NFL Anthem Protesters vs. Constitutional Rights

Colin Kaepernick has failed. More than a year ago, he started the anthem protests in the NFL by creating a spectacle through either sitting or taking a knee during the national anthem before the game. It is said that he did so to draw attention to a critical issue, but instead he has distracted from conversations that were already active long before his protest.

What issue is the cause? Based upon the conversations that we are having now, it is either:

  1. The unchallenged assertion that independent contractors have a right to engage in political activism at their workplace on issues unrelated to their workplace; and
  2. Debating whether it is un-American to intentionally disrespect symbols of America, like the anthem and the flag, as part of expressing your contempt for the current state of America either in general or on a particular issue.

On the first, try it yourself at your job, in front of your customers, and then it should not be too hard to learn the answer. On the later, this is a long settled issue allowing for individual freedom. However, neither were what Kaepernick wanted us to discuss, so epic fail.

Let us go back to his original statement to understand Kaepernick’s issue; he said:

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

While he generally cites oppression against racial minorities, the expressed motivating detail is that police officers who shoot citizens are not being convicted of crimes.

Before the kneeling Kaepernick of pig-cop socks fashion, the issue of our fellow citizens being shot by our police officers was a subject of substantial public attention and debate as it is a vital issue of justice. However, he actually took the air out of that debate as it was distracted into a false free speech debate that had nothing to do with the government suppression of speech until President Trump put the bully back into the bully pulpit.

Returning again to Kaepernick’s orginial issue, cops are not being convicted for shooting citizens. Why not? In exercising their actual constitutional rights to a fair trial, due process of law, and trial by jury, the accused police officers have not been found guilty. Note that these same constitutional rights protected NFL stars like Ezekiel Elliot, Ray Lewis, and OJ Simpson when they were accused of crimes. Further, this deprecation of constitutional rights in favor of ideologically preferred outcomes was evident in the recently overturned Obama Administration policy that used Title IX to deny men accused of rape on campus of their due process rights.

Given his explicit use of SJW trigger words and his love of Cuban communist fashion, I have to consider his comments within the context of the regressive left political movement. Thus, Kaepernick’s objective is to create for cops the type of arbitrary system lacking due process that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell applies to review of player conduct. He advocates that reviews of police shootings come to an ideologically predetermined outcome by throwing out our constitutional protections for the accused, which have benefited all Americans regardless of skin color.

While Kaepernick appears to have gone full SJW, I do not think that is true of all the NFL kneelers, whose motivation are probably as diverse and disintegrated as a survey of any group of leftist protesters. Thus, despite being highly educated and playing a cerebral sport, by doing protest kabuki instead of using their words, these NFL players are failing to add to the discussion of the issue of cops shooting citizens.

I hope that we can dismiss this cult-of-personality distraction and get back to talking about real policy.

  • How should cops be armed?
  • Do we have enough non-lethal options to subdue resisting or threatening suspects?
  • Is there sufficient federal involvement related to review and prosecution of such shooting?
  • Is greater independence of prosecutors, such as being from the state Attorney General’s office, required in such shootings?
  • How can technology better collect evidence of police conduct?
  • How do laws related to drugs and domestic disputes increase risks of such shootings?
  • Do failures in psychological treatments increase risks of such shootings?
  • Does the post release treatment of felons, including related to reduced employment opportunities, increase risks of such shooting?
  • And much much more…
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