< Originally written on Oct. 8 >
That sounds like the setup to a terrible joke, but I’d say it’s more of a punchline.
Yes it’s that time of the week again: Sunday Night Football. That means that we get to spend the next day, possibly two, talking about who did or didn’t do what during the playing of the national anthem. How this ever became such a huge deal is still somewhat beyond my comprehension, but then again I’m not American.
At this very moment, the top story (on the CBC mind you) is about Mike Pence walking out of the Colts-49ers game because he didn’t like how some players took a knee during the anthem. What I’d like to know is: what the fuck did he think was going to happen? Was that your strategy Mike? Show up to watch Peyton Manning get his jersey retired only to make a spectacle of leaving early? That ought’ta show ‘em!
Here’s my take on the whole ‘NFL players don’t stand during the anthem to protest racial inequity’ “issue”: Good for them.
Let’s take a step back here and put into context what we’re talking about. A bunch of millionaires doing the least they possibly can to express a popular opinion about a deeply rooted social issue. How outrageous. The reality is this America: you have a racism problem, whether you’d like to admit it or not. The problem was not “solved” with Martin Luther King Jr. and it was not “solved” with desegregation. There is no such thing as a perfect nation. For all the talk about “history” when statues are coming down, you seem to be real quick to “not focus on the past” when it comes to race relations.
Don’t bullshit yourself with the idea that this is somehow about respecting the flag and military veterans, as if you’re standing and saluting in your living room every time instead of stuffing your face with nachos and beer. Your heroes didn’t give their lives thinking America was some infallible nation of peace, always beyond reproach. They did it to protect your relative freedom and prosperity, knowing that a constitutional democracy is worth fighting for. That same constitution guarantees these players’ right to express themselves as they please. If there is a more respectful way of saying “Guys it’s 2017, this is seriously fucked up”, then please, enlighten me.
Ultimately what this comes down to is that either you recognize the problem or you don’t. Personally, I love to tell people that I believe in equal opportunity, and NOT equality. But if you honestly believe that the kid born in the projects in Queens has an equal opportunity to the one born in the Hamptons, then you’re fucking delusional.
Although I may question the usefulness of these protests, I don’t for a second begrudge them for using their platform to make you uncomfortable. They’re not hurting you. They’re not inconveniencing you in any way. If anybody has been disrespecting military members and their families it’s the draft-dodger in the White House using them to score cheap political points. The same draft-dodger that spent a portion of his presidential campaign trading insults with a Gold Star family. But at the end of the day, none of this really matters, because if you’re so offended by a couple of football players quietly taking a knee during the anthem, then you need to grow some thicker skin snowflake.
Maybe find yourself a safe space.