Monday, September 18, 2017

Don't Protest Shame Me Bro

Ramblings Post #340
I am, in case this is your first time reading, a Dallas Cowboy fan. Long time fan. Die Hard. When the Cowboys lose don't talk to me the next day  type of fan (see Broncos game). Let Dez score a TD or Zeke break a big run and suddenly "We going to the Superbowl" type of fan. And I realize that the NFL is flawed. I am fully cognizant. Rich old guys own the teams, young black people play. Completely aware. But I grew up in the South. I grew up when one of the most popular shows on TV featured a car with a confederate battle flag on top. I grew up in a town where they had a moment to fallen to the fallen southern soldiers in the town square. And because I was raised bathed in an almost casual racism, I don't see quite the way many others do. It's doesn't mean I'm not mad, it just means I've learned to endure differently. And that's okay. 

Apparently if I'm not completely and totally outraged enough to sit-in, stand-in, go on a hunger strike, chew rocks and march on Washington because (fill in the racial issue of your choice), them I'm a collaborating appeasing self hating respectability politics believing motherfucker and I'm not woke or really down for the struggle. What. The. Fuck. Ever. Because what I am is a grown ass man and I'm of the opinion that if your answer to every injury is burn it all down then I think you're not REALLY listening to what's being said. So, let's clear this up. Am I upset about police brutality and do I want to end the policies where police officers are not being punished for overstepping their authority or committing crimes? Yes, of course I am. Do I think Colin Kaepernick not only had a right to protest, that he did it in a way that was highly visible but not especially disruptive? Yes, it was a brilliant concept. Am I also watching pro football this season? You goddamned right I am. Because while Colin Kaepernick is a stalwart man of purpose and vision who believes in standing up for what he believes in, his protest was to bring attention to his issue. At no point did he say he wasn't willing to play. 

Now, does Kaepernick deserve a shot in the NFL? Considering his QB rating last season, around 90, and the current ratings of some of the starting QBs playing in the league, around 70 or below, then the logic says yes, he should have gotten a shot. Considering the play so far, some GM SHOULD be digging through their trash can right now looking for his number.  

But then, this is football. And if you know how football works, it's not simply how the numbers stack up because if it was there is no way to explain how all those castoffs and rejects end up doing all that winning up in Foxboro. Football judgement is murky, a custom combination of those numbers, a GM or coaches gut feelings, some arcane magic, blind luck and a unwavering belief that a players primary interest in football and football only. Not to diminish Kaepernick's stance, but we're talking about a league that dinged an high potential player who expressed a desire to pursue his opportunity to be a Rhodes scholar in the off season. Kaepernick is a very upfront social activist. Asking a team to hire a player deeply concerned about a social issue that they can't exploit AND who angers a great deal of their most loyal customer base is asking a lot.  

But however, just a a few games into the new season, some of these teams are going to have to make a decision even Kaepernick doesn't have to make: Principle or winning. I don't know how to explain this to a non-fan. Winning fixes a lot. Winners get a great deal of leeway. There are dyed-in-the-wool-name-their-child-Robert-E-Lee-fill-in-their-last-name racists in the south who punch the local sheriff in the mouth if he even thought about arresting the local black star athlete who ensures that his team WINS GAMES for anything less than...well, that's a pretty wide slot right there. Hell, murder is not even a lock if a championship is on the line. But you have TO WIN. And although Kaepernick statistically is a better quarterback than more than few guys who have jobs at this point in the season, unless he's guaranteed to put W's on the board, thereby mitigating they social backlash from their socially unaware season ticket holders (and there are apparently a lot of them) it becomes a tricky question for the Owner and GM. Bring in a better QB (Kap), piss off the fan base and hope he wins games, Or stick to their asinine principle, continue to lose and lose the fan base anyway?    

Money is a powerful thing. But it has no conscience. And no memory. 

I'm of the opinion that a few more games in or the someone else gets hurt and somebody will be desperate enough to have to re-prioritize (see Bengals). The slump in TV ratings and the empty stadiums will only speed things along, provided that the league can package their capitulation properly. And then the rubber meets the road and Kap better win, or then we've got a whole new problem. Would we be just as outraged he couldn't find a job...if he was subpar? Now there is an interesting question. 

I'm not against protesting. And I damn sure don't think Kaepernick should have stuck to sports, after all nobody is telling J.J. Watt to stick to sports. (By the way, Watt is admirable for using his platform to help out hurricane victims - Just like Kap is trying to help his people. Kap started something there.) But protest fatigue is a very real thing. It's hard not to get overwhelmed when it seems like a never ending onslaught. This one, this particular protest, is just not for me. But, let's be clear, here. Should we protest when we as a people are injured by institutional racism and those whose ingrained biases distort their vision of our reality? Hell yes. Every single infraction? Bruh, there isn't that much time. 

Barkeep. I'll not need my protesting libations today. But keep them handy.

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