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Posted by on Nov 18, 2019 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 2 comments

My Thoughts on the Latest Colin Kaepernick Controversy

 

My Thoughts on the Latest Colin Kaepernick Controversy

Would-Be NFL Player/Activist Fumbles at the Worst Possible Moment

 

I tried. I really tried.

I tried to support and defend Colin Kaepernick, the unemployed multi-millionaire quarterback-turned-activist who was clearly the victim of disproportionate backlash from NFL fans and teams.  Please, mark me down as a supporter and a defender.

Here’s some perspective:  Women-beaters, drug abusers, accused rapists, and dog killers have signed and re-signed with teams. Those clearly guilty of serious crimes are cheered by fans, their despicable acts all but ignored by tribal mobs. But Kaepernick, an activist making a peaceful display of protest against racial injustice in America becomes an outcast and a pariah. Shame on the fans and teams for losing all sense of perspective and for their grotesque hypocrisy. Cheering for women beaters and dog killers while blasting Kaepernick makes you look like a joke.

That said, the NFL held a so-called “workout” this past weekend, which was likely Kaepernick’s one and last chance to prove he belongs in a uniform under contract. Not only did Kaepernick blow this opportunity in the worst way, but he also embarrassed himself and harmed the noble causes he supposedly espouses:

Here’s my perspective:

(1) There are approximately 96 NFL quarterbacks on 32 team rosters, and even more with practice squads and on injured reserve. Question — Is Kaepernick a “top 96” quarterback? The answer is yes, or at least *was* yes. Kaepernick took his last snap three years ago, in 2016. Nonetheless, given the current dregs of NFL quarterbacking (Chicago Bears, are you listening), Kaepernick would likely be, at worst, a capable backup who deserves a chance at playing.

(2) I was never of a fan of Kaepernick’s skill set, even when he was successful as a starter. He’s not the quarterback I’d want to build a team around. However, he was a winner, albeit on a very good team at the time.  Given the older retreads, mostly losing quarterbacks, who continue getting plenty of opportunities (Derek Anderson, Matt Cassel), and even start games (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Schaub), Kaepernick should be on a team somewhere.

(3) Kaepernick handled the initial controversy terribly (back in 2016). Showing up to team practice in socks portraying police officers as pigs was disgraceful and stupid. His public comments about there being no difference between then-candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton showed appalling ignorance. His admission that he didn’t even bother to vote in the 2016 election reveals the downright stupidity of a social influencer and bad example for others to follow.

(4) I, and many others inclined to support Kaepernick, chalked up those dumb comments in 2016 to simple immaturity, and perhaps not understanding the gravity of his actions. Over time, we expected the activist to understand his cause has become much bigger than any individual. Given Kaepernick had three years to learn more, develop better understanding, and explain himself, we thought he’d mature and perhaps even admit he was wrong in the way he handled the scrutiny.

(5) Kaepernick’s opportunity to show his skills and demonstrate he was still in football shape was a unique chance not given to any previous player. He should have agreed essentially to do whatever it took to sign with a team and contribute. Prospective teams were reportedly not looking so much at Kaepernick’s arm or legs of physicality but wanted to see if he really wanted to play. Unfortunately, he answered these questions before the workout by getting into a pointless legal spat about liabilities and waivers, demanding that cameras be allowed onto the field when NFL rules forbid such media attention, and then moved the location at the last minute. Nothing was gained by this idiotic last-minute dispute.

(6) Showing up in a t-shirt with the letters “KUNTA KINTE” on the front of his shirt was football suicide. Anyone, including supporters, who thought Kaepernick would be focused on his game and wouldn’t be a distraction was shown to be foolish. This ridiculous optic of self-comparison to the slave from “Roots,” was mind-bogglingly stupid.

(7) Lest there remain any doubt about Kaepernick’s confusion and mixed intentions over the weekend, he also made a huge deal out of a new line of shoes being released by Nike. This was nothing but a media sideshow intended to cash a paycheck. No one should care what Kaepernick, the prospective NFL player, is wearing or promoting. But he made an embarrassing spectacle of himself in pimping his shoes. This wasn’t the first time Kaepernick has created a sideshow that detracted from his message.

(8) Kaepernick is finished as an NFL quarterback. He will never take another snap. Prior to this weekend, that was the NFL’s fault, in an obvious case of collective bias and collusion. Now, Kaepernick’s fate is his own doing. It’s his own fault, likely shared by some idiotic agents and personal advisors.

My main takeaway from this mess is that we can and should separate the message from the messenger. Indeed, the justice system in this country is biased. Protests are justified. Kneeling for the National Anthem is an act of patriotism. Speaking out for one’s personal beliefs is very American. Kaepernick is not only worth defending *on* the football field. He should be hailed as a hero and a role model.

But “off” the field, Kaepernick has fumbled at the worst possible moment. He turned over any advantage to his haters and detractors with a series of preposterous blunders. He lost the undecided and made a mockery out of those who were adamant in supporting him publically.

Surely, a decade from now, perhaps sooner, there will be an ESPN “30 for 30” when Kaepernick will be celebrated and remembered as a brave person of principle. In some respects, that praise shall be deserved. However, in the meantime, all Kaepernick has done is stupidly waste two opportunities — his chance to play in the NFL again, and our chance to evolve into a nation with a better understanding of social activism and the things worth defending.

Mr. Kaepernick — you’ve got your shoe company money. You got your media attention. Now, please — go away. I don’t want to hear from you again.

__________

 

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Posted by on Jun 24, 2018 in Blog, Essays, Politics, Restaurant Reviews, What's Left | 15 comments

The Fine Line Between Civility and Civil Disobedience

 

 

Should public figures, including people we despise, always be entitled to normal common courtesies?  For example — what if the most offensive human being you can think of suddenly walked into your place of business?  Would you serve him/her?

 

I’m torn down the middle by the Sarah Huckabee Sanders-Red Hen restaurant controversy.

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Posted by on Jan 28, 2018 in Blog, Essays | 7 comments

The Worst Idea in Sports History

 

 

Seriously — has there ever been a worse idea?

I just read carnival barker and ham-hocked huckster Vince McMahon announced that he intends to bring back the XFL.

He hate me.

XFL TO RETURN GIMMICK-FREE in 2020 [ESPN]

For those who took enough time to blink back in 2001 and missed the XFL’s short-lived, disastrous spring season which was wildly entertaining for all the wrong reasons, the McMahon-NBC mutant was an abomination.  It was a twisted hybrid between something labeling itself as “football,” blended with staged-fake wrestling, with a dash of The Jerry Springer Show.  It was a shaken and stirred shit stain.  Fortunately, McMahon’s XFL suffered a well-deserved humiliation and lasted about as long as a bad case of the chicken pox.

We thought the nightmare was over.  But — no.

When I read the XFL plans to relaunch in 2020, I thought this had to be a joke.

This is like the Ford Motor Company bringing back the 1958 Edsel.  It’s the roll out of New Coke again.  It’s like investing in Sony BetaMax machines.  It’s remaking the box office disaster that was Ishtar.  It’s the worst idea in the history of sports.

Some people have more money than brains.  Some people never learn.

Fact:  No one wants to watch this clown’s bullshit football league.  Even those who are temporarily pissed at the NFL right now (dwindling numbers by the way, that by next season can probably fit inside a telephone booth) will not become fans of new football teams based cities with bad airports filled with rejects who can’t make it either in the Canadian Football League (CFL) or even get signed to the practice squads of real pro football teams.  It’s a goddamned sandlot league.  Like the Pottstown Firebirds.

Whether we like it or not, despite its awful rules and terrible owners, and in spite of the major television networks milking the public’s patience with way too many commercials and talking heads, the NFL remains the 800-pound Godzilla of American sports.  Other than the American Football League (AFL) so brillilantly created and managed by Dallas’ Lamar Hunt, which merged with the NFL in 1970, every attempt since then to tap into America’s love affair with football has been a total disaster:

—– [1974-1975] Ever heard of the World Football League (WFL)?  Remember the Hawaii Rainbows and the Shreveport Steamer?  This league signed lots of NFL stars, then ran out of money.  Then, the broke NFL players had to crawl back to the real football league.  Most were never the same again.  Calvin Hill, Larry Czonka, Paul Warfield, John Gilliam, and so many others who jumped leagues never did much after they left their iconic teams in the NFL.

—– [1983-1985] Remember this bomb of a sports league killed off by someone who’s now famous?  The United States Football League (USFL) was ruined when New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump took over control in the second year and switched games to the Fall to go up directly against the NFL.  Some businessman.  He got slaughtered and bankrupted the entire league.  Here’s a short walk down memory lane:

—– [2009-2012] The short-lived United Football League (UFL), which at one point in 2011 had FOUR teams, lasted just three, mostly invisible years. It even had a team based in Las Vegas called the Outlaws.  I watched one of the UFL games on television with like 2,220 people in the stands.  It looked like a high school game, without the bands.  It was morbidly fascinating to watch.

—– [2001] The XFL was a laughingstock.  They lost billions.  Remember “He Hate Me?”  Cringeworthy.  In their second nationally-televised game from the Los Angeles Coliseum, the live feed went black.  NBC went to a test pattern nationwide because of a local power failure. Apparently, a generator truck supplying the power for the entire broadcast parked outside the stadium powered down and wouldn’t restart because someone working at the XFL FORGOT TO PUT GAS IN THE TANK.  True story.  Here’s a short trailer of this mess of a football league:

 

Now, the same huckster who ran the XFL into the ground the first time is back for more punishment.  On second thought — perhaps this WILL BE fun to watch……fun to watch as in like a dumpster fire.  The saddest thing is — lots of D-grade players will view the XFL as a real opportunity and will jump on this tinker-toy train running off a cliff, and likely be hurt.

Listen, no one wants to watch a bunch of nobodies wearing weird-colored uniforms playing football in third-rate stadiums in the middle of June.

The XFL is fucking garbage.

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Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in Blog, Essays | 2 comments

My Thoughts on “Southern Heritage”

 

 

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

If you believe a “heritage” that committed traitorous acts against the United States of America costing 620,000 innocent lives during a hellish military struggle that was fought solely to preserve a perverted economic system based solely on keeping people in chains is worth honoring and defending — there’s not just something wrong with your heritage….

There’s something wrong with YOU.

 

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Posted by on Jul 28, 2017 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 1 comment

John McCain’s Glorious Revenge: Arizona Senator Bitch Slaps Trump

 

 

Late last night in front of the entire country and the whole world, Sen. John McCain bitched-slapped the President of the United States.

He did it with a defiant thumb turned upside down, signifying a vote of “no.”

This glorious act of sweet revenge may have been the senior Arizona senator’s finest hour ever on Capitol Hill, especially after years of waffling all over the political gridlock since he was humiliated as captain of the painfully inept McCain-Palin shipwreck that ended up getting iceberged back in 2008 by Barack Obama.

Indeed, just about everyone outside the Right-wing fringe with a stranglehold over Republican Party politics had given up on the so-called “maverick” politician.  Two decades earlier, Sen. McCain made quite a name for himself for his willingness to compromise on important issues in order to get things done and even worked with members of the opposition party — noble virtues considered heresy inside the poison well of our political culture today.

Sen. McCain’s moderation seemed to be a thing of the distant past.  That was until late last night, at about 1:45 am local time in Washington, during a late-night roll call vote on a spellbinding motion to move a controversial bill forward that might have gutted the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”).  As the names of senators were called one by one, everyone knew the vote would be razor close.  Even though Republicans control the Senate, they needed just 50 “yes” votes for the bill to pass.  Trump’s Vice President, Mike Pence would have cast the fateful deciding vote.  But the bill fell just ONE VOTE short.

Somewhere along the line, Sen. McCain either came to his good senses or recognized the Trump-led Republican Party for what it’s truly become — a shit show.  He’s come to realize there’s a madman running the American government’s three-ring circus.

We may never fully know the reasoning behind Sen. McCain’s surprising decision to break away from the members of his own party.  Indeed, he did appear to change his mind on this issue.  However, one has good reason to suspect this was a heavy dose of sweet revenge.

Two years ago, then-candidate Donald Trump made what many believed was an appalling political gaffe when he stated:

“[John McCain) is not a war hero.  He was a war hero because he was captured.  I like people who weren’t captured.”  [READ MORE HERE]

From 1967-1973, Captain McCain was locked up Hanoi inside a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp after being shot down as a Navy pilot.  He endured unfathomable torture dished out by his captors which resulted in lifelong debilitation of the full mobility of his arms.  Meanwhile, within that same time frame, Donald Trump dodged the draft and took FIVE military deferments to avoid service in Vietnam.

You tell me — who’s the hero?

McCain’s “heroism” would make an astonishing encore appearance, this time in a very different act of defiance against an adversary, not foreign but domestic.  The greatest irony of all was this was supposed to be “heroes week” at the message-marketing White House.  Finally, a promise was delivered.

A few days ago, less than two weeks after undergoing emergency brain surgery to remove cancer that’s lodged behind his left eye socket, Sen. McCain made a triumphant return to the Senate floor, the stage of many his previous battles.  However, this battle might have been his greatest victory, both personal and political.

Sen. McCain — so derided by critics for so long both on the Right and Left, so often the victim of his own compromises, so ridiculed for his confusing stance on many important issues — finally stood up and asserted that faint but flickering glow of independence.  He passionately argued for bipartisanship and urged his colleagues to come together.  Then, late last night in that roll call vote, he backed up his words with decisive action.  That’s leadership.

While he spoke to the full chamber watching in silence, one couldn’t help but notice Sen. McCain’s gruesome scar across his forehead.  But that wasn’t the biggest scar in Washington, this morning.  Indeed, a far more ghastly scar was inflicted upon the spiteful, petty, bully of a showman with zero legislative accomplishments in his first 7 months in office who was just schooled about how to really “make deals.”

Making good deals starts with this, Mr. President — treating people right.  This is something the man who took credit for his ghostwritten biography entitled The Art of the Deal” knows nothing about.

Thank you for rising to the occasion, Sen. McCain.  This may have been your finest hour.

 

___________

MORE:  Listen to the audible gasps from the U.S. Senate when Sen. McCain walks into the chamber, asks for the attention of the clerk, and casts his vote:

 

 

 

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