Now that political preaching has infiltrated every aspect of American life — from entertainment awards shows to college graduation ceremonies — some players in the National Football League have decided it’s their turn to transform games into a platform to proselytize.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, you know that last weekend numerous NFL players and coaches followed the lead of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and took a knee during the national anthem.
Kaepernick explained the origins of his protests to NFL.com saying, “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.”
Kaepernick is apparently a much bigger fan of the governmental stylings of the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Last August the former quarterback wore a T-shirt to a news conference that depicted scenes from a 1960 meeting between Castro and Malcolm X, and included the phrase “Like minds think alike.” The press conference happened to take place after the 49ers’ third preseason game, which was when his refusal to stand during the national anthem first became national news.
Soon after, other players joined in, fans started booing and finally President Trump declared that one of the owners should say, “‘Get that son of a b***h off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”
Gone are the days when the biggest free-speech controversy at the NFL involved Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction.”
Also gone are the days when you could turn to an NFL game to escape politics for an afternoon. Now the only remaining refuge is watching reruns of “The Love Boat.”
The protesting players have largely been celebrated by their peers in the sports media, with HBO’s Bryant Gumbel boasting, “the social conscience of the modern American athlete” has been “energized.”
I couldn’t disagree more. When you make national noise because your personal politics prevent you from performing the required duties of your job, you aren’t Rosa Parks, you’re Kim Davis.
Remember her? She was the county clerk in Rowan County, Ky., who defied a court order and refused to issue marriage to same-sex couples, saying she was acting under “God’s authority.”
The courts consistently…