Dubsism

What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

The Deep Six: Stuff We Now Know From The NFL’s New National Anthem Policy

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why the subject of football players kneeling turns almost everybody I know or have heard discuss this story into complete pudding brains. I can count on the fingers of one hand how many people I’ve heard get the right “take” on this topic. Shockingly enough, not one of them is from the “Lame-Stream” and/or “Woke” media.

That’s I’m here to walk you through this in a manner you will only get here at Dubsism…at least until the “politically-correct police” have this blog relegated to the back-waters of the interwebz if not killed entirely. Before that happens, here’s six things that are pretty hard to deny based on what the National Football League did on this matter this past week

1) Kommissar Goodell and the owners were full of shit all along

When these protests were in their heyday, the NFL’s upper management and the owners knew they had a problem.  By this time, don’t forget the television ratings were already suffering to a point  there was talk of the networks having to pay “make-goods” to advertisers (make-goods are essentially contractually guaranteed “refunds” if the ad revenue doesn’t generate the numbers which were agreed upon as reasonable forecasts to at the time the ad contracts were finalized).

This was the moment when the Kommissar made it a point to deny that the anthem protest were having any effect on ratings, despite the facts that ratings were continuing to drop and social medai was alive with dissatisfied NFL fans stating verbatim the “take a knee” stuff was the reason why they weren’t watching.  Granted,  the rate of decline in viewership didn’t start with the protests, and the rate of decline didn’t accelerate over kneeling either.

But it did two things the NFL attempted to deny.

First, the anthem protest created a diversion early in the 2016 season which in many ways over-shadowed the action on the field, particularly aided by a struggling cable empire like ESPN whose relationship with the NFL is getting more adversarial as time goes by.  There’s no denying the NFL has had a bellyful of ESPN; you’d have to be blind not to notice how that relationship is souring by the day; the most notable example being the NFL denied the World Wide Leader use of it’s highlights on the version of SportsCenter being distributed on SnapChat.

Secondly, it threatened to force the NFL to divulge details of a revenue stream on which it would rather you weren’t well-versed.  The NFL would be happy with your believing the pomp and ceremony of the field-sized flags and the whizz-bang fly-overs of military aircraft were nothing more than “Mom and apple pie”-type patriotism, the reality is those displays are a package deal with the military recruiting commercials you see during every NFL game. In other words, the whole display of the national anthem at an NFL game is little more than “patriotism for pay.”

The bottom line is the noise about television ratings was a “straw man;” anybody who bothered to dig into what was really happening could see the league and the owners knew the “take a knee” thing was bad for business…even if they wouldn’t admit it.

2) The “Social Justice Warrior” players lost…badly

As a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I love Chris Long as a player.  As an analyst of socio-political issues, it’s pretty clear from some of his statements that he’s allowed his ideology to cloud his judgement;  that’s a common problem in this country today.  But having said that, he said something undeniably true in the aftermath of this new anthem policy.

“This is a fear of a diminished bottom line…This is not patriotism…I will continue to be committed to affecting change with my platform. I’m someone who’s always looked at the anthem as a declaration of ideals, including the right to peaceful protest. Our league continues to fall short on this issue.”

Truer words were never spoken…especially when you realize this word sword slices both ways. I’ve already broken down the NFL’s hypocrisy with the “patriotism for pay” aspect, but what the kneeling players did had nothing to do with America either.  This was just a big exercise in “Hey look at me” virtue signaling.  All the protesting players accomplished was to fight one meaningless, symbolic act with another.  If you doubt that, please tell me a single tangible change that came from this.

More importantly, let’s look at the “bottom line” as a metric. If Long’s supposition that the NFL reaction to the players protests was financially-based, then it’s also true that had the NFL’s fan base embraced the “take a knee” movement, they would be selling “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts at the concession stands.

That’s where the big loss for the protesting players came…they failed to convert significant numbers of people to their point of view. There’s a stadium full of possible reasons for that, and we could pointlessly argue them all day long, but the fact of the matter is discussions about this situation contain a very small amount of content related to the socio-economic issues being supposedly being protested while overflowing with talk of players and their rights to express their opinions. That’s the other big truth in Long’s quote.

Am I the only one who noticed this was little more than a sweeping declaration about “my platform,” “rights,” and “affecting change” without a single mention of what needs to be changed? That’s the textbook definition of a movement which is more interested in symbolizing its interests rather than substantively doing anything about it.

As I said, Long is speaking the truth when it comes to the NFL, but he could have used an honest gaze into the mirror before he said it.  You can do all the flag-waving and kneeling you want, none of this is going to change anything because both sides are more concerned about how they are being perceived rather than effecting anything substantive.

In other words, if you’re the one who keeps selling a message wanting “change,” and you’ve ended up in a situation where your plan has demonstrably failed because your movement is now completely incapable of effecting change. ..you lost.

Come to terms with that.

3) The “Woke” sports media clearly doesn’t get it

To be fair, ESPN isn’t the only outlet guilty of failing to grasp what this is all about; just flip on any of their “noise” shows like “Get Up!,” “First Take,” or what have you…you’ll see it in short order unless you are blinded by ideology like Chris Long.  The best example comes from Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman in a barely-credible piece titled “Scared NFL Makes Epic Mistake with Anthem Policy.” You can’t even get past the first paragraph before the virtue-signaling hits you square in the face.

“The NFL has gotten things wrong before, but in the recent history of this league, it has gotten fewer things more horribly, disgracefully, stupidly, terribly wrong than what it decided to do Wednesday in trying to half-heartedly stop players from protesting during the national anthem.”

The overly-dramatic hyperbole lets you know an emotional rant is coming and worse yet, obviates the fact Freeman is right about the “NFL trying to half-heartedly stop players from protesting.” History has shown me to be right about something I believed from the start of this story; Kommissar Goodell’s “neither-nor” response to the “take a knee” movement was the worst possible thing he could do.  He needed to either embrace the movement whole-heatedly, or ruthlessly crush it like the Stalinist dictator he dreams of being…the reason being either action would have curtailed the life-span of the protest.

Understanding what a complete crush-job would have done is obvious.  On the other hand, had Goodell embraced the protests and then tossed the cash into community programs the league ultimately did, he would have completely sucked the air out of the movement.  He would have validated the reason for the protests and by ponying up dough would have effectively removed the motivation for the protests by allowing the NFL to claim the “What more do you want?” position had they continued.

Having lost the opportunity to express that message due to his over-the-top demogoguery, Freeman is left with little more than waving the banner for the so-called “oppressed” and justifying that through good, old-fashioned, tried and true fear-mongering.

“Why is the NFL handling this so poorly, crafting a policy based on fear, not practicality? The answer remains clear, according to a variety of league sources: an intense fear of President Donald Trump.”

And there it is…blaming everything on President Trump is the new version of “crying racism;”  it’s the fall-back position when your argument lacks substance. To be fair, Freeman is one of few people I’ve seen in this matter who will actually speak in specifics when it comes to what is supposedly being protested here.

“But as protesters like Colin Kaepernick (who, along with Eric Reid, started the protests) have said, they are not protesting the anthem or the military; they are using the anthem to bring attention to racial injustice and the issue of police abuse of black and brown citizens.”

To truly understand what Freeman’s beef with the anthem policy is, you need to take those two quotes together. Despite the fact he mentions a specific reasons why the protests occurred, Freeman does so in a manner which raises two serious red flags.

The first is in the so-called “fear factor.”

“Our league,” one team official said, “is f–king terrified of Trump. We’re scared of him.”

The “unnamed source” is one of my favorite calling cards of shoddy journalism.  Perhaps somebody really did say that, but since it takes a court order to force a journalist to reveal a source, it’s equally as possible that quote is entirely fabricated.  That’s why if you aren’t naming your sources, I’m not listening because I don’t know which is the case.  What I do know is over the past few years the “lame-stream/woke” media has given me plenty of reasons to be at the very least skeptical of what they tell me, and the Kommissar certainly didn’t seem afraid of the president last fall when he got into a war of words with him.

Sorry, but I’m not buying “fear.”

Secondly, my skepticism-o-meter red-lines at the idea that guys like Kaepernick via guys like Freeman feel the need to tell me what their protest was “really all about.”  It takes a special kind of obtuse not to understand how a great deal of people would interpret a protest done during the national anthem as being anti-military or anti-patriotic.  This is yet another example of how this movement was the epitome of ill-conceived in terms of winning converts.

Having said that, here’s another issue where history has already taught us how this is going to play.  The NBA went through the same saga 20 years ago with Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, and their reaction to it was the aforementioned Stalinist option.  Since then, NBA players have had a dress code while traveling, are required to stand during the national anthem,  and the same people bludgeoning me with “horribly, disgracefully, stupidly, terribly wrong” have yet to utter word number one about that.

What the elitist “lame-stream/woke” media doesn’t understand is they have spent so much time demonizing those who disagree with them they forgotten the average working-class American isn’t stupid.  It doesn’t require an ivy-league education to spot Freeman’s style of hyperbole, duplicity, and general bullshit, but it does require an elitist attitude to believe that you can in fact fool all the people all the time.

4) Kommissar Goodell might be smarter than I thought

If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog, you MUST be as shocked as I am that I just said “Kommissar Goodell might be smarter than I thought.”  I’ve been a critic of the Kommissar at a level of harsh usually reserved for bitter ex-wives or screwed-over business partners.  But Goodell didn’t even bother to consult the union on this decision, and there’s a solid reason why.

He didn’t need to.

By design or by accident, as of right now, the Player’s Union is weaker than it’s ever been.  There’s a lot of revenge in this from Goodell against player’s union president DeMaurice Smith.  If you recall, back during the labor stoppage in 2010, Smith was a major pain in Goodell’s ass.  That didn’t change in the interceding years.

Think about this for a minute. The player’s union got flat left OUT. The last labor stoppage in the NFL was not a strike, it was a lock-out held by the owners, which was a move calculated to break the union.  It didn’t work.  That means the NFL owners needed to find a way to weaken the union, and there is almost no better strategy for doing just that than “divide and conquer.” Now, for as much as the “lame-stream/woke” media keeps showing me players who don’t like new anthem policy, you can’t tell me there aren’t a significant number who support it.  If this is a divisive issue in the general populace, there’s no reason to believe it isn’t so amongst the players as well.

In Mike Freeman’s aforementioned piece in the previous section, he states he can’t understand why the NFL would do this now because he says “almost no one was talking about the protests any longer.” Here’s another exercise in journalistic ignorance, because it was the media itself who never stopped talking about this.

But what really makes this another example of cement-headed thinking is the fact that the current collective bargaining agreement expires in a few years, and right about now is is the time most unions heading into the collective bargaining process would be getting it’s proverbial ducks in a row. That means now would be the perfect time to toss the alkali metal of the anthem protest issue into the fish tank that is the player’s union.

The chemistry works like this: {2K (s) + 2H2O (l) → 2KOH (aq) + H2 (g)} = A big mess, just like the discussion of this entire matter.

5) A player’s strike at the close of the current CBA will be suicidal

Do you remember the old saying about actions speaking louder than words?  Well, that becomes very problematic when words are all you have.  Just ask National Football League Player’s Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, who brought us the following gem:

“History has taught us that both patriotism and protest are like water; if the force is strong enough it cannot be suppressed.”

It’s not exactly “I have a dream,” but what can you expect form a guy shopping in the “platitudes for people who’ve got nothing else” section of the Hallmark store?  Obviously, it’s his job to be on the side of the players, but that statement reeks of the sanctimony usually reserved for those who feel they can claim sort of moral “high ground.”

I hate to break this you DeMaurice, but if you are relying on the force of water, your pipes are leaking badly.

If you doubt that, ask yourself a question.  What was the real goal of the “take a knee” movement?  Judging by the amount of “hate mail” I got for supposing there might be ulterior motives to this movement, and considering the overwhelming majority of those messages contained a cavernous void of fact filled with ad hominem attacks, I clearly hit a nerve.

The questions I asked which drew the most fire was what if the players didn’t know what they were 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.”

Not only does that statement still stand, it resonated with many NFL fans I spoke with who also didn’t understand what the ultimate goal of these “protests” were. Far too many of them suffered the same fate as I did for having the audacity to ask such a question; like me, they didn’t get an answer…they got called names.

And therein lies the biggest problem both the protesting players…and by extension the player’s union has.  The lack of clarity of the goal of these “protests” – platitudes and slogans are not goals – coupled with the inability to get that clarity left the “take a knee” movement with the complete inability to win converts.  I can’t help you achieve a goal if you won’t tell me what you want.  That means as a political force, it is now completely impotent…;.and by extension, so is the player’s union at this point.

Think about it.  Say for the sake of argument the player’s union decided to stage a full-scale walk-out.  They will be the only losers from such an action.  No matter what happens, the owners will still be billionaires, the fans will find other pursuits for their sporting dollar and time; it will be the player’s who aren’t getting paid.

Short of such a walk-out, what are the players going to do?

6) Colin Kaepernick’s collusion lawsuit just died

Collusion is already one of the most difficult accusations to prove in a court.  Well, when you stop to consider the vote to enact a Kaepernick-killing policy wasn’t unanimous, that by definition means there can’t be collusion amongst the owners to agree on anything Kaepernick-related.  It gets even worse when you factor in the reports that Kommissar Goodell claimed the vote to enact this new anthem policy was unanimous, but at least two owners stated publicly they abstained.  These guys can’t even get their stories straight, let alone formulate a conspiracy to keep Colin Kaepernick out of the league.

To kill this lawsuit, all they need to do is bring in Little Caesars’ Small-Town Pizza Lawyer and have him challenge all 32 NFL owners to agree on a pizza order in under ten minutes.  Such a task in the J-Dub household ultimately ends up in ordering two different pizzas because Mrs. J-Dub and I have a better chance on drafting a Middle East peace agreement in that time than agreeing on three toppings on an extra-large. If you ever tried this exercise with a group of co-workers, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Now, imagine trying that with 32 billionaires.

That’s why this bilge exists about teams being to establish their own rules for players who violate with the NFL’s new policy. A policy without defined enforcement isn’t a policy; it’s a suggestion. It also opens the door to the NFL having yet another in which it will be criticized for inconsistent punishments for rule infractions, as well as it’s handling of domestic violence issues, the concussion/CTE matter, and the league’s continuing problem with the number of players ending up in the criminal justice system.

A perfect summation of the coming problem comes from Christopher Johnson, the chairman and acting owner of the New York Jets. He made a lot of non-specific noise about “continuing to support those players who choose to kneel on the field,” even thought the Jets had no players who did so last year.  He also made vagueries about paying fines and “continuing to work closely with our players to constructively advance social justice issues that are important to us,” and “commitment to strengthening our communities.”

Those are lovely, if not meaningless platitudes, but they also lead us to the final nail in the coffin of Kaepernick’s collusion lawsuit.  Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk is on record as saying “multiple teams believed that Colin Kaepernick was still good enough to play after becoming a free agent more than a year ago.” If that’s true, then why didn’t Johnson’s own virtue-signaling Jets sign him? After all, the New York Jets are a team which has been on a search for a quarterback arguably since Brett Favre, and has a long track record of signing mediocre-to-crap QBs.

The uncomfortable reality for the “collusion” believers is that Kaepernick is NOT good enough to play anymore, and those in the know understand that.  Hell, even I figured it out from my couch almost a year ago.  How can there be collusion amongst a group of people who can’t agree on anything over a guy whose demonstrated he can’t play anymore?

Your honor…the defense rests.

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About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

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