On the day that the Boston Red Sox will begin their stunning comeback against the Houston Astros …
1 Speaking of baseball, a poll shows that the NFL fell from the most popular major sport in the nation last year to the least favorite last month, while baseball regained its traditional but usually treated as fictional “National Pastime” status. The NFL also dragged down the popularity of college football. Not all of this can be blamed on Colin Kaepernick, Black Lives Matters, and incoherent protests that aren’t against the National Anthem, well, maybe its third verse, but take place during the National Anthem, well, because. Ethics Alarms isn’t the only voice that has declared football to be callous and barbaric, now that the game’s unavoidable concussions are being shown to cause a deadly brain disease. Too many helmeted heroes beat their spouses and lovers, and commit felonies. The biggest star in the NFL, Tom Brady, is a smug, cheating jerk. It never helps when the President of the United States, even one like Trump, attacks an institution from the bully pulpit. Still, the timing certainly suggest that the NFL’s botched handling of The Knee is the catalyst for its current nosedive in popularity. Just think how many brains will be saved if this is permanent.
Meanwhile, Major League Baseball is benefiting from staying true to its traditional national role of unifying the country rather than dividing it. No on-field protests mar the National Anthem. The sport is entertainment, celebrating American themes like individualism, the triumph of the underdog, and grace under pressure. In 1942, FDR urged Major League Baseball to keep playing, even though the remaining players were unfit for military service, leaving the teams stocked with older players and a collection of misfits, like Pete Gray, the one-armed outfielder. After Baseball Commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis wrote President Roosevelt in January, FDR replied with this letter the same day:
It is not, however, in the best interest of the country to keep the NFL “going.”
2. Not to pick on the NFL,….OK, I’m picking on the NFL..there was another exhibit of how the league’s players are working overtime to annoy fans. Leaving the field during last weeks, Monday Night Football game between Washington and Kansas City, Redskins receiver Terrelle Pryor made an obscene gesture to the crowd. Pryor said he did it because he was called racial slurs by some members of the Kansas City crowd. The NFL said on Thursday that it was looking into the incident.
Pryor wrote on Instagram that such incidents were “the exact reason why guys are kneeling during anthem.”
“Me flicking the person off is more deserving,” he wrote. “I do apologize to my teammates and the organization. But at some point you keep calling us the N-word, we going to start acting up.”
Pryor is making $6 million dollars a year. Although no one defends denigrating players—my friend Scott Wheeler, all 6’6″ and 320 pounds of him, once stood up at a Baltimore Orioles baseball game to tell a loud mouth fan who was shouting racial epithets at Red Sox centerfielder Reggie Smith that he had a choice between shutting up and being permanently compressed by a foot or two—professional athletes have been hearing shouted personal abuse, racist and otherwise, from the beginning of professional sports. Jackie Robinson had to play listening to them from the stands and from many of the players on the field. He continued to behave professionally and ignored the abuse, as athletes must. If Robinson had flashed the Magic Digit at a crowd, he would have ended baseball’s effort to desegregate the sport, and eventually American society, until another day, perhaps years away.
Pryor cannot justify insulting an entire crowd because a couple of jerks are misbehaving. Nor is “you” a fair description of the abusers, assuming there were abusers and he isn’t trying to duck a fine. Why doesn’t he apologize to the 99.99% of Kansas City fans that he insulted with his gesture? And wait…now the kneeling is about racial abuse from the stands?
Meanwhile, the NFL’s investigation—are professional sports teams really going to try to have a speech code? They would be better advised letting fans like Scott police the jerks in their midst—should have no effect on Pryor’s punishment for making the obscene gesture, on the field, in a nationally televised game. His conduct can’t be excused no matter what he heard, and the NFL should have fined or suspended him by now.
Pro football is ethically clueless, and is getting what it deserves.
3. As expected, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton rejected a specious challenge by Berkeley law dean Erwin Chemerinsky to President Trump’s entirely unchallengable pardon of 85-year-old sheriff Jow Arpaio, and dismissed the guilty verdict in the contempt case. There was no legal or logical basis for the lawsuit, but I suppose the left-wing dean, still accorded status as a legal expert, thought it was worth a shot after watching partisan judges illegally shoot down other attempts by this President to exercise his legitimate powers. Chemerinsky argued that a contempt conviction is not an “offense against the United States” within the meaning of the Constitution’s grant of pardon power in Article II. He was grandstanding. Why do so many smart professionals think that lowering their standards and abandoning their integrity is the way to oppose a President without standards or integrity? It brings the President’s opposition down to his level, while degrading the professions involved.
4. One more Harvey Weinstein note-–yes, I really am working on a full post—is this: if there is anyone who disputes the fact that all of TV’s satire shows and talk shows are now partisan propaganda, seeking only humor that attacks conservatives, Republicans and the foes of Democratic Party positions, I invite them to provide another explanation to why the revelation that Harvey Weinstein was a Clinton/Obama/ Hollywood -enabled sexual predator of long standing sparked no ridicule or scorn by Saturday Night Live , Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Trevor Noah, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, or Bill Maher.
5. I periodically write about Bizarro World ethics, a situation in which a culture is so backwards and unethical that ethical conduct makes no sense. In a culture where wrong is viewed as right, it becomes literally impossible to know what right is.
California is rapidly becoming Bizarro World. This is why Hillary Clinton’s huge margin of victory in the state, all by itself making her the popular vote winner in the 2016 election, is nothing to be proud of.
California Governor. Jerry Brown signed a bill last week that limits how state and local law enforcement agencies can cooperate with federal immigration authorities, making the California a virtual sanctuary state. Brown said in a signing statement
“These are uncertain times for undocumented Californians and their families. This bill strikes a balance that will protect public safety while bringing a measure of comfort to those families who are now living in fear every day.”
People who have broken the law and are living in the united States illegally shouldn’t feel comfortable. The delusion that illegal immigrants deserve laws to protect them from the fair consequences of their actions is as much Bizarro World thinking as the practice on the cube-shaped planet of Spring Dirtying. (On Bizarro World, Batman’s parents shot him.)
SB 54 takes effect next year. It extends local “sanctuary city” protections for immigrants living in California without legal documentation, aka Illegal immigrants, who have no right to a measure of comfort in a sovereign nation whose laws they have violated. After Governor Brown signed the bill, its author, Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), said, “California is building a wall – a wall of justice – against President Trump’s xenophobic, racist and ignorant immigration policies.”
That policy is called “enforcing the law and the nation’s right to secure its borders and ensure the integrity of citizenship.” The monster!
This will end well.