Oct 11, 2017 (San Diego) The league last night essentially mandated that the players stop their protest and stand for the anthem. This came after significant pressure from the President of the United States, who suggested players who protest should be fired. This could be construed as a violation of 18 U.S. Code § 227. This partially reads:
influences, or offers or threatens to influence, the official act of another,
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or both, and may be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.
Whether it is legal what the president did, since it could be argued he engaged in first amendment activity as well, is immaterial. What the president has done is step into a hot culture war issue. Many in his natural base do not like men, mostly men of color, taking a stand on anything, or being critical of the police.
Let’s make this crystal clear. The protests have nothing to do with the anthem, or the flag, or the military. They have all to do with an environment of almost no police accountability in the treatment of people of color. This mode of protesting is spreading to city councils as well. Yesterday we had people kneel during the pledge at San Diego City Council.
And the National Football League has walked back the statement that they will bench any player. I guess they realize what I do. What happens when the whole offensive line for both teams takes a knee? Anyway, here is the clarification.
“Commentary this morning about the commissioner’s position on the anthem is not accurate.
“As we said yesterday, there will be a discussion of these issues at the owners meeting next week. The NFL is doing the hard work of trying to move from protest to progress, working to bring people together.
“Commissioner Goodell spent yesterday with Miami Dolphins players, law enforcement and community leaders witnessing first-hand the outstanding work our players and clubs are doing to strengthen their communities. Players from around the league will be in New York next week to meet with owners to continue our work together.”
So this is partly about the far right base the president fears losing. It is also about the very expensive stunt on the part of the Vice President, who did not intend to stay in the Colts game, to begin with.
It is far more than just that. We are not talking, generally speaking, about a few failures on the part of Donald J Trump as president. He has zero major, or for that matter minor, bills passed in Congress. The agenda is stalled. While prototypes for the wall are being built in San Diego, opposition to this wall is bipartisan. Border region Republicans are just opposed to this as Democrats.
Then there are the disasters besetting the country and the underwhelming response to Puerto Rico. The electric grid is still 90 percent dark, and communications are spotting at best. While the administration claims they are doing the best they can, we will contend that racism continues to color the response, just like Katrina under the Bush administration. The charge from Trump that they are blowing through the budget is also tone deaf as can be. After all, Trump spends a lot of time on the golf course, at the taxpayer’s expense. Did we mention these are Trump properties? The Emoluments clause comes to mind. Indeed, he is being sued over it.
And this is still the somewhat small stuff if you call major natural disasters small. In a functioning country, they would be easy to respond and take care off, however. We do not have a functioning government, and that is by design.
The president is desperate to distract people from his failures, It seems he also wants to take the country to war. He has been poking North Korea for a while, and while we are all talking about the NFL, B-2 Bombers overflew the Korean peninsula. There are no winners in a nuclear war. And if it was a limited war, the US would become a third-rate power in two hours. A full exchange is not survivable by anybody.
He is expected to decertify the Iran agreement, which has huge implications for any future president and foreign affairs. Why will anybody trust us to stand by our word?
Then there is Russia. We know that investigation continues and Robert Mueller continues to work. The Steele Dossier continues to become a good source of information. Mueller’s team met with the author as well. This was not, I assure you, for tea and crumpets.
So the NFL serves as both a huge distraction from the failures, but also a culture war battle that he can use to serve red meat. His base loves it. His base did not like people sitting at lunch counters either at Woolworth. Nor did they like the courts meddling with schools in Brown v Board of Education. His base in many respects, whatever remains of it, wants to go back to a mythical time when people, yes even those players now in the league knew their place. Knowing their place is truly racist code. But while they scream MAGA, and jeer at players who want police accountability, the president continues to flail.