The NFL Controversy – To Knee Or Not To Knee

First, The President.

Donald Trump will continue to do what got him here. Internalize this simple principle, and one need never be puzzled y his behavior again. This explains everything he says and does, and it explains why he inserts himself into the issues of the day, including the NFL controversy.

Going into last weekend, Trump, in his often used cringe-inducing terms waded in on the National Anthem/NFL debate. And naturally, the Deranged Left (redundant, I know) reacted with its usual restraint after a period of quiet self-reflection and contemplation.

The Left Reacts

Leftist reaction to… oh, everything…

Let’s go back and review how this came into the National Conversation. On August 26th, 2016 the San Francisco 49er’s met the Green Bay Packers in a Pre-season contest. During the playing of the National Anthem, the 49er’s 3rd String Quarterback chose to remain seated. Two weeks later the National Press, ever in search for controversy, began to take notice.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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.” – Colin Kaepernick

I have absolutely no problem with this statement. This may surprise some who know me. Is the above statement by Kaepernick hyperbolic? Of course it is. But the National Discourse is full of over-the-top hyperbole.  Anyone remember our previous president telling his critics to get in the “back of the bus?”

The NFL Controversy & The State Of Our Dis-Union.

The current President clearly has his own way of doing things and it sure isn’t your way or my way. I don’t like that Trump inserted himself into this debate. I absolutely don’t appreciate that the Commander-in-Chief called for the firing of any who do not adhere to his views. I don’t like when the Left does it, though I will allow that Trump clearly does not take the same psychotic glee. Still, I don’t like to see it done for political reasons by anyone.

Some commentators have gone on record that the president should not have inserted himself into this. At least one talking head argued that the NFL is a private organization. Except that it’s not.  The NFL abandoned that ground  when the organization’s owners ask for and accepted billions of dollars in taxpayer funds to build their cathedrals.

This will not have the intended effect; the reasons overlap.

1. They’re Stupid.

The players taking a knee or sitting down for the National Anthem are stupid. Functional human beings are not going listen while being lectured to by demonstrably stupid people. Coming up with $100 to purchase a ticket often requires the purchaser to not only have a job, but to actually make rational decisions with respect to his or her disposable income. NFL players on the other hand, have an 80% chance of ending up broke.  So, if you can’t get your own house in order, the second metric in morality after the Fear of God, spare me any lectures.  On any topic.

There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man spendeth it up. – Proverbs 21:20

Even God says they’re stupid. The average NFL career is only 2.5 years. The median income during this brief stint is $750,000 per year. Such a sum is enough to start a small business. Or sock away into an annuity. But they won’t. Because they’re stupid.

2. No Respect For The People Who Pay Them.

As the Social Justice fad creeps it’s way through corporate America, the gap between the customers and corporate policy makers grows wider. Twenty years ago, Rush Limbaugh came up with words to the effect that the News Media is the only business where the customer is not only always wrong, but also an idiot. This more than any other reason outside technical innovation is why Network News lost their dominance.

The NFL under commissioner Pete Roselle built one of the most dominant business models in history. Today, this model is undergoing a transition similar to Network News of the 1990s that may very cause the end of its dominance. If you continue to insult your customers, please spare me your apoplexy when they leave you.

3. The Message Is Incoherent.

Ask each of the 200 players that knelt during the Anthem last Sunday why they did it and you will get a plethora of answers, many of them having nothing to do with Kaepernick’s original reason of racial injustice. If a protest is confusing, it has failed.  This is what makes the NFL Controversy so inane.

NY Jets

September 24, 2017. NY Jets link arms during the National Anthem as show of “unity”… or something. Getty Images.

And since the reasons behind the player’s protests are defined by their incoherence, they are insidiously open-ended. When do the protests stop? When all incidents of police misconduct come to an end? Who gets to decide the definition of police brutality?

On balance, the Unites States is a force for good in the world. This is self-evident. The United States also has its share of problems. What nation does not?

I’m not saying that taking a knee during the National Anthem is wrong, I’m just explaining why it’s failing.

Sports served to bring us together. The ancient Greek city-states famously suspended hostilities to hold their Olympic games.  May be we, as a nation should suspend hostilities.

For decades, professional sports was able to transcend bigotry, affirmative action, and politics. Professional sports credibly asserted itself as the ultimate meritocracy. Only the best got to play. Successful coaches kept their jobs. Unsuccessful coaches did not. Ability superseded connections, and ability was based on clear metrics.  You either won, or you didn’t.

Sports were not politicized in the conventional sense. Now those days – perhaps delusional – are sadly behind us.

4. The Market will have the final say.

I didn’t make that rule. The Almighty did. Cecille B. DeMille is generally credited with saying “It is impossible for us to break the law. We can only break ourselves against the law.” The Law of Economics determines who lives and who dies.

Entertainment dollars take up a tiny, and I mean tiny portion of what the average person spends. When people are in the mood to be entertained, it means they don’t want to spend time in the classroom. Refer to reason #2. That’s why movie sales are down. That’s why CNN’s ratings are in the tank. The recent broadcast of the Emmy’s? I wonder if you even knew they were on. I expect sales of the new X-box do better than previous projections partly for these very reasons.

5. The NFL has no moral authority.


A Candid Discussion On Race. Because we don’t talk about it enough.

Whenever I hear, “we have to have an honest conversation,” it inevitably means that someone wants me to engage in self-flagellation. That will never happen. I will on the other hand, will make some candid observations.

Of all the demographics in the United States, no one is going to argue the fact that those descended from Sub-Saharan Africa were screwed over the most. Not the Irish, not the Italians, and certainly not America’s newest crush, the Middle Easterners.

The overwhelming number of African Americans descended from prisoners of war sold into slavery by the victorious tribes. That’s a pretty rough start. Then, after generations of enslavement, and after a protracted war they received no payment, no “40 acres and a mule.” Any serious talk of reparations died with the .44 caliber bullet entering the back of Lincoln’s head. Andrew Johnson (D), Lincoln’s Vice-President and successor countermanded the reparations order issued by General Sherman in his capacity as military governor in 1865. To my knowledge, it was never again seriously discussed in any of our state or national legislatures.

It took nearly 100 years, but by the 1950s, Americans of African decent were the single most upwardly mobile demographic in the Unites States. Then the Federal Government stepped in and tried to be “helpful.”

A Hero Defined.

To call what happened to the black family during the decades that followed “catastrophic” would be an understatement. Let me add that there are few things that impress me more than a black man in the home raising his family. Why? Because that man has resisted every effort and incentive of the Deep State to expel him from his home and separate him from his children. That takes herculean strength. It takes a wife of proven moral caliber because she has to resist every incentive thrown at her to cooperate in expelling her husband from their home.  It takes a degree of strength which quite frankly, I don’t know if I would have been able to resist had the Deep State marshaled it’s considerable resources against me.

The First Definition Of Insanity.

What does bear mentioning here is The Left’s insistence on taking the non-strategic approach to the racial problems in America. The reason of course is simple. The Left has a vested interest in not improving race relations, particularly in the public square.

For now, it should suffice that the concession to the existence of “leaders” for any demographic is the single biggest insult one can ever bestow on anyone. That “Community Organizing” was or is actually a thing is just one more item on a long list of damaging factors that Americans of African descent have to deal with today.

Asserting that it’s better for them here than “over there” is unhelpful. Every person of African descent living in the United States understands that in spite of it all, they won the ‘Location on Earth’ lottery. Never the less, significant problems exist, and kicking the can down the road for the next generation is as irresponsible as pretending that a $20 trillion national debt doesn’t exist.

Random Observations.

It’s remarkable how many owners are choosing to side with the media, the players, and the league instead of that which support the entire system: the fans.  I remember back in the eighties when the biggest NFL Controversy was a player wearing a name-brand headband on the sidelines.  I’d like to get back to that.

Race matters.  Yes, I’m willing to have that “conversation,” but the fellas on the sidelines would do themselves a lot more good by “taking a knee” in Church during the off-season.

The Ancient Greek city-states suspended wars during sporting events.  We might consider doing the same.

About Phil Christensen

The trail behind me is littered with failure. The trail before me remains to be seen.
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2 Responses to The NFL Controversy – To Knee Or Not To Knee

  1. Peter says:

    This could all have been avoided had the NFL had the guts to enforce its own rules the first day that Kaepernick pulled this stunt. Failure to enforce discipline at the start has caused all this strife now.
    “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.”

  2. Wolfie says:

    “Anyone remember our previous president telling his critics to get in the “back of the bus?”

    I do, indeed. In fact, I typed a comment at FPM, the other day, in which I referenced that comment. Mr. Obama also said that he was the “driver”. This statement was chilling, to me, because the German for “driver” is “Fuehrer”, among other synonyms.

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