The National Football League

The other day I put a small portion of a post a former friend of mine made.  It was rather long, so I did not include it in its entirety.  Following you will see the entire thing, including our responses.  And since I haven’t heard anything back from them,  I am assuming this person no longer wishes to be my friend.  I am sorry for that.  Like I’ve witnessed with some others, I was taken aback at this individual’s copying and posting this narrative.  It seemed completely out of character for them.  And as I assumed, this person didn’t realize how racist this thing sounded, and still doesn’t see it now.   Just because it does not come right out and  say “black players”, it alludes to black athletes in every way.   I should mention here, approximately 70% of the NFL is made up of black players, so there are significantly more blacks than whites.   And it has always been a long-standing stereotype that blacks, especially males, only get into college because of their athletic prowess, not their academic ability.   More blacks grow up on the so-called “wrong side of the tracks.”  More blacks come from households with no father figure.  Blacks are the ones that are being seen now as insulting our flag, our country, our soldiers, our police officers – not whites.   And blacks are the ones taking a knee to the flag and protesting the unfairness of life in the United States – not whites.   If this post does not scream black players to you, I don’t know what else to say.   If my former friend had just said they were going to withdraw their support for all athletes and businesses that disrespected the flag in their own words, my response would have been quite different.  But I took offense how it denigrated black athletes first.

 

 

Here is the post in its entirety :

 

July 17, 2020

Open Letter To The NFL PLAYERS. The Boycott is coming.

 

You graduated high school in 2011.  Your teenage years were a struggle.  You grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Your mother was the leader of the family and worked tirelessly to keep a roof over your head and food on your plate.

 

Academics were a struggle for you and your grades were mediocre at best.  The only thing that made you stand out is you weighed 225 lbs and could run 40 yards in 4.2 seconds while carrying a football.  Your best friend was just like you, except he didn’t play football.  Instead of going to football practice after school, he went to work at McDonalds for minimum wage.  You were recruited by all the big colleges and spent every weekend of your senior year making visits to universities where coaches and boosters tried to convince you their school was best.  They laid out the red carpet for you.  Your best friend worked double shifts at Mickey D’s. College was not an option for him.  On the day you signed with Big State University, your best friend signed paperwork with his Army recruiter.  You went to summer workouts.  He went to basic training.

 

You spent the next four years living in the athletic dorm, eating at the training table.  You spent your Saturdays on the football field, cheered on by adoring fans.

 

Tutors attended to your every academic need.  You attended class when you felt like it.  Sure, you worked hard.  You lifted weights, ran sprints, studied plays, and soon became one of the top football players in the country.  Your best friend was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division.  While you were in college, he deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice.  He became a Sergeant and led a squad of 19 year old soldiers who grew up just like he did.  He shed his blood in Afghanistan and watched young American’s give their lives, limbs, and innocence for the U.S.

 

You went to the NFL combine and scored off the charts.  You hired an agent and waited for draft day.  You were drafted in the first round and your agent immediately went to work, ensuring that you received the most money possible.  You signed for $16 million although you had never played a single down of professional football.  Your best friend re-enlisted in the Army for four more years.  As a combat tested sergeant, he will be paid $32,000 per year.

 

You will drive a Ferrari on the streets of South Beach.  He will ride in the back of a Blackhawk helicopter with 10 other combat loaded soldiers.  You will sleep at the Ritz.  He will dig a hole in the ground and try to sleep.  You will “make it rain” in the club.  He will pray for rain as the temperature reaches 120 degrees.

 

On Sunday, you will run into a stadium as tens of thousands of fans cheer and yell your name.  For your best friend, there is little difference between Sunday and any other day of the week.  There are no adoring fans.  There are only people trying to kill him and his soldiers.  Every now and then, he and his soldiers leave the front lines and “go to the rear” to rest.  He might be lucky enough to catch an NFL game on TV.

 

When the National Anthem plays and you take a knee, he will jump to his feet and salute the television. While you protest the unfairness of life in the United States, he will give thanks to God that he has the honor of defending his great country.

 

To the players of the NFL: We are the people who buy your tickets, watch you on TV, and wear your jerseys.  We anxiously wait for Sundays so we can cheer for you and marvel at your athleticism. Although we love to watch you play, we care little about your opinions until you offend us.  You have the absolute right to express yourselves, but we have the absolute right to boycott you.  We have tolerated your drug use and DUIs, your domestic violence, and your vulgar displays of wealth.  We should be ashamed for putting our admiration of your physical skills before what is morally right.  But now you have gone too far.  You have insulted our flag, our country, our soldiers, our police officers, and our veterans.  You are living the American dream, yet you disparage our great country.  I encourage all like minded Americans to boycott the NFL.

 

National boycott of the NFL for Sunday November 11th, Veterans Day Weekend.  Boycott all football telecast, all fans, all ticket holders, stay away from attending any games, let them play to empty stadiums.  Pass this post along to all your friends and family.  Honor our military, some of whom come home with the American Flag draped over their coffin.

 

 

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Russell Wilson said : “For me, I love the flag. I love the National Anthem, because it’s an emotional time for me because I am so grateful I get to play on the football field.  And every time I get to put my hand on my heart, you know, it’s truly to honor the military, for me. I think about my family members that have served, friends, and I train down in San Diego (in the off-season) all the time so I am around the Navy and stuff and so I see those guys.  Just to see those guys and all they do for our country and people in Afghanistan and all these people fighting — 9-11, for example, coming up here and that’s going to be our first game and I think about all the pain from that.

 

“So that’s why I stand, with my hand over my heart.”

 

“I do think there are issues in our country,” Wilson said.  “Ultimately, that comes back to love, like I’ve told you guys before.  It comes back to loving one another, appreciating one another, understanding that we are not perfect — but we need to be equal.  That’s from the Black community, that’s from the White community, that’s from the police officers to just everybody, all of our military.  Just everybody that we get to recognize and see, have an appreciation for what this country is based on — what it should be based on.  It should be based on equality. It should be based on freedom of speech.  People can have that decision.

 

“So, I understand, I understand what he’s doing.  But at the same time, for me, I also think about where we need to go, where our thoughts need to be.  It needs to be about love.  It needs to be about caring for other people.  And that’s for every community, every situation, every socio-economic status.  And if we can focus on that, maybe something will change.  And I think that’s important.”

 

#NFL #ESPN #VETERANS #USA #MLB #WNBA #NBA

 

 

I responded to the original post :

First of all, I am offended that your post insinuates that the only reason blacks got into college is because they are poorly educated but exhibited athletic ability.  That is a completely racist thing to say.  Blacks are often not afforded the same educational advantages as whites, but we are not unintelligent.  Whites became athletes because they are athletic, but you don’t question their intelligence.  Both black and whites were drafted or made a conscious decision to serve their country in our military.  There are all kinds of other career options available to people who don’t chose to go into either of those fields.  That does not indicate your love, or lack of, for your country.

 

The Black Lives Matter movement is not about disrespecting the flag, this country, our soldiers, police officers or veterans.  It is about wanting the fair treatment of black/brown people in this country.  A right we should have as citizens of the United States.  We don’t hate our county.  Black people fought for that flag (in our own regiments because we couldn’t serve with whites), went to war to protect it (and upon our return home, still had to live a segregated life. Many blacks also came home in flag-draped coffins, you know), and fought to even be allowed to get a job as a policeman (because the police, along with almost every segment of society, was segregated until forced by laws to allow blacks to be included)!!    And we were and still are treated as second-class citizens.  

 

So go ahead and boycott the game.  I think all professional sports people make insane amounts of money so we can be entertained, while we pay the people who educate our children a pittance.  But our protest is not about disrespecting – we want to draw attention to the disrespect we’ve received.  Something many whites have ignored or didn’t even notice because some things don’t affect you if it doesn’t reflect you.

 

 

My former friend responded :

Wanda Eaves-Taylor..

There is not one word in this article that says “Black/Brown”….it is your assumption that is making this a race issue!  There are just as many whites as there are blacks in the NFL.  I am not, nor have I ever been a racist person, I am totally upset for the disrespect of our American Flag which is a representation for all citizens of this country!!   I will also be boycotting any other sport, business or organization that has this much disrespect for our flag!!

 

To which I responded  :

{Name Ommited},  the PHOTO FEATURES A BLACK ATHLETE.   The taking of the knee, which is what is seen as disrespectful was started by BLACK ATHLETES.   Only BLACK people are protesting the unfairness of life.   It was a very easy conclusion to arrive at.   My concern is for the disrespect of people, not a flag.   I don’t believe for a minute you are a racist person; but THIS POST is against black athletes that started the taking of the knee, which is seen as disrespecting the flag. How was is supposed to be interpreted??

 

{Name Ommited}, I am sorry  if I offended you.  I should have asked you about this post first.   It sounded nothing like you, but there it was !   Everything about this post is pointed towards black athletes.   It doesn’t have to say the word “black”.   This is very personal to me.  I don’t care about politics, or boycotting athletes because they are privileged, but white athletes are not the ones kneeling or complaining about equal rights.  Blacks make up 70% of the NFL players.  I have had friends turn on me over this, so I was very upset when I saw this from you.  We are only wanting to be treated with the same respect that white people have.  I know you didn’t write this, so that’s what upset me about you copying it and sending it out.  I can understand you don’t want to support people who disrespect the flag.  We are not burning the flag or doing anything bad to it.  I had friends when we were growing up that were Jehovah’s Witnesses and they do not stand for the flag; we didn’t brand them as unpatriotic.  We are not unpatriotic but our country has not treated us with respect.  I am truly sorry you think we don’t love our country.  I just wanted you to know.  I won’t bother you about it again…..

 

And thus ends another friendship.   

 

I know a lot of you revere the American flag.   It is a great symbol of the blood, sweat and tears our ancestors paid to create and preserve this nation.   But this nation was built on the backs of blacks and Native Americans as well as whites.   And blacks and Native Americans have been systemically excluded from day one!   I just happen to value human lives as much as our flag.   We don’t hate our country.  We have no desire to live somewhere else.  We were BORN here.  This IS OUR COUNTRY !!!  We just want the equality we were promised many generations ago!!!    And to protest that lack of equality, we kneel.    We have not cursed the flag.   We have not spit on it.   We do not burn or deface it.  We draw attention to the fact that we are not included or supported by it fully.   

 

 

But, “times the are a changing”, so they say.  Some are now coming to realize we are not doing this out of disrespect, and I am encouraged by that.  Some are going to still see this as disrespect, and that is your choice; I am not going to change your perspective.  I just wanted you to see there WAS a different perspective behind the action.  Many notables, including the man in the picture, have come to see this now.

 

 

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Russell Wilson shows his support for Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem

by Braulio Perez

4:51 PM · Jun 3, 2020

 

With all of the protests taking place in honor of George Floyd and for awareness of racial injustices, more and more people are coming out in support of Colin Kaepernick for his decision to kneel during the National Anthem when he was still in the NFL.

 

Even Drew Brees, who originally said he couldn’t respect someone for kneeling during the anthem, has admitted he now understands the protests aren’t about disrespecting the American flag, but are more about protesting racial injustices.

 

Now, Seattle Seahawks quarterback and Super Bowl winner Russell Wilson has also come out and backed Kaepernick for his actions in previous years. Wilson didn’t hold back in a recent zoom call with the media.  Russell Wilson says there has to be “radical changes” to our system.  Says Colin Kaepernick was standing up for something way greater than was understood at the time.

 

 

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Seahawks QB Russell Wilson wants to keep Colin Kaepernick’s message going

We all need to find our own ways of how we’re going to love and how we’re going to make a difference, and everybody may do it differently,” Wilson said in the video above.  “I don’t know what everybody’s going to do and how they’re going to do it, but it’s calling for people to understand what’s really going on.   It’s heavy on me because I think the reality is with Colin, in particular, is he was trying to symbolize the right thing.  People may have taken that the wrong way, but I think he was trying to do the right thing.”

 

Pete Carroll previously also backed Kaepernick, saying he believed the former 49ers signal caller was taking a stand for something he strongly believed in.  While Kaepernick hasn’t played since 2016, he continues to make an impact on the league as being the first player to peacefully protest during the National Anthem.

 

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Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on The View this morning (July 27, 2020).  He made an enlightening observation.   Emanuel is Jewish.  He has had a change of heart in his opinion on this “kneeling” issue.  When it first happened four years ago with Colin Kaepernick, Emanuel said “you have to respect America and I didn’t think that was appropriate.”   

 

But he began to think about some of his Jewish holiday traditions. There are times in their services where they “ take a knee and bow to God in our humbleness and understanding that we have work to do to live up to God’s image and doing God’s work.”  As he started to expand his readings of the Islamic faith and Catholic faith, he noted that “at key moments, one takes a knee in awe of both respect to God, but also humbly knowing that our work and seeing God’s work here on Earth is not done.  And when you step back and look at it, (the late Congressman) John Lewis at the steps of the (Edmond Pettus) Bridge took a knee…and Dr. King.”  Referring to Kaepernick, he now sees that the knee was not taken to dishonor the flag.   It was  “out of honor to the flag and what it represents about America; not out of disrespect, but that America has fallen short of its promise.  And when you look at the religions of many faiths, bowing is understanding humbly that our work is not done.  So my view began to change thinking of it,  both as a Jew and as a key moment between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as we think about our work, that we respect the flag, but America has work to do to achieve the ideals that that flag represents.”

 

 

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On the other hand, not all people think alike, so I must give space to that viewpoint as well.  Stephon Tuitt’s family is from the Caribbean, so his experience in America is a bit different.  Kneeling is an individual choice for all of the athletes, whatever their reason.

 

 

Stephon Tuitt is First Black NFL Player to Say He Won’t Take a Knee This Season

BY DAN CANCIAN ON 7/28/20       [Newsweek]

 

The sight of players kneeling during the national anthem ahead of NFL games could be common this season, but Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt has no intention of joining some of his colleagues taking the knee.  The gesture has developed into a thorny political issue since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the anthem to protest against racial discrimination and police brutality in 2016.

 

In the weeks following George Floyd’s killing on May 25, several NFL players pledged to emulate Kaepernick and take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement when the season begins on September 10.    Tuitt however, made clear he will stand when The Star-Spangled Banner rings out before Steelers games this season.   “I’m not kneeling for the flag and screw anybody who have a problem with that,” the former Notre Dame alumnus, a second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, 

wrote on Twitter on Monday.  “My grandmother was a immigrant from the Carribean and worked her ass off to bring 20 people over the right way.  She had no money and educated herself to be a nurse. She living good now.”

 

In a series of previous tweets, Tuitt had urged players “to stop worrying about the public and people who tell them what to do with their money and educate themselves.”   Last month, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made clear players who choose to kneel during the anthem this season will receive the

franchise’s full support.     “Our position is simple: We’re going to support our players and their willingness to participate in this, whether it’s statements or actions,” he said.

 

On Sunday, former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka said players who disrespect the anthem should “get the hell out of the country.”   Speaking to TMZ Sports, the 80-year-old said: “If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country. That’s the way I feel. Of course, I’m old-fashioned. I’m only going to say what I feel.”

 

While Tuitt is determined to stand during the anthem, several of his colleagues will be taking a knee when the season begins in September.   Last month, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield vowed to kneel during the anthem, while Washington veteran running back Adrian Peterson said he would “no doubt” take a knee and that a large number of players planned to join the demonstration.

“Just four years ago, you’re seeing [Colin] Kaepernick taking a knee, and now we’re all getting ready.  to take a knee together going into this season, without a doubt,” he told the Houston Chronicle in June.

 

Speaking to the same publication, Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien echoed the sentiment.

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien also vocally backed the players’ right to protest and indicated he will join the demonstrations.    “Yeah, I’ll take a knee—I’m all for it,” he said.   Bears safety Jordan Lucas also plans to kneel, while Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods expects protests to be widespread.

 

Players planning to take a knee found an unexpected ally in the NFL last month, as commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged the league had not done enough to address the issue of racism and encouraged players to “protest peacefully.”   The issue of kneeling reared its head again last week, when players took a knee during a minute of silence ahead of the national anthem before the New York Yankees played the Washington Nationals in the first game of the MLB season on Thursday.

 

Bears safety Jordan Lucas also plans to kneel, while Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods expects protests to be widespread.   Players planning to take a knee found an unexpected ally in the NFL last month, as commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged the league had not done enough to address the issue of racism and encouraged players to “protest peacefully.”   The issue of kneeling reared its head again last week, when players took a knee during a minute of silence ahead of the national anthem before the New York Yankees played the Washington Nationals in the first game of the MLB season on Thursday.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants players and coaches followed suit later on Thursday, with Dodgers’ outfielder Mookie Betts and Giants manager Gabe Kapler also taking a knee during the anthem.    President Donald Trump condemned players kneeling during the national anthem, claiming the gesture “would hurt a lot of people” in the U.S. and that Americans don’t want to see protests while the flag is being raised.    Trump has been an outspoken critic of players kneeling during the anthem since Kaepernick first took a knee four years ago and has repeatedly depicted the gesture as disrespectful and unpatriotic.

 

 

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