Just because I wasn’t watching the showcase for the nation’s most unethical professional sports league doesn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention. The NFL truly is a blot on American culture, and its nauseating use of the so-called “black national anthem,” “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” is one more piece of evidence.
The NFL started its practice of using the song as a counterpoint to THE National Anthem, the Star Spangled Banner in 2021, in craven grovelling to the George Floyd riots and Black Lives Matter, as well as sop to the NFL’s National Anthem protesters like Colin Kaepernick. It was a disgraceful suck-up to the large majority of black players in the league, and if 2021 were the only instance of it, the stunt could be forgiven. But now the song has been presented before three straight Super Bowls, and that means we are stuck with it forever, just like baseball is stuck with “God Bless America,” the redundant Irving Berlin song that stadiums started sticking into the Seventh Inning Stretch as a show of unity after the attacks of 9/11. But “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is even more beyond ending, and you know why as well as I do. Continue reading →
Advance copy from Katie Couric’s soon-to-be-released memoir “Going There” reveals her to be an unethical human being: manipulative, vindictive, mean and disloyal. A section of the book, however, that she doubtless thinks will endear her to readers and her colleagues really shows how unethical the “profession’ of being a mainstream news media has become.
Couric writes that she edited out part of the 2016 interview with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in which the liberal icon said that football players who were kneeling during the National Anthem were showing “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life … which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from….And that’s why education is important.” Couric says that she wanted to protect Ginsburg, then 83, who was “elderly and probably didn’t fully understand the question.”
In the portion of the interview that did air, Ginsburg said: “I think it is really dumb of them. Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it is dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it is a terrible thing to do. But I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act. But it is dangerous to arrest people for conduct that doesn’t jeopardize the health or well-being of other people. It is a symbol they are engaged in….If they want to be stupid, there is no law that should prevent that. If they want to be arrogant, there is no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”
That clip has nothing to do with ethics, but it makes me laugh every time I see it, and then makes me angry because John Belushi threw his life away.
1. Not that I need more reasons to avoid watching soccer, but the U.S. Soccer Federation’s National Council formally voted to repeal a policy that required players to stand for the National Anthem. That’s right: athletes representing the United States of America are now permitted to show disrespect for the nation they are representing while appearing in foreign countries, in which such useless grandstanding as taking a knee during the Anthem are meaningless and confusing to non-American audiences. At the Zoom meeting in which the vote was taken, USSF president Cindy Parlow Cone embraced Rationalization #64 (“It isn’t what it is”) by caliming that the policy repeal wasn’t in any way intended to disrespect the flag or the military. “This is about the athletes’ and our staff’s right to peacefully protest racial inequalities and police brutality,” she said. “So I urge our membership to please support our staff and our athletes on this policy.”
She’s an ignorant fool, or she’s lying. The team has no “right” to protest on the playing field, before or during games, while representing the United States. This is just more cowardly woke capitulation. Anyone who says they are protesting racial inequalities and police brutality should be asked to specify 1) exactly what inequality they are protesting, 2) what instance of police brutality, and 3) how their grandstanding accomplishes anything that substantively addresses the issues.
2. Regarding Donald Trump’s speech at CPAC…I don’t want to have to write all this stuff all over again. If Trump tries to make another run for the Republican nomination, or, worse, launch a third party bid, he will be causing incalculable damage to the nation purely to satisfy his own ego. Go back to the posts here when he announced his short-lived candidacy in 2012. This is one reason I am hoping he takes the route of running for a House seat to exact his revenge. He’ll do less damage there, and Andrew Johnson will have some company in the history books for returning to Congress after being impeached.
The players for Bluefield College’s basketball team had done “a Kaepernick” several times prior to their games in January and February, and after being warned by school officials that this conduct was against school policy and would be punished in the future, the team stayed in the locker room during the playing of the National Anthem in the next game. But on February 9, the Bluefield players decided to defy the college and kneel during the anthem. College President David Olive informed the team’s coach, that “there would be consequences.” There were. He suspended the entire team for the next game, thus forfeiting the contest.
Good. That is exactly what he should have done.
The students were warned, and decided to test the resolve of the college in their arrogant wokeness. Now they know that not everyone backs down.
The players then proceeded to demonstrate the deficits of the American educational system, including, sadly, Bluefield. They argued a double standard, because a pro-Trump rally held near the campus showed that some protests (you know, white protests!) are acceptable to the school, but not theirs. “So it’s OK for everyone to have a Trump rally with Confederate flags, but it’s not OK for us to kneel for our people who’ve fallen,” said one player who has been speaking for the team.
I have written here before that following baseball and baseball commentary as a child formed the foundation of my interest in ethics and ethical virtues. This was made possible by my idealistic, lawyer, war hero father guiding me through various thickets of confusion and toxic rationalizations, but I worked a lot of it out myself. Boston sportswriting was famously full of fools and blow-hards back then, but at least there was seldom any political opining on the sports pages. I assume that responsible editors forbade it, since the typical sportswriter possessed the sophistication of the average eleven-year old. Sports was seen, correctly, as an often abstract metaphor for real life, where one could learn useful lessons about human nature and problem solving, but one which would curdle quickly once it was confused with the more complex issues that lay outside the stadiums, parks, fields and arenas.
An important book could be written about how politics spoiled, and perhaps even ruined, sports, and the negative effect of this on the rest of American society. I don’t have the time for that, and it’s outside of my area of expertise anyway. However, it seems clear that the politicization and progressive brain-washing that has perverted so much else today has infected sports, perhaps fatally, and that whatever value the topic may have had in conveying cultural values to our young has evaporated in the steam of empty wokeness and ruthless propaganda.
This week provided additional damning evidence. Monday was epic, as the sports page propagandists prepared us for the brain-twisting logic of the baseball Hall of Fame voters determining that Curt Schilling’s support for the previous President of the United States made him a worse pitcher. One Times article demonstrated just how devoid of critical thinking skills sports writers are by quoting with approval a supposedly astute baseball writer’s’ suggestion that “making transphobic comments” is a “much better” reason to keep a player out of the Hall of Fame than his steroid use. Incredible! The latter is cheating on the field. The former is the expression of an opinion, and has nothing to do with baseball at all.
But that wasn’t the worst of what Monday’s sportswriting wisdom brought us. The new primary sports columnist of the New York Times, Kurt Streeter, reflecting on the end of the NFL season, issued a screed celebrating—wait for it—Colin Kaepernick.
The Marist polling organization, which also had a presidential race poll out over the weekend, was widely publicized recently for its poll asking fans of professional sports why they weren’t following them as they had in past seasons. (The NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball have seen significant TV ratings drops in their respective weird, pandemic-marred seasons.) The headlines in one news source after another focused on a single “finding”: the invasion of political posturing by athletes had not played the primary role in driving fans away. “No, the increased political activism in professional sports doesn’t explain the ratings decline,” wrote Yahoo Sports, repeated by AOL. “And no, the sports where that activism is the most pronounced, like the NBA, haven’t suffered more in comparison.”
That may or may not be true, but the Marist poll cited didn’t indicate either of those conclusions, because those polled were not asked about either issue with sufficient precision or clarity.
Once again, as I can’t resist doing periodically, I’m publishing a dinged comment as a Comment of the Day to illustrate the kind of thinking and debating technique that goes on among the addled, biased, and ethics-free.
This one is from someone with the ironic email handle “rightwing moron” (he is, it seems, a “woke” moron) objecting to the position expressed here that schools must not take political positions and inflict them on their students, parents and football game spectators, because doing so is an abuse of position, function and power, and because those who operate schools are (theoretically) trained as educators, not public policy experts and political scientists, and have no right to engage in indoctrination. I don’t consider that assessment to be seriously debatable, but I am eager to read intelligent, well-argued, articulate and civil attempts.
This is the first of two comments by whoever this jerk is; both violated Ethics Alarms comment standards. The second was more of the same fallacies and typical emotion-based, ignorant reasoning, so it was sent to Spam Hell. Whoever this was didn’t comprehend the essay in question at all. As is usually the case in such screeds (I get a lot of them), the writer presumes that as long as he, she or it agrees with a political view, it is proper and ethical to unilaterally hijack any activity or function to advance it.
I’ll be back briefly at the end to poke some holes, not because any readers of average intelligence won’t see what’s wrong with this mess on their own, but because I enjoy the excercise, like the way I enjoy walking on bubble wrap. I didn’t clean the rant up the way I edit respectable COTDs, because the lack of care the comment exhibits is of a piece with its quality generally.
A football game at Lakewood High School in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, was intercepted and run into racial politics and partisan grandstanding territory when a voice over the public address system before the game declares that the school would has designated itself an “agent of change” in the battle against “systemic” racism in “society as a whole.”
After the band played the Lakewood alma mater, it then played “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the so-called “black national anthem,” in imitation of the NFL, which is featuring the song this season as part of its official grovel to Black Lives Matter. The announcer added his commentary about how racist the U.S. is, intoning,
“Let us pause and reflect on the inequality that our nation has faced since its beginning. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tamir Rice among others remind us of the systemic racism that persists across so many of our nation’s institutions and society as a whole. By acknowledging, discussing, and taking action to address these inequalities, Lakewood City Schools aims to be an agent of change, not only in our community but in the world. We must all take a stand against racism. Let this be the moment when our children someday look back and say, ‘This is when we stood together for change.’”
Sources confirmed that both the school principal and the band director approved the political kick-off.
Despite receiving many complaints from parents and law enforcement over the stunt, the school reportedly will repeat its BLM-themed ritual in future football games but will remove the names of those killed in encounters with police. Absurdly, the school will read a tribute to first responders at halftime as part of a “compromise” with law enforcement.
The new revised speech will provide context for “ the black national anthem” explaining how “Lift Every Voice and Sing” sets “an atmosphere of reverence for the journey of people of color, gratitude for the selfless sacrifices of their ancestors and for the inheritance of indomitability and resilience. The song recognizes these moments as important to moving forward toward hope and faith for a better future and a better America. The song is universally uplifting and speaks to every group that struggles.”
Here are some questions, rhetorical and otherwise:
1. What would you do if your child was involved in a high school sports contest and the school perverted it into a political demonstration? One father who attended the game said afterwards that he would have walked out…if it were not his son’s senior year. Yeah, those are typical priorities all right. It’s an outrage, but not important enough to teach a child that preserving standards and values is more important than a high school football game.
“Conservative America is disgusted with the NBA, and therefore is tuning it out. We’re disgusted ….with the embrace of the radical BLM movement by the league and its players….My problem was what was allowed, indeed encouraged, during the games. I will not watch any sports event during which the preaching of politics or ideology occurs. I guess I’m not alone.”
Mirengoff is wrong to attribute this reaction only to conservatives, however. I have spoken with many sports fans who would not fit that description who are equally disgusted with the professional sports leagues. All of the leagues made a foolish assumption that by embracing the views of many progressive activists, they would at least hold on to the allegiance of fans who agreed with those positions. ESPN and many sportswriters have made the same mistake., and it’s a stupid one. If I go out to dinner and the service staff bombard me with their political views during the evening, it doesn’t matter if I agree with what they say: I didn’t come to the restaurant to listen to political diatribes.
If you’re wondering about the ellipses, I left out a reference to the NBA’s addiction to China’s money, leading the league to ignore the despicable human rights record and political oppression in that country. That is a conservative complaint, and a valid one, but I doubt it affects NBA play-off ratings one tick.
I haven’t finished my letter to the Boston Red Sox, but I write it as I completely ignore the baseball play-offs as I will through the World Series. I want to make sure the team realizes that if its ugly promotion of Black Lives Matter could alienate me, it is in big trouble in the community. The players need to understand that as well, but it was up to management to tell employees to do what they were paid for, and not use their celebrity to make incompetent and divisive political statements. Continue reading →
1 .Another shoe drops: The Boston Red Sox announced that they would “support” any players who chose to kneel during the National Anthem when The Strangest Baseball Season since World War II, when teams fielded 16-year-old infielders and one-armed outfielders, commences tomorrow. The announcement was no surprise, and this team in particular had little choice.
Boston’s AL team is forever viewed with suspicion on race issues because it was the last major league team to break the color line, and because it passed on opportunities to sign some of the early black stars. Last season a visiting player claimed to hear a racist slur hurled his way from the Fenway Park bleachers, and the Red Sox management has been ostentatiously “woke,” cancelling Tom Yawkey from the Fenway environs though the team owes its existence to the long-time owner’s beneficence. He was rumored to be a racist, however, and that was enough to justify erasing his name (except from his initials in Morse Code on the scoreboard).
2. Bad service only matters for drug stores, apparently. State regulators in Oklahoma cited and fined CVS for conditions found at four of its pharmacies, including inadequate staffing and errors made in filling prescriptions. Staffing just about everywhere is unfriendly to consumers—indeed, most stores were understaffed even before the lockdown, now half-lockdown while the teachers extort the country.
Our local CVS, where I have many ethics adventures, now has minimal staff, including in the pharmacy, because there are so few customers lately. Hilariously, the store’s auto-scan checkout option is one of the features that requires staff: the damn things don’t work half the time, or a staffer has to lead some confused senior through the process.
3. Unfortunately, it’s more difficult than ever to believe sexual harassment allegations. #MeToo so egregiously overplayed its hand and has been so schizophrenic in its standards that I have to look at any high-profile allegations as potentially motivated by politics. In an action that must have been well underway before the Washington Redskins suddenly caved and agreed to change the team’s name (yet another poll, a new one, has indicated that the vast majority of football fans and Native Americans have no problem with “Redskins”), 15 female ex-employees told The Washington Post that they were sexually harassed while working for the organization. Shortly thereafter, a Fox News staffer and periodic on-air guest filed suit in federal court alleging they had been harassed or raped by Ed Henry, the Fox News reporter who was fired for “willful sexual misconduct in the workplace,” The suit also alleges harassment by Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, the latter perpetually on “the resistance’s” hit list and the target of boycotts, and Carlson recently becoming a force as a pundit. Therefore he must be destroyed.
Do I find it hard to believe that the Redskins, or any NFL team, has a culture hostile to female employees? No. Do I think that Fox News has effectively banished its pervasive workplace sexism and misogyny since the forced exits of the late Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly? Absolutely not. Do I think weaponizing sexual harassment allegations has become a predictable and unethical tactic on the Left, (See: Mathews, Chris) thus making the timing of both of these sets of complants suspicious?
Is Bismark a herring?*
4. More things now as predictable as they are indefensible. The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts will remove its John Wayne exhibit as part of the school’s efforts to address “systemic racism” in society with obnoxious, shallow and foolish gestures.
The Duke graduated from USC, of course (he was raised in Iowa), and the justification for his dishonoring was an admittedly dumb interview he gave Playboy in 1971, where he was obviously (to me, anyway, at the time) trolling a liberal and hostile magazine by saying exactly the kinds of things the Wayne haters expected him to say. (I always assumed he was drunk during that interview.) This move by USC was expected—California, universities: you know, morons. As Spiked noted, Wayne’s importance to the culture and the history of film by virtue of his on-screen portrayals should not be diminished by any interview the actor did.
As an actor and a director,Wayne was careful to portray characters who respected blacks and other minorities as human beings. In “The Cowboys,” for example, he is routinely reprimanded and shown up by his black cook, played by the great Rosco Lee Browne. In many movies, like “McClintock!,” “Hondo” and “Fort Apache,” he demonstrated sympathy and respect for Native Americans; Wayne also prominently featured Chinese-American actor H.W. Gim in his films whenever feasible from 1942 on, notably as his landlord Chin Lee in “True Grit.”
If his character was a racist, Wayne didn’t hesitate to represent racism negatively, as when he opposed his black ranch hand (Woody Strode) learning to read in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence” because Wayne’s character is hostage to archaic traditions, or when he seems determined to murder his white niece (Natalie Wood) because she has lived with Native Americans and presumably had sex with a chief.
All of John Wayne’s wives were also Mexican, meaning that his four children are “Persons of Color.”
Never mind. Wayne’s legacy and hold on the culture is unbreakable. Just last week I stumbled about four of his films on cable. They’ll get Mt. Rushmore before they shoot down the Duke. [Pointer: Pennagain]
*Cultural literacy bonus points for identifying the source.