I remember when taking a knee in football was one of the most satisfying things in this life. It used to mean one of two things: a well-deserved respite from the grueling grind of sweltering practices during the hot and humid late summer weather of the pre-season or the final magnificent moments before a looming victory in America’s most popular sport.
I was privileged to play organized football only from 7th grade through 12th grade. (I’ve always said that I had NFL hands, but my place-kicker size, and tackle—or maybe tight-end—speed kept me out of “The League.”) My middle school coach was “Rolling Thunder” Roger Thurmond. He was dubbed such because he was a Vietnam veteran who lost both of his legs and thus (usually) coached from his wheel chair, and because he was perfectly fiery and fierce as he coached us to near-perfection—at least inmy 8th grade year when we went 4-1.
Interesting anecdote: I’ve had a broken bone only twice in my life. It was the same bone both times: my right collar bone. The second time it happened was during tackling drills when I was in 10th grade. The first time it happened was when I was wrestling on the playground in first grade. The best part of the story: the same guy broke it both times! Even his name—Bart Black—rings of villainy! And the perfect conclusion to this anecdote: when we slinked off the playground in first grade to let our teachers know something was amiss, we were immediately sent indoors. In addition to robbing us of our playground privileges—and unaware of my broken bone (she thought I was trying to get out of trouble)—our teacher paddled both of us! How I miss those days!
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There are more than a few men in the NFL these days who could use a good paddling and more than a few leftist talking-heads who could use a good lesson in the limits of “free speech.” As we must continue to endure the ongoing debate about NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem, the commentary from sports pundits—who notoriously lean left, especially sports writers—is the most telling.
Of all people observing and commenting on this debate, sports journalists should understand better than most what are the boundaries of their First Amendment rights. This is especially true of sports talk-show commentators on TV and radio. Their ownership won’t allow them to say anything they want on any topic—especially when it comes to things deemed politically sensitive. Otherwise, viewers and listeners may tune out and there might be harm to the “infamous” bottom line. More than one such host has been let go
from his or her job, suspended, demoted, or otherwise punished because he or she crossed a line on speech that ownership did not support.
In other words, anyone working for a private company has limits placed on his or her “free speech rights.” Yet as the debate over NFL players kneeling just won’t end, many pundits, NFL players themselves, and even ignorant and hypocritical (the NBA already has a ban on Anthem protests) NBA coaches have made this an issue about free speech. Just another sad consequence of the government’s virtual monopoly on education, I suppose.
No, this isn’t really about “free speech.” If a group of NFL players used the field to protest against same-sex “marriage,” abortion, or some other wicked perversion held dear by the left, I’m almost certain that many of those now yammering about “free speech” would quickly revert to “shut up and play.” Also, where are these First Amendment champions when it comes to real speech infringement—such as what we are witnessing all across America’s college campuses?
What this is really about is why a group of attention-seeking, privileged multi-millionaires have decided to use company time to disrespect their fans and their country. In other words, why do they kneel? If these kneelers decided to heed sound advice and use their own time to make their political and “social” points, would it make their cause any more honest? In short, no. It would make their league more profitable, but their cause would still be foolish and misguided.
Again—as shockingly few are willing to point out—they kneel for a lie! As I’ve noted before, the lie is this:
There’s widespread and institutionalized racism inside America’s law
enforcement agencies, and black Americans are especially targeted. This
racism has led to the deaths of a disproportionate number of innocent black
Americans. In order to stop this heinous activity, we need more gun control
legislation, more wealth redistribution, more job and education programs,
[and the like] and thus Americans need to elect more Democrats.
The unpopular fact is that black Americans are much safer in the presence of law enforcement than they are in black communities, especially when such communities—because of things like the “Ferguson Effect”—have little or no police presence. The statistics makes this clear.
- According to the CDC, the leading cause of death among black males ages 15-34 is homicide.
- According to the FBI, the vast majority (over 90%) of black homicide victims were killed by other blacks.
- For decades, black Americans have been more likely to be victims of violent crime
(almost always at the hands of other black Americans) than are white
- Time and again it is revealed: when police stop policing, crime increases, and black
citizens suffer disproportionately.
- The most dangerous neighborhoods in America—all with large (usually majority) black populations—are dominated by Democrats and liberal politics.
What’s more, according to Heather MacDonald, a police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black perpetrator than an unarmed black person is to be killed by a cop. In other words, it’s much more dangerous to be a police officer staring down a black perpetrator than it is to be an unarmed black suspect encountering a cop.
And perhaps the most shocking statistic of all: Black men in the U.S. are half as likely to die if they are in prison than if they are not. As Yahoo News noted,
Less than one percent of men (more than half of whom were black) in total
died while in prison, and there was no difference between black and white
inmates in that regard.
As Yahoo also points out,
If prisoners are better off in prison, then what does that say about the
conditions plaguing low-income communities and the services being offered
to people of color?
What it says—and what many have long been saying, including some wise members of the NFL— is that, when it comes to violence and crime in our communities we don’t have a skin problem—as in the case with our schools—we have a sin problem.
Specifically, we have a breakdown of the family problem. The fatherlessness that plagues our urban areas—especially black families—has led to a myriad of problems, not the least of which is criminal activity. This is the real problem we should all be on our knees about, and to which high-profile athletes should devote their attention.
Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America