The Perilous Fight
If a person from another country asked me to explain American football, I would say, a bunch of guys run into each and fall down. I don't understand football. I have no interest in understanding football. It bores me. All sports bore me. I used to think O.J. played basketball. I only found out he was a football player because he allegedly murdered two people. I've got all day long to watch a murder trial. I understand the appeal of murder. I don't understand the appeal of football. I believe I get this from my mom who once asked my sister to change the channel because she “can't listen to ball.”
A friend of mine posted an article about Colin Kaepernick on Facebook. I only know who Colin Kaepernick is because of the anthem controversy. I don't what team he played on and I'm not about to Google it because I don't care. Some jackass, who appears to be Facebook stalking my friend, went on a rant about how people have died for our country and he believes kneeling during the national anthem somehow negates that. The Facebook stalker typed this in all caps, which has me concerned for my friends safety. I've found most people who type in all caps are unhinged.
If I understand the Colin Kaepernick controversy correctly, it goes like this: An absurd amount of unarmed black people have been shot and killed by police. If you're wondering how many unarmed people murdered by police it takes to be considered absurd - the number is one. Colin Kaepernick believes this absurd amount of murder is messed up. Since Kaepernick is a public figure he used his position to bring attention to all the messed up murders. In an act of peaceful protest, he chose to kneel during the national anthem. And football fans across America became so enraged they almost spilled their beer.
Can you blame them? I mean, the man kneeled during The Star-Spangled Banner. That's an unforgivable offense. It's not like he panicked during a routine traffic stop, fired seven shots into a vehicle, executing a man for having a broken tail light and traumatizing the four-year-old who was in the back of the car. That's the kind of transgression America is quick to overlook. But kneel during a song and we'll make sure you never appear in a Gatorade commercial. We can't afford to set a bad example for the children not being shot at.
Facebook Stalker, if you're reading this, I know you think you've won the argument because you typed “people have died” in all caps. However, Colin Kaepernick was kneeling because people have died. Also, the third verse of The Star Spangled Banner specifically calls for the murder of black people:
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave
Facebook Stalker, the fact that you're more outraged over kneeling than murder has me concerned for my friend's safety.
Colin Kaepernick is not currently on a team because NFL owners are afraid of a black man on his knees who isn't being tased. More football players, and for some reason, Stevie Wonder, were all like, “This is stupid.” And they decided to kneel during the anthem. Now faced with an entire gang of black men on their knees, NFL owners panicked. They are imposing fines on players who kneel during the anthem. This may sound absurd, but remember, their first instinct was to tase them.
I don't understand why people are losing their minds over kneeling. It seems kind of respectful. I haven't been to church for anything other than a wedding or funeral in over twenty years, but if memory serves, I believe people kneel to pray. If the anthem is truly being played to honor those who have died, kneeling makes more sense. I don't care for the hand over the heart thing. Women don't have an unobstructed path to the heart. If I have to grab my chest in public, someone better be making it rain dollar bills.
This outrage over kneeling seems really hypocritical when you consider we only play the anthem for ridiculous occasions. As I mentioned before, I have no interest in sports. I don't attend ball games. Ergo, I attend zero events where the national anthem is played. I've attended rallies for presidential candidates. I've heard Jon Bon Jovi play Living On A Prayer. I've heard a college marching band play Paula Abdul's Cold Hearted. In 2016, no less. I would expect to hear, “Please rise for the national anthem,” at such an event. Instead I heard, “Please enjoy this weird version of a thirty year-old Paul Abdul song.”
Back in the day when TV networks used to sign off at night, they played the national anthem to mark the end of their broadcast day. All across America people in their jammies would rise and exclaim, “Crap, it's late. I gotta get to bed.”
I've always found the tradition of playing the anthem before ball games odd. When soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy, I don't think they were worried about being honored at an event where people shove nachos and beer in their face while millionaires knock each other down. Nachos and beer shouldn't be consumed when honoring fallen veterans. It seems undignified somehow.
Speaking of undignified people, Donald Trump has decided to get involved in this anthem controversy because the job of president apparently affords him a lot of free time. He said black people should get out of the country if they don't like being murdered. Or something to that effect. He's called for boycotting the NFL until they fire the players for kneeling. Call me skeptical, but I think Trump may have an ulterior motive in all this.
Trump is notorious for his ability to hold a grudge and this isn't his first fight with the NFL. Once upon a time, all the way back in the year 1982, a rival football league was created. This was called the United States Football League or USFL. Donald Trump, then a New York Realtor with no real accomplishments to speak of, decided to purchase a team called the New Jersey Generals. (I just realized this is probably what he was talking about during the debates when he said he had lots of generals on his team.) The USFL played in the spring. In 1985, Trump pushed the USFL to move their season to the fall to force a merger with the NFL. At the time, the owners of the USFL were not aware Trump was a self-proclaimed brilliant businessman and not an actual brilliant businessman.
Trump then sued the NFL for existing and a judge awarded him three dollars to shut him up. Three dollars he refused to share when the USFL went under and lost one hundred and sixty-three million dollars. Because Donald Trump believes nothing is ever his fault, he's been trying to exact revenge on the NFL ever since.
America, if we really believe The Star-Spangled Banner is sacrosanct, why would we allow Cher to sing it? The NFL books bland pop stars with no range to perform. They water it down to fit their limited range and the result is anti-climatic. I like Cher, but when she sang it was like listening to Mr. Ed sing. (For millennials – Mr. Ed is an old sitcom about a talking horse. It's as stupid as it sounds.)
Remember when Roseanne sang it at a baseball game and people were “shocked” because she treated it as a joke? And Roseanne received death threats? And the dumbass who booked a comedian with no singing talent to sing received zero death threats? I mean, I'm against death threats over a song, but if you feel that strongly about it, at least aim your outrage in the right direction.
The Star-Spangled Banner is a difficult song to sing. Whitney Houston nailed it and no one else should attempt it. I think we should always play Whitney's version or pick a different song for our national anthem. I suggest Party In The U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus. It's easier to sing and the lyrics are easier to remember. “Moving my hips like yeah” is how we actually speak. Don't try to get snotty about it. When was the last time you used ramparts in a sentence?
Photo by Keith Allison || CC-BY-SA 2.0