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Friday, September 09, 2016

The Right to Sit

I'm a little late on this, but the tempest is still in the teapot on whether athletes should be required to stand at attention during the National Anthem. Well, of course they can't be required, but what is amazing about all this is that has become any story at all.

Colin Kaepernick, the black backup quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, decided to stay seated during the anthem before a pre-season game. You'd think he had just pushed a school bus full of kindergartners off a cliff. There were two basic reasons people had a bug up their ass: that Kaepernick should take all his money and shut up; or that the reason he protested was bogus.

Let's address the first, with part of the second. There is nothing written anywhere, including the Constitution, that says if you make more than a certain amount of money you can't protest. Kaepernick believes that this country is oppressive to blacks. Not necessarily oppressive to him, but to blacks in general. So basically people are saying if you make enough money, you are not entitled to care about the less fortunate, just be thankful you have money and sit down (or, in this case, stand up) and be quiet.

Secondly, and this issue is one that really divides Americans right now, is that there is still a wide-spread belief that everyone is this country is treated equally. This is bullshit and everybody knows it. Athletes more famous than Kaepernick have been pulled over for "Driving While Black," (ask Joe Morgan about it) and when white Stanford students get three months for rape while black men selling cigarettes on the street are choked to death, come talk to me about equality. He's as right as rain.

Now, as to whether he should stand for the anthem. That is up to him. There is no law the compels him to. There is no law that compels anyone to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and loyalty oaths went out a long time ago. Conservative blowhards like to say, "Men died for your right to stand for that anthem," when the saying should go, "Men died for your right to choose whether or not to stand for that anthem." Some people have a funny definition of freedom.

Also, it is apparently okay for an Cheetoh-hued politician to criticize America and get adulation, but do it when you're a black athlete and you get pilloried.

I'm of the opinion that playing the anthem before sporting events is dumb and meaningless. Do we really need to pat ourselves on the back before every high school football game that we have the best country in the world? It's a kind of enforced patriotism that makes the song lose it's effectiveness every time it is played. Go to a ball game and count the people buying hot dogs while the song is played, or taking a piss. Nobody cares. My friend's father used to swat men on the head if they didn't remove their caps while the anthem played. But he was old school (and wrong). They should do away with the practice, just like the should stop having children recite the Pledge.

Kaepernick as had a lot of support. Other athletes, like Megan Rapinoe and Brandon Marshall, knelt during the anthem. while the Seattle Seahawks are thinking of doing it as a team. Troglodytes exist, though, like John Tortorella of the New York Rangers, who said he'd bench anyone who doesn't stand. What if the whole team didn't? Would he forfeit?

Kaepernick's jersey is now the number one selling of all NFL paraphernalia. I'd like to think it's in solidarity, but I have the feeling a lot of them are being burned by yutzes.

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