Sunday, October 29, 2017

Texans Take a Knee and I Take a Pass

Sometimes I read something so stupid that I have a hard believing that someone in America really believes what he is saying. Case in point - the outrage over Texans owner Bob McNair's comment on a conference call with other NFL team owners. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. 

McNair is a well-known Houston zillionaire and philanthropist. He owns the Houston Texans football team. He is an older white man and for that he must be punished. This is where we are in today's world. McNair used an expression that each and every one of us has heard come out of the mouths of our parents or grandparents. He said, of the mess that the NFL finds itself in over players taking a knee instead of standing for the National Anthem, "We can't have the inmates running the prison." First, some of the Texans threatened to walk out of practice, then McNair apologized. Twice.

"McNair released a second statement Saturday afternoon and insisted he wasn't referring to the players with his "very regretful comment." Instead he says he was "referring to the relationship between the league office and team owners and how they have been making significant strategic decisions affecting our league without adequate input from ownership over the past few years."
He then apologized to NFL players saying: "I am truly sorry to the players for how this has impacted them and the perception that it has created of me which could not be further from the truth. Our focus going forward, personally and as an organization, will be towards making meaningful progress regarding the social issues that mean so much to our players and our community."
As you may imagine, apologies are not good enough any more. The 79 year old owner is presumed racist and that will not be easy to overcome in our hyper-sensitive environment. I've heard reasoning that because a large percentage of players are African-American, this comment must be directed at those players - that McNair isn't sensitive to the life experiences of black men. I get it. There are a lot of black men and women in prison. There are also a lot of other demographics, too, including white Americans. 

So, then I read Sunday that the Texans were going to do a big protest against McNair before the game in Seattle. Left tackle Duane Brown led a call for the protest and successfully encouraged all but four players to take a knee before the game. I find it interesting that it happened at an away game, not in Houston. I have to think the response from the ticket holders would have been a bit different at home. I watched just enough of the broadcast to see that happen and listen to the announcers give me their hot takes on it and then I changed the channel. Yes, I only watched because I am writing this

Here's the thing - I say, the more protests, the better. I'm a political person and I like discourse. I encourage all people to get involved and make use of their God-given rights, within our Constitution. What better way is there to honor the sacrifices of those who came before us? I have lots of veterans in my family, both living and deceased, who fought for my right to speak up.

Here's the flip side of that - I utilize my right to protest with my feet and my pocketbook. Or, in this case, my remote control. I no longer support the NFL. When President Trump tweeted that players should be fired for not standing for the National Anthem and then the gesture escalated as the players reacted to that tweet, then I said, "I'm out." A handful of players taking a knee doesn't sway me one way or the other. This all began last season with a now unemployed social justice warrior disguised as a football player. Barack Obama was the president, if you remember. A couple of his teammates did the same and that was that. Now it's just all about being anti-Trump or, now, anti-McNair. 

I love politics. I love football. I hate politics taking over football. I watch sports to escape the current events of the day. I love competition. It's a game, it's not rocket science and it will not cure disease. It is grown men making lots of money playing a game for a living. Taking advantage of that high profile life to divide and not unite - the current cry from those doing the exact opposite - is wrong. I have stopped watching professional football and it makes me sad.

Thank God for the Houston Astros. I am a "bandwagon" fan as I watch the World Series. I was once a baseball fan, back in the day, but lost interest as the greats of my day retired. With this current Astros team, though, I have found renewed zest in watching them play. What a joyful team! These guys are young and talented and eager to win. It has been heartwarming to see the Astros and their opponents stand and sing the National Anthem, as is the custom. It is particularly wonderful to see all the players who are immigrants to America participate. 

Go Astros. And, thank you.