Here is the critical passage from the “Memo 4 players sent NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell,” as reported by Yahoo Sports on September 20 ( see https://sports.yahoo.com/memo-4-players-sent-nfl-commissioner-roger-goodell-030818178.html ): “As players whom (sic) have been advocating for social justice for the past year, we appreciate the opportunity to engage with you, the league, owners, coaches and GMs to make our communities stronger. As we shared with you, the silence following our individual and collective demonstrations around the national anthem to raise awareness to racial inequality . . . .” (italics added, for emphasis). One of those players, Michael Bennett of the Seahawks, has continued to speak out and to repeat his call for social justice and an end to racial inequality.
Mr. Bennett seems sincere and thoughtful, one who has been deeply affected by negative experiences with employers and the police. The guess here is that he picked-up on “social justice” and “inequality” from listening to President Obama and that he has no idea of the etymology of those terms, which represent the essence of the goals and ideals of socialism and communism, going back not just to Barack Obama but to the original “community organizer,” Saul Alinsky, and indeed to the big guy, Karl Marx. Translated from lefty Newspeak, “social justice” means the government controls everything and makes sure you are treated the same as everyone else – i.e., your life is just as crappy as your neighbor’s – and “inequality” means there are no rich people (other than officials of the ruling political party), and everyone is equally poor. However glorious and idealistic these terms may sound to a college sophomore, you should not have graduated before figuring out they are fraudulent. Mr. Bennett and his colleagues are innocent pawns in a larger game. The knee-taking, raised arms, and sit-downs might not be intended as insults to the anthem or the flag, but there can be no doubt that they constitute political advocacy. Denying that the protests are political is a con.
For Mr. Bennett and others, “social justice” is targeted mainly at racial-profiling by the police and anti-black bias by the judicial system. Their frustration is understandable: blacks in America know there are a lot of bad apples wearing a police uniform or sitting on juries, some are racists, some are people of low character and an instinct to bully. Maybe the country needs its Colin Kaepernicks to remind us of the problem of the rogue cop and the bigoted juror. But the problem cannot be solved by setting quotas on convictions of black defendants or banning profiling; none of that would make life safer or better for a resident of a gang-dominated black neighborhood in a major American city. As for profiling, it is a necessity of life, of survival; there is not an adult in America who does not use profiling every day and in every aspect of his life, applying his knowledge and experience and judgment to make good decisions when there is neither the time nor the resources to find perfect ones. If police are not permitted to “profile,” they are given a strong incentive to stay away from trouble, to avoid doing their job of protecting you and me. Social justice is a con.
For Mr. Bennett and others, “equality” does not mean equal opportunity, which is already required by law, or equal pay for equal work, which is likewise the law. It appears to mean equal outcomes, with blacks’ incomes being the same as whites’ regardless of the nature of the job and the skill and diligence with which it is performed. In other words, Marxism. If you really think Marxism would give us a better economy, or even better football, raise your hand and you are excused. Equality is a con.
It is also a con to argue that the anthem protests are free speech, protected speech, for which the speakers cannot be punished. The protesters are sadly mistaken, as the First Amendment provides freedom from government interference but does not prevent your employer from firing you if you say things that violate company rules. Doesn’t matter whether you are a factory worker, the company president, or a starter for the Dallas Cowboys.
When the players say (as so many of them have said) that all they want is to have a conversation about race, what they mean is, they want to vent about their perception of social injustice and inequality, and the only conversation they want is for them to talk and you to listen and agree. Well, that is a conversation that has been going on for at least 50 years in this country, especially through political campaigns, and that has yielded little in the way of improving the lot of blacks in this country; few problems have been addressed, and tensions between black and white have gotten worse, not better. The conversation I would like to have, is that I think the sorry state of much of America’s black population today is the result of 50 years of horrible social and economic policies foisted upon the country by the Democratic Party over the objections of Republicans. I am tired of having black America dragged down by the Democrats’ educational and social policies, which encourage and perpetuate the breakdown of the public school system and the family unit. But I don’t think any black American (other than Thomas Sowell, Larry Elder, Jason Riley, or Clarence Thomas) is interested in hearing that.
I concede that the White House is not interested in having a conversation. If the president is enjoying the confrontation, it is because he is winning this argument, because the teams are realizing that the public is not on the players’ side and the NFL is losing money by accommodating the players. As for the president having the loudest voice in the room, that is not at all the case; the “room” is the entire mass media (whose voices are collectively way louder than the White House’s and who, with the intermittent exception of the WSJ’s editorial department and Fox News, are uniformly and violently opposed to the president). Good thing the left does not yet control the social media; were it not for Twitter, the president would have no voice at all.
P.S. There is a simple solution, though purists on both sides would object: First the players do all their warm-ups and preparations, then they go back to their locker rooms, then the anthem is performed and the eagle flies and the rest of the patriotic hoopla occurs, and then, when the smoke has cleared, the teams run back onto the field and play some football. No one is allowed to brag or pout about having won or lost in the compromise solution. Play ball.