On Thursday, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, no stranger to making political statements, ripped into the NFL for their new national anthem policy. The league, which has seen it’s television ratings drop by almost 20% since Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem during a preseason game before the 2016 season, enacted new rules this week that required teams to either:
1. Stay in the locker room during the anthem, or
2. Come out for it and stand. If a player kneels during the anthem, his team will be fined by league office.
Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem because, as he put it, “I’m not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color… to me, this is bigger than football and would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Regardless of how you feel about kneeling during the anthem, it’s inarguable that this policy from the NFL is a good one. The league exists for one reason, to make money, and television is a major way in which they do this. And nothing about the league has changed all that significantly the last two seasons EXCEPT for the protests, which would make me think that this the major reason that the television audience is fleeing from the league. The NFL fanbase skews to the Right, and the league has made millions of dollars branding themselves alongside the armed forces and patriotism. It makes sense for the league to do this, since football is the ultimate American sport. It’s only really popular in our country, and the American values of hard work, pushing yourself to your limits, building towards a goal, and teamwork are more evident and important in football than in any other sport. Plus, sports are escapism; we turn them on because they’re fun and they allow us to travel somewhere else in our minds, if even just for a few hours. And they’re also the most obvious examples of common spheres that all of us in society can exist in. Regardless of your race, sexual orientation, gender, or political opinions, we can all come together and play sports, or sit down on the couch or in the stadium with each other and enjoy them. The NFL’s brand is toxic right now; millions of fans across the country don’t appreciate seeing the flag or the country disparaged over a controversial political opinion that there’s AT BEST circumstantial evidence to support. America in 2018 is the least racist society in the history of the world, and there’s no better place to ever be black in than in this country at this time.
The media is losing their minds over Milwaukee Bucks’ guard Sterling Brown’s arrest video. Brown was shot with a stun gun by the police back in January when a routine parking ticket incident escalated into an unfortunate situation. Did the cops screw up? It certainly looks that way. Brown, at least according the video, wasn’t hostile, and didn't do anything to warrant getting hitting with a taser. Did they shoot him with the stun gun because he was black? We have no way of knowing, but I’d say more than likely no. Why do we always assume that when a white cop does something to a black suspect, it’s because the officer is a racist piece of shit? Maybe he’s just bad at his job? Why isn’t that the narrative that’s being pushed? There are officers who are bad at what they do, just like there are people in your office who suck at their jobs. Why can’t it just be that? Why does it always have to be, “The police are racists, and they like killing black people, and THIS A HUGE F-ING PROBLEM!” Plus, BROWN IS SUING THE CITY AND WILL PROBABLY WIN MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. How is this an example of racist America? Sixty years ago, black people who were mistreated by the police would’ve never got a payout from the city, or even been able to take them to court in the first place. If your expectation is, “I never want the police to screw up like this again”, then you’re on a fool’s errand. Asking people to be perfect and never screw up is like expecting yourself to wake up tomorrow with an extra million dollars in your bank account. It’s literally impossible. People are going to make mistakes, even those in positions of authority.
FS1 blowhard Nick Wright, who is perhaps the dumbest person currently working in sports media, got all riled up on Twitter yesterday over the NFL’s anthem policy, tweeting out asinine things like, “This shit is exhausting, sickening, & terrifying. And if you’re not outraged you’re part of the problem. Period, point blank” and “You want me to stick to sports & I want my son not to get his ass beat for illegal parking. I’ll do the former when I can rely on the latter”. First of all, I hate racism and think it’s one of the worst sins in humanity, and that cops who break the law should be prosecuted, so I’m not sure how it’s my fault. As to his second tweet, yes Nick, black people always get assaulted by the cops during every stop for a parking ticket. Cops just roll up on a black person and are like, “Well hell, he parked illegally, so I guess we’ll have to teach him a lesson real quick. Boys, grab your stun guns and batons!” Do you know many times a day the cops deal with black people across the country? Thousands? And how many of those incidents end with a Sterling Brown-type outcome? Less than 0.01%? Probably less than that?
All of this brings us back to Steve Kerr, who shared this opinion on the protests and the NFL today: “They’re basically using the anthem as fake patriotism, nationalism, scaring people. It’s idiotic, but that’s how the NFL has handled their business. I’m proud to be in a league that patriotism in America is about free speech, peacefully protesting”.
Wait a second… WHAT?
STEVE, ARE YOU AWARE YOUR LEAGUE, THE NBA, LITERALLY REQUIRES PLAYERS TO STAND FOR THE ANTHEM ALSO???? DO THEY HATE FREE SPEECH NOW?
The fact that Kerr said this shows he might be the dumbest person in coaching. He’s literally criticizing the NFL for enacting a more lenient rule on the national anthem than his own league has. At least in NFL, teams can stay in the locker room for the anthem if they want to. You have to be on the floor for it in the NBA. Doesn’t this make the NFL and its owners more “woke” than the NBA and its owners?
The biggest problem with all of this, besides Kerr’s asinine statement, is that he’ll get almost no pushback in the mainstream media for this opinion. Sure, he’ll get questioned in a few places, but ESPN or TNT, the NBA’s television partners, won’t point out how dumb of a statement that is, and in fact, they’ll probably even praise his “wokeness” and continue to build him up as a thought leader. Facts be damned, Kerr holds the “correct” political views, and must be praised for his opinions, regardless of how ridiculous they might be.
The truth is, the media hates football. They despise its power, the values that come from it, and the fact that they are extremely dependent on it to make their living. The sports media would be a fraction of what it was without football. The NFL drives the bus, and they can’t stand it. It’s why they attack the league whenever they can. Think about it; the NFL has a few players get in trouble for hitting women, and suddenly the league has a domestic violence problem (no matter the fact that domestic violence rates are much lower for NFL players than they are for the general population). The concussion story is a completely media-driven narrative; most NFL fans players realize that yeah, you know what, grown men who hit each other at high speeds game after game and year after year might have health problems when they retire. But since the players are choosing to put their bodies on the line, and no one is forcing them to do so, it’s ok to enjoy it! Plus, they are extremely well compensated. It's why they put the pads on in the first place! No business in the history of the world has created more millionaires, particularly minority millionaires, than the NFL. And think about how many millions of lives football has made better. NFL players give their families the opportunity at wealth they otherwise wouldn't have access to without football.
The media hatred for football is why they get criticized for the anthem, but the supposed “woke” league like the NBA gets a free pass. And it’s why hardly anyone in the media blinks when Steve Kerr says something stupid like he did today.