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Op/ED: "The Foolishness of the NFL and the National Anthem by Kneeling Protest" by Arelya J. Mitchell, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief  (MST sports 1, MST sports 4, and MST sports 5)- June 15-22, 2018  sports edition



 Op/ED: The Foolishness of the NFL and the National Anthem by Kneeling Protesters


By Arelya J. Mitchell, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief


The Mid-South Tribune

and the Black Information Highway


Muhammad Ali. Jesse Owens. Joe Louis. Jackie Robinson. Players of the Negro Baseball Leagues.  Althea Gibson. Wilma Rudolph. Jack Johnson. Lee Elder. This list could continue from the 1960s and backwards. What do these African American athletes have in common? They paid their dues under Jim Crow.


            Tuskegee Airmen. World War I and II black veterans. Black soldiers of the Korea Conflict. Early 60’s Vietnam vets. What do these African American soldiers have in common? They paid their dues under Jim Crow.


            Yes, they paid their dues to a nation and a flag which did not return what it owed them as patriotic American citizens. Yet, in many instances, they stood up for the American flag, fought for the American flag even after returning home to a flag that did not recognize the red of their blood and sacrifice. And when they protested, it was understandable such as in the case of Muhammad Ali. If some of those Tuskegee Airmen and other Black soldiers are alive or were to return to life, they would have every right to protest the flag, to kneel in anger and resentment. Whether one agreed with them or not, their protest would be justified. This latest NFL protest is a mockery of those athletes and soldiers.

            No matter how much black NFL players protesters and their pseudo white liberal sympathizers try to spin that kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem is because of police brutality and is an honorable thing, their explanation plays short of a field goal kicked from the moon.

            In the history of my life, I have seen and/or covered authentic protests. One can see real anger, outrage, and pain from true protesters who have experienced mistreatment and Jim Crow discrimination in both South and North.

            This NFL kneeling protest movement should be put on the level of a high school football team following the lead of a former egotistic quarterback who is so spoiled rotten that he is incapable of thinking anything through. All he knows is that he is the star and that team members should follow him without question. And they’re too passive to question.

            In the NFL’s case that star is none other than Colin “Mod Squad” Kaepernick, and the football players following him are Pavlovian dogs—er puppies -- following the big dog who no longer has his quarterback position moreso because of his pomposity than philosophy. So, he jumps up and down alleging that his protest of dissing the American flag is over police brutality.

            Recently, the NFL powers-that-be put out the following Alice-in-Wonderland statement (See full statement and policy in this sports edition.) which exerts: “It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and never was the case.” Well, if one is kneeling when the National Anthem is being played, that perception lends itself to truth that they are unpatriotic. Or maybe they’re just sheep or puppies.


            Having said that, I doubt very seriously if any black NFL player has ever black man-up to simply ask C.K. or any other fellow player, "Why?" Of course, the rote response would be, “Police brutality.”


            Yes, police brutality exists. That is quite a fact, but I and others can attest to this: Most police men and police women do not commit brutality—no more than most NFL players beat their wives or girlfriends or commit murder as in the case of a former Patriot player. Yes, there are bad apples in any profession.

            These NFL players have as have Black Lives Matter members unwittingly advanced a movement where it is almost honorable to attack police and/or espouse hate for them. It has become cool to hate policemen. This is just as morally wrong as it is when a bigoted policeman commits murder or a beating under the color of the law. The NFL leadership has unwittingly aided and abetted this movement. They are helping to produce an element of persons who go after policemen to ambush, goad, and deliberately get themselves in a position to either end up dead or on YouTube for their 15 minutes of odious fame. This element wears behavior as a badge of honor. How many times have you seen persons in a position where if they had handled their confrontation with a policeman differently, they would still be alive or not shot? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that if the person had cooperated, or even let himself or herself be carried down to the police station, he or she would be alive. They would be alive to file a complaint or sue. To reiterate, no one is arguing that there are no bad policemen or that unjust things don’t happen. But the good actions of policemen far outweigh the bad actions. 

            You see, someone forgot to tell NFL players and their respective union that this is the 21st Century. NFL fans work hard to afford tickets or to sit in their living rooms or man caves to watch games, letting their eyeballs give reason for advertisers to sponsor games. Vendors work hard to earn money for their families. These non-millionaires provide the multi-million dollars to pay NFL players and their owners. These fans want to enjoy their time off. If these fans were to interrupt these players’ leisure time with protests to drive across the goal line some political rhetoric, all hell would break out.

            These NFL players clearly have neither respect nor regard for fans, vendors, viewers or even for blacks living in the hood who got their television sets stolen by some black thugs who had more rights than an everyday hard working black citizen.

            Think about it. Colin “Mod Squad” Kaepernick could have thought this out. With his influence, he could have organized a series of townhall meetings between policemen and community citizens bringing in other NFL players to form a positive network to address the issue of police brutality and to better relations between community and police.

            But what does this spoiled brat do? He doesn’t sit down and write out and implement an agenda as did young Freedom Riders of the 60’s and a then twenty-something Martin Luther King, Jr.  in the 50’s. Civil rights protests were organized in spite of the bloodshed, extreme police brutality, police dogs, water hoses, and a corrupt judicial system. Their sincere protests resulted in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  But what does this spoiled brat do? He wears socks sporting police as pigs. He kneels during the National Anthem. Then many in Black Lives Matter follow him when I’ve never seen or heard of him marching in a Black Lives Matter protest. If he had, it went unpublicized. And believe you me with his ego and name recognition, he would have gotten ample publicity.

            And another thing. I have been in many communities where African American seniors have whispered to me that they want the police there. Whispered, because they are too afraid of bullying by black elites or black leaders or black thugs, or white pseudo liberals. (Just check with Dennis Rodman, a fine athlete, who also was bullied and threatened by these holier-than-thou trash, but still had the guts to black man-up). These seniors and other black decent citizens won’t dare speak out because of PCBT—Politically Correct Black Thang.            

            I am wondering as so many others why NFL players cannot protest the growing black-on-black brutality in Chicago or protest bad water in Flint, or black illiteracy.

            Yes, C.K. sports socks of police as pigs, and the NFL had no problem with this; yet, the NFL leadership certainly had a problem when the Dallas Cowboys wanted to honor the five policemen who were lured into traps and assassinated. I can’t even begin to understand the League’s logic for this or why no NFL player asked, “Why?” The NFL and their NFL stars by their action certainly have no respect for the police who protect them during game time or who put their lives and limb in danger when they come to the aid of citizens regardless of race, color, or creed.

            But NFL players and their anything-goes Players union can be assured that this mess will end a whole lot quicker this year? Why? Because the bottom line is that this undefined protest is hurting the bottom line: Money, and the last I heard was that money was the basis of those multi-million dollar salaries to afford those gated communities and private bodyguards. I don’t see any of them giving up their paychecks for the Cause. Yet, they have no ‘unbiased consciousness’ screwing over vendors trying to pay the mortgage, rent, and utility bills. When the real Civil Rights Movement was going on, black folks pooled their money, cars, pennies and dimes for the Cause.

            And back to you, NFL players, the Black community is not with you – no more than to give you perfunctory lip service because it is PCBT to do so. Look around. You don’t see any black folks out in the street with raised fists or banners sticking by you. Black folks are sick and tired of you, young black millionaires, hiding behind Colin K’s piggy socks and the National Anthem. They’re even sick and tired of the NAACP marching on behalf of black millionaires when there are more pressing socio-economic problems in the Black community to solve. This once-venerable organization did not even march on bad water in Flint, or in Chicago where black-on-black murder rate is ascending to a point of making blacks extinct in the city.

            But rest assured, NFL players, this will end. Common sense will come out on top. The NFL needs to expand its reach and look for those young men who won’t mind

standing during the National Anthem and protest on their own time. They’ll respect vendors and fans in a 21st Century America where police brutality is not nearly as fatal or dominant as it was before and in the 1960s.

            This will end. The NFL will expand its franchise to other nations. Any fool can see that it’s putting down yards for this goal. Young men from Africa and Eastern Europe who are hungry and talented would give their eyeteeth for these opportunities. In fact, the NFL should implement an outreach program that will recruit potential young players now living in the hood or in the Appalachian hills or rural areas or even in suburbs. The NFL also needs to focus on athletes at Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) where the NFL initially got its talent (Jerry Rice is a hard-working example of that HBCU talent).

            The handful of NFL players who get it (but who continue to kowtow to peer pressure) will be looking long term for ways to be owners or part owners of an NFL franchise.  Those non-thinking cowardly NFL players (black dandelions) who follow C.K. will be out the door, not because they were thrown out but because they reveled in their own stupidity of not realizing that as athletes their careers by nature are not long, and it will be just a matter of time before their twenties kick them into their 30’s (with that in between time of not knowing when or if an injury will occur), then it’s game over.  Trust you me, this haphazard movement will go the way of any faddish footnote movement.

            The owners will wait you out and continue their little PR campaign (i.e. latest policy of giving you a choice of either standing for the National Anthem or hiding out in the locker room). The owners will continue to give funds to some of your worthy causes to appease your stupidity (and it is stupidity by any other name), to make you feel vindicated, like you won something at Vanity Fair, to make you feel like a MAN.

 I could only feel bemused disgust when cameras panned across the faces of those kneeling NFL players who held the blank expression that they didn’t know what the hell was going on.

            This will end, because in the middle of the night when a black thug breaks into a black person’s house, steals his stuff  or beats his brains, or rapes his wife or daughter, who ya gonna call? You can bet your black ass that it won’t be the Ghostbusters, the NFL players, the NFL owners, Colin “Mod Squad” Kaepernick, the NAACP or Black Lives Matter for that matter.




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