America • Identity Politics • Post • Progressivism • Sports • The Culture • The Left

We All Wanted to Love the Women’s Soccer Team

For the first time in my life, I did not root for an American team. Whatever the sport, I have always rooted American. But if those who called into my radio show were representative of my audience, many millions of Americans made the same sad choice.

It takes a lot for people like me not to root for an American team. But Megan Rapinoe, the foul-mouthed star of the team, and her fellow players made it possible.

The U.S. women’s soccer team disgraced itself. Either its members were cowed into submission by Rapinoe or they agreed (or, at least, never disagreed) with her attacks on the president, her reference to the White House as the “f—ing White House,” her refusal since 2016 to participate in the National Anthem, and her repeatedly shouting during the team’s parade in New York City, “New York, you’re the motherf—ing best!”

For example, Rapinoe said, “Every member of the team that I have talked to would not go” to the White House.

Rapinoe is a great soccer player. Other than that, she is unimpressive. She comes across as arrogant, a fool, and a lowlife.

Why a fool? Because she thinks she has something important to say to the American people and that we need to hear it because she is a great soccer player. She is not alone in this conceit. Tom Steyer and other billionaires think the same thing about themselves: that because they are better at making money than almost everybody, they must be wiser than almost everybody.

People who excel in one thing are tempted to think they are smart about everything, but that is almost never the case. There is no reason at all to assume that people who excel in anything (other than wisdom) are wiser than anybody else. And here’s the kicker (no pun intended): People who think they are wise because they excel at something unrelated to wisdom are fools.

And why is Rapinoe a lowlife? What would you label any adult who constantly used the F-word in public (especially during events when children are expected to be present or watching)? Or does being a star—like the foul-mouthed Robert De Niro—make you less of a lowlife?

The American women’s soccer team is unified in protesting on behalf of “equal pay for equal work.” They regard their team as a perfect example because its members receive less money than members of the U.S. men’s soccer team—despite the fact that the women have a much better record.

But there is a reason the male players earn more. Among other things—such as the women’s team’s vote for financial security in the form of guaranteed salaries rather than revenue share—men’s soccer generates far more money than women’s soccer.

According to the Los Angeles Times: FIFA’s “2018 financial report said it earned revenue of $5.357 billion from the men’s tournament in Russia. . . . Forbes estimated the Women’s World Cup will generate about $131 million for the four-year cycle ending in 2022.”

So, unless people should be paid according to gender (which they now are in Norway) rather than according to revenue and profits, male soccer players will earn more money than female soccer players.

There are only two ways to equitably ensure male and female players earn the same amount of money. One is to pool all the money earned by both teams and then distribute an equal amount to all the players, men and women. The other is to end sex-based teams: Men and women compete to play on one team (composed of both men and women), and any woman who makes the team is guaranteed the same income as any man on the team.

Until then, the women’s soccer team and the left want to have their cake and eat it, too. (Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, for example, tweeted this non sequitur: “Here’s an idea: If you win 13-0—the most goals for a single game in World Cup history—you should be paid at least equally to the men’s team.”) They want women to have their own soccer teams—because biology has made it impossible for almost any woman to successfully compete with men in sports—yet earn the same amount as men do.

But the reality is more people will watch men play soccer, just as more people watch major league baseball than minor league baseball—which is why major league baseball players earn more money than minor league players. But if we applied the equal-pay-for-equal-work principle to baseball, minor league and major league players would be paid the same amount.

With their politicization of their victory, their expletive-filled speech and their publicly expressed contempt for half their fellow citizens, the women of the U.S. women’s soccer team succeeded in endearing themselves to America’s Left. But they earned the rest of the country’s disdain, which is sad. We really wanted to love the team.

What we have here is yet another example of perhaps the most important fact in the contemporary world: Everything the Left touches it ruins.

COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

America • Post • Sports • The Culture

Losing a Hometown Hero

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PITTSBURGH—Baseball is always held up as a metaphor for life in America. The struggles and disappointments, along with the workaday perseverance, form clear parallels.

Both require hope.

Baseball historian David Pietrusza once told me that like baseball, America is all about hope, necessarily tied up with effort and disappointment.

Baseball is a game without a clock. It’s never over until the final out. And no matter what the score is, there’s always a chance. Hope is the 10th guy in every lineup.

Like many traditions in American life that have changed with the times—such as knowing you can stay and prosper in the same town that your father’s father’s father did—the idea that your favorite player will be in the outfield playing for your home team his entire career is also a thing of the past.

Brad Todd lives in the Washington area, and his 9-year-old son’s favorite player, Bryce Harper, just traded his Washington Nationals jersey for a Philadelphia Phillies jersey and a $330 million contract. This brings back memories for Todd.

“I can remember the date, the day and where I was,” he said, a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan and co-author of our book, “The Great Revolt.” “It was August the 3rd, 1990. I was a college student working a summer job at a newspaper, and I remember when, all the sudden, I saw it pop up on my screen that Dale Murphy had been traded, ironically, to the Philadelphia Phillies, and I looked up and everyone in the newsroom was staring at me. They had already seen it and were waiting on my reaction.”

But the situation is worse for his son.

He said, “Murphy was at the end of his career. And so I still knew that he would be a Braves legend, and not somebody else’s legend. And that’s the problem I think with Harper. These kids thought that he would play for their team forever, and now he’s going to end up spending the bulk of his career playing for their rivals.” The Phillies and the Nats are both in the National League East division.

Since free agency came about in the ’70s, it has been a mournful rite of passage for young and old fans. This paralleled the broader phenomenon of more Americans leaving the place they grew up and thought they’d stay, having either been pulled away by opportunity, or pushed out by automation or foreign competition.

George Will, the Washington Post columnist who wrote the book on baseball “Men at Work,” says free agency may be one of the best things that happened to baseball. He explained in an interview: “It has, after much tweaking and accommodations, I think, contributed a competitive balance. It has made baseball more interesting. But even if it had done neither, it would be a good idea, because it’s elemental justice that the reserve clause denied. Which is the basic American right to negotiate terms of employment with the employer of your choice.”

Will, who saw his first game at Forbes Field here in Pittsburgh, knows there are plenty of 9-year-old broken hearts across the country every time this happens. “What we learn about baseball is that people are loyal less to particular players and more to the uniform and the logo and the stadium and the whole thing that goes with a team,” he says.

This is likely why in culture, you find loyalty to hometowns in other cities in the most peculiar ways. For instance, the 1,500 Steelers bars that are located across the country provide a way to connect what was lost after thousands and thousands of families were forced to leave when manufacturing collapsed here in the 1970s.

Washington is a jaded city. The adults are going be disappointed but not surprised, and will move past it. But in the end, baseball is a game that lives mostly in the imaginations of little kids and the little kid in all of us. And for that little kid, the loss of a lefty slugger is a little taste of the common sad story of losing hometown things we love.

COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM

Photo Credit: Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

America • Big Media • Donald Trump • Elections • Post • Satire • Sports • The Culture • The Left • The Media

What If the Media Covered Sports Like They Cover Trump?

I don’t know one poll that suggested New England was going to have this kind of night,” said CNN’s Jake Tapper. “Nobody predicted this,” said Chris Matthews on MSNBC.

Nobody did. Because the New England Patriots didn’t have a chance. The Jacksonville Jaguars had the experience and the elite personnel to carry them to victory. Most importantly, the Jaguars deserved to win. And they were certain they would. After all, they’d spent years preparing for this moment. The Jaguars were going to make history as the first Florida team, north of Miami and Tampa, to make it to the Super Bowl. The glass ceiling would finally be shattered.

Oddsmakers had the Jaguars as big favorites. FiveThirtyEight gave them a 74.2 percent chance of winning. Early in the game, with the Jaguars holding on to the lead, that chance of winning climbed to 93 percent.

And then, the unthinkable. The Patriots, led by its quarterback, Tom Brady, began to come back. Within minutes, the Patriots regained the lead. And with the game clock down to 0:00, the scoreboard showed 24-20, favoring the Patriots. All the major networks, as implausible as it sounded, projected the Patriots as winners of the AFC championship game.

It was a jarring defeat for the Jaguars who are having a difficult time coming to grips with the loss. All the players have yet to concede, and their head coach, through a representative, informed the press that he would not have any comment until the next day.

It’s no wonder that the Jaguars are bothered and bewildered—and simply stunned. Without warning, they were victimized by an absolutely shocking turn of events. So shocking, that even now, it’s difficult to fathom how it could have happened.

Let’s face it, Tom Brady had a bad day. Of course, that’s to be expected when you’re 40, and your health is questionable. That black bandage on Brady’s throwing hand was a clear sign that his best days are behind him. Yet Brady somehow managed to emerge victorious, and is poised to become the oldest quarterback to play in the Super Bowl.

Demands are being made of the New England front office to release Brady’s medical records. What type of injury did he suffer exactly? It’s all a mystery. All week long, the Patriots refused to offer any details. What medical procedures were administered, which meds were prescribed that would allow Brady to play through his pain?

Brady did his best to downplay any concerns. “I’ve had a lot worse,“ said Brady. “My only focus was on making the Patriots great again.”

But to many observers, Brady wasn’t convincing. Millions want to know if he is really fit and capable of leading his team in the Super Bowl. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has promised an inquiry into the injury and related matters, but is still being pilloried by fans throughout the country. Many fear a conflict-of-interest and suspect he cannot lead a fair and impartial investigation. They are demanding an independent prosecutor be brought in to sort things out.

New England coach Bill Belichick scoffed at the accusations and basked in the team’s accomplishment. “We’ve just delivered a big, beautiful win for our fans,” said Belichick as his team was celebrating. “This victory is so large and so meaningful, and yet the Fake News is working overtime to follow the lead of their friends, the defeated Jaguars, and only demean. This is truly a case where the results will speak for themselves, starting very soon. Win, win, win.”

Tom Brady was equally proud of the victory. “It’s pretty amazing. It’s just a great accomplishment,“ Brady gushed. “You know, I kept hearing from the other side how they have this button they can press to beat us. So I wanted to show them that I too have a button, but it’s a much bigger and more powerful one than theirs. And my button works!”

It can’t be overlooked that the Patriots are no strangers to controversy and have a long history of getting caught up in assorted nefarious affairs. Suspicion follows them wherever they go. Everyone remembers Spygate and Deflategate. The latter earned Brady a four-game suspension for his role in the shenanigans, and the ensuing coverup.

During the past year alone, the team has been rocked with scandal. It all reached a fever pitch when the Patriots fired an assistant coach, James Knowmey, who was thought to have uncovered evidence of Patriots’ personnel hacking into other teams’ playbooks. Knowmey did not accuse the team outright, but did suggest that their handling of sensitive information was extremely careless.

For some fans in Jacksonville and beyond, the fat lady has yet to sing. And it’s still not over. Not only in Jacksonville, but throughout the country, millions of people have raised suspicions, questioning if the points were tabulated correctly.

Within minutes after the game, a group of distraught fans announced they will be petitioning a Jacksonville district court to force the NFL to recount the points. Anonymous NFL sources have indicated that the manner in which the Patriots scored their last two touchdowns may be contested. The biggest puzzle is how 14 points—more than 50 percent of their total—could have appeared on the scoreboard in just the last 10 minutes of the game when they could only muster 10 points in the game’s initial 50 minutes.

There is also a case to be made for collusion with the Chinese. The giant stadium scoreboard is believed to be manufactured by a China-based company with close ties to the Communist leadership. It’s also been known for quite some time that the Chinese favored a New England victory. It seems a number of Patriots have been negotiating a special sneaker and jersey deal with the Chinese. A Patriots victory would make that deal far more valuable.

As the game footage is reviewed, it will become clear that New England’s apparent “success” was achieved even though they had possession of the football for just over 25 minutes, while Jacksonville had the ball for 35 minutes.

“It just doesn’t add up,” shouted Mildred Bortles, who claimed not to be related to Blake Bortles, the Jacksonville quarterback. Ms. Bortles will be among those heading to court to seek some legal remedy. “There’s no doubt that the game was stolen,” Mrs. Bortles added.

The Jaguars are not waiting to see what happens in the courts. They are organizing what they call The Resistance. Their immediate goal is to have the Patriots removed from participating in the Super Bowl, preferably in favor of the Jaguars, But they are willing to accept any other team. For them, it’s ABB: Anybody But Brady.

Numerous marches are planned with demonstrators taking to the streets wearing what they consider to be the symbol of the Resistance: Big Pussy Helmets, explaining that Jaguars are, after all, simply large wild cats with an exceptionally powerful bite.

So it appears that the nation is entering uncharted territory. It’s troubling, but, clearly, the Patriots have brought it all upon themselves.

Correction from an earlier post: We reported that all the controversy surrounding the Patriots has taken a toll on the team’s popularity, and as a result, the crowd for the game in New England was down dramatically. A quick look at the stands showed thousands of empty seats. We regret that this was not completely accurate. Gillette Stadium was completely sold out. The report accidentally commented on the number of people who were in the stands three hours or so before the start of the game.

Fake News Alert: Everything you just read is fake news. Pretty much nothing in the article above is true. Yes, the Patriots did beat the Jaguars 24-20, and are playing Super Bowl LII on Sunday.  Everything else is lies and misinformation. It’s the same kind of distortion of facts practiced by the Democratic Party press each day while covering President Trump, his entire administration, and the Republican Party in general.

America • Americanism • Economy • Greatness Agenda • Post • Sports • Technology • Trade

Samsung and LG are as Bad as the NFL

Americans recently were treated to the sight of muscle-bound millionaires taking a knee during the national anthem as a once-beloved institution—the NFL—refused to criticize or condemn it. Meanwhile, owners who make their huge profits in stadiums that are heavily subsidized with tax dollars, for the most part backed the party line of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Nonetheless, the NFL feels no obligation to respect the flag and anthem of the United States, and it feels it should be immune to criticism in the bargain. This is the sort of entitled attitude that Americans find increasingly repugnant—in corporations no less than in individuals.

Yet we see echoes of this attitude all across the culture and even in some places where one might not expect it. Take, for example, the recent controversy over the persistent violations of U.S. trade laws by the South Korean corporate behemoths Samsung and LG. These companies have been dumping washing machines in the United States at prices below market values for years, as they try to undermine their U.S.-based competition. They are also moving their production facilities around the globe in a deliberate effort to avoid the legal consequences, which could include tariffs or quotas. Recently, for the third time, the International Trade Commission found Samsung and LG guilty of dumping, but they and their supporters take the view that no penalties should be applied. Why? They offer two reasons..

The first is that Samsung and LG suggest their recent announcements regarding the building of new factories in the U.S. cancels out their persistent bad behavior with regard to dumping. More than that, however, they state that trade sanctions, in the form of tariffs or quotas, could cause them to reconsider their plans to invest more in U.S. manufacturing.

The reader should consider these arguments carefully. First, obeying the law some of the time does not justify violating it the rest of the time. Likewise, supporting U.S. manufacturing when it suits them does not justify Samsung and LG’s efforts to undermine their U.S. competitors in violation of U.S. trade laws. As President Trump has said, Americans are not against free trade, but they insist that it be fair trade, and trade which is designed to circumvent U.S. law is anything but fair.

In addition, the threats leveled by Samsung and LG should be seen for what they are: blackmail. For, if Samsung and LG are to be penalized for dumping washing machines produced overseas into the U.S. market, and if tariffs or quotas would then make selling such foreign-produced washing machines harder in the future, surely the rational business decision for these companies would be to produce more, not less, of their washing machines in the United States, since the machines produced here would not be subject to any trade sanctions. Instead, Samsung and LG propose to punish the United States, and its workers, by reducing their manufacturing activity in this country, if the U.S. government has the temerity to enforce its own laws. Such an action would be based on spite, pure and simple, and threats along these lines should make every American who cherishes the rule of law livid. They express the same sense of corporate entitlement that, for instance, we see in NFL teams that threaten to leave town if their demands for opulent new taxpayer-funded stadiums are not met.

The second reason why some backers of Samsung and LG say that the Trump administration should give those companies a pass is that, if tariffs or quotas are applied to these South Korean manufacturers, theoretically South Korea could respond with retaliatory measures. This is far-fetched. Any actions that the Trump administration might take will be targeted, not wide-ranging, and they certainly will not be designed to choke off trade. More importantly, as every American knows, tensions are running high on the Korean Peninsula. Now is the time when we have, arguably, the greatest leverage over the South Koreans, who need us to help neutralize the threat posed by North Korea. Does anyone believe that the South Koreans would start a trade war with the United States under these circumstances? Would South Korea choose washing machines over national security? Of course not.

The election of the Trump administration was due, in large part, to the American people’s frustrations over bad trade deals. Already, we have begun the process of renegotiating some of these deals. No deal will amount to anything, however, unless all parties concerned, including major corporations, are committed to upholding the integrity of these agreements and the rule of law. In the case against Samsung and LG, the Trump administration has a golden opportunity to defend U.S. manufacturing jobs and the rule of law simultaneously. Let us hope this chance will not be missed.

 

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America • Americanism • Black Lives Matter • civic culture/friendship • Donald Trump • Hollywood • Post • Sports • The Culture • the Flag • The Media

Trump, the Classic Movies, and the NFL

Donald Trump’s mind has been furnished over the years mainly by the media, but perhaps not enough, for two iconic movies could have alerted him to the downside—and the solution—to the problem he triggered over protests in the NFL. If he hadn’t seen the connections earlier, they should have been brought home to him when Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, locked arms with his players before the game.

That this was one of those “happenings” on the way to happen should have been evident much earlier, and it should have recalled a classic scene in Billy Wilder’s movie, Stalag 17.  The story was about Americans huddled together in a German prisoner of war camp in the Second World War. All of the prisoners are brought out into the courtyard, to be lectured by the Commandant, played by the never cuddly Otto Preminger. One American, evidently stressed by his experience in battle, was given to playing an ocarina, with no discernible tune. He played it now, and one of his friends, standing near, had the presence of mind to take it away from him. But as the Commandant bore on, sneering, the soldier took the ocarina and hurled it toward him.

It landed in a puddle and splashed the gleaming boots of the Commandant. He demanded instantly to see the one who was responsible for this outrage. After a brief moment, the soldier who threw the ocarina stepped forward to take the responsibility on himself. But then a friend, standing near, stepped forward. Then another. And yet another, until all of the rows and columns of prisoners stepped forward.

It was a moment of “solidarity,” to pick up the term used in the NFL, though with this difference: The prisoners were quite clear on the innocence of the original act, and the wrongness of the punishment that was coming, and there was no doubt of the point they were making in holding together. In contrast, the management of the Denver Broncos announced this week that “we’re a team and we stand together”—but toward what purpose? Were they insisting on the rightness of refusing to stand for the national anthem and its soaring endorsement of the political regime that it celebrates? The Broncos professed their concern that “inequalities still exist, and we have work to do in ALL forms of social justice. We can all do better. It starts with us.” But if it really starts with them, they can do something practical right now.

The players, along with the upper echelons of their management, have annual salaries that exceed what most of their fans will earn in a lifetime. Has it occurred to them that they might tithe, or perhaps even give 50 percent back to charities such as the Salvation Army, which minister widely to the poor with little overhead. Or what about even returning themselves to the policies of the 1950s when people earning what they do would have been taxed at 90 percent? We needn’t wait, after all, for the team to act:  Each player has it within his own means to do something right now that would diminish some serious disparities in income.

The gambit over the NFL has evidently worked for Mr. Trump, and yet how could it really be good for him and the country if more and more respectable people—including some of his own supporters—are willing to lend themselves to a building pattern of acting out contempt for him?

It is not Mr. Trump’s style to be disarming, but the gesture to dissolve the problem could be found in a classic movie that he surely knows, and knows well. In Casablanca, in a scene not long after the occupation of France, a band of German officers, fed with confidence, are whooping it up in “Rick’s” café. They are singing their favorite, homey tunes, in a café filled with expatriates, who would rather be somewhere else in the world. The sounds of the singing and bravado make their way to the rooms above, where Victor Lazlo, played by Paul Henreid, is trying to cajole Rick (Humphrey Bogart) into yielding up two letters of transit to Lisbon. Enraged by the puffery of the Germans, Paul Henreid walks forcefully downstairs and instructs house musicians to play the Marseillaise. With an approving look from their employer, the trumpets take the lead. Soon, all of the patrons are on their feet, joining him in this rousing anthem.

Well, if some players now will put a knee down at the Star-Spangled Banner, it would be quite easy to have the same singer, after delivering the anthem, follow it instantly with “God Bless America.” That song has been played widely at baseball games in the seventh inning since 911, but if America has a civil religion, “God Bless America” comes closer than any other song in stirring a religious and nearly-religious sentiment, bound up with the love and appreciation of the country. I doubt that any player would wish to look churlish by taking a knee or showing even the slightest tremor of disrespect while the fans in the stadium join in singing those words, far more often than they join in singing the national anthem. And if a protest is signaled in advance of the anthem, it could be easily foiled or preempted by making a quiet shift for the moment and ordering up “God Bless America” instead.

Mr. Trump finds his passion in unsettling things, but the deeper art is to surprise with a disarming move that quickly settles things down, while teaching a better lesson.

 

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America • Big Media • Black Lives Matter • Cultural Marxism • Donald Trump • Identity Politics • Law and Order • Post • Sports

The Tragic Incoherence of the NFL Protests

It has become a sort of reflex to object to the National Football League’s players’ bended knee/sitting through the National Anthem—while also conceding that their complaints have merit.

But do they?

To answer that question, one would have to know precisely what the protests are about. But so far the various reasons advanced are both confused and without much merit. That is why the players will eventually stand for the anthem before their tragic incoherence loses them both their fans and their jobs with it.

Inordinate Police Brutality Against the African-American Community?
While there certainly have been a large number of well-publicized shootings of African-American suspects, statistics do not bear out, as alleged, a supposed wave of police violence against black unarmed suspects. Is the anger then directed at regrettable though isolated iconic incidents but not at prevailing trends?

White police officers are more than 18 times more likely to be shot by African-Americans than white police officers are to shoot unarmed black suspects. Does anyone care?

In absolute numbers, more white suspects were shot yearly by police than were black suspects. Given respective crime rates and the frequency of relative encounters with police, black suspects were not statistically more likely to be victims of police violence than were whites.

Given the topics of race, crime, and violence, the frequency of black-on-white crime versus white-on-black crime—depending on the particular category—while comparatively rare, is still widely disproportionate, by a factor of 7 to 10.

Roughly 40-50 percent of all reported U.S. arrests for various violent crime involve teen or adult African-American males, who make up about 4-5 percent of the population. Blacks are well over 20 times more likely to be shot and killed by other blacks than by police officers.

The Left often does not pay much attention to such facts—though it grows angry when others do. Or to the extent progressives acknowledge these asymmetries, they contextualize the alarming frequency of inordinate black male crime, and the police response to it, by citing the legacy of slavery and claiming contemporary racism as well as police and judicial bias.

But such rationalization is largely academic.

The general public—and by extension the NFL fan base of all racial backgrounds—feels these imbalances to be true and, in their own lives—fairly or not—make adjustments about where they live, put their children in school, or travel. The antennae of wealthy, virtue-signaling white liberals are the most sensitive to crime disparities; the latter are also the most likely to have the desire and wherewithal to navigate around them. The makeup of elite neighborhoods and prep schools of Washington, D.C., is a testament to that unspoken fact.

It is certainly true that black males, regrettably, may be watched or stopped by police with greater frequency than Latino, Asian, or white males tend to be; but arguably not in a disproportionate fashion when seen in light of the data of those arrested and convicted of crimes.

Such proclivities, while again regrettable, are due less to racism than to statistically based preemptive policing—or statistically-based (and therefore rational) police fears.

Colin Kaepernick’s protests allegedly focusing on inordinate racially biased police brutality had no statistical basis in fact. To the extent his argument was logically presented, the irate NFL fan base rejected it.

Racial Disparity Attributable to Institutionalized Prejudice?
Were the players then frustrated about general racial disparities in landscapes beyond their own privileged positions? That larger question of why African-Americans have not yet statically achieved the same level of education, income, and family stability as the majority is more complex.

The exegeses usually break down politically. The Left feels that inequality of result is almost entirely due to racism and the inability of the government to provide financial reparations for past exploitation and legal protections to address ongoing bias.

The Right believes that what explains greater black disparity, in a variety of areas vis-à-vis the Asian-American, Latino-American, or white communities, are differing cultural attitudes toward family unity, education, and criminal behavior. The government, to the extent it can alter cultural assumptions, has largely acerbated the crisis through entitlements that reward conduct not conducive to achieving parity with other groups.

There are other disparate statistics that suggest race is not necessarily the bellwether criterion for ensuring a long, happy, and productive life. The white suicide rate is about three times higher than the African-American suicide rate, for example.

Asian-Americans on average have a higher income than do whites, despite a history of experiencing racism in the United States, from the Chinese exclusionary immigration laws to the Japanese internment.

The point is not to dismiss the unique historical ordeal of African-Americans, but rather to suggest that a majority of Americans does not any longer believe race is destiny, much less that being “white” governs one’s fate, especially at a time when intermarriage and integration are at an all-time high, and when the white working classes are increasingly disengaged from and at odds with the bicoastal white elite class. In other words, working-class white people often have much more in common with working-class blacks than they do with elite whites.

Furor at President Trump’s Intemperate “SOB” Comment?
Were the players instead reacting to Donald Trump’s outburst?

Certainly, it is understandable to be angry when the president of the United States directed his animus (supercharged with the unnecessarily profane “son of a bitch”) at a particular athlete (singular): “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

It is true that the refusal to stand for the anthem peaked after the president’s comment. But here again, there are a number of reasons why the protests against an intemperate president still seem incoherent.

Obviously, the president of the United States will support the country’s tradition of respecting the flag. If the commander-in-chief is indifferent to iconic patriotic ceremonies, then who would not be?

Second, Trump’s SOB remark was directed nominally at an individual (“somebody”), and perhaps by inference Colin Kaepernick rather than, as reported, in the plural at a collective. His profanity was also regrettable, but past presidential vulgarity did not spark commensurate NFL protests.

Trump’s expletive perhaps was not as crude as Barack Obama’s writing off the millions of the Tea Party movement as “tea-baggers,” which refers to a graphic homosexual act. (“That helped to create the tea-baggers and empowered that whole wing of the Republican Party to where it now controls the agenda for the Republicans,” he said.)

Obama’s delivery may have often sounded mellifluous, but his message was sometimes crass and cruel and did not earn much rebuke—such as his past joke about the Special Olympics, or his us-versus-them advice to Latinos (“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends’”), or his racial stereotyping of his own grandmother (“But she is a typical white person . . . ”), or his disdain for entire groups of people (“they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”)

For all his profanity, Trump would be facing impeachment charges had he written off the players, Obama-style, as “typical black people,” “tea-baggers,” or bitter clingers who express their racism to vent their own failures.

“White Privilege”?
Were the multimillionaire players angry about “white privilege”?

The term was not in wide circulation until the Obama era, when it caught fire on campuses and with pundits on left-wing cable news outlets to denote the impossibility of obtaining parity, given the intrinsic “stacked deck” of white America. But the entire white privilege trope has proved incoherent for a variety of obvious reasons.

First, we are a half-century out from the Civil Rights era, and an entire generation of middle-class Americans has grown up in the era of affirmative action, not Jim Crow. Most young people on campuses and applying for state and federal jobs naturally assume it is an advantage to have a minority cachet, and a clear disadvantage to be a white male. If that perception was not true, we would not see those of mixed heritages using accent marks or compound names to accentuate, for example, their Latino ethnicity, in fear that it was not immediately apparent or not sufficiently emphasized to resonate ethnic bona fides (for example, California State Senate leader Kevin de León, born Kevin Alexander Leon), etc.

Second, in a multiracial society in which perhaps a quarter of the population is of mixed ancestry, what exactly is “white”?—half-Egyptian/half-Irish? One-quarter-Japanese/one quarter-German/half-Latino? If we cannot accurately define “white” other than through DNA badges or antebellum Southern racist laws, how then can we define white privilege?

In a complex multiracial America, class increasingly trumps race. Are we to think multimillionaire African-American football players or black CNN anchors have less “privilege” than white unemployed coal miners in West Virginia or tree trimmers in southern Michigan or Tulare County, California?

Privilege always exists, of course, and in many cases, it is “white elite privilege”—which only makes more problematic the sloppy generic notion of “white privilege.” Are we to trust that the Silicon Valley scion who has his dad call up Stanford to ease his admission, and who once on campus rehearses the politically correct mantras of the day, has anything in common with the son of a white baker from Elko, Nevada?

Too often, wealthy white people in the press, politics, and academia mouth their furor over “white privilege” to virtue signal, to seek exemption from their own clear class privilege, and to express a coded disdain for the white working class, which lacks the romanticism of the masses and chic culture of the elite.

Pro-football players cannot define white privilege, and to the extent they can it is because of familiarity with other highly paid elites that self-identify as white, not with the millions of the white working and unemployed classes who ironically enjoy watching the NFL and find its racial make-up incidental to their essential love of the sport and admiration for those who play it.

The First Amendment?
Are the players kneeling to remind us of the sanctity of the First Amendment?

Hardly. The right of unfettered free speech has always been adjudicated in the courts by the allowance of limits on expression in the workplace.

Airline pilots cannot wear “Make America Great Again” hats if the airlines have contractual rules against political expression while at work. Police officers cannot demand to wear t-shirts and jeans in lieu of uniforms. UPS drivers can certainly be forbidden from wearing FedEx wristbands while driving or honking at friends they pass on the road.

The NFL players are free not to stand for the National Anthem, not because such a snub is protected by the First Amendment and they wish to emphasize that fact, but because for political reasons the NFL in fear has decided not to enforce a rule in its game operations manual—on the assumption that it is in the league’s short-term financial interest to ignore its own protocols.

When it becomes clear in the long-term that kneeling during the anthem alienates fans and loses the NFL hundreds of millions of dollars, then the owners mysteriously will make the necessary adjustments.

The league’s likely second-thoughts on standing during the National Anthem will have as little to do with the First Amendment as did its original response to respect the players’ gesture.

The idea of multimillionaire professional athletes—as part of the 0.01 percent of the nation’s income earners, in a meritocratic but quite un-diverse league made up of 75 percent black players—refusing to stand for the National Anthem out of anger at their country, racial unfairness, the president, or history is nonsensical.

Are the players betting that NFL fans do not care about a time-honored national practice or agree that they and their country are racist, or that they now think the NFL should be a showcase for political theater, or that about 200 protesting players are so uniquely talented in a nation of 320 million people that they are indispensable and could not be replaced, or that fans have nothing to do on weekends but to watch a politicized NFL?

For NFL athletes not to stand for the National Anthem is about as logical as it would be for ice hockey players or NASCAR drivers to take a knee in a potpourri protest over their own anger at American shortcomings, or racial disparities in the murdering of police officers, or the methamphetamine epidemic that strikes whites inordinately, or inordinate white suicide rates or disproportionate black-on-white crime rates—and then expect any insulted fan to continue to watch such incoherence.

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Out with the ‘Ins’! In with the ‘Outs’!

It was a kick-in-the-gut moment for a lot of conservatives, and for a lot of normal people who just wanted some non-political space left in their lives.

Already they’d watched over the weekend, in the wake of President Trump’s attack on football players kneeling during the National Anthem, as one NFL honcho after another—even presidential pals, like the Patriots’ Robert Kraft—took to the media not only to denounce Trump but to show support for the players’ actions. And this from the leaders of a sport that liberals condemn as a redoubt of toxic right-wing, brain-concussing masculinity!

At least one NFL owner seemed to be a solid ally against the politically correct onslaught, though. All weekend memes spread hopefully around the internet of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones supposedly telling his players that they could take a hike if they took a knee. Of course, much of the dialogue attributed to Jones had the feel of fake news—and it was. Yet the faith in him still did not seem to be misplaced. In fact, last year Jones said that he was happy none of the Cowboys had kneeled and had criticized Colin Kaepernick and other players who did.

But then there he was on one knee himself, along with his players, before the playing of the National Anthem on Monday night. Sure, they stood when the anthem started, and some commentators have viewed this as a grand compromise. (Trump, with his usual bravado, even tried to spin it as a victory.) But many of us who find the protests deeply offensive and had looked to Jones for leadership felt sucker-punched and betrayed.

If even football had gone Et tu, Brute?” we still had NASCAR, right? Team owners and former drivers Richard Petty and Richard Childress decried the protests and lauded the National Anthem as a symbol of America in the kind of blunt everyman language that both sides of the culture war expect from NASCAR owners. “Anybody that won’t stand up for the anthem ought to be out of the country,” Petty said. Childress added that any of his drivers or crew who kneeled during the anthem would “get … a ride on a Greyhound bus.” Trump thanked NASCAR in a tweet the next morning. Thirty minutes later Dale Earnhardt, Jr.‏—Dale Friggin’ Earnhardt, Jr.!—made himself the incongruous darling of the drawing-room set with this politically correct response:

Gut kicked again. And we all know what’s coming next, don’t we? All the other owners will join him, with Petty and Childress reversing themselves like Jones and recanting with a Red Guard-style apology.

The kick in the gut was probably inevitable. Partly this is because wealthy capitalists like Jones—and like Earnhardt has become—will always act in their perceived financial self-interest. The saving grace is they will often do so stupidly, as Jones and the other NFL owners have done here, with a move that will likely come back to bite them in the rear right through the wallet pocket. But Americans on the right side of the political spectrum can never put their faith in such men. Those who do are almost always going to be disappointed these days.

The reason for this goes beyond the divergence between principle and greed, and it explains a lot about our current political divides and the rise of populism. A centrist friend of mine put his finger on it in talking about Jones: “He is now caught in the echo chamber of the Left where all he hears is one side. He has no idea how many people disagree with him because he doesn’t associate with those people anymore.”

This is essentially true today of all successful people, in virtually every endeavor. Observers like Charles Murray in Coming Apart have documented the tremendous increase in residential class segregation in American life. As Murray wrote in an article on the sources of Trump’s support last year:

America . . . retained a high degree of social and cultural heterogeneity in its communities . . . well into the 20th century, even in . . . elite neighborhoods. In the 1960 census, the median income along Philadelphia’s Main Line was just $90,000 in today’s dollars. In Boston’s Brookline, it was $75,000; on New York’s Upper East Side, just $60,000. At a typical dinner party in those neighborhoods, many guests would have had no more than a high-school diploma.

. . . In 2016, a dinner party in those same elite neighborhoods consists almost wholly of people with college degrees, even advanced degrees. They are much more uniformly affluent. The current median family incomes for the Main Line, Brookline and the Upper East Side are about $150,000, $151,000 and $203,000, respectively.

Society’s financial and status winners increasingly live and socialize only with each other, essentially walled off from those left behind. This includes not just those from the professional and “creative” classes, but successful NASCAR drivers and others from non-elite fields as well.

When I was growing up in Queens in the early 1960s, the New York City police commissioner lived on the same block as my Aunt May and Uncle Joe in the working class neighborhood of Middle Village. This seems remarkable now, but it wasn’t then. At the same time, Chicago’s legendary mayor, Richard J. Daley, lived in a modest bungalow house in the working-class Bridgeport community where he’d grown up. Today New York police commissioners are still typically former beat cops who’ve come up through the ranks, but now they decamp for the Upper East Side soon after making it big. And Daley’s son and mayoral successor Richard M. Daley moved from Bridgeport to an upscale neighborhood after being re-elected.

As the country has become increasingly segregated by social class, it also has become increasingly segregated by politically ideology, with the upper-status areas becoming increasingly liberal. Hillary Clinton carried the nation’s most affluent counties, actually outperforming Barack Obama among upper-income and upper-status voters. Reflecting this trend, the business community has become probably the most powerful force for authoritarian “bake-the-cake-or-else” political correctness, leading the opposition to religious freedom and firing dissenters from liberal cultural orthodoxy like Brendan Eich and James Damore. On racial, sexual and environmental issues, a stifling liberalism has become so pervasive in the precincts of the affluent—in corporate boardrooms and fashionable neighborhoods—that few dare question it, and thus contrary views come to be seen as shocking and illegitimate. It’s not surprising that those who initially bring a different cultural perspective to this world—oilmen like Jones, NASCAR drivers, ex-cops—quickly imbibe the dominant ethos.

This realignment of politics along segregated class lines is a big reason why, as Henry Olsen has written, “‘Ins’ v ‘Outs’ is increasingly replacing ‘Left’ v ‘Right’ as the most important dividing line in Western politics,” at least to the extent that “Left” and “Right” refer to the old divide between market and redistributionist policies.

For conservatives and moderates who believe in national sovereignty and traditional values, the lessons of Brexit and the 2016 U.S. presidential election are clear: our lot is with the “Outs,” not the “Ins.” The “Outs” support us. We should back the policies that support them and their financial interests. The “Ins” care only about protecting themselves and their interests. Too many conservatives have been too enamored of financial success, as was vividly on display with the obscene celebration of wealthy entrepreneurs at the 2012 Republican Convention that nominated the loser, Mitt Romney. But this love for the “Ins” will continue to be unrequited—rewarded only with more betrayals and kicks in the gut.

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Don’t Blame the Kneelers—Blame Those Who Brainwashed Them

The brouhaha over political demonstrations during the National Anthem makes me think of a scene from “Junior Bonner,” a 1972 Sam Peckinpah film about rodeo cowboys starring Steve McQueen. A barroom brawl has broken out during the rodeo’s noontime break, and the biggest bruiser in the joint decides to put a stop to it. How do you make a bunch of drunken cowboys stop throwing punches? Call the cops? Use tear gas? Turn on the sprinkler system?

No, our big guy wades through the melee, approaches the bandstand, and tells the musicians, “I think it’s time to play something patriotic, fellas.” So the band strikes up “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and before you can sing “Home of the Brave,” all those drunks have quit fighting and come to attention. Even McQueen, who’s been necking with his girlfriend in a phone booth, stops, stands up and places his hat over his heart.

That may be the funniest and most light-hearted moment you’ll ever find in a Peckinpah picture. But I wouldn’t pretend the early ’70s were a Golden Age of patriotism. It was the Vietnam era, after all, and even the military was riven with anti-war and even anti-American sentiment. When I saw that movie scene together with a bunch of soldiers and Marines at an Army training camp near Mount Rainier, I heard someone in the audience give a disgusted shout: “Rednecks!” Or maybe he appreciated them, I don’t know. But the point is that the National Anthem once was something that could make people stop trying to stand off against one another and stand shoulder to shoulder instead.

Not like now.

Since President Trump weighed in on the kneeling protests, professional football players seem more inclined than ever to disrespect the flag. You can’t really blame the athletes for their sideline antics, however. They are young men, and no one’s ever taught them any better—not in school, not in college, not in the movies they watch or the songs they hear or the pop icons they worship.

Worse, they’ve been bombarded for years with lies about how Americans invented slavery, about how cruel pioneers made war on peaceful Indians, about how racist cops shoot black men for sport, about how evil Bible-thumpers want to reduce women to baby-making Handmaids, and God knows what else.

The whole idea of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” born as the poem “Defense of Fort McHenry,” is of America as an embattled nation, whose people stand or fall together, along with the flag that represents us all—and that idea is foreign to the generation being produced by today’s culture.

America embattled? Some of those sideline kneelers don’t have any direct memory of 9/11. Most of them were just kids at the time. As for the night a decade before, when Whitney Houston electrified the nation at the Super Bowl with her fantastic rendition of the National Anthem, defiantly performing without fear even as people warned that Saddam Hussein might attempt to blow up the Super Bowl in retaliation for America’s part in the first Gulf War—that happened before many of the kneelers were even born. No one who witnessed it will ever forget how that joyful, triumphant moment swallowed up the fears that preceded it. But the kneelers know nothing of that. Sadly, they can remember nothing like it.

So don’t blame the kneelers. Blame the liars who brainwashed them. Rather than punish the players or try to drive their league out of business, give a big Bronx cheer to the whole boatload of teachers and professors, rap music moguls, Hollywood stars, late-night “comedians,” red-carpet celebrities, left-wing politicians. and America-bashing pundits whose every word is designed to kill any feeling of patriotism, and instead stigmatize it as “chauvinism,” “jingoism,” and “white supremacism.”

Boycott them. Drive them from office. Mock their pretensions, pop their balloons, dry up their revenues, until they are turned out into the street and have to flip burgers for a living. Because those people are the ones to blame.

Don’t try to coerce patriotism out of anyone. Just pray that God and we might kindle its fire in the kneelers’ hearts and in ours, so that we all may someday feel again the joy and love Whitney and all her countrymen once felt for one another, on that January night in 1991.

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Trump, Football, and Natural Right(s)

Sunday was a rough day for the NFL and for football fans.

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), never one to miss an opportunity to oppose President Trump, made sure to tweet his guidance to the adults of America: “NFL players: You have the right to protest Trump.”

The problem for Sasse is this controversy has nothing to do with anyone’s rights; and even less to do with Trump.

Trump’s battle with the NFL about anthem protests is about what is right, not one’s rights. The whole affair is not about what one can do, but about what one should do.

To start, Trump has made as appropriate an argument as one can make about public displays of disrespect for one’s country. It was entirely based on freedom of association and the free market. Players, as private employees, can protest America by kneeling during the National Anthem. Likewise, owners can, as Trump suggested, say “get that son of a bitch off the field. He’s fired!” Nowhere has Trump argued that it should be against the law to kneel, or that the force of government should be used to make men stand. Instead, the president has argued that economic pressures from a boycott would correct the disrespectful behavior.

Trump’s comments serve an immediate tactical purpose; they follow the same communications strategy Trump has used for years. With every comment by Trump, the elites respond by driving a wedge even deeper between themselves and common Americans. It’s clarifying. This division benefits Trump because it frames the issue in a way that will mobilize voters. Even Rich Lowry and Ben Sasse have started to figure this out.

But what the NeverTrumpers of the world have not grasped is that the battle is not just about tactical gains; it is about something fundamental to our survival as a nation: educating our young people to respect their country.

Just last week, a bunch of 8 year-olds were led to take a knee by a coach in St. Louis. What started as a desperate move by a sub-par player on his way out the door has already transformed into a destructive fad. How long should we expect to have a country if our young people are trained to hate and despise it in this way?

Truth is, if we do not work to instill patriotism and love of country in our children, this country will not last long. People with modern sensibilities may disagree, but the fact remains. A civil religion is not idolatry or empty rituals; it is a necessary component of free, republican life.

In his Lyceum Address, President Lincoln explained civil religion. He said,

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap—let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs;—let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

In his famous letter to Mrs. Bixby, Lincoln used the same religious language for the other end of life. Using the words of our civil religion, he sought to comfort a grieving mother who had lost five sons in the Civil War, praying that she be left with “the solemn pride . . . to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”

Lincoln understood that preserving our republic requires that citizens be willing to make great sacrifices. This willingness does not come from nothing, but is born from a proper education of children.

Melania Trump echoed this sentiment in a wonderful speech recently at the United Nations. There she said:

If you look at the present state of children in any society, we will see the future that our world can expect tomorrow. Show me your civic lessons of today and I will show you your civic leaders of tomorrow. Show me your history lessons of today and I will show you your political leaders of tomorrow. Show me the loving bonds between your families today and I will show you the patriotism and moral clarity of your nation tomorrow. Our choices on how we raise and educate our children will in fact provide the blueprint for the next generation.

Like Lincoln before, the first lady points to the same connection between morality, patriotism, education, and a free government as extolled in Article III of the Northwest Ordinance.

And President Trump has made it clear that he understands patriotism to be the linchpin of our nation. In nearly every public speech, he echoes what he said in his inaugural address:

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.

Unity, necessary for the existence of these United States, comes from patriotism. Patriotism, in turn, comes from a proper civic education. This education is the thing at stake in Trump’s battle with the NFL.

How do we know? Trump said so himself when he started this fight in Alabama. Our shared values and our respect for our country, he said, unify us. That is why it is important to call out these destructive protests for what they are. The tragic irony in all of this is that President Trump has correctly identified the one thing—a national unity rooted in real patriotism—that will solve the problems that the original kneeling protest was meant to highlight. The elites, including the “principled conservatives” who oppose Trump, are just too blind to realize it.

The common sense of regular Americans who are capable of ruling themselves is here opposed to the befuddled sense of entitled elites who wish to rule everyone else. Elites think liberty is license and they confuse the issue with talk of rights and the 1st Amendment, as if this is a question of what one is allowed to do. The rest of America understands that liberty requires self-government, and the anthem protest question is about what one ought to do. Trump’s quarrel with the NFL is a necessary fight, not about rights, but about what is right.

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Trump Trumps the Ruling Class Again

Donald Trump is once again confounding his critics. He is holding fast to a common sense view of politics that puts his opponents on constant defense and busts the monopoly they once had on shaping the American mind.

Trump’s tactics are plain to see for anyone who bothers to look. Over and over, he drives a wedge between the political and cultural elites and Americans who don’t share their views of morality and “patriotism.”

The president’s off-the-cuff comments on Friday at a rally for Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Luther Strange was a textbook example of Trump’s strategy in action. He riffed on an assortment of topics before setting his sights squarely on the National Football League.

Trump brought up NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem:

Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!”

Though it may cause some elite conservatives to cluck their tongues over Trump’s impropriety, this is the colorful language Americans (including even most of these elite conservatives) use all the time in break rooms, auto mechanics’ shops, and especially in the branches of our military.

Trump went on to point out how the NFL and the increasingly Leftist sports media have undermined the virtues that have attracted generations of Americans to the game of football. While Americans understand the safety concerns that come naturally in a sport where players run into each other at full speed, they know that reward comes with risk. Character, a manly self-assertiveness, and a chance to hone one’s natural abilities at the highest level are important elements of being a good citizen and a good human being.

As Trump noted:

The NFL ratings are down massively. Now the No.1 reason happens to be they like watching what’s happening…with yours truly. They like what’s happening. Because you know today if you hit too hard: 15 yards! Throw him out of the game! They’re ruining the game! That’s what they want to do. They want to hit. They want to hit! It is hurting the game.

These thumotic manly virtues—the traits that are typically unique to men—have been ridiculed and despised by the cultural literati. Men today are commonly depicted in the popular culture as buffoons who can’t do the simplest task and whose default mode in raising their children is failure.

But most Americans don’t buy the views set down by our cultural elites. They understand the virtues it takes to raise a family and that basic differences between men and women are grounded in nature. And they are more than comfortable with changing a tire, hanging drywall, or going on a weekend 30-mile backpacking trip.

After the rally, Trump underscored his tactic of using sports to drive a wedge between the elites and the rest of America:

Before Trump rolled up the red carpet, the Golden State Warriors were reportedly deep into thoughtful discussions about whether to attend a ceremony at the White House honoring the team’s 2017 NBA championship. But that was all a sham. They were never going.

As head coach Steve Kerr said in May, Trump is a “blowhard” who is “ill-suited” for the presidency. Stephen Curry, the team’s point guard and outspoken Hillary Clinton supporter, earlier this year quipped that he agreed that Donald Trump is an “asset” to the nation, but only “if you remove the ‘et.’” On Election Night, Curry tweeted his support of Van Jones’ observation that the results were a “whitelash against a changing country.”

Trump simply called their bluff. And in doing so, he again highlighted the differences between the elites and most Americans—whether they are Republican Party lifers, newly-minted Trump Democrats, or Americans who didn’t even vote for Trump but retain a morality antithetical to the ruling class. These Americans have had enough of constantly being lectured and told to repent of their manifest heresies against the orthodoxies of modern liberalism. They are fed up with having their way of life sneered at and disrespected by employees of the transnational corporations that dominate the U.S. sports-industrial complex.

The NFL, NBA, and the NCAA, along with ESPN, are long-time participants in helping the ruling class steamroll the people’s concerns and interests. From condemning North Carolina, where the people’s duly elected representatives passed a bill mandating that individuals use the bathroom that corresponds to their birth sex, to spreading disdain for Arizonans who approved of measures designed to stop the influx of illegal aliens streaming across their borders, these corporations represent the elite consensus that brooks no dissent. You’re either with them or against them. There is no other option.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s statement reacting to Trump’s comments is the height of the deep narcissism and self-loathing concealed beneath the thin veneer of the elite’s pseudo-morality. Goodell said Trump’s “divisive comments” show “an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.” Goodell, who is generally despised by football fans, sportswriters, and players alike, is blind to the divisiveness incited by the very organization he leads. And that he thinks an entity like the NFL is automatically owed any respect at all is revealing. What exactly is it that places the NFL beyond reproach?

Trump wasn’t responsible for botching case after case involving NFL players who committed violence against women. It wasn’t Trump who stood against the attempts of the legislatures of Georgia and Indiana to pass laws strengthening religious liberty protections for those who object to gay marriage. It wasn’t Trump who talked a good game about “player safety” while simultaneously engaging in talks about expanding the NFL schedule to 18 regular season games.

Americans have had enough of constantly being lectured and told to repent of their manifest heresies against the orthodoxies of modern liberalism. They are fed up with having their way of life sneered at and disrespected by employees of the transnational corporations that dominate the U.S. sports-industrial complex.

Rather, Trump is reacting to the deep divisions Goodell and his ruling class cronies have sown through their seething contempt and obvious disrespect for Americans. Trump is not the cause of our current crisis. Trump didn’t politicize everything in American life. He is 63 million Americans’ answer to a politicization that constitutes an attack on everything they hold dear.

This politicization has been precipitated by the very political and cultural elites who are now raising hell against Trump’s move to box them out. They are angry over his attempts to break the chokehold they have been administering to the American body politic for decades. But Trump couldn’t care less about their gnashing of teeth. And neither should anyone else.

Like Lincoln who, before the 1860 election, helped drive a wedge between Senator Stephen Douglas’s Northern Democratic coalition and Deep South Democrats who were fanatically pro-slavery, Trump is attempting the same feat with a different set of coalitions. I’m not arguing that Trump is playing “4D chess,” as many NeverTrumpers flippantly suggest Trump supporters ignorantly believe. I don’t believe that Trump has planned out every single action and word in advance like some mastermind. This is obviously far beyond the capacity of human beings, the forked creatures who are a little lower than the angels.

But perhaps some conservatives have been so accustomed to losing in the political arena that they actually think 4D chess is what’s required to win it. Wrong. This basic political strategy that even people with minimal political skill have used for centuries to conquer and divide their political opponents while enlarging their own base of support. It’s called fighting. They might try it sometime.  

Trump’s strategy of engaging the cultural bullies instead of cowering in their presence, so far, seems to be working to perfection. It also has the added benefit of drawing out the pretenders and posers who may talk a good game but are ultimately useless in combating the ruling class’s hegemony over American public life.

Exhibit A of this group is Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.):

Contra Sasse, Trump offers a view of America based upon a common patriotic love that aims to protect the rights of all citizens. To say he is dividing America—this critique from the same ruling class that divides Americans by race, sex, class, income, level of education, etc., every minute of every day—is a remarkable assertion. It speaks to the depths to which the ruling class mindset has been accepted by our political elites.

Former Democratic Representative Donna Edwards tweeted this gem:

Trump has put his opponents either in the position of showing their ruling class credentials or openly calling for disrespecting the country—moves that can only help his chances at reelection in 2020. Even more importantly, it will help to isolate those whose hostility to bourgeois morality and traditional cultural mores has helped the “pluribus” overwhelm the American “unum.”

May Trump succeed in letting the people reassert their sovereignty over those who would rule us without our consent. Republican government demands no less.

 

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The Rusher Who Wouldn’t Take the Knee

No law requires the playing of the National Anthem at the outset of professional sporting events. Also, no law requires people to stand when the anthem is played, or that people to sing along—although federal law does mandate that we “should face the flag and stand at attention . . . right hand over the heart,” and that “men not in uniform . . . should remove their headdress with their right hand” (36 U.S. Code § 301).

But there is nothing in the statute which says that one cannot use posture as a means for what ESPN called “demonstrating for social justice.” So it is not clear what daring thing the owners, coaches, and players of the National Football League thought they were doing Sunday when they collectively took a knee or raised clenched fists while the “The Star Spangled Banner” was played.

Except, of course, generating the comprehensive fury of the American public.

The full-throated choruses of roaring, angry boos, and shouts of “Stand up!” which wrapped themselves around the Detroit Lions, the Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, and other teams that took part in this neatly orchestrated protest melodrama have no precedent in professional football history. Boo dropped passes, yes. Boo botched field goals, yes. Boo Roger Goodell and Tom Brady, yes—oh, my, yes. But boo the players before the game even begins?

Not that the NFL’s players are really in the best position to pass social-justice judgment on President Trump’s exhortation to “one of these NFL owners” to fire any “son of a bitch” who “disrespects our flag.” Since 2000, there have been 855 player arrests, including 215 charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; 99 drug busts; 96 domestic violence incidents; 71 felony assaults; and two murders.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, who took the knee during the anthem to affirm that “nonviolent protest is as American as it gets,” was charged last year with leaving the scene of an accident and driving with a suspended license in Arizona. Adrian Peterson of the New Orleans Saints, who sat on a bench for the anthem, pleaded no contest to a felony child abuse indictment in 2014. Marcus Johnson of the Philadelphia Eagles has been a prominent demonstrator for social justice, but he also has a DUI from 2009 and a disorderly conduct charge in 2004. Justice and social justice do not seem to be terribly well-connected here.

I do not understand the deference I am supposed to show to the opinions of people who batter other people senseless for a living. I don’t follow the NFL. I’m not even a football fan. When I was in high school, our football team was so bad, I was voted “Best Moves on the Football Field” for my senior year—because I was the drum major of the marching band.

I do, however, have a nominee for all-time down-field rushing. Just bear in mind that football had not yet been invented when he broke for the end zone.

His name was William Harvey Carney, and he was born a slave in Norfolk, Virginia, on a leap year day in February 1840. His father had escaped from slavery to Massachusetts, where he earned enough money to buy the freedom of his wife and child. When the Civil War broke out, young Carney enlisted in one of the first all-black Union Army regiments, the famous 54th Massachusetts, and rose quickly to the rank of sergeant. (Carney would become the model on which Morgan Freeman’s character, Sergeant Rollins, was based in the 1989 movie “Glory,” which tells the story of the 54th Massachusetts).

The 54th Massachusetts’ first great test of combat came when it was detailed to lead the assault on Battery Wagner, the Confederate fort that guarded the approaches to Charleston Harbor, in July 1863. Led by their youthful white colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, the 54th dashed heroically for the walls of the fort. Carney saw the regimental color-sergeant, bearing the regiment’s Stars-and-Stripes, stumble and fall. “As quick as a thought,” he scooped up the flag and rushed alongside Col. Shaw over the wall. Shaw was struck down, sword in hand. Carney was hit in the leg and the chest, and the 54th began a grudging retreat.

But rather than allow the flag to be captured, Carney “wrapped the precious colors around the staff” and “cautiously picked my way among the dead and dying.” He finally made it to safety, staggering on his last strength to a field hospital where he collapsed—but not before handing over the shot-ripped flag. “Boys, I did but my duty,” Carney gasped, and “the dear old flag never touched the ground.”

Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor, and in the years after the war, he worked as a mail carrier in New Bedford, Massachusetts, still limping from his wounds. Until seven months before Battery Wagner, Carney didn’t even have a flag to call his own, since the Supreme Court’s infamous Dred Scott decision in 1857 had decided that no black man could even be a citizen. But the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863 changed that, and Carney got his flag and his medal—and a country.

William Carney’s injuries guaranteed that he would never have been able to play football. But I don’t think he would have had any trouble standing up for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” In his hands, that banner “never touched the ground.” Unless the millionaires of the NFL think they’re better or wiser than Sergeant Carney, they might begin to study his style.

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America • Center for American Greatness • Cultural Marxism • Donald Trump • Identity Politics • Post • Sports • The Culture • The Left • The Media • Trump White House

Kaepernick and Curry Pop the Sports Bubble

Who would have thought that Colin Kaepernick would actually do the nation a great service?

He’s been a change agent alright, but not in the way he hoped. His well-documented inadequacies on the field got him benched by the San Francisco 49ers, which led him to pursue a career as a free agent. But it was Kaepernick’s political theatrics that made him toxic to many fans and thus to potential employers. Still, those of us who love America owe him a debt of gratitude.

It took Colin Kaepernick to pop the sports bubble.

We’ve all watched the bubble inflate for years. Palatial new stadiums were built (often with tax dollars), multi-billion dollar television deals were signed, and multi-platinum player contracts shocked our sensibilities. Combined with sky-high ticket prices that put a night at the game out of reach for many families, these were all signs that things had gone too far.

But how and when a bubble will deflate is anyone’s guess. Usually—maybe always—it’s done in by the excesses of its biggest beneficiaries. Exhibit A is the housing crisis of last decade.

As the Book of Proverbs tells us, pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Now NBA sensation Stephen Curry has stepped into the fray. Curry, who was once the star of the two-time NBA Champion Golden State Warriors but was overshadowed this season by Kevin Durant, said he didn’t want the team to meet with President Trump at the White House to celebrate their championship. Citing both Kaepernick and Michael Bennett in his reasoning Curry said, “I don’t want to go . . . By acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to.”

President Trump said what many of us have been thinking for years:

The NBA and UnderArmour—the athletic clothing manufacturer that made Curry the highly paid face of the brand in a 2015 deal that will earn the player well over $100 million—should worry that Curry will do for basketball what Colin Kaepernick and his comrades have done for football.

As a result of similarly ill-conceived public protests, the bloom seems to be coming off the NFL’s rose as football ratings continue the downward slide that began last season. According to CNN, “NBC’s ‘Sunday Night Football’ in the first two weeks of the regular season is down 7% in viewership compared to last year; ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football,’ is down 5%; and the averages of Sunday afternoon games on Fox and CBS are down 11% and 19% respectively, according to Nielsen data.”

To underscore the point, when 49ers hosted the Los Angeles Rams Thursday night, half the seats were empty.

Several new studies prove what we already suspected: Fans are leaving the NFL because of the players’ political activism that disrespects our country, its heritage, and its people. Sports executives such as CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus get it, too, but they’re caught in a crossfire that is only partly of their own making.

If they take a public stand against the anthem protesters, the backlash from the Left would be swift and vicious. If they do nothing and allow the protests to run roughshod over the sensibilities of their customers the verdict of fans will be slower but more costly. Wall Street analysts are worried, forecasting losses of $200 million from just a 10 percent shortfall in expectations this year.

Pro-sports cheerleaders in the sports media complex (not the scantily clad, heteronormative hotties shaking their moneymakers on the sidelines) assure us that there is nothing to worry about. A few weeks ago it was the weather. Then it was because CBS hadn’t scheduled a late afternoon game yet this season though this is traditionally the highest rated game on Sunday afternoons. Now they say that the marquee matchups haven’t happened yet and ratings will rebound for big games later in this season.

It’s the same rhetoric at the end of every bubble—the bad news is just a chance, one-time event but “the fundamentals” mean the good times will keep on rolling. Tomorrow.

But coddled superstars have been playing with other people’s money for so long they don’t realize they have customers who make their fantasies come true. As much of the country turned its back on Hollywood’s self-referential Leftism many turned to sports as a safe haven. Sports present a reassuring combination of fairness and competition. The rules are known, referees enact mostly fair on the spot justice, and the best players and teams usually win in the long run.

What’s more there is a time-honored tradition of sportsmanship that lauds discipline, teamwork, fair play, and both winning and losing with good humor and dignity. Sports have traditionally been a refuge from cultural and political controversy where Americans could come together and enjoy time with family, friends, and even complete strangers. Entering the stadium, they could check the cares of the world at the turnstile. That’s changed recently.

Intoxicated with their own sense of self-righteousness today’s athlete-protesters look more like rich drunks spouting nonsense than responsible citizens seeking redress. And in doing so they have popped the sports bubble and reminded us that we should stop idolizing overprivileged millionaire Millennials who disrespect this country, her people, and her history. Millions of Americans have recoiled at the divisiveness brought into sports by people like Kaepernick and Curry. And for this we can thank them.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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Black Lives Matter • Cultural Marxism • Identity Politics • race • Sports • The Left • The Media

Pigskin Doggerel

The (Football) Star-Mangled Banner
(An Anthem With Offensive Lines)

Oh, say, have you seen how your ratings have dropped?
Seems your viewers don’t find grownup tantrums too charming.
(A decline, as you know, never caused by T-Bow,
Whose religious displays you found strange and alarming.)
It’s confusing to you,
But believe me, it’s true,
That contempt for your nation
Can hurt revenue;
And the Star-Spangled Banner, a gap has revealed –
‘Tween the poor, in the stands, and the rich on the field.

You’ve had scandals before, ultimately ignored—
Your game was an escape from societal schism.
Patriots deflated balls? That was nothing at all—
But when overpaid stars deflate patriotism—
The fans no longer care
How much cheerleaders bare;
You can’t scold them for that,
For they’re simply not there.
And the Star-Spangled Banner forlornly rings out
O’er your stadiums as the spoiled athletes pout.

O, thus be it ever, when free men shall stand—
But the self-enslaved kneel, in grievance’s constrainment—
And instead of football, I watch your ratings fall—
Please forgive me, but to me, that’s REAL entertainment.
If at last you despair,
Or are forced off the air,
And the madness has passed,
Football will still be there,
And “The Star-Spangled Banner,” respected by all,
Sound o’er fields where grown men, are still paid…to play ball.
  

 

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Donald Trump • Germany • Podcast • Political Parties • Section 2 • Sports

Buskirk and Boychuk on the Germany Problem

American Greatness Managing Editor, Ben Boychuk joined Publisher, Chris Buskirk on his radio show to discuss the progress of the site and some of the highlights from last week including Robert Curry’s excellent and well-received piece, “What’s the Matter with Germany?

Chris Buskirk:  I am Chris Buskirk. He is Seth Leibsohn. Welcome back to the ultimate hour of the Seth and Chris Show on this fine Thursday, ultimate being the one that comes after the penultimate hour of the Seth and Chris show, meaning the final hour. We are joined, as promised, by Ben Boychuk. He is friend, colleague, and managing editor of American Greatness. Welcome, Ben. How you doing?

Ben Boychuk:   Doing great. Thanks for having me back on. Is Seth ducking me again? I think he’s ducking me again.

Chris Buskirk:  He actually is, yes, but unlike last time, I didn’t know that that would be happening when I invited you, but he feeling a little under the weather.

Ben Boychuk:  Oh, all right. I thought it might have been the money that he owes me.

Chris Buskirk:  He thought if he wasn’t in the studio you wouldn’t bring it up on air.

Ben Boychuk:  Right. Well, anyway, thanks again for having me back.

Chris Buskirk:   Most awesome show, or not awesome show, but most awesome news item today, “Taco Bell Employees Fatally Shoot Armed Robber.”

Ben Boychuk:  Oh, nice. Where was this?

Chris Buskirk:   This is the story that keeps on giving. It says police say three employees of a Cleveland Taco Bell opened fire on two armed robbers, killing one. I mean-

Ben Boychuk:  Oh, wow.

Chris Buskirk:   I know your inclination was to think that it was in Florida, though, right?

Ben Boychuk:   Well, yes. Yes, but given the hurricane preparations, maybe not, but wow. Wow.

Chris Buskirk:   I mean I wouldn’t even be surprised to hear that maybe in Arizona, but not one of the Taco Bell employees opens fire on the armed robber, three of them open fire on the armed robbers.

Ben Boychuk:  See, I would have guessed Texas.

Chris Buskirk:  Sure. Texas makes sense. Yeah.

Ben Boychuk:  Yeah, yeah.

Chris Buskirk:  Texas makes sense, but I love it. I saw this this morning, it’s been posted on Drudge all day, and just started laughing. It’s almost too good to be true. If you read the story … I won’t bore you with the whole thing, but there are many, many punchlines in this story.

Ben Boychuk:  My only concern is that now Taco Bell will fire those employees because they’re-

Chris Buskirk:  Oh, probably. Probably. Actually, that’s a great point, Ben. It’s coming. This will be a good case for the NRA.

Ben Boychuk:   Right, right, because there have been several of these type of things, right, where somebody … I mean they haven’t even had to open fire. They maybe chased down a robber into a parking lot or they’ve helped somebody getting mugged or something, and because a lot of these chains have-

Chris Buskirk:   No-gun policies.

Ben Boychuk:   Right, and they’re deathly afraid of liability and so on and so forth, they just cashier these employees who are acting like citizens, good citizens.

Chris Buskirk:   Can’t have that.

Ben Boychuk:   No, we can’t have that.

Chris Buskirk:  No, certainly. Then you know what the corporate response always is, right? This is when you know you’re getting the runaround. Insurance reasons.

Ben Boychuk:   Oh, sure. Yeah.

Chris Buskirk:   That means nothing, right?

Ben Boychuk:   Right.

Chris Buskirk:  I mean this is one of the frustrations of modern life. Somebody wants to tell you that you can’t do something that common sense dictates you ought to be doing or have a natural right to be doing, they just say, “Insurance reasons,” and that’s supposed to shut down the conversation.

Ben Boychuk:  Yeah, that’s right.

Chris Buskirk:   Okay, so we do have other business besides the shootings at fast food outlets to cover. Before we get on to some of the politics today, what should people be looking at at American Greatness? What’s the greatest hits for today or for this week?

Ben Boychuk:   Okay. Well, the feature piece today is essential reading, and it actually dovetails, I think, with some of what we’re going to be talking about this hour. It’s called ‘Party of Lincoln’ No More by Mike Sabo. He really details the way that establishment Republicans have really betrayed the legacy of Abraham Lincoln. A lot of establishment Republicans think, for example, of John Danforth or think of your senator in Arizona, Flake.

Chris Buskirk:    Oh, do I have to?

Ben Boychuk:   No, you don’t have to, but occasionally, I suppose. All of these guys getting on their soapboxes and their high horses and whatever other cliché you want to muster and saying that Trump is … he’s not a proper Republican. He’s a so on and so forth. Well, Sabo shows, in convincing fashion, that in fact, these guys have betrayed the legacy of the Party of Lincoln. Anyone listening, by all means, go to amgreatness.com. Check out the featured article, and you’ll see what he’s talking about.

We’ve had a great week, actually. We’ve had just loads of good stuff. I mean, just today, just to give people an idea of the kind of the mix of stories that we’re producing at American Greatness, just two stories that we had today in addition to that feature. Mac Owens has a really good piece on Colin Kaepernick and his crazy girlfriend and the sort of the cultural politics of the NFL.

Chris Buskirk:  Yeah. It’s a very good piece. Ben, just for people, maybe, who don’t know the story … Of course, everybody knows Colin Kaepernick is famous for three things. One is going to the Super Bowl very early in his career. Number two, growing his hair out to Herculean lengths. And number three for leading this completely, I think, offensive and misguided effort inside the NFL to not to stand during the National Anthem. What people don’t know, maybe, is the latest is is his contract was not renewed, so he is without a job in the NFL. He was apparently very, very close to signing with the Baltimore Ravens, as in they were negotiating the final terms of his contract, at which point his girlfriend took to Twitter to post pictures and comments that made it quite clear that she viewed the management of the Baltimore Ravens as being slave owners-

Ben Boychuk:  Slave owners.

Chris Buskirk:  … and her boyfriend, Colin Kaepernick, as if he was going to go work for them to being a slave.

Ben Boychuk:  Right, right. No, that’s right.

Chris Buskirk:  While he’s trying to get a job.

Ben Boychuk:  Yeah. Somebody maybe need to read Art of the Deal. I don’t know, but yeah. Kaepernick’s girlfriend is this woman Nessa. I don’t know how to pronounce her last name. Diab, I guess?

Chris Buskirk:  Your guess is as good as mine.

Ben Boychuk:  Right. To tell you the truth, I’d never heard of her before this whole thing. I maybe heard her name two or three weeks ago when I came across one of these Kaepernick stories. She’s a Bay Area DJ. She’s a host on MTV, and she’s a Black Lives Matter activist. I guess folks are kind of crediting or blaming her for Kaepernick’s recent sort of activism, sort of hard-left activism. Yeah, she’s going about … We have the picture in the story, in Mac’s story, and she directed this picture at Ray Lewis who is the former Ravens linebacker. He’s an NFL network commentator, and he was kind of Kaepernick’s advocate with Baltimore management.

Chris Buskirk:  A legend in the NFL.

Ben Boychuk:  Right.

Chris Buskirk:  I mean Ray Lewis is in sort of that pantheon of NFL greats.

Ben Boychuk:  Right. She directs this picture of Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio from Django Unchained. Sam Jackson, in that movie, plays the house slave who’s one of the main villains in that story. She puts the pictures together, and so lo and behold, he gets no deal.

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America • Americanism • Black Lives Matter • Identity Politics • Sports • The Culture

Colin Kaepernick and His Own Lady Macbeth

OK, I confess it. I love football. God help me, I love it so! I played in high school and college and I love the New England Patriots. The sport has long been a sanctuary from partisan politics. If one is a Patriots fan, it doesn’t matter whether other Patriots fans are Democrats or Republicans. Social class and race don’t matter. The main thing that unites us is a burning hatred of the tyrannical Roger Goodell! And as Patriots fans, we have learned some foreign languages. For instance, “Gronkowski” is Polish for “touchdown.”

Unfortunately, politics intrudes more and more these days. ESPN has decided that sports fans care about the political opinions of their idiot talking heads. And we all breathlessly await the next political commentary by a player! Just kidding. To paraphrase Laura Ingraham, “shut up and knock someone on his ass!”

Some time ago, then-San Francisco 49ers’ backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick generated a firestorm of commentary by refusing to stand for the national anthem. “I am not going . . . to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said.

Kaepernick in March opted out of his contract with the 49ers and became a free agent. No team has picked him up and he languishes in football limbo. Kaepernick’s boosters denounce the NFL owners for shunning him because of the “courage” his stance demonstrates. But such praise is silly. These days there is nothing courageous about a celebrity who mouths trendy liberal pieties regarding race or other hot button social issues. Big deal. What price do they pay?

Bruce Jenner claimed to be a woman and won a “courage” award from ESPN. University of Missouri lineman, Michael Sam declared that he is gay and was given far more chances on the field as a final round NFL draft choice than his meager talents warranted. Kaepernick parroted the fraudulent Black Lives Matter narrative and was praised by no less than President Obama. And Spike Lee is on his side, recently organizing a protest at NFL headquarters to denounce the failure of any team to bring Kaepernick on board.

There are a couple of problems here. First, despite a couple of decent years, Kaepernick has not been picked up because he…well…he stinks! Colin Kaepernick is no Tom Brady. He isn’t even a Jeff Hostetler. What team wants to pick up a mediocre player (at best) who brings with him political baggage sure to offend fans?

Most of the players get it. Running back LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills told reporters that he didn’t think Kaepernick was a “good enough” player to be worth the “chaos” he would bring into the locker room. “I think his situation is not good enough to have him on the team with all the attention that comes along with it,” McCoy said, adding that players interested in making statements could perhaps “choose a better platform to state their beliefs.”

Second, poor Colin seems to be . . . well . . . half of the phrase would be ”whipped.” Since Kaepernick himself is far from oppressed (he is of mixed race, raised by adoptive white parents, given a full scholarship to the University of Nevada, and, with one good year in the NFL under his belt, was paid nearly $20 million annually to ride the 49ers’ bench), whence cometh his courageous social concern for the oppressed of America? Evidently, the source of his “raised consciousness” (as the Marxists would say) is Kaepernick’s girlfriend—his very own Lady Macbeth. Nessa Diab (who simply goes by Nessa) is a Bay Area DJ, MTV host, and BLM activist. Her local radio show predictably focuses on America’s many sins.

It seems Nessa really stepped in it recently. The Baltimore Ravens were reportedly interested in signing Kaepernick. Ray Lewis, the former Ravens linebacker and now NFL Network commentator, argued on Kaepernick’s behalf, advising the quarterback to “get back on the football field and let your play speak for itself.” Lewis added, “I applaud you for the things that you stood up for,” but he said that Kaepernick surround himself with people who would “stop encouraging you to be caught up in some of this nonsense.” Hmm. Whomever could he mean? So the lovely Nessa tweeted a pic of Lewis and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti paired with a still from Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” suggesting that Lewis is Bisciotti’s house slave. You go, girl! Way to help your man out!

Kaepernick and Lady Nessa Macbeth might take a page from a guy who actually did something to improve race relations in this country: the legendary Jim Brown. While he supports Kaepernick’s cause, Brown has criticized his actions. “I’m going to give you the real deal: I’m an American,” the ex-running back said. “I don’t desecrate my flag and my national anthem. I’m not going to do anything against the flag and national anthem. I’m going to work within those situations. But this is my country, and I’ll work out the problems, but I’ll do it in an intelligent manner.”

Brown’s comments puts me in mind of something that the great boxer, Joe Louis once said. During World War II, Louis, who was at the height of his career, volunteered to join the U.S. Army, serving nearly five years and boxing hundreds of exhibitions. He defended his title twice, donating his entire purses to Army and Navy relief funds. However, after the war, he was hounded by the Internal Revenue Service to pay back taxes on the purses he had donated. A reporter asked him how he felt about serving in the U.S. military of a country that still treated him as a second-class citizen. Louis replied, “Lots of things wrong with America, but Hitler ain’t going to fix them.

Oh, and one more thing, Colin: ditch the Angela Davis look.

 

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America • Big Media • Conservatives • Cultural Marxism • Education • Sports • The Culture • The Left • The Media

In Defense of America’s Game

Every autumn, 4 million boys continue a tradition they share with their fathers, grandfathers and leather clad players of old. Football’s unique character and preeminent appeal make it America’s game. Yet today football is under assault, with player safety the stated motivation. Fans fear and detractors hope the game faces an existential crisis. A law to ban football would never pass. The game’s demise, if it comes, will arrive in the great American tradition of all killjoys: the surreptitious executioners of a malign media campaign and the pestilence of lawsuits. The verdict of the few imposed on the many.

America would be the worse if football is diminished or eliminated. Football’s ethos is distinct, strong and important to our country. The opposition to the game is really a conflict about this ethos, a skirmish in a wider clash of ideas.

Uniquely Dangerous?
All sports can be dangerous but the incessant message confronting Americans is that football is uniquely dangerous. This claim, focused on brain injury, is the core argument against the game. But is football uniquely dangerous? For the overwhelming majority of players, youth, high school and college, this appears false.

A 2010 Mayo Clinic study, updated in 2016, found no increase in risk of degenerative brain disease for high school football players versus other varsity sports. The study’s authors remarked, “the risk of high school football players developing degenerative neurological diseases later in life is no greater than if they had been in the band, glee club or choir.”

A 2015 NCAA study found that concussion rates in college ice hockey and women’s soccer exceeded that of football; and wrestling had a concussion rate twice that of football. A 2017 University of Iowa study found that flag football, with no helmets or tackling, caused more concussions than the full contact game. Trampolines and girls gymnastics send a dramatically higher proportion of 5-14 year olds to the emergency room with serious injuries. A University of North Carolina Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research found that between 2002 and 2012 football accounted for 3.8 deaths annually.

Amusement park rides caused more deaths; weightlifting almost twice as many; mountain climbing six times as many; horseback riding 25 times as many; bicycle riding 170 times as many; and swimming 875 times as many. Twelve times more Americans die annually from lighting strikes than playing football. In fact, the average American football player would appear to have a higher likelihood of being struck by lightning than suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the most serious disease found in former professional players.

Yet many parents, misled by headlines, believe participation in football means playing roulette with their sons’ brains. Even the cheerleaders on the sidelines of high school football games have a greater risk of “catastrophic injury.”

Science-as-Bludgeon
In a dissonant age, when every dispute comes furnished with “studies” that prove all sides, resorting to lived experience and common sense seem essential to find the truth. I played football for eight years during high school and college. I had hundreds of teammates, and both programs have had thousands of players since. I am not aware, nor does either program have a record, of a degenerative brain injury or death related to playing football. We know countless fathers, brothers and friends whose years in the game left them only with indelible memories.

Here is an inconsistency. Where is the incessant editorial concern for young female gymnasts, wrestlers, and hockey players? The call to ban trampolines and cheerleading? The repeated headlines about the concussion crisis in women’s soccer?

The media reaction to a recent Boston University study showing a high proportion of CTE in the brains of a non-random, self-selected sample of former players heightens suspicion. The doctor leading the study admitted “all the players in this study, on some level, were symptomatic. That leaves you with a very skewed population” and that no conclusions about CTE can be drawn.

A review of current scientific research on CTE makes nothing so clear as its infancy. Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati, a brain pathologist at the University of Toronto, said of the Boston University research, “The problem is that these findings are being put out there too fast, and stated too strongly, by one group, before we understand who gets CTE, how it evolves over time, what’s the risk—any of that.” The American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology, an organization of brain injury specialists, felt the need to issue a statement to point out that CTE science “is still unsettled and evidence to date should not be interpreted to mean that parents must keep their children off sports teams.” Despite this, major media reports used the study to scourge bloodthirsty fans and call for the banning of football at all levels. One thing is as clear as CTE science is unclear: nothing in this or any research justifies the banning of football.

Every effort to make the game safer is welcome and recent steps have done so at every level. But in the football debate, as in others, “settled science” should not become the bludgeon of a mandated truth. Further, defending football with dueling safety studies fails to acknowledge the actual motivations of its opponents, and wages the debate on ground of their choosing.

The Real Problem with Football
American’s today are confronted with strident new orthodoxies. We need “safe spaces,” “comfort zones,” and must beware the macro hazard of “micro-aggression.” “Silent” sports mitigate “harmful” competitive pressures from zealous parents and coaches who fail to understand that the command voice is an artifact. Association must be strictly coed and scrupulously secular. Physical contact of any kind is circumspect (when I coached AYSO, an official, four rule checklist detailed the approved method for hugging players) and “hitting” is a sinister act in every context.

Now we must adopt definitionally adverse group identities: male/female, black/white, gay/straight. Personal shortcoming and failure are the fault of societal, institutional flaws or enterprising medical diagnoses. Individual agency and accountability are diminished, and with them the integrity of individual achievement. A bonfire to victimhood has been lighted, drawing the powerless individual to its glow. Everyone gets a trophy.

A “football mindset” is spoken of, and it is different. The football field has a zone, but no comfort zone. Everyone yells—fans, players and coaches most of all. “Silent” football? Never. Football stubbornly survives the pressure of Title IX and defies progressive diktat requiring the eradication of any recognition of differences between the sexes. While the high school game welcomes the occasional female, football may be the last major activity in America that remains effectively all male.

Prayer and the Almighty seem like a part of the game. Football encourages and rewards hitting other people as hard as you can. To observe football is not to see adverse groups of races but individual black and white teammates, brothers, embracing in the joy of united struggle. Jack Kemp, the congressman and professional quarterback, was right when he said “the huddle is color-blind.” Players have “assignments” every play. Failure results in your teammates paying a physical price. Perhaps this is why excuses are valueless currency on the football field. Football demands accountability and personal responsibility. There are no handouts, weakness hurts the team. The victim is a pariah on a football field. The laurels of the victor must be won before all.

Football’s opponents are not driven by a concern for its players. Their problem with football is its sacrilege on the pantheon of progressive orthodoxy. The dispute about football is really a clash of Weltanschauungen: “helicopter parenting” and the “therapeutic society” meet the real world.

The School of Football
Football players celebrate the salubrity of being knocked on your ass. The game demands that you get back up. Here is a simple homage to courage, the “first” virtue of the ancients. While football is not alone in this, is there any sport that better instills fortitude, discipline and resolve?

Today, these traits may be perceived as secondary, even archaic, in a world where torpid tolerance is ascendant. But football’s virtues are not anachronisms. Requiring the precise coordination, under pressure, of a large group with widely varying speed, strength and skill, it may be the ultimate team sport. Consider who does America’s fighting. Our warfighters are not the brothers and sisters, daughters and sons, of footballs critics on the editorial staff of the New York Times. They are disproportionately former high school players from states that love football. Those who serve say that football helped prepare them. I know it did me. Oliver Wendell Holmes in his Soldier’s Faith address said, “I rejoice at every dangerous sport which I see pursued…In this snug, over-safe corner of the world we need it, that we may realize that our comfortable routine is no eternal necessity of things, but merely a little space of calm in the midst of the tempestuous untamed streaming of the world, and in order that we may be ready for danger.”

Readying for patrols in places like Afghanistan, American warriors fix loose tourniquets high on their own legs so they might save themselves if a limb is blown apart. One wonders how they regard the hazards they endured playing football?

Surveying the world today, who can conclude that we no longer need such men, Americans of toughness, resolve, and when required, valor? The world, not just in its myriad war zones, is a place of struggle and conflict. The schoolyard, the office, life itself we discover, requires a tested temper to endure and flourish. The lucky learn these paramount lessons young. One such lesson is that the hardest things are the most valuable. We find joy in the revelation that the impossible may be possible, but that such triumph rarely comes before doubt, struggle, even pain. Football teaches this course in the human core curriculum, an offering unavailable in the school of the safe space. Every cadet at the United States Military Academy knows what General Marshall asked during World War II: “I want an officer for a secret and dangerous mission. I want a West Point football player.”

I helped coach a youth football team in New York City. One boy was delivered to every practice by his mother who rushed through traffic from her job in a law office. She was a single mom and this was her only child. One day, I asked her why she made this sacrifice. She explained that despite the risks she was hearing so much about she thought she “understood what football stood for” and thought it important her son learn it’s lessons.

The Choice of a Free People
An opponent of football, in arguing for its prohibition, compared it to dog fighting. Football players as unreasoning animals that must be patronized. Do football players need to be protected from their freedom? When those who won’t play the game seek to protect those who do a misunderstanding is exposed.

For players, the willing acceptance of the rigors and considered hazards of football is part of the game’s essential appeal. Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, understood this. He remarked that he believed in God and that man was not “brute” by nature, but “the most competitive games draw the most competitive men . . . And in truth I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.”

Raw to the modern ear, pre-politically correct, but wrong? Today it is easier to condescend to Lombardi’s statement than to acknowledge its truth. Indeed, as we do about so many contemporary issues we know two things, what we are supposed to think and what we actually believe.

Theodore Roosevelt, football’s champion and ‘savior,’ could have had the gridiron in mind when he spoke of “the person who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” Pat Tillman, NFL player turned soldier, wrote in his letter to himself titled “Decision” about leaving a professional football career to join the U.S. Army Special Forces that football “embodied many of the qualities I deem meaningful: courage, toughness, strength, etc.” For him, the combat of the NFL was a “comfortable lifestyle.” But a voice told him, “it is not enough,” and he chose a greater challenge. Goethe noted that “the dangers of life are infinite and among them is safety.” How do those who decry football’s perceived dangers comprehend the decision to attempt Mt. Everest with its one fatality for every 10 successful attempts? The climber Reinhold Messner offered his answer, “without the possibility of death,” he said, “adventure is not possible.”

Football is not the labor of slaves, but the choice of free men. Balancing costs and benefits is the essence of freedom. Today, no player or parent chooses to play football absent a fulsome perception of risk. Should those who choose not to live in the grey twilight have that choice made for them by those who do? Man truly resembles a dog when his freedom is taken from him.

 A Question Unanswered
After three decades, I gather not with high school classmates from my French class, student government or teammates from other sports but only with my football teammates and coaches. We speak not of paralysis or CTE, but of the experiences we shared wearing the uniform. The empiricists scrutinizing football might allocate some of their prodigious effort to another important question. Why do millions of Americans look back across full lives, careers and families, and remember so prominently those bruised, mud spattered days of sacrifice and triumph?

The fathers of the Western intellectual tradition taught that life is a striving for human excellence, with strife and suffering its inescapable essence. Not pessimists, quite the opposite, they believed that true happiness comes from man’s hard victory in this struggle to live according to the highest and best in him. Lombardi, football’s Aristotle, perfectly captures the Greek idea of happiness as noble struggle: “Every man’s finest hour, his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear is that moment when he lies exhausted on the field of battle, victorious.”

Lombardi was clear that football is not war, but one of many to recognize its similarities. War, like nothing else, elicits the paradox that is man, selfish and depraved at his worst but also soaring and transcendent. Across recorded history the greatest honor sought and bestowed by man has been glory on the battlefield. Leonidas at Thermopylae, Horatius at the bridge, Henry at Agincourt, Colonel Chamberlain at Little Roundtop, and Major Doug Zembiec, the Lion of Fallujah. Courage, comradeship, honor were the first virtues of men. In many native languages the word for man and warrior are the same. War is terrible, and football demanding, but men who have been to battle together share an experience of brotherhood often unequaled in their lives.

Today “manliness” seems a pejorative. We hear of a “war on boys.” Margaret Mead said that modern America “hamstrung the man.” In an urban/suburban consumer society that grinds down distinctions between men and women has “masculinity” been marginalized? Have we arrived at Nietzsche’s “last man,” deracinated, androgynous, not permitted to play a game because he might get hurt?

Holmes asked, “But who of us could endure a world, although cut up into five acre lots, and having no man upon it who was not well fed and well housed, without the divine folly of honor…” Has the yearning of millennia disappeared from men’s souls? Or do we yet desire to prove our courage on the field? Do we love football because in it we retain a heritage, the quest for honor above all else? Would we, men or women, really want it to be otherwise?

The following variant of a familiar dining table dialogue has practical, medical, and teleological support:

“I want to play football.”

“You can’t, you might get hurt.”

“Well of course I might—and what of it?”

Understanding the value of football helps us defend it with clarity and without reservation. Football is an American tradition that embodies and instills high and important qualities. Just a game, it is true, but in the same way that America is just a country. We still cling to our religion, our guns, and our football.

On a hot August day five years ago, I met one of my sons after his very first football practice. His helmet off, sweaty, we met on the field. I extended my hand with a spontaneous phrase: “Welcome to the brotherhood.”

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2016 Election • America • Big Media • Democrats • Electoral College • Hillary Clinton • Republicans • Sports • The Left • The Media • Trump White House

Nate Silver and the Fetish of Data-Driven Journalism

“Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.”

“Never tell me the odds!” ―C-3PO and Han Solo

 

Yogi Berra famously threw the fat lady off her stage in 1973 when he said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” With the rise of and reliance upon data-driven modeling of elections and sports we might just as well rephrase it as, “It’s over before it begins.” But we’d be wrong to do so.

Like most oddsmakers going into Super Bowl LI, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com, owned by ESPN, predicted the New England Patriots to win. Going into the half-time as the Falcons were up 28-3, the site gave the Patriots a less than 1 percent chance of winning. FiveThirtyEight tweeted: “That Patriots drive took another 5:07 off the clock and actually dropped their win probability from 1.1% to 0.5%.”

Of course we all know what happened next. In yet another brilliant statistical upset in a year of upsets, the Patriots defied all probability after the half. They scored 25 unanswered points, taking the Super Bowl into an historically uncharted overtime which they then proceeded to win—giving America, and the world at large, a clinic in determination, momentum, and the ability of human beings to surmount even the greatest of statistical odds.

It was a lesson in the value of risk taking and accomplishment; values that were once core elements in the American mythos but that increasingly have fallen out of favor in exchange for the perceived infallibility of data-driven models and analyses.

Since the mainstreaming of data punditry, exemplified by Nate Silver’s meteoric rise and FiveThirtyEight’s hallowed place in the culture, we’ve seen a cultural shift with regard to the use of statistics and data. Big Data, polling, and more specifically, Silver’s predictions, have become the equivalent of a mic-drop in any conversation about sports or politics. Throughout the election cycle, on TV shows and social media feeds across the country, his pronouncements were treated as sacrosanct papal bulls. His data-driven analysis, whether accurate or not, provided gravitas for those seeking a more commanding way to eviscerate opponents in debate. “Silver gives Hilary a x percent chance to win the election” became the trump card in any conversation.

We’d moved to a point where we seemingly were willing to assign data modeling more value than the possible variances, irrationality and risk-taking inherent in human decision-making. This happened during the Super Bowl just as it happened during the election. In both cases, statistical models were held up as unassailable predictors.

And in both instances, they were wrong.

For his part, no matter how certain Silver was of his model, he’d often hedge. In October 2016, under the headline “Clinton Probably Finished Off Trump Last Night,” Silver wrote: “I’m not sure I need to tell you this, but Hillary Clinton is probably going to be the next president. It’s just a question of what ‘probably’ means.” (emphasis added) He then spent the bulk of the article convincing us that Clinton would win, but at the end noted the possibility he could be mistaken. When results of the Republican primary, the Michigan Democratic primary, and the general election proved him very wrong, Silver’s postmortem explanations moved the goalposts, claiming event X or event Y was unprecedented, thus skewing the initial models. Even after the Super Bowl, in an attempt to make light of the situation, he tweeted: “At least the Falcons won the popular vote.” To which a user responded, “Nate, you don’t get to make election jokes.”

Silver also acknowledged in a lengthy post-election analysis that subjective best guesses and metrics are often baked into the stats when unprecedented things happen. By saying this Silver, admits that pure stats—facts, figures, polls, and data—might work for averages and as descriptors, but they cannot accurately adjust for extraordinary events and people. This was best summed up by David Morris, when he wrote about Silver’s failure to predict Trump’s victory in the Republican primary: “Unlikely events like the Trump nomination are, by their very nature, impossible to predict.”

The models, thus, don’t ever really predict the future. They are informed best guesses that describe how current events would likely play out if those events and the responses to them conformed to the past. The trouble with trusting the Oracle, however, is that when history occurs, it is often a break with the past.

Silver’s accuracy is not the issue here. Everyone get things wrong from time to time. It’s just that despite being fabulously wrong over and over again, and despite his admissions of fallibility, people still cling to his pronouncements as the ultimate argument from authority. This signals a more profound structural problem with the culture—one too eager to find quantifiable solutions to complex and often unquantifiable situations, especially when those quantifiable solutions comport to their views of the world as it should be.

It’s not Silver. He’s just the fetish for the phenomenon.

Jason Rhode, in Paste Magazine, opens his withering critique of Silver with a quotation from Federalist 55: “Nothing can be more fallacious than to found our political calculations on arithmetical principles.” And yet today many seem to believe that Silver is arithmetic made flesh, as such he’s an avatar of a cultural desire for statistical certainty in light of a constantly changing and often unpredictable world of human interaction and politics. He is Hermes bringing us the word of the gods. But sadly, we miss the point of hermeneutics, that discipline of critically assessing the nature of Hermes’ message.

Instead, invoking FiveThirtyEight seems to bestow upon the speaker of the Silverian incantations an air of both intellectual superiority and mathematical indifference. “Nate Silver predicts…” is akin to saying “Shut up idiot, what do you know? The numbers don’t lie, don’t doubt your betters!” But that appeal to Silver is really an appeal to the illusion of a fully predictable future.

Ultimately, an overreliance on Silver—and Big Data in general—is a quasi-religious attempt to bring order out of chaos, an almost fundamentalist approach that borders on number zealotry. It’s an attempt to overlook how little we know about what we imagine we can design.

The American zeitgeist until quite recently has been opposed to this view of human nature and events. From our movies which stress against-the-odds comebacks to our national mythos as the set of upstart colonies that managed to defeat the strongest empire on earth at the time, we have reveled in being exceptions to the rule. This thinking, in turn, has lead to a national character that stressed self-reliance and risk taking.

But now, with a large segment of the population and an even larger segment of our leaders all too happy to reduce human interaction to data points, we run the risk of becoming an increasingly risk averse and technocratic society where people value comfort over vision, ease over innovation and utility over passion.

Statistics are an integral component in decision making, but as the caveat during every infomercial tells us, “Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.” Ultimately, the Super Bowl, the election of 2016, and so much of history show us the problem with technocrats and those that would use the pronouncements of statisticians as some guaranteed proof of outcome. They can’t take into account human ingenuity, grit, and the ability to create hope and momentum in the face of time decay and defeat. Silver’s failures of late are so traumatic to those who would quote him as scripture because it upends their notion of a society and a human nature whose interactions can be easily reduced, predicted and thus controlled.

America • American Conservatism • Big Media • Cultural Marxism • Donald Trump • First Amendment • Free Speech • Obama • race • Sports • The Culture • The Left • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker)

Key Play for Super Bowl: Deflate the Left’s Racist Rhetoric

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his cap (right rear).

A craze is breaking out all over America, but it’s not about Super Bowl LI in Houston. People are going absolutely crazy over “whiteness”—more specifically, “white people”—and the poster boy is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

“Before Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee before NFL games to protest American-perpetrated injustices against subjugated people,” writes David Dennis Jr. in the Huffington Post, “there was Tom Brady and his hat.”

That would be the red “Make America Great Again” hat. Brady, a friend of Donald Trump, had the temerity to have one visible—he wasn’t actually wearing it at the time!—during a press interview in September. The quarterback failed to understand why some people made a “big deal” about his choice of lid.

“Brady’s obliviousness reeks of white privilege and dismissiveness; a #MAGA trait if there ever was one,” according to Dennis. And it was worse than anything from Colin Kaepernick, who “donned a Fidel Castro shirt.” Cuba’s white Sado-Stalinist dictator unjustly imprisoned many black Cubans, but Tom Brady’s choice of hats was much, much worse. As Dennis has it, “There’s still time to question Brady about his un-American beliefs and treat him like the media treated Kaepernick.”

According to VerySmartBrothas editor-in-chief, Damon Young, writing in GQ, it’s not just about the Patriot’s quarterback. As Young explains:

But if America is actually serious about living up to its ideals and resisting Fuckface McPussyGrabber [sic], white people need to be better. It’s white people who have to learn how to be better citizens, friends, and allies. White people who need to be better patriots, neighbors, and Christians (if applicable). And it’s white people who have to get y’all’s backwards cousins forward-facing somehow, because we just aren’t equipped with the tools necessary (say, conveniently acceptable whiteness) to do it ourselves.

And so on.

Though beyond satire, Young’s rant recalls Garrett Morris’ “Black Perspective” skits on the old “Saturday Night Live,” and Tim Meadows’ reflections on “Whiteitude.” On the other hand, as Dave Chappelle put it, the white devils are out oppressing the Third World “to compensate for their inferior penis size.”

The sad thing is, the real issue of race has been neglected for the past eight years.

The President Formerly Known as Barry Soetoro, in his 1995 book, Dreams from My Father, encounters a tall, gaunt man named Malik, “who mentioned that he was a follower of the Nation of Islam.” The narrative portrays the NOI uncritically, as a positive force, and doubters are caricatured in comic fashion. “Gotta have them ribs. And pussy, too,” another character says. “Don’t Malcolm talk about no pussy? Now you know that ain’t gonna work.”

Readers of Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope (2006) get no indication that, as Stanley Crouch explained in the Village Voice in 1985, according to the teachings of the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan, “the white man was a devil ‘grafted’ from black people in an evil genetic experiment by a mad, pumpkin-headed scientist named Yacub. That experiment took place 6,000 years ago. Now the white man was doomed, sentenced to destruction by Allah.”

As a candidate or president, nobody in the old-line establishment media ever asked the author of The Audacity of Hope and Dreams from My Father if he agreed with that view or supported the notion that people such as Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie, Michelangelo, Joan of Arc, William Wilberforce, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and even Tom Brady were “devils” resulting from Yacub’s racial experiment. It seemed a rather pertinent question. Or, at the very least, a strange one to omit.

“Neither [The Rev. Martin Luther] King nor any reputable people doing serious work would have anything to do with the Nation of Islam,” Crouch wrote in 2010. “It was too racist and too much of an intellectual embarrassment.” One could forgive any observer, African-American or otherwise, who applies that judgment to the tide of vitriol against “Fuckface McPussyGrabber,” as Young so beautifully put it. And of course, Tom Brady’s hat is “an MAGA trait, if there ever was one.” Why, any fool could see that.

As it happens, no sort of “white privilege” made Brady the Patriots’ starting quarterback in the Super Bowl. Unlike politics or show business, nobody gets to play in the Super Bowl because daddy did, or even if daddy owns the team. Like every player on every NFL team, Brady got there on pure merit. Brady has won four Super Bowl titles and was three times named Super Bowl MVP.

Meanwhile, here’s a play for this year’s game: deflate the rhetoric and boot racism right out of the stadium. Win or lose, judge Tom Brady, and all others at all times, by their performance and the content of their characters.

 

Cultural Marxism • Hollywood • Sports • The Culture

Deplorable NFL Can Find No Love in Hollywood

Poor Roger Goodell. He tries so hard to be loved by the Left.

Poor Roger Goodell. After watching the final NFL wild card game of the weekend, the league honcho had reason to feel pretty upbeat as he pondered the playoffs next weekend. Then he found himself and his sport in the uncomfortable position of being tagged a Deplorable by a world-famous actress, Meryl Streep, in a widely quoted speech. Football was lumped in with another Deplorable “sport” in Trump’s America, mixed martial arts and the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which is apparently even lower than NASCAR on the Deplorable scale. Oh, the humanity!

What does a guy have to do to get respect from the coastal elites these days? Goodell has done his very best and then some to turn the NFL into the Kellogg Foundation with cleats, to no avail. I can almost hear him talking to himself:

Meryl, what about Pink October? Don’t I get credit for that? I defended Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the National Anthem and didn’t reprimand the Rams players for their ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ demonstration. Hey, and I did reprimand the Dallas Cowboys for even asking to put a logo on their helmets in support of the Dallas Police Department.

Sorry, Roger. No matter what you do, no matter how you change the NFL rules to modify the behavior of players on the field or try make the game more palatable to women, there’s no changing the basics of football. Big, strong, testosterone fueled men running, jumping, hurling leather objects, tackling, hitting, cursing, posing, and celebrating their feats of strength (sometimes in sub zero temperatures) are the things that define the game you love.

Without us, all you’d have is football, mixed martial arts, and other low class entertainment for the deplorables!

Baseball, basketball, even hockey are played by big strong men, but those sports may have some potentially redeeming qualities in the eyes of our Leftist cultural overlords. Baseball players stand around a lot, looking as though they may be socially conscious. Perhaps they are contemplating breast cancer awareness?

Basketball players aren’t allowed to tackle anyone or anything except occasionally the rim of the basket. And hockey players? They are skating for crying out loud—graceful, smooth, even elegant at times. Yeah, they may get into the occasional fist fight, but hockey is so firmly rooted in Canadian culture that Meryl Streep and her friends probably give it a multicultural pass. Like Islam or Black Lives Matter. Also, Justin Trudeau.

No, Roger, football has no redeemable qualities for a leftist and thus it must be Trumpian, Deplorable, and oh so . . . (gasp!) American. Guys in pickup trucks have NFL logos on their bumpers, not Canucks, Cubs or Nets stickers. Face it, Roger. There’s nothing you can do, short of shutting down the NFL that will get the approval of the Right People who vacation in the Hamptons.

There is one thing you could do to make yourself and your fans feel better. Embrace your status as a Deplorable. Fire Kaepernick. Stop fining players for “excessive celebration.” Get rid of the mandatory pink socks and shoe laces. Seriously, why do you want Meryl’s love anyway? How many games has she attended? Does she have DirectTV Sunday Ticket? Heck no! Reach out to the ones who have actually made the NFL the wealthiest sports enterprise in the history of the world. Worry about your fans, Roger. Quit worrying about pleasing the politically correct lefties who, no matter what you do will never accept you or your sport.

Be brave, Roger. Tweet your offense to her on behalf of every NFL fan insulted by her. And invite Ronda Rousey to your box at the Super Bowl in solidarity.