Taking the knee, a silent protest
To the Editor:
Last month, Donald Trump couldn’t shut up about black men playing football, demanding a boycott of the NFL and calling players “sons of bitches.” Colin Kaepernick and his brethren were vilified by Trump for taking a knee to foster dialogue about the deaths of young men of color and equal protection under the law. Their dignified solidarity was as impressive as we’ve seen from sports since Muhammad Ali. It’s also a measure of the astonishing ability of Trump to find and stomp on our last nerve, which is his only demonstrable talent as a politician.
Patriotism is a 10-letter word being used by an inferior magician. Trump never called David Duke or Putin SOBs. He courts them. This may sound unkind, but why are supremacists invariably the worst specimens of the race they claim to defend?
The media cast a net and created a place for the identity hungry to fall into. Cult 45 doesn’t mind being called a cult. A caller on Green Bay’s right wing radio: “Aaron Rodgers thinks he’s God. Telling teammates and fans what to do. Well, God struck that field with lightening and showed them who was boss. Libs think they own football now, just like teachers.” Whoa, Libs didn’t manipulate football players or teachers. We happen to think both groups are swell.
Republicans have draped themselves in the flag and perverted Kaepernick’s protest. Another square sewn into their horror quilt. You guys gave your pin number to a Nigerian prince. Like Walker, Trump employs the four Ds: distract, demonize, destroy and divide.
NFL patriots are showing us something that applies to everybody, we all have some power in our domain, which we must leverage for the higher good. Why interject politics into football? It’s already there. Was the anthem played before the Renee Fleming concert? The ballet? Players standing began in 2009 as manufactured nationalism. The NFL gets paid by the Defense Department for “patriotic salutes” for recruitment of soldiers, to the tune of $7 million to $10 million since 2011.
There is a corrupt contract white fans make with black athletes. We accept you, surrender your voice. Kaepernick began by staying on the bench. After talking to Navy Seal Nate Boyer, he opted to kneel in order to not disrespect soldiers. Perhaps next Sunday the NFL skips the knee and holds AR-15s over their heads. I guarantee gun legislation by halftime. Trump is driving our nation into the ground as a means of fulfilling his latest vendetta.
February 1961, John Kennedy crossed an American Legion picket line to see Spartacus, a film written by blacklisted Dalton Trumbo. The new President effectively ended the blacklist and created the space for a more rebellious liberal and diverse culture. I believe athletic Navy man JFK would’ve taken the knee in solidarity and grace.