I’m tired of the whole NFL kneeler, Kaepernick, Nike, media, social media kabuki show. In my mind, it only serves to demonstrate one thing. How easily Americans can be divided and emotionally swayed in almost any direction. All because of preconceived notions, biases and a lifetime of human conditioning we are ready to turn on our friends. I’ve seen so many Facebook posts on the topic since Nike decided to make Kaepernick the face of “Just Do It” it amazes me. I even saw one post of 1950’s era white baseball players posing for a photograph and someone captioned it as white players kneeling to protest black lynching. At the Lefty Gomez page, it’s the first photo you see at this link. It is a photo used in the book, Lefty: An American Odyssey, the life of famed Yankee pitcher Vernon “Lefty” Gomez. Then I saw one snark declaring that Tim Tebow kneeled during the national anthem and prayed against abortion, “and nobody said anything about that” again totally false but demonstrative of how fast we accept something if it supports our emotional state. It fits the adage that a lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can get it shoes on. Personally, it’s disheartening and disappointing to see. Especially when you have a great deal of respect for some who are sharing and posting such things. Stuff that will travel and live on social media long before the truth reaches that friend list.
“I never did anything during a national anthem but stand and support my country. And then stories can get written and they can get put out of proportion so that you believe one thing when you’re asking me a question that was nothing that was part of the truth.’’
Tebow also shared his opinion about NFL players who have protested during the national anthem.
“I think when people believe in something and they stand for that, I don’t knock them for that,’’ he said. “Even if I agree with some or disagree with some, I appreciate it when people have convictions and they stand for that.
I think it’s important how we do that as well. So I think there’s a lot of players that I’m friends with that have been on both sides and I understand it and I think what’s more important is to know their heart and where they’re coming from and where the conviction stands in their heart and what they really want to share.’’ Tim Tebow not happy about “Tewbowing” being brought into national anthem protests debate, USA Today, June 8, 2018.
Maybe more of us, self-included, should take Tebow’s advice:
“A lot of people even think it was a touchdown celebration,’’ he said. “I never did it to celebrate a touchdown. I did it from my sophomore year in high school all the way through the NFL, that before and after games I would get on a knee to thank my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, and also put things into perspective…
“It was never something I did to take away from somebody else. It was just something I did with a personal relationship with my God. So I think that’s just sometimes disappointing when things get taken away from the truth and then it’s just created into whatever somebody wants it to be” USA Today
I am beyond a doubt certain that many of the players protesting during the anthem are sincere in their efforts to draw attention to a problem. They may have selected a better venue because the national discussion is not about social injustice, it’s about the flag and the anthem. Their important message is lost in the noise.
If you look at NFL Valuations you’ll see that the NFL is not losing money and with television contracts locked in until 2022, they are not likely to lose revenue any time soon. Especially now that streaming services like Amazon are paying multi-million-dollar fees to stream games. And Nike? Nike is a business. They make business decisions. They have manufacturing factories in 42 countries with 1,017,345 workers. Any decision Nike makes is a business decision, nothing more nothing less. The contract they give Kaepernick is likely in the millions per year, but for the amount of exposure it brings to the company that isn’t equivalent to loose pocket change.
And it just gets better for the NFL and Nike and others because we keep them in the limelight. They laugh all the way to the bank knowing that you, I, and most Americans can be played with an emotional issue. At the end of the day, how much social injustice will they have fixed? Just what will they do? Maybe Nike can improve conditions at those hundreds of Asian factories making your new kicks.
© J. D. Pendry 2018 J. D. Pendry’s American Journal