Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Outrage

Enough with the right wing virtue signaling over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, an issue which was essentially non-existent until the president randomly brought it up in Alabama a few days ago, saying that owners should fire “that son of a b*tch” who protests during the anthem. Of course, Republicans everywhere fell over themselves to agree with Trump on this. Never mind that the chief offender in all of this, Colin Kaepernick, couldn’t buy a job on the NFL team at the point when Trump decided to sound off on the issue.

With a belligerent regime in North Korea tinkering with nuclear weapons, continued unrest in the Middle East, and the American territory of Puerto Rico still reeling from a hurricane, I sure am glad the President of the United States is concerning himself with the important things like Steph Curry not wanting to visit the White House and what had been a handful of players kneeling at NFL games. In what tangible way does this petty bulls**t aid in Trump’s stated goal of Making America Great Again? Is it creating jobs? Is it making the country more secure against threats from abroad? Does it address the healthcare mess we have right now?

Today, members of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens participated in the very kind of protest that President Trump was complaining about just days ago. On a personal note, I as a Ravens fan found myself far more outraged at how terribly they played in the game itself than anything else that happened today in London. The Pittsburgh Steelers announced they wouldn’t even participate in the pre-game ceremony at all.

Instead of letting this relatively minor issue with very few players across the league involved just blow over, Trump just had to run his mouth and here we are with a much bigger problem than there was before. Just as a protester is free to express themselves while not being immune from consequences that may arise, the President (no matter who they are) is free to say what he wants, but not immune from their statements being met with reactions and escalations such as we saw today.

Let’s imagine a scenario in which a Democrat president, perhaps Barack Obama, decided to use his bully pulpit to go after Tim Tebow for praying during games, or if players in the NFL who disagreed with Obama staged protests of some sort, perhaps even kneeling during the national anthem to send some message. One can easily speculate as to how the right would react, and it wouldn’t be pretty.

Now let’s look at the bigger issue. It seems that many within the Republican Party want to see the NFL and other leagues hand out punishments of their own to players who protest. What kind of precedent does that shortsighted idea set? The shoe will inevitably be on the other foot at some point, and people should be very careful what they wish for when they start talking about organizations imposing penalties on speech and expression.

In the end, this comes down to the right’s insatiable need to be outraged and offended by … well, everything. This is something they claim to be exclusive to the left, but that’s simply not true. For every liberal losing their mind over what pronoun we should call someone by, or because of Chick-Fil-a’s CEO stating that he didn’t support gay marriage, there were conservatives crying about what the cups at Starbucks looked like one Christmas. For every triggered college student who can’t handle Ben Shapiro coming to their campus, there’s someone on the right screaming bloody murder about some late night talk show host (who they probably don’t watch in the first place) mocking Trump.

I don’t like the protests, and wouldn’t participate in them if I were an NFL player. However, the right is letting themselves be trolled at this point. As for me, I’ll still watch the games, ridiculous as I find the protests to be.

See also Three Hurricanes and North Korea Should Be Trump’s Concerns, Not NFL.

  • H G

    The NFL is showing their true colors in response to the President’s comments.

    They have chosen to kneel at the display of America’s colors and the singing of the anthem. That is their chosen form of protest.

    They can have it.
    I’ll have none of it.

  • Lee Pillsbury

    Exactly, nobody seems to support protest or freedom of speech unless it lines up with THEIR politics. I just wish these folks would be consistent. Consistency and civility are two commodities we could use in civic discourse today.

    • H G

      This sort of comment is exactly why we are so divided.

      No players freedom of speech was or is threatened.
      Good grief.

      • Lee Pillsbury

        I think when The President calls for them to be fired or for economic boycotts of their employers that IS a threat.

        • H G

          Can the President fire them?

          No threat here at all. Unless of course, you’re threatened by the President’s opinion.

      • Stephen Spiker

        Their free speech wasn’t threatened, but plenty of folks would have it otherwise if they could.

        • H G

          Irrelevant

  • Kathy Mateer

    The 1st Amendment protects everyone, even the ones we don’t agree with. I did find it in very poor taste that on Gold Star Mother day, which I know several, they decided to kneel during our national anthem in England and stand for theirs.

    • H G

      Not even remotely a first amendment issue.

    • Lee Pillsbury

      Kathy, you know I respect you, but it was very obvious watching the game today that the players hadn’t considered, or possibly even known the British anthem would be played. They took a knee today and stood when our anthem was over. And the majority were confused as to what to do. I also think the majority of players now are reacting to the President calling for them to be fired, or in unity with their teammates. This isn’t about Colin Kaepernicks stand anymore. Its not a BLM protest,or anti cop. It has morphed into a response to being told they CAN’T protest. I think the proof of that is the amazing amount of push back from the league and owner’s, who aren’t a traditionally liberal group. I admit that I winced to see our guys kneeling in London, as it felt like having a family argument in front of guests,but the standing during the British anthem didn’t bother me a bit.

  • notjohnsmosby

    Being a racist is far easier than dealing with geopolitics. That’s why Drumpf focuses on the easy stuff.

  • Jim Portugul

    People need to remember that the advertisers that sponsor the NFL are also “kneeling” during the national anthem.

    So, when you are shopping, when you purchase a product that sponsors the NFL, I maintain that you are also taking a knee during the national anthem.

    Screw the NFL.

    • Eric the half a troll

      Won’t happen. The right wingers who are screaming that they will boycott the NFL will do nothing of the sort. They won’t because they really don’t care about this. They will forget Trump’s distraction of the week when the coverage dies down and will be back on front of their TV lounging on their couches next week during the anthem.

      • Jim Portugul

        While you are saying it won’t happen, people like me are calling NFL advertisers and telling them we are not going to purchase their products due to their supporting a political agenda. Here, Pepsi consumer number, 800 433 2652. Call them.

        • Eric the half a troll

          And people like you won’t do what you are threatening because you really don’t care. In a couple weeks at most they will being drinking their Bud and Pepsi hooting and hollarin’ at their Sunday afternoon football idiocy.

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  • Dave Webster

    Yes let’s imagine a scenario which never occurred. What a joke. “Let’s imagine a scenario in which a Democrat president, perhaps Barack Obama, decided to use his bully pulpit to go after Tim Tebow for praying during games, or if players in the NFL who disagreed with Obama staged protests of some sort, perhaps even kneeling during the national anthem to send some message. One can easily speculate as to how the right would react, and it wouldn’t be pretty.

    • old_redneck

      Of course you meant to write “. . . a Democratic President . . .”

  • J.M. Ripley

    I don’t think it is appropriate to “protest” at your place of employment.

  • David Obermark

    Look, I am not “outraged” by players taking a knee, but I dislike it. How about this? If some white player decided take a knee to protest if amnesty was given to Dreamers, would you think it appropriate?

    I will say that I kind of like the compromise that was displayed on Monday Night Football. 1st Amendment rights were allowed and respect was shown for Old Glory.

    I am retired Navy. I dislike disrespect being shown to the flag I served under for all those years. I can imagine it would not be too hard to find black veterans who served who dislike it as much as I or even more.

    With that said, I

  • old_redneck

    Once again more GOP pearl-clutching, fainting-couch faux outrage.

    NFL teams did not come on the field for the anthem until few years ago. Only protest was Kaepernick taking a knee ONE GODDAM YEAR AGO!!!

    Meanwhile Enron Ed is out with another FEAR FEAR FEAR ad.

    U people are bizarre. U deserve Trump.

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