Monday, September 25, 2017

OPINION: The New England Patriots Acted Like True Patriots Yesterday As Did Many Other NFL Teams In Reaction To President Trump’s Statement.

My heart swelled up with pride when the NFL in mass supported free speech, self determination and the American way yesterday in reaction to President Trump’s statement at a political rally in Alabama where he stridently raised a finger and said:
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired,’” Trump said. “Wouldn’t you love it? Some owner’s going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy who disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner … — they’re friends of mine, many of them — they’ll be the most popular person for a week in this country.”
Many teams including coaching staff and even some owners locked arms in solidarity. Even players who stood placed their hands on the shoulders of those who decided to kneal. “Decided” is the operative word here. America like no other country in the world is about the individual, about individual rights, individual freedom as opposed to the “group think” mentality of (let’s say) North Korea. Don’t think for a minute that anyone not saluting or standing when they are supposed to in that country would be tolerated. In deep contrast, individual rights, free speech, protest is the sinew that constitutionally holds America together.

Group Thinkers

Hand in hand with group think is pier pressure. Mob mentality is not far away and that is why I reveled in delight when San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick “took a knee” last year to protest the oppression of people of color after the wake of numerous police involved shooting involving people of color. His reason for protesting is important but even more important is that in this country he has the right to do so. In doing so he opened up a virulent strain of hate. Hate is often times a by product of group think. It creeps up and spreads like a cancer. Hate can muddle your mind, your thought processes too and cloud your perception. The hateful crowd only sees what it wants to see, what the group sees. That crowd saw Kaepernick’s protest as a slap in the face of the flag, the country and even the armed forces who put their very lives on the line in conflicts around the world while Kaepernick’s protest was / is about social justice. I argue that Kaepernick’s protest was not against the flag or country at all but instead an attempt to make this country better. It was a patriotic stance really, a defiant one. Being a patriot and having a healthy does of difiance has always gone hand in hand. This concept is hard for group thinkers to understand.
While many of those who wanted Kaepernick’s head say that politics should not be injected into a sports game, President Trump in an attempt to stoke up his supporters injected politics into sports, into private business in a big, big way. It struck me as odd. He is a business man. Most business owners do not want governmental interference and here he was telling NFL business owners what to do. Maybe President Trump was counting on the power of group thinking. He does like to play to the crowd and whip them up in any way he can. Whipping up crowds tends to turn off their brains as group think takes over. Yes, solidarity is a powerful tool and can be positive but their is a tipping point when things go south. When it tips into the aforementioned mob mentality, when the mob rules then atrocities happen. Blind obidience can lead to lynchings, to genocide.

President Trump Makes Kaepernick A Winner

In the end, I always champion the right to protest and the peaceful protester. Colin Kaepernick is the embodiment of a true American, a patriot and I couldn’t understand for the longest time why more NFL players did not support him. Why weren’t there more “think for yourself-ers”? President Trump inadvertantly opened the floodgates and in doing so has fused Kaepernick into a pivotal free speech icon.
I applaud all those NFL players, staff and owners who took a stand yesterday. It was the American thing to do.

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