Thursday, May 31, 2018

Guess what I'll be doing on Sundays this fall?

Well, I won't be watching National Football League action, that's for sure.

It's all because the owners of the league's 32 clubs have decided to ban kneeling during the singing/playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Players must now stand during Francis Scott Key's claim to fame...or risk getting fined. 

The only other option for the NFL's athletes: Stay in the locker room until the song's finished.

I remember all the letters that appeared in the Omaha World-Herald during the 2017 NFL campaign...letters that asked those protesting football players to air their grievances "on their own time" rather than in front of stadiums full of people (as well as in front of millions of TV viewers).

Well, those Americans who gave their newspapers such letters have now gotten what they've been on their own knees begging for.

And it probably won't take long before some of those same letter writers attack any NFL players who actually use "their own time" to address issues such as police brutality. 

In time for last Wednesday's Washington Post, Shaun R. Harper (a professor at USC who runs the school's Race and Equity Center) turned in a heck of an editorial about the circuit's new kneeling ban. 

Harper talked about how the new edict is all about ethnicity. 

Out of over 1,700 NFL players who suited up last season, 70% are Black. Seven of the teams had African Americans as their head coaches.

Every last squad in the league is owned by White people.

And starting with head honcho Roger Goodell, most of the people who make up the power structure at NFL headquarters in New York City are Caucasian Americans.

Add it all up. 

Harper did just that, talking about how the kneeling ban signals that the team owners don't give a good, good hoot about fighting racism in America. In addition, he stated that "the league is only interested in Black men as laborers and entertainers, not as citizens with the right to use their influence to awaken our nation's racial consciousness, disrupt racism, and improve circumstances for members of their communities who are harmed by racist policies and practices."

The key word is "citizens."

Later on in that editorial, Harper (he's written a dozen books; his most famous one: "Scandals in College Sports") called on NFL players to sue the league over its efforts to hold back gridders' freedom of expression (we're talking First Amendment rights, you know!).  

SRH also talked about how he joined many other African-American football lovers in boycotting last year's NFL contests to show solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and other activist players.

Shaun, I'm a year late to the "party," but here I am.

I'll continue to read about the games in the paper and online.

I just won't watch the games on TV anymore...until the Jerry Joneses and Daniel Snyders lift that stupid kneeling ban and stop cozying up to a man who wanted one of those NFL teams earlier in this decade.

That's right...Donald John Trump.

Even if Trump and his enablers/supporters don't really get it, patriotism involves more than standing at attention when you hear, as George Carlin put it, the world's only national anthem that mentions rockets and bombs.

Much more. 

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