stalin’s “the people who cast the votes decide nothing, the people who count the votes decide everything.” This is even more insidious than “history is written by the victors” (which isn’t always literally true). This is “those who achieve mean nothing, those who decide which achievements mean something mean everything.” Beware.

  3. Glenn Logan

    This is deeply unfair. The argument is that our country is not living up to the ideals that the flag stands for. That is not disrespectful toward the flag, and invoking veterans (plenty of whom support Kaepernick’s protest) is pure emotional manipulation.

    Wait a minute. You mean that all these years since the NFL was integrated, we’ve been living up to the standards the flag stands for, and suddenly, here in 2017, we aren’t?

    I mean, why now?

    I’ll tell you why — the Left has decided that it can get away with it, signal their virtue and at the same time hope to destroy American traditions that they find distasteful, not because they are, but because their political opponents find them an important glue to bind our diverse nation into one people rather than a group of groups. The Left have decided that division by racial, ethic, religious, sexual or other identity is useful in tearing down our republic and replacing it with a more re-distributive scheme of government that benefits them. All groups want to get theirs, so self-interest will show the way to the New Order.

    I’m willing to bet they are wrong. At least, I hope so.

    • Chris

      You mean that all these years since the NFL was integrated, we’ve been living up to the standards the flag stands for, and suddenly, here in 2017, we aren’t?

      No, that’s not what I mean.

      • Glenn Logan

        Well then, why now?

        • Chris

          Because the issue of mistreatment of blacks by police is more on the radar now then it used to be. There are many reasons for this. “It’s suddenly a problem when it wasn’t before” isn’t the reason, and almost never is. When the suffragette movement began, it wasn’t because women being denied the vote used to be OK and suddenly wasn’t. It was because the problem was denied and ignored. I don’t know for sure that the same is true for police discrimination against blacks, but I find it very likely.

    • Why now? Remember. Kaepernick started this controversy when his football star was fading and the 49ers were considering cutting him. He used it as a weapon, daring the 49ers knowing fully well that the team’s management would have a crisis on its hands with the obligatory cries of outrage.

      Remember what Rahm Emanuel (paraphrasing Churchill) said: “You never let a serious crisis go to waste”. The Left is excellent at co-opting and contorting controversy to distract from important issues such as skyrocketing health care costs, unemployment, out of control consumer debt. N. Korea, etc.

      jvb

      • Glenn Logan

        Perhaps so. I don’t follow the NFL, so I don’t really know the backstory of his decline, I just know that many teams doubted his ability to do the job after that magical season or two he had.

        But it’s also my inclination to apply Occam’s Razor to the matter.

      • As much as I dislike Kaepernick, because I believe he undertook this protest without a complete understanding of the facts, I don’t believe he did this to prevent the 49ers from doing anything. In fact, he was the one that opted out of his contract, essentially, cutting himself.

        • Other Bill

          He got a new, radical lefty girlfriend who’s using him as a sock puppet. He’s a dope. All he’s doing is spouting Authentic Frontier Gibberish on command.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      It’s just continuing the practices of Obama, the divider-in-chief, except most Americans, except for wackadoo Vermont and the Left Coast, still hold a smidge of patriotism. I know the left thinks it’s quaint at best, dangerous at worst, but its a very deep well, and Trump just tapped it.

  4. I copied your Train Wreck – Part 2 in a facebook post, and gave full attribution. I hope I haven’t crossed a line.

    jvb

    • crella

      Is your Facebook page burned to the ground yet? (Half joking…)

      • Well, I tried to provide a different perspective. MY opinions were met with derision and outrage. Apparently, I am too obtuse and too white to understand. I guess it is an African-American thing, according to one responder. Oddly, the thread is deleted because it no longer shows in my feed or history, and the person’s page no longer shows the link/thread.

        jvb

  5. “That’s what they’re protesting. It’s what I would be doing too. I’ve said before that I think flag burning is idiotic, but if Trump followed through on his threats to make flag burning illegal, I would become a flag burner. There may not have been a specific threat here, but the principle is the same. If Trump calls people who take a knee during the national anthem “sons of bitches,” then let me be a son of a bitch.”

    I have to admit that this train of thought holds a place near and dear to my heart. Where in other nations, the only questioning on a command to jump might be “how high?”, in America the obvious answer is “Fuck off.” If Trump hadn’t opened his big dumb fat mouth the way he did on this issue, I could continue to deride Kaepernick’s protest against…. something…. But because Trump drew that line, I think the patriotic, American thing, for just a game or two, to get the point across is to do EXACTLY what those players did and tell him to fuck off.

    As to the rest of it… I have the feeling that if not for Trump, the players would never have dreamed of taking a knee, I mean… Before now, you’d have a hard time naming a dozen players that were taking part… But… If they had, and not because Trump had made an ass of himself, but because they also felt strongly about…. something…. and felt that protesting the anthem would help…. somehow…. I have the feeling that the same people cheering them on would be cheering them on, for exactly the reason they’re cheering them on.

    I have theories on that, but my point is that there are two sides right now, two sides that have different systems of values, different pasttimes, different priorities, and even different languages at time. Take this exchange:

    “Why is refusing to stand for the anthem appropriate?”
    “Why is it inappropriate?”

    We could explain the benefits of tradition, the positive outcomes of bonding, of social cohesion. We can explain the history, the sacrifice of others, what liberty means. We could explain why we have a flag, we could parse the words… but… It’s…. qualia… How do you explain pain to a rock?

    How do you explain to someone that doesn’t want to listen the benefits of tradition? How do you show to someone who does not wish to see the positive outcomes of camaraderie? I can say all the words, but how do I foster understanding?

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      “How do you explain to someone that doesn’t want to listen the benefits of tradition? How do you show to someone who does not wish to see the positive outcomes of camaraderie? I can say all the words, but how do I foster understanding?”

      No offense, HT, but you of all people should know how worthless it is to try to explain something to someone who just doesn’t want to hear it. Do we really need to go back to the discussions about “sodomy” and a certain “tide” that went noplace? Should we talk about “lizard brain” hatred? That’s why I’m posting less and less now, there’s no point in trying to draw a picture in glowing colors for someone who can only see in black and white, or compose a symphony for someone who’s tone-deaf.

    • Chris

      HT, I’m glad that while we disagree on the validity of the original protest, we can at least agree that the players are justified in taking a knee in response to Trump’s comments.

      I feel your frustration at the lack of ability to truly explain some things across our divisions. Someone else (I can’t remember who at the moment unfortunately) mentioned “two Americas” yesterday, and it does feel like that here often.

      To me it is obvious that the anthem is political; to many here it is obvious that it is not. To me it is obvious that Trump’s campaign was xenophobic and racist; to many here it is obvious that it was not. To many here it is obvious that kneeling during the pledge is disrespectful; to me it is obvious that it is not. These differences cannot be resolved because they are based on premises which are totally opposed to one another.

      • Glenn Logan

        To me it is obvious that the anthem is political; to many here it is obvious that it is not. To me it is obvious that Trump’s campaign was xenophobic and racist; to many here it is obvious that it was not. To many here it is obvious that kneeling during the pledge is disrespectful; to me it is obvious that it is not. These differences cannot be resolved because they are based on premises which are totally opposed to one another.

        Diametric opposition is inherently irreconcilable, for sure, but I suspect most of it is born of partisan stubbornness. That, and a refusal or inability to dispassionately examine both arguments, and apply logic instead of emotion to analyze them.

    • valkygrrl

      “Why is refusing to stand for the anthem appropriate?”
      “Why is it inappropriate?”

      Why is it inappropriate?

      I’ve been to my share of baseball games. The players stand. Some of the people in the stands stand. Others stay sitting, munch their stacks, or head off to buy snacks, or use the bathroom. I’ve watched games on TV in company, no one indoors ever bothered to stand. Do they all stand in sports bars? I admit it isn’t my preferred venue but I’d bet not. Do other people stand when they watch the Olympics and Americans win gold medals? Who decided that standing was The Thing To Do in the first place?

      Why not kneel? It’s a form of obeisance. When, before last year was kneeling ever considered a disrespectful act? It seems to mine eyes that the problem is the message and the messenger, not the act. And that’s bullshit.

      Like Trump’s new talking point that the flag is being disrespected. also bullshit. The flag’s flying over the stadium the whole time, nothing’s being doe to it or at it. It’s just bullshit code for they (black players kneeling) aren’t us.

      This is not about the form of the protest, not in the least. This is because there’s any protest at all. Traditions? Respect? Culture? Cowardly excuses to let people rationalize their outrage.

      Back to the first question. Why is it inappropriate?

      Do you think many people would have noticed and been outraged if they hadn’t been told this was a protest? If one day before a game the camera panned over the players during the national anthem and one was kneeling, do you honestly believe there’d have been a freakout? What if it had been Tim Tebow kneeling? Would it have been so disrespectful if a player knelt to honor a brother or father lost in wartime?

      Be honest.

      Now I’ll ask the question one last time. Why is it inappropriate?

      • “Do you think many people would have noticed and been outraged if they hadn’t been told this was a protest?”

        Noticed? Absolutely. Be outraged? I’m sure it would garner comments, and those comments would have hinged on respect, but no, not the outrage we’re seeing now. I think you’re discounting that the players have announced why they’re doing it though. If someone scratched their chin, I’d think nothing of it, if someone said “every time I scratch my chin, I’m thinking about how much I’d like to take a dump on your doorstep” and then scratched his chin, well… I might be forgiven if I thought he was thinking about how great it’d be to take a dump on my doorstep.

        “If one day before a game the camera panned over the players during the national anthem and one was kneeling, do you honestly believe there’d have been a freakout?”

        Again… This might be a tale of Two Americas… But there’s no doubt in my mind that it would be noticed and commented on.

        “What if it had been Tim Tebow kneeling?”

        I think you’re trying very hard to make this racial, and again… Two Americas… But I promise you that most of the people who are getting angry aren’t doing a skin tone check before expressing their anger. I think if Tebow had said the same things, and done the same things, people would have been just as angry.

        “Would it have been so disrespectful if a player knelt to honor a brother or father lost in wartime?”

        If instead of saying, “When I scratch my chin, I’m thinking about taking a dump on your porch” my hypothetical had said “every time I scratch my chin, I’m thinking of my long dead father” and then scratched his chin, I think it’d be unreasonable to assume he was thinking about taking a dump on my porch.

        You are, I think, getting hung up on the action, and ignoring the intent, because the action makes your argument easier. “Sit, stand, kneel… People can show respect a million different ways.” And that’s true! If you ignore what the players are saying and the context surrounding these protests.

        “Why is it inappropriate?”

        Because it’s incoherent, hostile, divisive and stupid.

        Incoherent… Because I don’t think anyone really knows what the players are protesting, what their aims are, or how the protest is going to further their aims. I mean… be honest… You tell me: why are they’re doing this? What is their stated goal, their hoped for outcome? Do this using their words, and not your personal interpretations, because obviously we don’t think alike. Tell me what words I was supposed to hear so that I could piece them together into a coherent mission statement.

        Hostile… Because it’s a protest. By definition against something. And when you’re incoherent, it’s left up to the imaginations of the people hearing your “message” to determine what it is you’re protesting against. I accept that it’s possible that the players did not mean to besmirch the idea of America, but it sure seems an easy line to draw in the face of some of their rhetoric. I mean… be honest, what exactly are the players protesting against, if not America, and what it stands for? Answer this using their words and not your personal interpretations, because obviously we don’t think alike. Tell me what words I was supposed to hear so that I could identify the target of this protest as not being against American values.

        Divisive… By design. America is polarized, and when you bring into contention things that are partisan… Not political, like Chris wants to define the anthem… but controversial, as breaking tradition will always be, you’re quickly going to have the usual suspects on both sides line up and yell at each other until they feel good, collecting collateral damage along the way. This is, by the way, the exact opposite of the reason the NFL exists. Americans don’t pay millions of dollars to hate watch a conflict, they want to watch a competition of relatively friendly rivals, it is supposed to bring people together. I mean…. be honest, do you really think that anyone thought, previous to the players doing it, that this protest was going to bring people together? Or was it always going to end up this way?

        And stupid… Because if your movement is is incoherent, hostile, and divisive, then even if it succeeds in the end, it’s harder than it had to be.

        • valkygrrl

          Ah but you didn’t really say anything to disagree with my comment. The complains are bullshit. It isn’t the kneeling any more than it would be chin scratching.

          They’re pissed about the reasons but complaining about the form. It’s disingenuous, it’s more than that, it’s a fucking lie. If Tebow knelt, they might have thought it religious and defended him.

          The answer to why is it inappropriate, is that it’s not. There’s nothing wrong with kneeling and anyone who says otherwise is spinning a tale instead of just telling you the truth. They don’t like the idea of kneeling in protest against killings by police officers. It isn’t about the national anthem, it isn’t about flags or soldiers or patriotism, because if you don’t think the police killing people should be protested against then the form the protest takes doesn’t matter, you’ll always be upset about it.

          Because I don’t think anyone really knows what the players are protesting, what their aims are, or how the protest is going to further their aims. I mean… be honest… You tell me: why are they’re doing this?

          The purpose of protest is to draw attention in the hopes that with enough people aware of the issue, change will happen.

          Let me relate to you the story of my first try at protest when I was 13. A friend had broken a school rule, no one denied that he should be punished for it, suspended even. But his suspension was held in reserve instead of being done right away. The powers that be decided that it should wait two months till the next field trip and then served. That’s just not cool. Break the rules, get suspended yes. Break the rules and then be told to wait so it’d be a little extra punishment, no not cool.

          So I refused to go on the field trip. I did this in the simplest way possible. I didn’t turn in my permission slip. I told a couple classmates but never said a word to the teacher. The day of the trip came, I sat at my desk. Someone asked why valkygrrl wasn’t going, another person said, oh valk’s protesting. My teacher Lost His Shit in front of everyone and started screaming. I won, I drew a ton of attention and made my teacher look like an asshole in front of everyone and all it cost me was not sitting through a too-damned-long Kevin Costner movie where he romances President Airlock.

          You see, it’s not inappropriate to not go on a field trip. It’s just a thing I chose to do. And it just happened to draw attention, and it just happened to piss off the person I was angry with, and it just happened to draw a lot of talk from classmates after the fact.

          And while in a teacher’s lounge somewhere there’d be talk about disrespect or traditions or bad attitudes, I didn’t do anything wrong and any real anger would be because I questioned authority, not because I spent a day sitting quietly at my desk with the gym teacher watching over me, and the kids who weren’t allowed on the trip.

          I mean…. be honest, do you really think that anyone thought, previous to the players doing it, that this protest was going to bring people together? Or was it always going to end up this way?

          Oddly enough, it seems to have brought players and owners together, but not of course not. It was going to end with police partisans losing their shit and maybe a cop “accidentally” killing one of the kneeling players while the commentators here claim he deserved it. Thus proving the point to anyone willing to see it.

          • “It isn’t the kneeling any more than it would be chin scratching.”

            That’s true!

            “They’re pissed about the reasons but complaining about the form. It’s disingenuous, it’s more than that, it’s a fucking lie.”

            No. But you were so close… They’re complaining about the form because that’s the expression of the reasons.

            “If Tebow knelt, they might have thought it religious and defended him.”

            It’s possible some would have, but I’d attribute that to cognitive dissonance and hero worship. Would they have done the same for Justin Bannan? I remain doubtful.

            “The answer to why is it inappropriate, is that it’s not. There’s nothing wrong with kneeling”

            But as you just got finished saying: “It isn’t the kneeling any more than it would be chin scratching.”. You can’t assert that and then pretend that’s the entirety of the reason people don’t like the player’s protest.

            “The purpose of protest is to draw attention in the hopes that with enough people aware of the issue, change will happen.”

            Ok, first off, what I asked was: “You tell me: why are they’re doing this? What is their stated goal, their hoped for outcome? Do this using their words, and not your personal interpretations, because obviously we don’t think alike. Tell me what words I was supposed to hear so that I could piece them together into a coherent mission statement.

            I’m not being difficult here, I just don’t think you can do it. You can’t even keep your own belief on what this is about straight, you went in the space of two sentences from protesting police shooting to building awareness of issues. Unless you think the issue is police shootings, I suppose… In which case… Please, cite that in their words.

            • valkygrrl

              But as you just got finished saying: “It isn’t the kneeling any more than it would be chin scratching.”. You can’t assert that and then pretend that’s the entirety of the reason people don’t like the player’s protest.

              No, it’s absolutely not the kneeling they object to. That’s my point.

              It’s the kneeling they say they object to. They hate the reason while trying to justify it with objection to the action. And that’s bullshit. They are, every last one of them, arguing in bad faith.

              • I doubt very much that anyone is actually saying the players are wrong for kneeling, period, end of assertion. And even if they were, I have to assume it’s because they’d expect people to be able to connect some context and understand that they were actually expressing that the players were wrong for the disrespect that kneeling represents.

                I mean… Which words would you have preferred them to say? No, let’s be clearer: Which words do you feel they could say, which would accurately convey the displeasure those people feel at the perceived disrespect offered by the players?

                • valkygrrl

                  They could say that they disagree with the player’s reasons for protesting and the chosen venue without offering objections to the form the protest took.

                  That is unless they really believed the form was problematical. But we’ve decided to be honest and pretty much agreed that if the who and why had been different, the kneeling wouldn’t have caused the same shit-storm.

              • Chris

                valky: This is not about the form of the protest, not in the least. This is because there’s any protest at all.

                I have to agree with this. Kneeling during the anthem is such a mild, passive, unobtrusive form of protest that I can only conclude if you oppose this, you would oppose any form of protest on this issue.

                HT: I’m not being difficult here, I just don’t think you can do it. You can’t even keep your own belief on what this is about straight, you went in the space of two sentences from protesting police shooting to building awareness of issues.

                I have no idea why you’d think there is a contradiction here.

                Unless you think the issue is police shootings, I suppose…

                Of course it is. But you know that already.

                In which case… Please, cite that in their words.

                You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

                Kaepernick: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people, and people of color,” Kaepernick said in a press conference after first sitting out during the anthem. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave, and getting away with murder.”

                This is unambiguously about police shootings. How could you not know that’s what this was about? Is your Google machine broken?

                • “I have to agree with this. Kneeling during the anthem is such a mild, passive, unobtrusive form of protest that I can only conclude if you oppose this, you would oppose any form of protest on this issue.”

                  I actually disagree… I think that if the players protested by putting a BLM sticker on their helmet, for instance, there WOULD be a contingent of anti-BLM people annoyed at the protest, but still not so much as they are here. That’s because, I think, support for BLM is mostly seen as a protest on police… Which I still think is horrendously overblown, but I can at least see the point of. The police however, are not synonymous with American values; the police are not the flag – they are a thread in it, they are not the anthem – not even a word in it. Protesting the anthem or the flag gets collateral issues tangled up that I think made this protest uglier than it ever had to be. Ever *meant* to be, I don’t know if the players really understood what they were doing. And if they protested police shootings by announcing a boycott on pumpkin spiced lattes? Again… I get it… there are some people who will just be angry, but I think the number in that case would be a fraction of a fraction what we’re seeing.

                  “This is unambiguously about police shootings. How could you not know that’s what this was about? Is your Google machine broken?”

                  Unambiguous, my ass. For someone so insistent that people actually say specific words to mean specific things when it suits you, a reference to “paid leave” seems a far cry from “unambiguous”, More, you have to weight that against the dozens of stupid, half baked statements coming from Kaepernick et al since, it’s not a clear message, it’s not a unified message, and it sure as hell isn’t unambiguous, hell, it’s barely a message.

                  • Chris

                    The police however, are not synonymous with American values; the police are not the flag – they are a thread in it, they are not the anthem – not even a word in it. Protesting the anthem or the flag gets collateral issues tangled up that I think made this protest uglier than it ever had to be.

                    Police are part of the government, though, and the point is that the government is not living up to the ideals of the flag and the anthem. Obviously.

                    Unambiguous, my ass. For someone so insistent that people actually say specific words to mean specific things when it suits you, a reference to “paid leave” seems a far cry from “unambiguous”,

                    *sigh* That’s seriously all you got from that statement? Here it is again, with the parts relevant to police shootings in bold:

                    I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people, and people of color,” Kaepernick said in a press conference after first sitting out during the anthem. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave, and getting away with murder.”

                    What do you think the “bodies in the street” refer to? What do you think “people getting paid leave” refers to? What do you think “getting away with murder” refers to?

                    I’ve already said that I don’t agree with his point about paid leave, but if you’re reading that as the main idea rather than a supporting detail, then you’re either not very good at delineating the two, or you’re purposefully choosing to fail at it because you want his comments to be less clear than they actually are.

                    But we both know that he’s referring to police shootings of black people, and you should really stop pretending not to.

              • It has everything to do with the form of protest.

                It is like people protesting sexual abuse within Jewish communities by burning a Torah Roll; it would be seen as a protest against the Judenvolk themselves.

                Of course, they are wrong on the merits, as they have no idcea who Mike Brown is- or do and do not care.

                • That’s actually a great example!

                  What if there was a new terrorist attack on American soil. What if people wanted to protest Muslim extremism… Not Muslims, specifically, but Muslim extremism, and they were crystal clear in voicing their intent: “Religious fundamentalism is anathemical to our values, these terrorists are trying to sow fear, to bully us into silence, and we will not be silenced. For every man, woman or child injured, we will be burning a copy of the Koran, and will do so every time one of these types of attacks happen.”

                  When those people burn the Koran…. Are the rest of the Muslims supposed to join in? To ignore it? I mean, the message was clear, right?

                  • Chris

                    If it were Muslims burning the Koran, rather than outsiders to the culture, that would be a better analogy. The flag-kneelers are Americans. And even then burning anything is a lot more extreme than kneeling; flag-burning is a Thing, and the players aren’t doing that. A better analogy might be a Muslim protesting violence by other Muslims by not bowing all the way down during prayer at mosque, or otherwise doing the motions differently from the generally accepted practice. But even then they’re voluntarily going to mosque, not being forced to participate in a ritual in order to remain employed in a field unrelated to that ritual.

                    • That’s a novel distinction. No one forces NFL players on to the field, they signed up for… no they auditioned… for the job, knowing full well that the anthem was part of it, and if at any time their morals became more important to them than the sweet sweet lucre they are being paid, they could just walk away. It might even in some cases be easier for NFL players to quit because the NFL doesn’t advocate death for apostasy.

                      But as to the in-group/out-group dynamic… We’re talking about symbolism, and disrespect. I’m not sure that people make much distinction about the exact form of disrespect, even though that might seem counter-intuitive… Burning a symbol, or defecating on it, seems like a much more important form of disrespect than letting it touch the ground, or pointedly withholding an expected obeisance, but for the people perceiving the disrespect, I’m not sure that the distinction holds much water. I doubt that a devout Muslim is any more or less likely to burn the Koran as they are to read it in pig latin, although to someone outside the group, pig latin seems obviously preferable.

                      It hits me then, that despite everyone involved being an American, there is probably a divide here more discrete than that… Because if the players WERE actually inside that group, if you, frankly, were inside that group, then it should be blatantly obvious why you neither shit on nor scorn your symbols.

                    • This is complete derp.

                      Many people stand for the anthem and say the Pledge because they support equal protection.

                    • Chris

                      I have faith that most people can make the distinction between kneeling before a flag and burning it. In fact, the kneeling was a compromise designed to be more respectful than his original protest:

                      Turns out it was former Seahawks player and Green Beret Nate Boyer who talked Kap into making the change. Boyer wrote an open letter to Kaepernick earlier this season, and it caused the two to meet up and discuss America and honoring the anthem.
                      On the upcoming episode of HBO’s “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” (airing Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET), Boyer reveals what happened in the discussion between the two men.
                      “We sorta came to a middle ground where he would take a knee alongside his teammates,” Boyer says. “Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect. When we’re on a patrol, you know, and we go into a security halt, we take a knee, and we pull security.”

                      https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/heres-how-nate-boyer-got-colin-kaepernick-to-go-from-sitting-to-kneeling/

              • They are, every last one of them, arguing in bad faith.

                And thus are crossing the line into progressive tactics, which have been used for decades.

                Reap the whirlwind.

        • valkygrrl

          You are, I think, getting hung up on the action, and ignoring the intent, because the action makes your argument easier. “Sit, stand, kneel… People can show respect a million different ways.” And that’s true! If you ignore what the players are saying and the context surrounding these protests.

          But that’s exactly what the Trumpkins are doing. Don’t kneel, that’s disrespectful. Insert pearl clutching. They’re insulting the flag. Provide fainting couch.

          If it were about context, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. We’d be having one about the number of black people killed by police in America.

          • Just stop it. Police have to shoot people. Sometimes they shoot people incompetently, carelessly, even maliciously. They shoot both black and white people, but for many reasons black people appear to challenge police and resist arrest more frequently than white people. Still, more white people are shot by police than black people. In either case, juries are extremely reluctant to convict even the police who deserve to be convicted, and that has far less to do with racism than the fact that the public knows police are protecting them, that they have a stressful and dangerous job, and that they sympathize when one shoots too quickly or mistakenly.

            I doubt one out a hundred of those kneeling, virtue-signalling dummies knows these things, and because they don’t, they don’t know what they are protesting.

            • Still Spartan

              ” [it] has far less to do with racism than the fact that the public knows police are protecting them, that they have a stressful and dangerous job, and that they sympathize when one shoots too quickly or mistakenly.”

              Wow. First, how do you know why the public is doing this? With respect, I think this is what you want to believe Jack. You live in a bubble where your friends could never be as malicious (consciously or not) as to excuse a murderer because of the victim’s skin color. Well, I am from a different bubble than you, and I can tell you that skin color matters. It matters a lot. I think I heard the “n” word more than 10,000 times in my childhood — and I grew up in a county that was 99% white!

              I don’t know how to solve this problem, but at least I am aware that it is a problem.

              • Chris

                Steve-O just let slip that he hates the previous president for being, and I quote, “poo-colored.” So let’s not pretend even the people here are immune to racial bias.

                • That’s unfair, and makes no more sense than arguing that people hate Trump because they call him orange. That was an ugly comment by Steve-O, but people typically use such descriptions because they don’t like or respect someone—it does not mean that the epithet is why they don’t like or respect them. Steve set himself up for that, but you’re still race-baiting.

                  • Still Spartan

                    ???? Does this country have a history of discriminating against orange people? And, I hate gratuitous attacks myself, and rarely, if ever, use them. People who call Trump “The Great Orange One” are assholes, but they aren’t racist. If someone calls Obama a “Poo-Colored President,” then that person is a asshole AND a racist. This isn’t the first time Steve has used insensitive remarks when his dander his up. I do think there is a lot of good in Steve, but he needs to work on this issue.

                    Remember when Alec Baldwin was pissed one day and used a gay slur? Same thing.

                    • Chris

                      What Spartan said. Of course referring to a black person as poo-colored is racist. How is this up for debate? Where am I?

                    • Chris

                      I have more to say about the “orange vs. poo-colored” distinction, which is so obvious I can’t believe I have to explain it:

                      Orange is not a naturally occurring human skin color. One presumes that Donald Trump is orange because he chooses to be orange; it is usually the result of lots and lots of fake tanning. When people make fun of Donald Trump for being orange, they are making fun of him for the unusual and off-putting way he chooses to present himself in public.

                      Now, that might be mean and petty, but it is in no way the same as making fun of someone for their natural skin color, which they cannot control, and which is shared by their entire racial group. That is clearly racist. Making fun of someone for having a fake tan is not racist.

                      Again, I can’t believe I just had to explain that.

                    • That’s an artificial distinction, Chris. Both are ad hominem attacks, based on physical characteristics. Saying you can’t believe why a phony distinction is necessary isn’t a defense of it. Both are wrong.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      “I have more to say about …”

                      This is where you get yourself in trouble. You just don’t know when to shut up.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      Yup, and HE got the benefit of the doubt, because he’s otherwise a good progressive and it just slipped. If that had been a prominent conservative it would have been a career-ender. Actually among the Irish calling someone orange can be not racist but sectarian (orange is the color of the disfavored Protestants) so it depends. That said, is attacking someone based on his physical appearance, whether it be his color or something else, ever really OK?

                    • That’s the old “you can’t be racist to white people” argument, which is, you know, utter crap.

                    • Chris

                      The question wasn’t whether they both are wrong. The question was over whether one of them is racist. And that shouldn’t have even been in question. Calling a black person “poo-colored” is racist. Period. Your hatred of actual race-baiting makes you incredibly skeptical of claims of racism, which is sometimes valid, but in this case is blinding you to reality. What are you going to argue next? That calling valky a “cum-catcher” wasn’t sexist? I’m mystified.

                    • To be accurate, that was misogynist, not sexist.

                    • Chris

                      Well! I admit I have never been clear on the distinction there, though I did originally call his remark misogynistic. You are correct on this point. Your ability to usually notice and identify bigotry against women is what makes it even more confusing to me that you often cannot notice and identify racism.

                    • You have adopted the sweeping use of “racism” now in vogue to stifle dissent and tar adversaries. Racism is the assertion or belief that a race is inferior to another, or should be treated differently that other races. Using references to racial characteristics in ad hominem attacks is a marker of racism in many cases, but is not itself racist per se. Steve-O explained his context. He was unwise to use the term. Doing so does not make him a racist. But I agree that such rhetoric is almost always called “racist.” I will hold out for a strict use of the word.

                    • Chris

                      He explained the context of the misogynistic comment in exactly the same way. Yet you don’t believe that makes his comment any less misogynistic.

                  • Steve-O-in-NJ

                    If I had called him Hussein, which I didn’t, you might be on better ground. I never said I hated him for being poo-colored, (which term I picked up from a half-comical, half-sad stage routine about an Indian-American kid growing up and once being brushed off by a white girl who said “you’re the color of poo!”) I used that term in a mocking manner because v-girl called the current president a “shithead.” Jack is right, you’re a race-baiter, but that comes as no surprise.

                    • Chris

                      My god. Pointing out that calling a black man “poo-colored” is racist is now race-baiting??? You’ve lost your mind.

                    • It’s an insult, and that’s all it is, like calling a white man “pasty” or “fish-belly white.” Steve-O is not a racist, ergo his use of that regrettable phrase cannot be used to show he is one.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      And you have lost your ability to comprehend what I write, if ever you had it.

                    • Chris

                      It’s an insult, and that’s all it is,

                      No, it is a racist insult.

                      Steve-O is not a racist, ergo his use of that regrettable phrase cannot be used to show he is one.

                      Kaboom! Jack, this is a head-explodingly stupid argument. We judge racists based on whether they engage in racist behavior or say racist things. What are you basing your judgment of Steve on? The fact that you like him? You realize that people you like can still be racists, right?

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      Unfortunately, Chris, no one set you up to judge me or declare me unworthy. You don’t know me. You are not on the worthiness panel, and I don’t have to prove to you by clear and convincing evidence that I am not a racist (proving a negative is impossible as leftists and atheists say anyway). It’s this attitude that conservatives are a million isms if and until proven otherwise that’s put your side in the position it’s in. Besides, isn’t it you folks on the left that say no one should be defined by his offense? Just because someone stole something once, that doesn’t make him a thief for life, just because someone was in one fight doesn’t mean he should be branded a thug, etc. Just because something said something you didn’t like doesn’t make him a racist. Like a punch-drunk middleweight you have to keep swinging back into the fray, even when you’re beat.

              • I know this because the rate of officers acquitted for shooting whites is about the same as when they shoot blacks. I’d say that’s pretty strong evidence. it’s also Occam’s Razor AND Hanlon’s Razor in action.

                The fact that there is racism doesn’t mean that it is the explanation for everything blacks (or whites) don’t like. That’s the central misconception you are vividly displaying. Jurors like cops, and don’t like criminals. This surprises you?

                • Still Spartan

                  Yes, but each case is different. Different facts, different testimony, different footage (assuming there is footage). There are egregious instances of black victims being murdered by white officers and the officers are acquitted. Lumping them together does not get you a razor of any kind here sir.

                  Your numbers would be interesting if there were a lot of instances of black officers being acquitted after murdering white victims.

                  • Even black lives matter doesn’t go THAT far. The theory is that the police, as enforcers of the system, are racist, not that only white cops are.

                  • There are egregious instances of black victims being murdered by white officers and the officers are acquitted.

                    Take ‘black’ out and substitute ‘white,’ or ‘hispanic,’ or ‘basket weaver’ and that statement is still true

                    So what?

            • The police may protest them, but they sure as hell do not protect them.

              As Christopher C. Morton wriote:

              http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2017/05/robert-farago/another-cop-carve-out-to-make-your-blood-boil-this-one-in-chicago/#comment-3383157

              Everyone should memorize:
              * Police have no legal duty to protect individuals.
              * Police have no legal liability when they fail to protect individuals.
              * Police not assigned as bodyguards have virtually no physical ability to protect individuals.

              Police don’t protect individuals. They draw chalk outlines around individuals who cannot or will not protect themselves. Anyone who tells you different is a LIAR.

          • That’s just shitty attribution. Protest IS a form of disrespect, it’s meant to be, it’s why it’s effective, it’s why your teacher lost his shit.

            Some things deserve disrespect, and some things don’t. When these players showed America disrespect, the flag and all it stands for, the anthem and all it represents, America and all it provides… take your pick… No, it doesn’t matter whether they take a knee, scratch their chin, or straight up say the words, whatever action they choose to voice their disrespect with is inappropriate because the disrespect is inappropriate.

            The best argument you could possibly make is that the players don’t MEAN to disrespect those things, but seeing as it’s so obvious that what they’re doing is a form of disrespect to so many, and seeing as even you admit that it was never going to end any other way, at that point you should be frustrated at the incoherent way they expressed it.

            • valkygrrl

              It always confuses me when people make assumptions about my unstated feelings. When did I say I’m not frustrated? They have a lot more power than 13-year-old valkygrrl. They could have all, every last NFL player, walked off the field and told the masses that they could have their brutal concussion-fest and the associated money it brings in back when cities force their police departs to retrain with deescalation techniques and make it clear to cops that force is a last resort rather than a go-to.

              To have the kind of power to bring change and then waste it with half-assed kneeling is a waste.

              That in no ways prevents me from thinking the right’s stated objections are dishonest.

              • “That in no ways prevents me from thinking the right’s stated objections are dishonest.”

                For someone who just bitched about assumptions on unstated opinions, you sure play fast and loose with them. This entire leg of the conversation, the whole “they’re saying they’re angry at the kneeling thing”, I entertained you on it because even if it were true, it’s still obvious that there’s more to it than that. But the fact of the matter is that it isn’t true, I would be surprised if a sliver minority of the people calling out the players referred to kneeling as inherently offensive, especially without further clarifying the message the players were sending as the actual target of their ire.

                • valkygrrl

                  Flip over to CNN, any minute now there’ll be another talking head with the same set of talking points I’ve been hearing for three days. Disrespecting the flag, insult to veterans and firefighters, linking arms is okay but kneeling is unforgivable, instead of insulting the flag they should tell the police to leave the stadium and let people charge the field.

          • If we wanted to have a conversation about the number if black people killed in America, engaging in hate speech against America is a rather ineffective method.

            It would be like trying to talk about sexual abuse within the Jewish Community by burning a Torah Roll.

            Of course, if you want to discuss the number of black people killed by police in America, look up interracial rape rates and ask yourself if this is the cause.

        • Also, the method of protest must at least be obvious with what is being protested against.

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2373238/Nechemya-Weberman-46-named-convicted-child-sex-offenders-terrorized-Orthodox-Jewish-community-released-Brooklyn-DA.html

          Sexual abuse was a problem in Jewish communities in Brooklyn.

          But if someone chose to protest against this abuse by burning a Torah Roll or marching around dressed like the Sturmabteilung, most people would not see it as a protest against child sexual abuse, but a protest against the Jewish people.

      • I also have increasingly little patience for language like:

        “Like Trump’s new talking point that the flag is being disrespected. also bullshit. The flag’s flying over the stadium the whole time, nothing’s being done to it or at it. It’s just bullshit code for they (black players kneeling) aren’t us.”

        Look, 70% of NFL players are black (real stat, I actually thought it was less), if all the players kneeling were black, it would be unusual, but not impossible, even without racism, especially up to last week, where only about a dozen players were taking part. That said… Not all the players kneeling are black, and very few commentators from the right are making a racial distinction.

        They are, however calling these players ungrateful. Which to someone like me seems obvious, these people are receiving millions of dollars annually for a season’s worth of work. They were generally born poor, and upward financial mobility being what it is in America, had every probability of dying poor, but instead: They’re rich, famous, and privileged. But to the ear of a progressive, apparently “ungrateful” is the new “uppity” because despite the obvious truth of their ingratitude (Or are you going to deny it, I wonder?), they can’t help themselves but make it about race. The answer to every problem a black person faces cannot conceivable be racism, and attempting to assert that without a reason to do so just… smacks of dishonesty.

        • valkygrrl

          They’re objecting to the police killing black people. How is that not about race? It’s not like they’re protesting bad catering at the stadiums or protesting tax policy or even protesting the lack of aid being sent to Puerto Rico.

          • “They’re objecting to the police killing black people.”

            So says you, what have the players said?

            • Chris

              Kaepernick: Kaepernick: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people, and people of color,” Kaepernick said in a press conference after first sitting out during the anthem. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave, and getting away with murder.”

              So, the players have clearly said they’re objecting to the police killing black people.

              Why would you even comment on this subject if you don’t know this?

              • So… I just want to be very clear…. Do you, Chris, Believe that:

                1) The current protest of over 200 NFL players is primarily driven by strong feelings about police violence.

                2) The current protest of over 200 NFL players is driven by Trumps dumb statements, and solidarity with their fellow players.

                Because if you answer the former… I don’t know where we go from there.

                • Chris

                  The initial protest was driven primarily by strong feelings about police violence. You know that, otherwise you wouldn’t have spent so much time in your previous comment talking about race.

                  The current protest is primarily about showing solidarity with their fellow players following Trump’s dumb statements.

                  This is clear, and I don’t know why you think there’s any contradiction here.

                  • Still Spartan

                    I don’t understand the mind block about this either Chris. I was boycotting the NFL before it was cool (brain injuries), but now that Trump is calling for boycotting the NFL over speech issues, it makes me WANT to go to a game and kneel in solidarity. I’m so conflicted!

                    It’s like Comey. I’m okay with him being for being lousy at his job, but I’m not okay with the actual firing being because of this Russia investigation. He needed to be fired for the right reasons.

                    Similarly, you’re allowed to fire your secretary because she can’t type, but you’re not allowed to fire her because she won’t sleep with you and then claim it’s about the typing!

                    • Supporting something or someone who should not be supported because you don’t like the reasons someone else is criticizing them is infantile, and also incoherent. Just because the boss wants to fire a lousy secretary for not sleeping with him doesn’t mean she should get a raise or a promotion—it just erects a legal barrier to giving her what she deserves. I’m sure a lot of anti-Trump crazies really think its worth getting long men crippled and killed to have another chance to defy the President, but you know what?

                      It isn’t. And THAT should be obvious, since you mention mind blocks.

                    • I’m similarly unable to understand the hang up here…. But I’ll keep on trying.

                      To try to use an example that might overcome some cognitive dissonance… The difference between consensual sex and rape is consent, intent and context, although the physicality of the act might be indistinguishable. Sex isn’t bad, but rape IS bad.

                      Kneeling, on it’s own, is a neutral act. Kneeling, in the context of the players, is a disrespectful act. The players aren’t being criticized for kneeling, they’re being criticized for a lack of respect, just like a rapist isn’t being put in jail for having sex, the rapist is being sent to jail for having raped someone.

                    • Still Spartan

                      Humble, I don’t give a damn if the teams fire these players for kneeling. I really don’t. There’s no free speech issue there. Your private employer can do whatever he wants. I do, however, give a damn that the President of the United States is encouraging people to boycott the sport or have these players be terminated for kneeling. Now we have a free speech issue, and now I care.

                    • That’s legally and Constitutionally valid, but again, supporting conduct that was wrong to begin with is a ridiculous way to protest a misuse of Presidential power calling it such.

                      I also don’t recall anyone deciding to rally to George Zimmerman because the last President interfered with the investigation and justice system by identifying with Trayvon Martin.

                    • Nor do I recall anyone taking a knee before the National Anthem because President Obama sided with Trayvon Martin.

                      Nor his Dear Colleague Letter in 2011.

                      Nor, “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.”

                    • Still Spartan

                      See, I disagree with you fundamentally about whether it is “wrong.” It is up to the employer — not you or me — to decide if it is wrong or not.

                    • Still Spartan

                      Please identify the free speech issue at play with Trayvon Martin. I see none.

                    • With Martin? You probably can’t find one. With the “dear Colleague” letter? You’ll trip over three just thinking about it.

                  • “otherwise you wouldn’t have spent so much time in your previous comment talking about race.”

                    I think you’ll find after a second reading that the only time I mentioned race was after it was asserted that had the protesters been white, the people opposed to their protests wouldn’t be opposed to them. A position I still find without substance.

                    “This is clear, and I don’t know why you think there’s any contradiction here.”

                    Bullshit. If this second protest is in solidarity with their fellow teammates, then why is everyone talking about it like it is simply a natural progression of the first protest? Even the people taking part seem unclear as to what they’re doing or why.

                    And the contradiction seems stark to me: They’re different. People who don’t find BLM talking points persuasive are still supporting the original protesters because Trump opened his dumb mouth and threatened their jobs. I mean… It’s a position that even I support, but get bent, hard, over a barbed wire fence if you want to try use that support as proof of some kind of support for BLM pet projects.

                    • Chris

                      And the contradiction seems stark to me: They’re different.

                      A difference is not a contradiction. You seemed to be arguing that you can’t make heads or tails of what the protest is about, as if it has to be about either BLM or solidarity with the players who were originally protesting for BLM. But it isn’t an either/or question. Some are kneeling for BLM, some for solidarity, and some for both.

                      Why is this confusing? You can argue that a protest is best if it’s only about one thing…but to argue that you just can’t figure out what’s going on if it’s about more than one thing strikes me as silly.

                      People who don’t find BLM talking points persuasive are still supporting the original protesters because Trump opened his dumb mouth and threatened their jobs. I mean… It’s a position that even I support, but get bent, hard, over a barbed wire fence if you want to try use that support as proof of some kind of support for BLM pet projects.

                      I don’t think I was doing that at all.

                    • Perhaps “contradiction” is the wrong word. Those two positions need not be at odds, but frankly, if these players cared so much three days ago, they wouldn’t have waited for Trump to speak up to show their support. While the two positions aren’t mutually exclusive… I think it’s a deeply flawed reasoning to assume that this new groundswell is in support of whatever Kaepernick et al say it’s about this week.

                      Which is why, again, I don’t have too much to say about this new slew of kneelings. It seems a relatively appropriate signal of defiance to presidential overreach, which I think puts me in agreement with Spartan, God help me. Sorry Jack, but this is a Julie moment, the president said “Don’t do something” and Americans did it to spite him, that may not be ethical, because they become indistinguishable from the players actually supporting an incoherent, hostile, divisive and stupid movement, but absolutely no one can claim surprise that it happened. It was never going to go any other way.

                  • With Martin? You probably can’t find one. With the “dear Colleague” letter? You’ll trip over three just thinking about it.

        • It has very much to do with the form of protesting they are suing. To protest by refusing to stand for the National Anthem is most likely to be perceived as a protest against America itself.

      • I explained why very clearly and accurately. Comparing what people do in the stands is absolutely irrelevant. It’s like saying that the actors on stage can fall asleep during the play because the audience can.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        Fine, let’s be honest. When the anthem is played on TV it mostly gets ignored, and I don’t think you are required to do anything. If you’re physically present the announcer always asks you to rise. If it’s a deliberately patriotic event like an airshow there are usually other instructions like how to salute if you are a member of the military or the emergency services or a veteran. Sometimes it’s even preceded by (gasp) a prayer. I will cop to shooting pictures during the national anthem, usually of the color guard or the flag being “jumped in” to an airshow, but never to deliberately disrespecting it.

        How to behave is prescribed by 36 U.S.C. section 301, last annotated in 1998, although there is no prescribed penalty. You can ask Congress why they passed the law. Few people refuse to stand as a matter of principle, although Jehovah’s Witnesses, who don’t even celebrate their own birthdays, never sing and sometimes don’t stand. Those American Moslems who choose to be difficult sometimes won’t stand, but most will, I’m not worried about Moslems who don’t come from the US, any more than I would be about any other foreigner. That said, courteous guests should at least stand and respect the host’s tradition, although they don’t have to salute.

        I won’t confront someone in person for deliberate disrespect of the anthem, but my opinion of them is likely to sag. Either we’re all on the same team or we aren’t, and this is one of those minor civic rituals that reminds us that we are supposed to be. If you refuse to engage in it conspicuously, you are saying you aren’t on the same team as everyone else, which is either a message of hatred of your own country, or of hubris, that your loyalty to the nation you were born in is on your terms only, which leads to the question of who set you up as judge as to whether your country is worthy of your loyalty. No one is putting a gun to your head and making you stay.

        The military doesn’t condition whether they will defend you on your worthiness. No one can administer you a worthiness test before you can vote. The water doesn’t come out of your tap less hot if you are less worthy or loyal, and the emergency services can’t slow-walk a response to you if they decide you are less of an American. Yet you take it upon yourself to decide you will withhold your loyalty or your expression of a modicum of loyalty based on whether this nation meets whatever bar you choose to set, even if you put the bar unreasonably high.

        Being a citizen of any nation doesn’t just involve rights and benefits, but also duties and obligations. The duties and obligations are comparatively few: voting, though even that’s not mandatory, serving on juries, and taking up arms in wartime, when everyone must do what he can do best. Even these are not absolute, how many people have avoided jury duty by claiming hardship or saying they can’t judge the case fairly? How many people, sincerely or not, have successfully avoided taking up arms?

        I could make a whole speech about what the flag stands for and the history behind it and the number of individuals who have lost life and limb defending what it stands for, but you can just google Bob West’s “Hello, remember me?” if you want that.

        I will say this, though. The President has just done a masterful job of ginning up the patriotic base and drawing a line with those who appear to be patriots on one side, and those who defy patriotism and deny it has any value on the other. Despite a very messy argument I had online last night with a friend of a friend who said, among other things, that the President is a fucking embarrassment, that the ignorant people he represents are a dying breed, and that the real voice of this nation is rising to denounce him every day, the side that believes in patriotism is still very much the stronger side, and the other side is not where anyone should want to be.

        • valkygrrl

          I hope you’re not suggesting that I love my country any less if I don’t throw a temper tantrum about kneeling NFL players. Or if I think Donald Trump is a fucking embarrassment, a charlatan who will say or do anything for his own aggrandizement.

          Because America isn’t an anthem or a flag or a pledge and all the other trappings. Don’t make it small when it’s so much more. It’s an idea, as Abe said, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all [people] are created equal. It’s the whole government of the people, by the people, for the people thing. It’s freedom baby. It’s the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. It’s a melting pot where we take in the huddled masses and come out stronger for what they had to offer us. It’s the power that split the atom and beat back the Nazis to free half of Europe. It’s the inspiration for liberal democracy everywhere it takes hold. It’s opportunity and social mobility.

          My country that you will not insinuate that mine own devotion is any less because some shithead who happens to be president decided it’s be fun to rile up hate-filled pricks like you.

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            No, I won’t suggest you love your country any less. Your previous posts make it pretty clear that you don’t love it at all since it started to not go your way, starting with McConnell’s risky but successful masterstroke with the SCOTUS.

            Your attempt at a patriotic speech in the middle of that post is ok, but it isn’t really your style. Mmmhmmm, petition for redress of grievances, not shut down business and services and smash the symbols you decide are wrong. Melting pot? You yourself don’t even believe that, nor did the current president’s poo-colored predecessor, to the left now this place is supposed to be a multicultural salad where no one attempts to melt or blend in.

            I think you talking about devotion is a joke. I also think your last line is unbecoming, though thoroughly in character for the obnoxious, hate-filled cum-catcher (though I doubt you are catching much cum lately) that we know you to be.

            • Chris

              or did the current president’s poo-colored predecessor,

              obnoxious, hate-filled cum-catcher (though I doubt you are catching much cum lately)

              You are a racist, misogynistic piece of shit. Thank you for revealing your true character. You should be banned for this.

              • Steve-O-in-NJ

                And you are an asshole with far, far too much time on his hands who has no sense of self-awareness and doesn’t know when to STFU. I honestly don’t know why Jack hasn’t shut down your ridiculously long threads or dinged you the way he dinged v-girl.

                • Steve-O-in-NJ

                  Obviously you don’t get the George Carlin reference:

                  Want to piss off a feminist? Call her cum-catcher, that’ll get her attention.
                  (crowd reacts)
                  Oh, don’t act disgusted! Don’t act disgusted! Half of you are gonna go home and go down on each other tonight, remember? If you’re willing to swallow cum, let’s not make believe that something I said was disgusting!

                  -George Carlin “Doin It Again”

                  • Not one of George’s finer or funnier moments, Steve O. We must remember that as brilliant as he often was, George was, at heart, an asshole. This is a great example.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      Perhaps true. Would you say he was one of the first guys to turn being an asshole into a profession? Let’s face it, the guy did pretty well, and how many people can act jerky and get paid for it?

            • Steve-O-in-NJ,

              That the last paragraph was out of line, and not worthy of this blog. You owe this blog an apology. Disagree all you want with commenters, but keep it civil and professional.

              jvb

              • Steve-O-in-NJ

                I’ll do no such thing. But then again, I’m just a hate-filled prick defending a fucking embarrassment. Why should anyone give a damn if I am sorry?

                • I don’t demand apologies to the blog ( to me, on occasion, but not the blog), Steve-O, but you need to calm down. And the “poo-colored” comment was way over the line, gratuitously ugly. Please don’t go there again.

                  • Steve-O-in-NJ

                    I don’t respond well to being called a hate-filled prick defending a shithead president. If I am attacked, I tend to hit back, and hit back very hard, and we both know how dear to my heart valky is. Admittedly, that comment was an attempt to one-up the “shithead” comment by saying “if this guy is a shithead then the last guy was actual shit.”

                  • Chris

                    It wasn’t just “gratuitously ugly.” It was racist.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      To quote Drew Carey, bite me. You weren’t as high on my list as v-girl until today, but be warned, you’ve reached the top now. I tried to ignore your attempts to make this blog into a discussion that was alternatively tedious and annoying, but at this point it’s personal.

                    • Chris

                      “Be warned?” What are you going to do to me, Steve? Call me names? I’m a white man, so that may not be as fun for you as demeaning women and blacks. But I’m sure you can continue to find ways to debase yourself and this blog further. I’m supposed to be afraid of that…why?

                    • I describe it, you characterize it to marginalize a critic. Steve-O explained the providence of the phrase—I recommend against references that can be misunderstood, but that this doesn’t make referring to a non-racist joke per se racist.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      Try me. As for debasing, look who’s been littering this blog with garbage comments more than anyone else for over a year. You have dysentery of the mouth.

                    • Chris

                      “Try me?” You’ve already been tried. Again: What exactly are you threatening to do to me?

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      You’ll find out soon enough. Unfortunately I can’t do what I’d really like to do since we’re on opposite coasts.

                    • Chris

                      You’ll find out soon enough.

                      Are vague, ambiguous threats within the ethical bounds of this blog? Really, this type of thing can’t be allowed.

                    • Chris, I don’t need kibitzing from the Peanut Gallery (cultural reference) as to how to moderate my forum. I decide on discipline, enforcement, standards, exceptions, passes, bans and everything else, and if commenters start trying to eliminate each other, I can’t do my job. I’m handling it.

                    • Steve-O-in-NJ

                      You asked for an answer, got it, and now you want to run home to momma? Boy are you pathetic.

                    • Chris

                      You did not give me an answer.

              • Thanks, John. Self-policing is very important.

        • Still Spartan

          My veteran friends on FB have all been saying that they are fine with the NFL player protest. I think whether people are upset by it or not has more to do with political affiliation.

          • Steve-O-in-NJ

            Not so mine. Of course the libs are falling right in line. It’s painfully predictable.

          • Nope. Completely wrong. It’s the basic principle of bringing politics into entertainment. All the rest–veterans, the flag, the anthem, police shooting—is static. I guess those who agree with the political propaganda are more likely to tolerate it, but they shouldn’t.

          • Still Spartan

            Here’s one (for example) — he was a fighter pilot.

            “Wanted to weigh in on the national anthem thingy that everyone seems to have their underpanties in a twist over.
            Let me say something – as a 23-year veteran of the armed forces of the United States – I spent the majority of my adult life defending the right of people in this country to legally protest in any manner they see fit.
            If you cannot abide people doing that, then I would suggest you might need to look inward more than outward and try to figure out why you are feeling threatened or outraged by people exercising their rights in a calm and legal manner…..
            Just saying….”

            • Yes, he’s a First Amendment idiot. Why are you quoting him? He didn’t fight to protect the right of my bank teller to make me listen to an anti-Trump rant before I can make my deposit, did he? Then his opinion is uninformed.

              • Still Spartan

                I think I referenced already why I was quoting him. And no, he’s not a First Amendment idiot. My friend is not a great writer, but his point is simple — it does not offend him — as an ex fighter pilot — if people stand or kneel during the anthem.

              • Chris

                He didn’t fight to protect the right of my bank teller to make me listen to an anti-Trump rant before I can make my deposit, did he?

                Bad analogy. The players are not engaging in a rant on the field. They are kneeling. They’re not making you listen to anything. And they’re doing it during a ceremony that is going to happen exactly the same way regardless of whether they kneel or stand.

                I don’t understand why people who object to this think it affects them in any way.

                • Bank tellers can’t kneel, either. And you are dishonest here: they were more than kneeling, they were NOT standing, and doing so during the national anthem. It is still a political statement.

                  • Chris

                    Bank tellers can’t kneel while doing their job. Neither can the players. They can kneel during the anthem, though. If the bank decides to play the anthem every day prior to the actual work day, I’d support the right of bank tellers to kneel during that too.

            • Wanted to weigh in on the national anthem thingy that everyone seems to have their underpanties in a twist over.
              Let me say something – as a 23-year veteran of the armed forces of the United States – I spent the majority of my adult life defending the right of people in this country to legally protest in any manner they see fit.
              If you cannot abide people doing that, then I would suggest you might need to look inward more than outward and try to figure out why you are feeling threatened or outraged by people exercising their rights in a calm and legal manner…..
              Just saying….”

              so it is wrong to feel threatened or outraged by that march in Skokie?

  6. Congrats on getting the Comment of the Day; it has inspired numerous replies.

  7. CBP

    There is some confusion about WHERE the NFL statement about the anthem appears. I’ve looked through the “rulebook” found online and it’s not there….some say it’s in a separate document called the “operations manual”, but I haven’t been able to see a copy of that. Maybe one of your readers can check on it.

  8. Brad Prothero

    John Glass’s post is false. There is NO rule in the NFL rulebook about the national anthem. While I understand the point, it is disappointing that this is going around so much when there is no truth to it at all.

    • Brad’s actually right. A62-63 sounds like… maybe… appendix pages, but the NFL rule book doesn’t have appendix pages, and pages 62-63 have to do with penalties.

      http://operations.nfl.com/media/2725/2017-playing-rules.pdf

      I thought “Well, that’s the playing manual maybe there’s some kind of agreement for conduct outside of the game itself…”. If there is, I can’t find it. More, when I search the first few sentences of John’s post, I come back with a SLEW of hoax warnings, and no one defending it.

    • That does not appear to be quite true either, Brad. Against my better judgment, since the site is untrustworthy, I read the Snopes piece on the quote that John posted. (I know John, and a more reliable individual I can not imagine. That doesn’t mean his source wasn’t wrong, however. The Snopes piece is here.http://www.snopes.com/must-nfl-players-stand/

      It can’t show the section is false, because there may be (or not) a separate procedures guide, which makes sense, since the Rules wouldn’t include matters unrealted to the game itself. I would say that this provision, which Snopes does confirm, but attempts to minimize, covers the protests however:

      Throughout the period on game-day that a player is visible to the stadium and television audience (including in pregame warm-ups, in the bench area, and during postgame interviews in the locker room or on the field), players are prohibited from wearing, displaying, or otherwise conveying personal messages either in writing or illustration, unless such message has been approved in advance by the League office. Items to celebrate anniversaries or memorable events, or to honor or commemorate individuals, such as helmet decals, and arm bands and jersey patches on players’ uniforms, are prohibited unless approved in advance by the League office. All such items approved by the League office, if any, must relate to team or League events or personages. The League will not grant permission for any club or player to wear, display, or otherwise convey messages, through helmet decals, arm bands, jersey patches, or other items affixed to game uniforms or equipment, which relate to political activities or causes, other non-football events, causes or campaigns, or charitable causes or campaigns. Further, any such approved items must be modest in size, tasteful, non-commercial, and noncontroversial; must not be worn for more than one football season; and if approved for use by a specific team, must not be worn by players on other teams in the League.

      If the NFL won’t permit controversial and political messages on the field, it’s clear that the knee represents a breach of the spirit of the policy if not the letter.

      • Chris

        Of course, if the anthem is political and controversial, then the league is already making its players violate that rule.

        • Glenn Logan

          You have not defended your position that the anthem is political. Don’t you think you need to?

          • Chris

            I haven’t figured out how. To me it is self-evident. But I’ll let you know if I figure it out.

            • The base word for politics is policy, and politics is described as “the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.” Symbols are only political if they’re meant to influence policy, and the flag or the anthem only influence policy is one is stupid enough to set oneself up in opposition to it.

        • Even if the assertion that the anthem is political were true, and I’m just not willing to give it to you, you’re still wrong because every restriction comes with the caveat “unless cleared by the league office”. If it comes FROM the league office, it’s probably cleared. I’m just saying.

  9. Scott GF

    I would love to see a timeline created that measures Trump’s tweet activity and controversies vs. major governmental legislation. The healthcare repeal is right around the corner and close, also, the tax issue, the Russian investigation etc.
    We are all getting played and being distracted by the shinny new controversy and the manipulated masses are eating it up with a spoon!
    Am I the only one seeing this pattern?

    • crella

      If the press didn’t bleat unendingly about his every Tweet, we’d never see them. They’d be posted on Twitter and that would be it. I doubt the press would cooperate in a plan by Trump to distract people. Some of it’s undoubtedly intentional in the opposite fashion, like ‘Conway on the couch’…that blew up so far and so fast we NEVER found out what was accomplished at that meeting with a couple dozen or more black leaders. I refuse to believe that wasn’t on purpose. Most of the repetition of Trump’s Tweets is a continuation of the drumming up of Trump hate. If it’s an agenda to distract from the legislative schedule, the press is playing right into his hands, and how smart is that?

  10. “…of a man who said that he couldn’t honor a nation that “oppressed” blacks…”

    Sincerely asking, Chris, because I took issue with when Kaepernick made the initial claim, and take issue with you repeating it. How is ours a nation that oppresses blacks?

    That is a bold, and wide ranging claim to make. And, as I have invoked before (and at times you’ve shot down, at times legitimately, and at times not, IMO), how can a country that oppresses an entire race of people, a group of people that share the same race as I, somehow not oppress me? Not oppress my father? My brother? My sister, uncle, niece, cousins?

    If there is something that makes us different, that makes Thomas Sowell, and Jason Riley, and Walter E. Williams, and Derrick Green (writer for Project 21, a leadership network for Black Conservatives), and many other blacks who are apparent immune to this different, then why is no time devoted to identifying what that secondary component is, that causes us to be excluded from this oppression? We spend so much time discussing intersectionality, but ignore the intersection where systemic racism meets some unknown, unspoken characteristic possessed by some of us, where we become immune to that aforementioned systemic racism. If that’s our goal, eradicating racism, why is no one asking those of us who aren’t finding racism around every street corner, what our secret is? Why are the cameras consistently shoved in the faces of the victims of our racist society, but never us? (You and I both damn well know the answer)

    To me, it’s be like someone claiming that Jack is biased against ALL commenters that have “Chris” in their screen name. If Jack’s never been biased against you, can that claim be credibly made? Shouldn’t there be a deeper dive, to identify other characteristics held by the group being infringed upon, rather than lazily basing it on a trait that’s also held by many people who haven’t been affected?

    But, to my original question…by what metric can one claim that America is oppressive towards blacks?

    Is it the ritualistic, indiscriminate killing of blacks by cops? B/c according to the Washington Post Police Killings tracker, in 2017, twice as many whites are killed by cops than whites (164 to 326). And while, yes, Im fully aware that means (since whites outnumber blacks 5 to 1) that blacks are MORE LIKELY to be killed, it also means that whites are killed in high enough number, that police killings cannot be solely about race. And 95% of police killings involve men, but there’s no outrage about that…so if we’re being intellectually honest and consistent, it cannot be about police killing rates relative to a particular demographic’s representation in the population, right? Unless we’re willing to admit that men are over represented in activities that bring them into violent contact with police…but that can’t be it, unless we’re ALSO willing to admit (I think you see where this leads)…

    Is it about black poverty rates? 46% of Black families with children that are headed by single Black women live in poverty, vs 8% of black families where the parents are married (which obviously trails statistics for while single mom headed households/married households), but as of 2014, only 29% of black adults were married, down from 61% in 1960. It stands to reason that a 2 income household leads to more financial stability, and is something that can be created regardless of how racist our society is (I mean, the black marriage rate was 80% in 1890, when the US was still in the immediate shadows of the Civil War and Reconstruction). Did the legacy of slavery just…skip a few generations? Is systemic racism somehow preventing us from marrying one another?

    Is it black property ownership? According to Jason Riley in his book “False Black Power”, “74.2 percent of black homeowners completely owned their residences as of 1900, versus only 68 percent of white families.” And yet, according to Ebony, that number for blacks “was down to 41.2 percent in 2015″…some 115 years after a time when laws were in place specifically to prevent and deter black progress.

    So, what exactly is it about our modern society, with the number of social liberals who live in the US at an all-time highs (as bound by the length of time that Gallup has been polling for this statistic), and the number of (dirty, racist) social conservatives at all-time lows (also bound by the same Gallup limitations), that makes us MORE of a racist society that we were in 1960? or 1900? Or 1890, when discriminating against blacks was still codified by law?

    Help me understand the oppressive society that exists all around me, but repeatedly finds a way to stay out of my path, time and time again? I promise I won’t accuse you of Whitesplaining…but only if you catch me in a good mood*. 😉

    *-As a minority, I reserve the right to accuse you of any particular “-splaining”, “-ist”, or “appropriation” that I see fit…usually, depending on which direction the wind is blowing that day. I dont make the rules, I just follow em.

    Citations:
    http://blackdemographics.com/households/poverty/
    http://www.scholarsstrategynetwork.org/brief/why-has-marriage-declined-among-black-americans
    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/book-excerpt-jason-rileys-false-black-power/story?id=48521842
    http://www.ebony.com/news-views/black-homeownership-decline#axzz4tiw3Acej
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/22/socially-liberal-poll_n_7422440.html

    • Wayne

      I think that a lot of these players fit the dumb jock stereotype. Maybe firing them is too harsh although I’m sure that many fans are sick and tired of these political stunts and attendance will probably go down at these NFL events. Fining them would be a good idea if the owners of the teams are up to it.

    • Other Bill

      Holy cow! Thanks for this essay, Chris. Fantastic. And a lot of work. Good for you. You’re the man.

    • Excellent, Chris. Another Comment of the Day. Thanks

    • Chris

      Great comment. I’ll do my best to reply when Jack puts it up. But I doubt I’ll be able to answer to your satisfaction; your questions are very hard. Might I suggest giving me an easier challenge, so I can more easily look smart? (Seriously, your questions are consistently the best and toughest I see on this site.)

      • Chris, I sincerely thank you for that comment. I frequently comment to friends (who are unfamiliar with this site) that I love this site, in large part, because of the intelligence of the commenters, who push me to be better informed, create well thought out arguments, and who will hack apart a poorly reasoned argument (as it deserves to be). And I appreciate the intelligent well thought out commentary of you and others on the left, on this site.

        I think of the midpoint (of political discourse), as being a rope hanging straight down. I may pull on the rope to the right, but appreciate that there are others pulling it back the opposite direction, as to keep me, and others who think the same way, from falling too far to the right (which can be a dangerous place). I appreciate those on here who keep tugging me back to the middle.

    • crella

      An excellent comment, Chris.

  11. Paul Compton

    Surely Chris Bentley gets Comment of the Day here.
    The argument he puts forward impinges on many areas, not just ethnicity.

  12. Paul Compton

    Perhaps impacts rather than impinges?

  13. “I’ll just argue immediately with one of Chris’s points, because I have always found it bizarre when I have encountered it elsewhere. The Left’s aversion to rituals like standing for the National Anthem or saluting the flag seems to me to be a wonderful example of missing the crucially important forest for a scrawny tree.”

    I’m not really of the Left, but I have always found it bizarre that people take these rituals so seriously. To be clear, I’m not bothered by the fact that so many people find them personally meaningful. What bothers me is the people who expect everyone else to feel the same way, and who get angry at people who don’t.

    It’s like the people who take sports rivalries too seriously: If you really think fans of the other team are bad people, you are taking it way too seriously. The rituals you speak of are more important than sports rivalries, of course, but I don’t think they’re as important as you do.

    And even when they are important, they’re not always good…

    “Rituals, traditions and ceremonies bind people, cultures and societies together.”

    And for many people, that’s a big part of the problem. Being bound to other people isn’t a good thing when you don’t like them or share their values. Binding people together is one of the tricks of every con man, every abusive family member, and every would-be authoritarian.

    Some of the people who speak most eloquently about teamwork intend themselves to be the captain, and the guy who says “We’re like a family” probably wants to be dad. Similarly, most people who loudly proclaim their patriotism aren’t doing so because they intend to patriotically come over to your side. Patriotism is a good thing, and for exactly that reason, claims of patriotism are one of the key manipulative tools of the Right.

    The Left’s version of this is “social justice.” Social justice sounds like good thing, right? That’s exactly why it’s such a great club for every would-be leftist commissar to beat their enemies with. And many denizens of the left are just as puzzled that anyone would think “social justice warrior” is a bad thing as you are that people are balking at the rituals of patriotism. You want to know why some people don’t like patriotic rituals? Pay attention to how you feel when someone starts speaking the language of “social justice.”

    “National pride and respect is part of the connective tissue that ensures the strength and health of any society. I cannot fathom why so many on the Left cannot grasp this concept, and I have dark suspicions that they do grasp it, and this is why they try to tear our traditions down.”

    In a sense, I agree. They believe that society needs to be better — less racist, more inclusive, whatever — and so they need to weaken the social structures that prevent those changes from happening. To blindly support the existing system is to be complicit in its faults.

    • Herman Kahn once told me that history is a series of peopel discarding traditions and customs they took for granted and that society had forgotten why they existed in the first place. Then they figure out why after they are gone.

      I have yet to hear any rational argument for why a tradition like the National Anthem is anything but positive, and how it could possibly prevent necessary change from happening.

      • Interesting thing for a futurist to say. But there’s got to be more to success as a civilization than keeping things the same, otherwise we end up with a sort of Goldlocks conservatism: “How fortunate we are to be living at the exact point in history where everything is just right and nothing needs to be changed!” The rules aren’t that simple. We’re going to have to experiment a bit, because that’s the only way of finding better traditions.

        • Glenn Logan

          The rules aren’t that simple. We’re going to have to experiment a bit, because that’s the only way of finding better traditions.

          What bugs me about this is the notion that everything can be improved upon. That isn’t always the case, and I think this is just such an exception.

          What the pledge and the anthem are for is to remind us of our national identity. If we don’t have that, we aren’t worthy of being considered a nation. The biggest problem we are experiencing right now is an attempt to end that identity in favor of racial, ethnic, religious and sexual identities. If the notion of a national identity becomes moot, then government becomes purely transactional, and our nation pro-forma as many in Europe have become.

          I may have some issues with the French, but they have always been a blinding light when it comes to national identity. That is, until they allowed uncontrolled immigration to threaten that. Hmm. That sounds familiar…

    • Chris

      This should have been the COTD.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      You had me until the last paragraph.

  14. Jack wrote: I’ll just argue immediately with one of Chris’s points, because I have always found it bizarre when I have encountered it elsewhere. The Left’s aversion to rituals like standing for the National Anthem or saluting the flag seems to me to be a wonderful example of missing the crucially important forest for a scrawny tree. Rituals, traditions and ceremonies bind people, cultures and societies together. They also bind other cultures together, including small ones, like families. Singing and listening to that Anthem at public events is at worst harmless, and at best a binding and powerful group experience. I feel sorry for people who don’t or can’t experience it, just as I feel pity for those who cut themselves off from the culture’s celebration of Christmas to show their aversion to Christianity or religion. I have seen what havoc is raised in a family when a long and beloved tradition is suddenly rejected by a child. The family is wounded, and all its members are affected. This is just a microcosm of what happens in a nation when there is the kind of widespread rejection of values and symbols that Chris and those like him advocate.

    The National Anthem at sporting events is theater, spectacle, and symbolic. Anyone on the field is part of the spectacle, and has the power to diminish the experience for people who care deeply about it. They also harm the tradition itself.

    One might hold to the traditions of honoring Christmas but then have completely abandoned any significant honoring of the Christianity of which it is an expression. Similarly, one can hold to and value patriotic traditions, such as the Pledge of Allegience or the public rehearsal of the Antham, in the absense of any foundation in ture patriotic sentiment. If one holds to Christmas as a social ritual, but is no longer a Christian in any meaningful sense, the celebration of the holiday becomes mere cultural kitsch. One has first to lose the internal connection with the meaning of Christianity, and an individual’s inner need to be aligned with it, for the ritual of Christmas to successively be undermined. In a culture that still regarded itself as Christian, there would be no hesitation to celebrate a meaningful Christmas. You have to have a Christian for there to be Christmas.

    Comparatively, in order to have patriotism you have to have a Nation that evokes sentiments that are patriotic. You have to have the first in order to have the second. It seems to me that the *real point* here is not really about these football players and any of this flap. The real issue is that patriotism is suffering a sickness. I will not say that it has died but it is certainly sick. As sick as the Nation is sick.

    People broke off their relationship with Christianity, which is of course to say with Christ of God as metaphysical principle that is real and meanigful, because they could no longer sustain the belief. That is, they ‘saw through it’, or understood that the truth of it was not a truth, just a story. At a certain point, perhaps in the 19th century, it was no longer possible to have an honest faith in Church’s presentation. When Nietzsche wrote that ‘God is dead and we killed him’ he meant, among various things, that we had killed our ability to believe in the structure of the story. God became a story, a tale told to a child, an impossibility for scientific man. In order to have a faith, now, you have still to believe (somehow) the impossibilities; or you have to have a faith that over-leaps any particular story and discovers a way to a ‘living truth’ beyond words, beyond description.

    Not an easy feat for most people, and that much harder for those who never had a faith established.

    Patriotism and faith in America is in crisis. If one is just ‘reciting the words’ of the patriotic hymn, that right there is evidence of loss of conviction. I would say that many people, even most people, given the pressures of the day, do not, not really, have an honest and heart-felt faith in the America of the patriotic hymn. I have already been making my assessment and repeating it too many times: the possibility of genuine constitutional faith has not quite died yet, but it is severely sick and may be moribund. It is not enough to rally people together for an empty social rtitual, enfoced in essence by the State or demanded by the State — that is not patriotism but rather coerced subservience to the State. It would correspond to ‘political correctness’ in another sphere.

    To be able to have ‘patriotism’ (again) will not be forthcoming. To imagine that it will is, in my view, to think like a child or to think romantically (similar!) And there is an intersting corrspondence to Christianity and Christmas. If once there were a genuine ‘Christian culture’ that culture is no more. It is moribund if it is not in fact dead. But people desire to resurrect the form of it and they think, and this is a cruel self-deception, that enacting the ritual will bring forth the honest sentiment. It does not work that way.

    Right around the turn of the 20th century (as I have said a few times now) decisions were taken that derailed the Nation from the Republic. I insist on this because I think it is a truth and an important one. Apparently, it takes a certain amount of time to destroy a Republic, and it happens bit by bit. It is militarism and plutocratic ascendency which corrupted the Republic. It happened with an ‘a’ and then a ‘b’ and then a ‘c’, so on and so forth. But what sustains ‘patriotism’ in this romatic sense is an empty sentimentalism, not real vibrant and living sentiment. To recognize this, in my view, is the necessary step in order to be able to, perhaps, turn things around.

    It will not happen under the present conditions. Like an individual who is in denial, the situation has to proceed into crisis and the crisis has to be confronted not though ’empty sentiment’ (kitsch) but through a genuine reconnection with constitutional principles.

    Oh, and did I say that the power structure that engineered 9/11, these destructive and muderous wars, and the loss of civil liberties, and a profound cultural spiritual crisis needs to be seen and confronted?

    If I didn’t someone else should bring it up. It is an important — a vital — topic!

  15. Wayne

    Perhaps our National Anthem should be replaced with this to make the BLM and leftists feel more included and comfortable at sporting events😒. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3sh4kz_zhyo

  16. I have seen what havoc is raised in a family when a long and beloved tradition is suddenly rejected by a child. The family is wounded, and all its members are affected. This is just a microcosm of what happens in a nation when there is the kind of widespread rejection of values and symbols that Chris and those like him advocate.</b.

    If a family is wounded when a cherished tradition is lost or forgotten, how much more is the soul of a person wounded when they no longer have a genuine link to the sustaining water of life. That is, to a faith in transcendent being that is not just a term, or an empty vocalization, but the genuine sentiment that arises from the heart of the person who expresses the relationship in the recited hymn.

    The real issue is the loss of the genuine relationship. The form it takes is meanigless in that absence.

    To have a patriotic relationship with the Republic in a real and a genuine sense would mean finding out what has perverted the Republic, what has distorted the citizens true relationship to it. It would mean confronting those forces and entities which, like parasites, have taken over the Republic and left an empty shell for empty non-patriotic persons to intone their non-heartfelt patriotic hymns.

    Indeed, 'all its members are affected'. I find the correspondence between a religious faith and a republican faith quite interesting.

    What has brought this about? You cannot say 'It is because people stopped going to Church! And now they need to start going again!' You have to find the relationship all over again and find out what is getting in the way of it. In Christian terms that 'agent' has always been clearly explained.

    Similarly, for there to be a New Faith in the Republic something revolutionary must take place. It will amount to a renewal that comes out of catastrophe, a truly fundamental change.

    • (Please add a ‘>’ after the b).

    • Corrected formatting:

      Jack wrote: “I have seen what havoc is raised in a family when a long and beloved tradition is suddenly rejected by a child. The family is wounded, and all its members are affected. This is just a microcosm of what happens in a nation when there is the kind of widespread rejection of values and symbols that Chris and those like him advocate.”

      If a family is wounded when a cherished tradition is lost or forgotten, how much more is the soul of a person wounded when they no longer have a genuine link to the sustaining water of life. That is, to a faith in transcendent being that is not just a term, or an empty vocalization, but the genuine sentiment that arises from the heart of the person who expresses the relationship in the recited hymn.

      The real issue is the loss of the genuine relationship. The form it takes is meanigless in that absence.

      To have a patriotic relationship with the Republic in a real and a genuine sense would mean finding out what has perverted the Republic, what has distorted the citizens true relationship to it. It would mean confronting those forces and entities which, like parasites, have taken over the Republic and left an empty shell for empty non-patriotic persons to intone their non-heartfelt patriotic hymns.

      Indeed, ‘all its members are affected’. I find the correspondence between a religious faith and a republican faith quite interesting.

      What has brought this about? You cannot say ‘It is because people stopped going to Church! And now they need to start going again!’ You have to find the relationship all over again and find out what is getting in the way of it. In Christian terms that ‘agent’ has always been clearly explained.

      Similarly, for there to be a New Faith in the Republic something revolutionary must take place. It will amount to a renewal that comes out of catastrophe, a truly fundamental change.

  17. brian

    Not sure where to leave, but it appears the DOD and National Guard actual pay the NFL for the National Anthem tribute:

    https://lawnewz.com/high-profile/heres-what-should-really-outrage-you-about-the-nfl-the-national-anthem/

    The train wreck just got a lot more crowded.

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