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The National Football League is a house divided. That’s not news. This league has had a rift running through it the size of the San Andreas Fault going back to the days leading up to the lockout a few years ago. Everybody’s been staking out their turf for close to a decade; it started with the obvious schism between the player’s union and the league which led to the labor problem in the first place. Divisions like that are similar to a chip in your windshield; if you don’t heal them when they are small, they continue to spider-web until one day the whole thing collapses.
But if you’re getting your takes on the NFL from the World Wide Bottom Feeder, you might think that the “protests” over the National Anthem are a source of unity for this league. Despite ESPN’s efforts to convince you otherwise, that narrative is demonstrably false. If it weren’t, we would have seen every player on every team taking a knee. That didn’t happen. That means there’s plenty of reasons to question the narrative we’re being sold about what is happening in the NFL right now.
Having said that, the point of this isn’t to get into the already shop-worn arguments we’ve already heard about the #TakeAKnee movement. Rather, this is about letting you know about some possibilities present in this situation the leftie hacks trying to dominate the narrative would rather you didn’t know, let alone even consider.
The cover of the latest issue of Sports Illustrated is the perfect example of the false narrative being sold here. You can tell they got the idea for this out of the fact that Tom Brady and NFL Kommissar Roger Goodell both used the term “divisive” in their response to the comments made by President Trump. Brady and the Kommissar couldn’t agree on pizza toppings and all of a sudden they are using the exact same language, which led the PhotoShop-meisters at SI to create that stunning tapestry of fake news.
In other words, they are selling the idea that there’s a unified stance across the sporting world. Anytime I hear somebody try to tell me there is a consensus opinion in any group of people larger than four who don’t have the same amount to gain or lose from that opinion; it pegs the needle on my bullshit detector. Once that happens, I start asking a lot of questions; many of which start with “What If?”
What if the narrative about a unified sports world is a pant-load?
This one really isn’t an “if” at all, it is sheer fact. If you doubt that, just look at that idiotic magazine cover. Do you notice who isn’t on it? For all the non-sense about Colin Kaepernick being a “modern-day Rosa Parks,” isn’t it ironic that he’s nowhere to be seen? Sorry Rosa, but you and that whole bus seat thing just got air-brushed from history because you don’t fit your own narrative.
Sports Illustrated tried to defend this idiocy by saying they were “trying portray new voices” in this matter. It takes a special kind of stupidity to leave “Rosa Parks” out of the narrative, yet include Michael Bennett who recently was exposed for leveling blatantly false allegations of racism and brutality at two police officers, both of whom also happened to be minorities.
At least Rosa Parks got on the bus. Kaepernick just got “unity-ed” under the bus he built. That’s the “unity” in sports; the non-existent kind. In fact, this is really “Alanis Morrissette”-style irony in the sense that this phony display of “unity” is exposing the big divides that exist throughout the sports world. If you doubt that, allow me to catalog what has bubbled to the surface in the last week.
Media vs. Fans
This one is hard to judge because the sludge-buckets like ESPN are going out of their way not to show you fans who might not be in lock-step with the “unity” notion. The people who are pulling the plug on their Sunday Ticket subscriptions share the same sentiments as these guys.
By the way, take a good look. I’m fairly certain they aren’t getting invited to any white supremacist rallies any time soon.
Media vs. Players
This isn’t so hard to judge because the far-left fringe is getting wrapped around it’s own axle. The Huffington Post hit a new low this week when it published an article equating standing for the national anthem to white supremacy. Instead getting lost in the fact that “white supremacy” is the loony left’s new buzz-word for whatever triggers them, focus on the fact that HuffPo ran such a story with this picture in it:
The true dopes in this world are going to get hung up on the black guy in the middle of the frame who is not kneeling. Those are the people who say shit like “So, is this black guy really a white supremacist?” I don’t know that guy, and I don’t know his politics. But I do know two things. I know plenty of white people who despite their whiteness are very much “white inferiorists;” those are the people who are helping to drive the race issues in this country. I also know that whole line of debate misses the crushingly obvious point. There is no unity of opinion amongst the players on this issue, which leads us to…
Players vs. Players
Nothing embodies this better than the Alejandro Villanueva situation in Pittsburgh. There was very obviously a strong division in that locker room on Sunday. Despite how the media has tried to spin this, head coach Mike Tomlin was clearly angry during his post-game press conference and there was no denying that his comment about “I expected 100% participation” was all about his team staying in the tunnel during the national anthem by doing so, Tomlin and his team looked like a bunch of cock-mouthers.
That is why Villanueva’s so-called “apology” makes me like the guy even more. Again, the shit-slingers in the media want you to believe that Villaneuva was apologizing for what HE did. That’s why they chopped up his comments to feature the line about “I’ve made Coach Tomlin look bad and that is my fault; that is my fault only.”
Let me explain a significant difference between military people and civilians. In the military, the chain of command is sacrosanct. What Villanueva said was not an apology; he was in fact taking a bullet for his commander. This situation really isn’t about him, and he didn’t want it to be about anybody else. He knew that storyline would die the second he took that bullet. That’s even more admirable considering Tomlin is a dick-breath of the first order.
But what really seals me on the side of the ex-Green Beret Villanueva here is that in the long run, Villanueva is a guy who just wants to play football; his struggles just to get into the league bear that out. In order to do that, all 53 guys in that locker room have to get some real unity in terms of playing together to win. That means somebody has to be the bigger man and just do what it takes to get to the next step toward the big prize: winning.
Don’t think it was a coincidence the Steelers got beat by the sorry-ass Bears that day.
Media vs. Media
This might be my favorite. The look on Randy Moss’ face as Rex Ryan said “I supported Trump” is priceless. The sad part is it illustrates where we are in this country today. Civil discourse in the lame-stream media is all but dead. That picture proves it. If Moss could’ve pulled out a .357 Magnum and blown a tunnel through Ryan, he would have. The crime Rex committed worthy of death: he didn’t show unwavering support for the leftist ideal that Donald Trump is Hitler, Stalin, and Comcast all rolled into one.
Players vs. Fans
What happened at last night’s Packers-Bears game sums this one up rather nicely…from InfoWars:
“The Packers players wrote a long letter to their fans this week. A letter in which the team asked their fans to join them in interlocking arms during the anthem on Thursday night.
According to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, this was a moment that stood for, “…equality.” As well as “…unity and love, and growing together as a society and starting a conversation around something that may be a little bit uncomfortable for people.”
Well, as it turns out, most Packers fans didn’t want to have a “conversation,” weren’t interested in”growing together,” and certainly had no desire to be made “a little bit uncomfortable.” Instead, the activity most Packers fans elected to participate in when it came time to honor America, was to chant “USA! USA! USA!:”
While all players, for the Packers and Bears stood with arms interlocked. Only a few isolated groups of fans chose to.”
This really should be the “Uh-Oh” moment for the NFL. The fan base which pays the freight is telling you in no uncertain terms they do not agree with your position or your actions.
Owners vs. Players
Don’t buy the show of “unity” you saw with some owners joining the on-field antics this past weekend. The worst case scenario of the NFL right now is this “protest” escalates into a full-scale player walk-out. That’s part of why Jerry Jones and Siad Khan did what they did. The bottom line is the owners find themselves between the proverbial “rock and a hard place” having to navigate the perceptions and actions of a largely white fan base and a largely black player population, and they have to do that in an environment where the drop in television ratings are going to start causing some serious problems.
What if the “protesting” players don’t actually know what they are protesting?
I think there’s a tremendous level of plausibility here, because to be honest, I don’t even know what they are protesting. Here’s the problem. In order for a protest to be successful, it needs to have a clearly defined goal which upon being achieved means something that was deemed to have needed change does in fact get changed. That’s why whenever I hear somebody taking up a cause and they tell me their goal is “raising awareness,” I immediately know they are full of shit. I know that because what they are saying is “I see (insert cause here) as a problem, and I want you to do something about it.”
I would love to hear a “protesting” NFL player explain to me what exactly their goal is, what they intend to change via these “protests,” and most importantly, how they plan to effect that change. The minute that happens, I’m “all ears” to what they are trying to say and I will stop putting quotation marks around the word “protest.” But I’m not holding my breath because the closest thing I’ve heard to that came from Aaron Rodgers in the InfoWars piece I quoted earlier.
“According to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, this was a moment that stood for, “…equality.” As well as “…unity and love, and growing together as a society and starting a conversation around something that may be a little bit uncomfortable for people.”
That, ladies and gentlemen, is 100% flowery, buzz-word crap. Wasn’t equality, unity, and love the title of a Peter, Paul, and Mary album about 50 years ago? Seriously, “starting a conversation” sounds dangerously close to “raising awareness.” Not to mention, how the hell can there even be a conversation when you’re too “uncomfortable” to tell me what we need to talk about?
All I want to know is what you see as the problem, what you think is a solution to that problem, and how would you implement that solution? That’s it.
What if the President just baited Kommissar Goodell into a fight so Trump can take away the NFL’s anti-trust exemption?
At first, this one seems a bit far-fetched, but once you give it some thought, it begins to make a lot more sense than you might think. Don’t forget that back in the 1980’s Donald Trump wanted badly to own an NFL franchise. The whole reason he bought the New Jersey Generals of the fledgling United States Football League (USFL) was he was betting there would eventually be a merger between the two leagues as there was between the AAFC and the NFL after World War II and the 1970 union between the AFL and the NFL.
That’s really what the Trump-led lawsuit against the NFL was all about. You have to understand that the NFL has an exemptions against anti-trust laws in the form of the The Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961. Basically, this allows the NFL to negotiate all television contracts in the current “pool” method. Before this act was passed, a federal court ruled such a model violated anti-trust laws.
All sports leagues in America use this model to some extent, but the NFL is the most dependent on it. The NBA, the NHL, and MLB all have national broadcast deals with various networks, but they also allow individual franchise to negotiate their own local broadcast deals. The NFL relies exclusively on national broadcast contracts, through which it controls all the revenue in a model in which it is shared equally among those franchises.
Imagine, if you will, what happens to the NFL if that exemption goes away…
Almost overnight, the league would lose pretty much any of the control it had over individual franchises. Once the teams can start signing their own broadcast deals, you’ll have a league full of teams taking their games straight to the consumer via the web, streaming, you name it. That means the teams which have the largest fan bases would dominate the landscape and the NFL would rapidly become very regionally-based. It also means guys like Kommissar Goodell would suddenly find their importance completely diminished.
That all begs the question why would Trump do that? Because the guy has a long history of gorilla-stomping people who got in his way, and if you’ve ever seen the ESPN “30 for 30” about the USFL, it is obvious that whole “winning the lawsuit but only getting $1” puts a burr up Trump’s tailpipe to this day.
What if this “protest” was hi-jacked and is now being used for other purposes?
Don’t tell me you can’t see this one, because it’s already happened. The fact Colin Kaepernick got left off the Sports Illustrated cover is the best indicator of that. You can buy that “newer voices” stuff all you want, but the fact is Kaepernick shot himself in the foot in terms of being an effective poster-child when it was revealed that he never bothered to vote and donates money to groups supporting convicted cop-killers.
Doesn’t it make you wonder at least a little bit why two basketball players are now front-and-center in what was supposed to be a movement about the NFL? In other words, two of the three guys in the front row of that photo were major Hillary Clinton supporters, and the other just found himself in a range war with President Trump.
Nahhh, I’m sure this is still really all about kneeling or whatever.
When J-Dub isn’t offering political takes, he runs the most interesting independent sports blog on the web. Email J-Dub at [email protected], and follow him @Dubsism on Twitter, or on his Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook pages.
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