Football Season is Over
By Nick Ochs
Like a lot of people on the right in America I didn’t watch football this year. This was part of an effort to show that our half of the country can take our money and go home when a company takes a stand against our values. It seemed to work too – TV ratings for the NFL were down almost ten percent in 2017.
That being said, I did watch the Super Bowl. I felt justified by the fact that the Eagles were one of the few teams with no kneeling or sitting during the anthem and the Patriots are generally understood to be the team for Trump’s America. It was a great game. Nick Foles has more than made a name for himself as the well-deserved MVP. Philadelphia got their first ever Super Bowl win and immediately broke out in a multi-racial, nationally unifying riot. All in all, it was about as well as this season could have ended.
But middle America is not going to forget about the dozens of millionaire athletes protesting our country, and then being told it's racist to be bothered by this. What was worse was the team owners and the NFL’s unwillingness to do anything about it. The cultural divide in America will widen and there will be kneeling on the sidelines next year too. Things have gotten so contentious that the wrestling affiliated XFL is now scheduled to come back in 2020, with the promise of protest free football – and people are actually taking it seriously this time.
Make no mistake: kneeling is a direct anti-American statement. There is no rationalizing it as something else. It's not deep, subtle, or complicated. It is a statement against the symbol of our country. Symbols matter. The flag is not just a “piece of cloth” and the national anthem is not “just a song”. They have special meaning. No one kneels for fabrics they don’t like or music they don’t want to hear.
This is not to say someone doesn’t have the right to disrespect a flag or anthem. The First Amendment more than covers that. However, simply having the right to do something does not, in any way, excuse or legitimize any particular behavior. If you spit on the logo of the place that you work as a demonstration for cameras to see, your boss will fire you because it's unbecoming of someone who works for that company. In the same way, it is un-American to disrespect the idea of America. Not just criticize something about America – that’s not happening here, and no one calls it un-American when someone does that.
The NFL does not have to put up with it. The NBA didn’t when former Denver Nuggets guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf tried the same thing in the 90’s and was suspended without pay until he stood.
This is a rather specific form of leftist protest. The kneelers are equating racist police brutality with America. The statement is: of everything there is about this place, racist law enforcement is the main thing. Not Trump, or immigration, or any other facet of the grievance culture. They’ve set this one aside for the BLM crowd. They say it’s so bad that a man of conscience can’t honor his own country anymore.
As of this writing, none of the protestors have left to play for any other sports teams in less oppressive countries.
If any NFL player wanted to protest the police he could write a Facebook update about the police brutality. It would automatically have a huge platform and be read by thousands, likely many more. However, that would also mean defending beliefs in writing. It would require expressing those beliefs coherently in the first place. These men are not incapable of laying down an argument (although not exactly gifted either, if we are going to use Colin Kaepernick’s interviews as an indicator) but they are incapable of pursuing this specific argument.
The reason they kneel instead of using words is because reality – and the numbers – say the police are NOT murdering black men at a disproportionate rate. Nor is real life anywhere close to their version of reality. Using numbers from the Department of Justice, a black man is about 3 percent more likely than a white man to be killed by a police officer. 3 percent is not good, but when compared to the exceptionally jarring statistic that black people commit 80 percent of all interracial violent crime in America (FBI numbers), the narrative instantly crumbles. The left cannot face this. They have put all their eggs in the oppression basket.
There is no comparable protest on the right about racial crime trends, nor should there be. Stunts like this are inherently divisive, and right wing in America, minus the alt-right, is better than that. Yet when we are confronted with a lie that that can be exposed with facts, we must never hide away from those facts, even when they are an uncomfortable conversation waiting to happen.
I have always had the attitude that that a problem cannot be tackled until it's at least recognized. We are a long way off from the mainstream media recognizing that the likelihood of a black man in an American city being killed by a cop is a lot less than that by another young black man from his own neighborhood. It wasn’t always this way.
In the 40’s both poverty in 'and racism toward' black communities was rampant, but the crime rate was about the same as in the white population. What’s different now is the culture of violence. The breakdown of the black family is the cause. Almost 3 quarters of black families are fatherless now. This is a national travesty that every American should be concerned about. There must be a real initiative to fix this, and as long as the focus is on the non-existent threat of being gunned down by the police for no reason, we will never get there.
That’s why blaming America is so dangerous. In the end it will only delight spoiled white liberals who don’t have anything real on the line here, meanwhile, a lot more black lives will be destroyed. This is a Trump voter saying they matter too.
Author: Nick Ochs