Your NFL Anthem Protest Ethics Train Wreck Update…

It’s Sunday, so the question naturally arises: What are NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest now?

In Houston, a majority of Houston Texans players “took a knee” during the National Anthem prior to today’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, presumably to protest  team owner Bob McNair’s botched comment last week when he said allowing the protests was like letting the inmates run the prison. He probably meant to say “asylum” rather than prison. NFL players, so many of them being accused or convicted felons, are understandably tender on the prison topic. McNair quickly apologized, but it doesn’t matter.  After all, there has to be some excuse for protesting the Star Spangled Banner, right?

What I can’t figure out is, if you take a knee to protest the incorrect use of hackneyed phrases, does that mean you aren’t protesting social inequities in America? Does such a protest mean these players care more about their hurt feelings than solving social injustice, since kneeling during the Anthem does so much to further that goal?

How are we to tell which NFL Kneelers are protesting racial injustice, which are protesting President Trump’s calling their members “sons of bitches,”which are standing against—well, kneeling against— Colin Kaepernick not being signed just because his dumb stunt last season has propelled the league into a crisis, something only really good quarterbacks are allowed to get away with, or are protesting that third verse of the National Anthem that nobody sings, or the fact that police in shootings involving blacks aren’t just summarily suspended without pay without due process, which was Colin’s beef? Now we have to add the asylum/prison confusion protest to the list? Great.

Why are only Texans players upset about being called prisoners? Or is that what all the other players are kneeling about too? How do we know?

I think the NFL had better designate what the kneeling is supposed to mean before every Sunday, just to be clear. It could be announced over the public address system.Hey, why isn’t anyone kneeling to protest that mean slant-eyed gesture the Houston Astros player made during the World Series? Or Harvey Weinstein—don’t the players care about sexual harassment? Of course, the National Anthem has nothing to do with sexual harassment, but it doesn’t have anything to do with bollixed analogies or Black Lives Matter either.

If the idea is going to be that every NFL crowd is going to be subjected to the Vague and Futile Protest of the Week before getting to see the football game they paid to see  along with the fun spectacle of multiple young men guaranteeing that they’ll be drooling half-wits before they turn 60, I think the NFL should ditch “The Star Spangled Banner” for something more appropriate, like Fats Domino singing, “Ain’t That A Shame?,” or maybe Connie Frances singing “Who’s Sorry Now?” I guess “Imagine” is always an option.

Or “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”…

“The world is naturally averse to all truth it sees or hears but swallows nonsense and a lie with greediness and gluttony.”Samuel Butler

25 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Sports, Workplace

25 responses to “Your NFL Anthem Protest Ethics Train Wreck Update…

  1. Chris

    What I can’t figure out is, if you take a knee to protest the incorrect use of hackneyed phrases, does that mean you aren’t protesting social inequities in America?

    A team owner referring to his mostly black employees as his “prisoners”
    is a social inequality.

    How are we to tell which NFL Kneelers are protesting …

    You listen to them. That’s how.

    Of course, the National Anthem has nothing to do with sexual harassment, but it doesn’t have anything to do with bollixed analogies or Black Lives Matter either.

    The National Anthem represents our nation’s ideals. The players believe that police brutality against blacks demonstrates that our nation is not living up to our ideals. The connection is plain as day. You are deliberately obtuse on this topic.

    I have to ask: when does the Julie Principle kick in? When do we move past this…obsession…into acceptance? You have posted several articles on the NFL protests every week for the past month; meanwhile, it is very likely that someone who works or worked for the President of the United States will be arrested tomorrow, but you would never know it from reading this site. It appears you have given up writing about the ethical issues of the Trump presidency entirely to focus on trivium like this.

    It is embarrassing to watch.

    • Kyjo

      McNair obviously botched the hackneyed expression about inmates running the asylum, by using “prison” rather than “asylum.” The expression is almost never used to refer to the literal image it conveys, yet McNair is being charged with “racism” and acting like a slaveholder for a metaphor in which the players are represented as inmates, because his team’s players and the US prison population are both disproportionately black. It is absurd, and your defense of the players’ petulance is ridiculous.

      Jack is absolutely right about the incoherence of protesting by kneeling during the national anthem, in an act of supposed “solidarity,” especially since asking four players why they do it results in five different answers.

      As for the Mueller indictments, no one yet knows who’s being charged with what crimes. What exactly is Jack supposed to write about that?

    • You see Chris, there is no way I can intelligently comment on an unknown indictment. This is the time for Trump-Deranged to have little orgasms of anticipation, but that’s not a rational approach. I always assumed that the special prosecutor would find something, just to save face. I assume that one or more Trump associates neglected to disclose something they were supposed to. Until something substantive actually surfaces, my main ethics interest in the Russia narrative is as an unethical attempt to obstruct and discredit the President, like Whitewater but with less substance.

      • Chris

        And that’s an absurd, unethical position, Jack.

        • crella

          This isn’t a news site, Chris.
          We still don’t know who is being indicted…what’s to comment on?
          We still don’t know what the indictments are being issued for (which crime or misdemeanor).

          Unethical? Why no, it’s respect for due process, and not wanting to engage in reckless speculation, I’d say.

          • Chris

            There was nothing new to say about the NFL issue, either—the majority of the post is repeated arguments that we’ve been through before. The kneeling is and always has been trivial, but reading this blog you’d think it was one of the biggest ethics crises of our time. Meanwhile, the actual biggest ethics crisis of our time—Trump’s presidency—goes virtually ignored, and fake scandals like the Uranium thing are given credence. Anyone who really thinks that and Benghazi were legitimate scandals while the Russia investigation is just a Democratic trick to excuse their election loss (even though it started prior to the election) has been mind-poisoned by right-wing blogs.

            • As long as the players are kneeling, it is an ongoing labor and workplace ethics, protest ethics, issue that I deem worthy of coverage.
              Read the comment policies AGAIN. Bitching about what Ethics Alarms covers and my judgment regarding posts wastes my time, is presumptuous, and is not appreciated. Suggested topis are always welcome. “Write what I want you to write about rather than what you want to write about” is self-evidently obnoxious.

            • So go read elsewhere…there’re plenty of Leftist echo-chambers out there that will satiate your irrational Trump hate. The rest of us enjoy the wide variety of topics covered (which include the Trump train-wreck)

            • John Helsley

              “fake scandals like the Uranium thing” …. FAKE? NOT! get your head out and breath the fresh air.

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          That’s 2 direct attacks in one thread, Jack. How much more of this are you going to tolerate before you turf this guy out the door?

    • It seems to me that if the Texans were really angry with McNair’s comment, they should have refused to take the field, forfeited the game and the monies they would have earned as a result. That would have sent a really message to the owner of the organization that owns the team, no? Imagine the revenue dollars that would not have rolled in and all the advertisers angry that they had to pay large sums of money for ads that didn’t not reach their targeted audiences.

      jvb

    • “A team owner referring to his mostly black employees as his “prisoners”
      is a social inequality.”

      Does this even mean anything?

      A) He didn’t refer to his mostly black employees (an irrelevant observation at best) as *his* prisoners. Starting off your analysis by intentionally misquoting someone isn’t good form.

      You do this ALOT. Why do you do this? Do your arguments not stand without misquoting someone? Does your analysis falter unless the premises are skewed in your favor?

      B) It’s a social inequality to do… wait what? This sentence doesn’t make much sense. Did you mean to imply that A team owner referring to his employees as his prisoners demonstrates their social inequality? OR maybe that saying what he said causes “social inequality”.

      I mean really…what does “social inequality” mean exactly?

      • Other Bill

        Let’s get down to brass tacks on this mangled metaphor. The correct phrase is “inmates running the asylum.” Which means something is seriously out of whack in an institution. It’s a phrase I use to describe the current state of governance in colleges and universities. The adult administrators are deferring to the wishes of the child-ish students and allowing the students to set policy that should be set by administrators. Thus, the inmates are running the asylum and, as you can imagine, this would not be a good thing for an asylum, never mind a college or university. So, the owner of the Texans was simply saying, the league is out of whack and not functioning properly. The players are setting league policy and not the guys who own the teams and pay the players as employees. What business, other than so called employee owned businesses which are actually run by their executives, can be run by its employees and survive? (Which reminds me of another favorite saying of mine: Will Rogers’s “I never treat my employees like partners. If you treat employees like partners they start acting like partners.” Which won’t mean much to anyone who’s never been in a partnership. Hah.) To conclude, the guy butchered an expression. He was probably a business or accounting major, not an English major. He was making a perfectly legitimate point about his business to his fellow owners. Which in this hyper sensitized current environment was set upon by grievance mongers. Big deal. If you want to be outraged, go ahead. You’re outraged by the fact that organizations need to be run by their management and ownership. Good luck.

        • I agree with your analysis and I recognize the actual idiom the owner meant to use. Which any fair observer would treat his comment as though that is the idiom he used. Detractors seek to serve their spin by applying the worst possible definition to the exacting wording he used (which is a Golden Rule Breach).

          If the players were protesting what he said (and that’s the claim made), then they breach the Golden Rule as well, since a mature Course of Action would be to confront him in private ask him to clarify his meaning, then settle their differences. If the players were unsatisfied with this behind the scenes conversation, they would be free to demonstrate such by quitting the team.

          But they didn’t. So they’re protest (assuming it is about the owner’s comment), is the unethical course.

          How anyone spins this otherwise is beyond reason, but here we are, it’s being spun.

    • The National Anthem represents our nation’s ideals. The players believe that police brutality against blacks demonstrates that our nation is not living up to our ideals. The connection is plain as day. You are deliberately obtuse on this topic.

      And similarly, the reason for opposing the protests is as plain as day.

      This form of protest is like someone protesting sexual abuse in the Orthodox community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, USA by sharing a video of using aTorah roll as toilet paper. Very similar rationales would apply to the protest itself and the opposition to the form of protest.

  2. valkygrrl

    This might be of some interest, I noticed it making the rounds yesterday even though the event happened last year. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2017/10/26/mississippi-judge-resigns-after-barring-mother-from-seeing-newborn-because-of-unpaid-court-fees/?amp;utm_term=.93e3bce42b41&tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.b0d9503c9cc8

    A note: Mississippi must have odd laws. Here when someone’s arrested they’re allowed to make arrangements for care of dependents as a matter of course. Cops are required to let someone arrange for a substitute caregiver eg:call grandma to watch the baby.

  3. Jeff

    “guaranteeing that they’ll be drooling half-wits before they turn 60”

    To be fair, the past few months seem to indicate that quite a few NFL players may have started out as half-wits before they ever put on their first pair of cleats. Football-related brain injuries might cause impaired cognition in such individuals, but how could you tell?

    • Other Bill

      That’s funny Jeff. In high school, I always thought the guys who played football were nuts. Lately I’ve been wondering whether playing football MADE them nuts. Or maybe you’re right.

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