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The Kaepernick Curse

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The Kaepernick Curse

The Kaepernick Curse
August 14
17:39 2018

With the kick-off of the football season, the National Football League is once again steeped in a fan-fleeing controversy over players taking a knee during the National Anthem. The NFL, under the leadership of Roger Goodell, is floundering in pursuit of an effective strategy to deal with the issue.

However, they will never find one if they continue to predicate a policy on a foundation of political correctness and identity politics. That is NOT what the controversy is all about. It is not a racial or racist issue from the standpoint of the fans who are walking away. It is an issue of patriotism and a belief in E Pluribus Unum. Those fans would be bolting if the kneelers were all white and protesting abortion, or gun control, or the legalization of marijuana. Until the league and the kneelers understand that, the misplaced protest and the mishandled response will continue – and the NFL will see ratings fall and more empty stadium seats.

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Media personalities and the sycophantic panelists lay the blame for politicizing the issue on President Trump. That is prima facie nonsense. It was Colin Kaepernick who ignited the “Anthem Issue” when he maladroitly decided to conflate the legitimate issue of police violence against young black men with the overarching issue of respecting America as a whole. Trump can certainly be criticized for the nature of his response – once again being needlessly pugnacious — but he did not start this fight.

The NFL leadership thought they were clever in proposing what they considered a “reasonable compromise.” Players who wished to refrain from honoring the National Anthem could remain in the locker room until the final note had been played. The problem with that compromise is that neither the fans nor the players liked it. No matter how a player avoids respecting the National Anthem – remaining seated, kneeling or just not showing up – it has the same impact on the fans.

Players prone to protest saw the new NFL rule as a violation of their First Amendment right even though freedom of speech does not apply to the workplace. The players’ union chimed in with a charge that the new rule was a violation of the contract. Maybe so. I did not bother reading the contract.

The only solution that might have ended the prolonged controversy was for the owners to exert their right to control the workplace and require players to respectfully stand for the National Anthem or face fines, suspensions or termination. No doubt there would have been howling from the locker room. For a short time, there may have even been protestors marching in front of the stadium erroneously claiming the players’ freedom of speech was being violated. A few players may have even handed in their jerseys. But, in a relatively short time, the controversy would have passed, and the NFL could have gone back to worrying about tax breaks and long-term injury liability.

Perhaps that is still the only real solution, but now that the NFL leadership and the owners have been floundering in public for the past year, even that solution becomes more problematic.

The Kaepernick protest did nothing to win support for the cause that provoked it. The police abuse issue has been lost in the much bigger issue of national unity and patriotism. No respect for the anthem equates with no respect for the teams.

Fans do not like the recent round of kneeling any more than Kaepernick’s original one-man protest. And the NFL is no closer to finding a solution – and they will not as long as they avoid considering the only option left.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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  1. David
    David August 15, 16:15

    The solution is take a knee after and not during the National Anthem. Players claim they are not against the National Anthem…then let them prove it and kneel afterwards.

    Reply to this comment
    • boxout
      boxout August 16, 18:14

      I agree with this suggestion. It would move the protest away from any thought that it is directed at the country rather than at a particular set of policies and actions. It would allow players to stand in support of the anthem and the flag and to kneel in protest for the way black people (especially young men) are treated in our judicial system.

      Reply to this comment
  2. d
    d August 15, 16:21

    Kaepernick and his un-educated, blind, followers
    may be the downfall of the entire professional football world. Then, Jerry Jones and the other owners who have profited through huge tax breaks and stadium deals born on the backs of local
    property owners, can turn their stadiums
    into venues for college and high school
    teams who play for the love of the game.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Richard Green
    Richard Green August 15, 16:30

    The players have the right to protest. However, they do not have the right to protest on “company time.” That’s the real issue that the NFL fails to address. As a small business owner, I will fire any employee that chooses to protest on company time. Pretty simple.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Brendan
    Brendan August 15, 16:30

    As long as you are considering what *might* have been done early on to limit this controversy, why don’t you mention the obvious one: the NFL should have left Kap alone to do what he chooses as an individual. As soon as they went after him, it enlarged to a question of worker and racial solidarity. No one, least of all the players, actually likes the League or the owners. Kap should have been left alone, his protest occasionally mentioned in passing as an example of Americans’ right to protest, and it all would have died down. To the extent it got continued interest, it might even have been interest focused on what you rightly name is a legitimate underlying issue: law enforcement treatment of minority persons .
    Now that opportunity is gone, and I would lay the blame much more on the owners’ and the League’s ham-handed response than on the effort of one man to call attention to the troubles his people were having. He was only one guy, but they managed to turn it into a whole union of guys. good luck with that.

    Reply to this comment
    • truthdetector
      truthdetector August 17, 09:48

      Your comments are baloney. Kap showed disrespect for the American flag and we should not have ignored that. Plus the fact he was being paid to play not protest. Fire him and all like him!

      Reply to this comment
  5. Eric
    Eric August 15, 17:02

    If they kneel and disrespect the nation then fire them!

    Reply to this comment
  6. KU2
    KU2 August 15, 18:24

    The problem is not the police. They are just responding to the thugs and crimes in the black community. If the blacks want less police in their hood, get rid of the drug dealers, the uneducated masses just hanging around waiting to commit a crime, the uneducated queens just popping out babies to keep on the welfare roles, etc. When do you hear about the football players saying this is the core problem? How many of them are wandering around not married, but with their kids out there wandering the streets looking for daddy? Black community – do the cops a favor: Clean up your own mess so the police don’t need to go in and take care of business for you.

    Reply to this comment
  7. DG
    DG August 16, 00:31

    Kaepernick was pretty much a one-man protest, and had largely been pushed to the background until Trump when on his twitter rant. He is the one that is responsible for this whole issue being blown up the way it was. If he’d just shut up, it would have been over with a long time ago.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Sal
    Sal August 16, 00:33

    Years ago the sale of tuna fell because
    consumers were upset about the number of dolphins dying in the nets. When the problem was addressed, tuna sales rose. Owners and players like the revenue that TV NFL games give them, so stop that flow by refusing to buy the sponsors products. We get to watch a
    great sport and no one makes a dime
    until they respect us-the consumer.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Mike
    Mike August 16, 03:47

    I for one have not watched a football game since they started doing this nonsense, so it doesn’t matter to me if these overpriced putts keep doing this because at some point the NFL will realize that they are losing money and they will get off of their Corporate A$$e$ and tell the players WHO’S THE BOSS. Until then Dear NFL I refuse to watch ANY football games until your player learn to RESPECT our Country, OUR FLAG and our ANTHEM.

    Reply to this comment
  10. David
    David August 16, 05:52

    No law states that the national anthem has to be played before a game. Play Good bless America instead. That is a quote that Trump use often, even though he doesn’t know or respect God. The filth that he speaks publicly is disgusting. People that support him are reaping some financial gain one way or another. Many fear him because of his wealth and others are just kiss a**. He is wealthy and is still stealing from the government. Obama proved his birth certificate. Because he is wealthy, IRS has done nothing about his income tax. None of us low life could get away with that. He is a racist through and through. With all the so call power in Washington, how do they contend with a DICTATOR? So far all he has to do is speak and it is done. Only”Dictators have been capable of doing this. All sports should cease pre-game national anthem and go with God bless America. That’s what we need the most, especially with Trump supposedly leading it. We need God to richly bless this country.

    Reply to this comment
  11. AL
    AL August 16, 16:35

    I do not want the to see the NFL players protesting on company time. I want to see the ball game and not their political views.

    Reply to this comment
  12. kbhret
    kbhret August 16, 23:24

    Roger Goodell has a double dose of white man’s curse..

    Reply to this comment
  13. Lane Baumgardner
    Lane Baumgardner August 17, 19:20

    I used to be a huge NFLfan, since the 60s, saw every SUPERBOWL since I and Saw Broadway Joe Nameith bring the AFL into ABC when they took SUPERBOWL III, watched the original Hail Mary pass as it happened, saw coach Vince Lombardi on the side lines, and Coach John Maddens, bad ass Raiders. Saw Miami go undefeated almost matched if it were not for a Helmet Catch by my used to be favorite team. I missed last 2 SUPERBOWLS, haven’t watcheded a game in 2 years, boycotting and will never watch another. Protesting Police involved killings, police aren’t randomly killing Black people, they kill Pavement Africanus Criminalus, criminals, society victimizing criminals, and your protest is supporting them, but when you Blacks shoot 100 people in one weekend in Chicago and 10 die, including 2 children, where’s your protest or you players doing something there. I don’t care about your personal politics, your paid to entertain me, not disrespect the Country I live, so all I have left to say is,,, TO HELL WITH THE NFL!!!!

    Reply to this comment
  14. Donald Heemeyer
    Donald Heemeyer August 20, 20:15

    Wake up. Football players are PAID to play football not to make any statement they want. If they want to make statements they can do it on their own time, NOT during a game.

    Reply to this comment

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