Trump, Protests, and the “Privilege” of Playing in the NFL

As one tweeter said in a lame but effective cliche, sports have always been a slam dunk for Presidents. It’s an easy way to relate to the entire country without having to do something as outrageous as saying you carry hot sauce in your purse at all times. Whether it’s dropping a sports reference in a campaign or having a team to the White House, there’s usually little to no controversy in how Presidents interact with teams.

But all of that got thrown out the window this weekend, with a fun little tweet storm by the guy with the nuclear codes:

He also called players that kneeled sons of bitches. So I mean, that’s fun:

One thing we’re not going to do with this, is allow people to act surprised, especially people who have been heavy supporters of him, i.e. Rex Ryan:

Actually, you 100% signed up for this. You can’t vote for a guy that has openly spewed hateful and rude comments throughout his campaign and presidency, and then be shocked when he spews another hateful and rude comment. The whole “he says it like it is” and “he’s not PC crowd” isn’t allowed to come out now against him because he’s talking about something that affects their world. In the grand scheme of things, this is like barely top 5 most rude things ole boy has said. Y’all knew wtf you were voting for, don’t be surprised.

Lots of folks, including myself, thought the response would’ve been even more widespread or drastic. Some teams didn’t take the field during the anthem, others linked arms, and a few players knelt. All in all, the protest remained tame and respectful, as it has been all along. But, the backlash to the protest was more widespread than it has been before:

I’m on Arvin’s ole crusty ass. Ole “this country ain’t what it used to be” lookin’ self. Ole prune juice drinking self. Ole taking your teeth out before you go to bed lookin’ self. Ole Terry Bradshaw’s the best QB of all time lookin’ self. Ole “these players are too flashy” lookin’ self. Ole “what’s wrong with this generation” lookin’ self. Ole “rap music has ruined this nation” lookin’ self. Ole “they shouldn’t have taken O’Reily off TV” lookin’ self. Can’t even see or hear the TV, how do you know guys were protesting?

Tweeted this out on Sunday, but worth reiterating here. My life goals have changed. Before Sunday, I wanted to make the world a better place and have a nice wife and kids. Now my only goal is to get blocked by Jack Posobiec. Easily top 5 most trash people in the world. Just spewing nonsense all day long. The scariest thing is that his stuff gets thousands of retweets, and people just take it for fact. For example, this bit about Lebron:

100% false. Exhibits A and B.

Then there were the people saying they were going to boycott the games because of the protests:

You couldn’t pick a worse day to boycott the NFL. There were like 6 games that came down to the last play. On top of that, you’re going to boycott an entire game because of 2 minutes at the beginning? That they sometimes don’t even show? If you’re that triggered by a dude kneeling, tune in at 12:02 and you’re good. Plus, not watching football on a Sunday in the Fall is actually the most un-American thing you can do. Might as well boycott apple pie and fireworks while you’re at it.

But while it’s easy to say those people are idiots, which I promise you they are, they’re also speaking the minds of a lot of people. And there’s a multitude of reasons behind it. Some of them don’t think there’s a need for a protest. A small number just don’t like minorities. Others are rebels without a cause, part of an outrage machine that feels like they have to be against this. My suspicion though, is that a lot of them have misconceptions about the protest and the flag among other things. Let’s look at some of the big ones, and see where people have been led astray.

Misconception #1: The US Military are the sole owners of the the Flag/Anthem

Okay this is really misconception #2, but we have to start with it as #1 to give the next one more context. Almost every argument against these protests at some point brings in that it’s disrespectful to our military. We need to get this straight. The flag and anthem belong to all US citizens, not just people in the military. It’s a symbol of our whole country, not just the brave men and women that fight for our freedom. The same goes for the anthem. That’s our country’s anthem, not our military’s anthem. Therefore, every citizen, including players in the NFL, have equal ownership of both. Because we’re all shareholders, we should all be allowed an equal voice in what we think the flag represents.

Misconception #2: This Protest is anti-military

Hopefully things will come together more on this one, because I know the first one might’ve seemed disrespectful. Once you understand that the flag isn’t trademarked for sole use by the military, you understand that at no point is this protest against our US military members. Never has one person kneeling said they’re doing so because they disagree with what the individual members of the military do. I understand the argument that to our soldiers, the flag represents a lot, and that’s where those “it’s disrespectful to soldiers” arguments come from. To servicemen and women, our flag represents freedom and equality, the literal actual cornerstones of America. Now imagine that there are people for whom the flag doesn’t represent that, and actually has come to represent the lack of that. That’s what the heart of the protest is. Two sides having differing feelings when they see a symbol doesn’t mean they’re enemies. Trying to turn the two groups against each other is equally disrespectful to both. So that thing where you think you’re standing up for the military (by using them as a talking point to further your agenda) during these protests? It’s BS. Contrary to belief, someone can be grateful that there are courageous men and women who will give their lives to ensure our safety and freedom while also being upset about inequalities here at home.

Also, “the soldiers” aren’t a single entity. They’re a microcosm of our society, and thus they have viewpoints across the spectrum, on all issues. Some are democrats, some are republicans, some are in the Green Party. Just the same, some (a big amount actually) had no issue with the protest:

(this is my favorite person in the world but Twitter has yet to let me know whether or not he ever stood up, I’m really worried)

I’ll take these soldiers words that they’re not personally offended by folks kneeling during the anthem over Twitter pundits who use them to cover up for their inability to make an actual argument.

Misconception #3: NFL players are privileged multi-millionaires, and thus have no reason to be protesting other than to gain publicity


What if………….

They’re protesting…….

For the people………

Who aren’t multi-millionaires………

And on top of that, we just saw Michael Bennett get a gun put to his head after police officers mixed him up with a suspect. Clearly the money doesn’t matter (i.e. never in a million years would that happen to Tom Brady).

(per usual, there’s a Trump tweet for everything, aka him telling the world how he, a multi-billionaire, feels oppressed)

Ok and now to that bit on privilege:

The math here doesn’t add up. Yes, it’s true, NFL players have an unbelievable privilege of playing in the league. Most of them probably caught a lucky break at some point or another. There’s thousands of dudes who wish they could be in the shoes of those guys, facts. But first off, they’re privileged because they worked their asses off to make it in the league? My man, you don’t understand what privilege means. Privileges are special rights that are granted to people without them having to work for them. You know, like how equality and freedom of speech are supposed to be privileges granted to all citizens.

So I think the word you were looking for is lucky. Like “how lucky are these guys that they get to play football for a living”. Which, again, is true. But you want to know who the lucky ones really are? The billionaire owners who are making 100x the money that the guys on the field are making, all while doing 1% of the work with 0% of the chance of having their brains turned to soup. Those guys make million dollar contributions to political campaigns across the political spectrum, but we don’t tell them they should stick to their job because of how lucky they are to be in the situations they’re in.

Misconception #4: These players hate America

Who protests for change in a place they hate or don’t care about? That’s like if you helped someone you hate from a rival high school change the election system for their homecoming king and queen. First off, you hate them. Second off, you don’t care about how they elect their homecoming king and queen. It just doesn’t matter to you. So taking that bad metaphor and transferring it to the protests, the players clearly don’t hate America because they’re trying to change it for the better. A lot of Twitter eggs say “if you hate America, why don’t you leave”. Which, and hear me out, they’re right about? Because they have the money to move literally anywhere in the world. The reason they don’t pick up and move to the Amalfi Coast is because this is home. This is where their families live. This is the culture and society they’re a part of. They care about America as much as me, you, and every other American. That’s why they want to see the changes they’ve protested on behalf of. They love America on paper. But they don’t love the America we have today, because of how that theory of what America should be has been implemented.

Wow, alright, we got through all those misconceptions together. I wish everyone could read these misconceptions, and start to come to an understanding about what this protest is about at its base. As a country and society, we need a reset. Since the campaigns for president for 2016 started in 2015, it feels like we’ve all been screaming at each other. Just daily, the Twitter eggs wake up and start talking about Crooked Hillary and Lying Donald and how the Liberalism is a disease or how all conservatives are racists. It’s like Newton’s Law of Motion, where every reaction has an equal opposite reaction. For every hatred and dehumanization going one way, it’s coming right back the other way at an equal rate. Now feels like a tipping point. The worst thing we can do is tip into a sort of division that’s irreversible. Let’s take a step back, and start listening.

Listening to everybody, not just the people we agree with. Everybody is some way for a reason. People hate black people for a reason. People hate white people for a reason. People think the police discriminate against them for a reason. People think middle-class white Christian males are the group most discriminated against, for a reason. Even if your belief is the polar opposite of theirs, just listen. Find out why they believe what they believe. Most hatred that’s along racial or religious or socioeconomic lines comes from living in a community where you never interacted with people that didn’t look or talk or pray like you. Nobody’s saying it’s easy, but get outside of your bubble and try to broaden your views. At the end of the day, you’ll understand we all love the same stuff. Whether we’re black or white or hispanic or Native American or muslim or christian or jewish or poor or middle class or rich, we all love our family and friends, and want them to live safely in a world where they can chase their dreams. Just don’t be an ass to each other, that’s all it comes down to. (except Jack Posobiec, we’re bullying the hell out of him).





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