The Old Man On The Mountain

A View From the Backwoods of NH

I’ll Take A Knee

Well, this month’s hot topic seems to be a carry over from a little over a year ago. That was when Colin Kaepernick, then of the San Francisco 49ers, began his protest. Kaepernick began sitting during the national anthem during the 2016 preseason. A silent protest to show support for people of color who are being oppressed in the United States, and to take a stand against police brutality was the reason he gave. He didn’t like what he saw in America, and he decided to show it the same respect that he felt it was showing him.

Disrespect – I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that he wasn’t really thinking about the paycheck he was collecting for each game – a hell of a lot more than most of those he was “protesting” take home in a year. And he probably wasn’t really thinking about the 49ers franchise – how he was using his privilege of position to gain a wide public audience at their expense. And some might say that he wasn’t really thinking at all – but they’d be wrong. Colin was thinking all right – he was thinking about himself.

He was thinking of the best way he could impart his opinion upon others, maybe start a movement, maybe even bring some dissension to an already tense time. And he did succeed in gathering a little momentum across the sports world, though hardly enough to make a real difference. Or should I say a difference in that which he was supposedly fighting for – because he did make a difference – he all but sealed his fate as an “Ex-NFL Player”. And, even more amazing, since he lost that “free public spotlight”, I haven’t heard diddly about him and what he’s doing now “for his cause”. Maybe it’s not as important to him anymore.

I see so many today doing different things to “bring awareness to” their favorite or closely personal cause. At least that’s what they call it – bringing awareness – but I’m at a loss as to how many “live under a rock” people that they’re targeting. Because almost every one of these causes receives public press – from MS to ALS to Racism to Breast Cancer to name a few. But, with the exceptions of some ice water or ribbons, I don’t see any disrespect from any of those being used as a way to “bring awareness to”. But this year, suddenly, being disrespectful has become a fad again. And, much like the protests of the 60’s and 70’s, America, the flag, and now the anthem are the targets.

And here’s what really confuses me – everything that Colin Kaepernick was protesting then happened under a black president – it all went down on his watch. If America was so god-awful broken, why didn’t HE do something to fix it? I guess Colin probably missed that too. Now, onto what I said in the beginning – this year’s hot topic – NFL players, in force, taking a page from the Kaepernick playbook, began “taking a knee” this year during the national anthem (I guess for the same reason).

President Donald Trump, being the man that he is, tweeted that NFL teams should “fire” those involved – he did this, not from a Presidential platform, but from his personal twitter account. And the players, owners, the NFL and even other sports teams went nuts. On Sunday, almost to a man, they either took a knee, locked arms in solidarity or just didn’t come out for the national anthem. Of course they all screamed for blood because, after all, the President isn’t entitled to free speech like they are – oh, wait a minute, I’m pretty sure he is, since he’s a citizen – but I guess that doesn’t matter to them. Now they’re not just angry and disrespectful, but they’re trampling on the very rights they claim were what started this thing to begin with.

At this point I have no choice but to call BULLSHIT! I don’t think that these folks are protesting for something – I think that they just like the attention, the spotlight, and to cause dissension and turmoil. And frankly, I already see enough dissension and turmoil in the world to really get wrapped up in their BULLSHIT. So, you know what – I’m taking a knee. Call it what you want (in 1971, the Temptations called it “Ball of Confusion” – YouTube it here, it’s almost the same today as it was then), I’m taking a knee to all this drama. And curse all of you assholes for taking something that fills my fall weekends and tainting it with the stink of your pomposity.