by Donald J. Rippert
Unnecessary dumbness. This week President Trump went to Alabama to campaign for Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange. Perhaps in homage to the candidate’s surname, Donald Trump decided to voice his opinions about the NFL players who protest something or other by kneeling during the national anthem. During his speech in “the heart of Dixie” the Donald went on a tirade against the NFL players. Rather than simply expressing his disagreement with the protesters Trump returned to his usual bombast by urging NFL owners to, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!” Listening to Trump’s statements, I suspect that he would escalate a child’s game of tiddlywinks into an armed confrontation if he could only figure out a way to do so. But was he wrong?
Return fire. As has become customary in American politics the reaction to President Trump’s intemperate comments was a barrage of intemperate comments. Rodger Goodell, the vastly overcompensated commissioner of the NFL, slammed Trump’s “divisive” comments claiming the commentary showed a “disrespect for the NFL”. Goodell’s musings leave me to wonder why Trump’s statements were any more divisive than overpaid children refusing to stand for the national anthem or why a league owned by billionaires that puts on a weekly spectacle that maims and kills its players deserves any respect in the first place. Zach Brown, a Redskins linebacker and usually one of the more intelligent NFL players, tweeted, “Trump stay in ur place… football have nothing to do wit u smh”. Really Zach? The president is somehow out of his place criticizing players who don’t stand for the national anthem? Zach, you graduated from the University of North Carolina. That’s the best you can do?
Employees and employers. Putting aside Donald Trump’s childish need to use profanity in making a statement – does he have a point? Should the owners prohibit players from kneeling or sitting during the national anthem? While NFL players clearly have a right to their opinion NFL owners also have a right to enforce rules in the workplace. I would expect to be summarily dismissed from my job if I took advantage of a public speaking opportunity regarding cloud computing to launch into a tirade against the unfairness of America. There’s a time and place for everything, and my employer doesn’t pay me to express my political opinions on the job. As an NFL fan I don’t have any interest in the political opinions of people who garner attention because they are big and/or can run fast. In a similar vein I would pass on the opportunity to pay to watch a football game played by the authors and commenters on this blog.
The boys and girls in blue. As far as I can tell the kneeling NFL players are protesting the behavior of American law enforcement officers toward minorities. It’s hard to know for sure since the kneelers seem to lack the willingness or ability to articulate their presumed grievances. I wonder what would happen if all the law enforcement officers in those NFL stadiums decided to protest the protesters by simply walking out. Would the courageous multi-millionaires who kneel during the national anthem still play the game if the thin blue line that separates them from 80,000 rabid, hard drinking fans disappeared?
Bacon bits. I urge Jim Bacon to formally invite the NFL’s players to submit guest columns on this blog. They can take the opportunity to describe how horribly unfair life has been to them. In the meantime, I think I’ll skip watching this week’s NFL games. Dan Snyder doesn’t need any more of my money anyway. I’ll use the time instead to visit my father’s grave-site at Arlington National Cemetery.