Tag: TakeAKnee

Trump & The NFL

An interesting observation:

The section in question is U.S. Code, Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 11, Section 227. If any player is damaged (in the legal sense — loses money because they are benched or terminated for protesting), they should have standing for a complaint. It’s not civil, so the president is not sheltered whilst in office.

Trump is a covered person. (b)(3) specifically lists the president. So there’s no quibbling on this count.

(a)(2) is a point where linguistics can be argued. “influences, or offers or threatens to influence, the official act of another,” — he has threatened to eliminate tax exemptions which is threatening to influence the official act of another to eliminate {not withhold, the term used in (a)(1)}

And the big argument – (a) “with the intent to influence, solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation, an employment decision or employment practice of any private entity” (emphasis is mine). Is his threat solely on the basis of political affiliation?

News organisations targeted by Trump may have a case under the same law. It’s a reach, but they may have a better case for Trump’s threats to be based “solely” on political affiliation (although Trump isn’t doing anything from political affiliation. He’s doing it from Trump affiliation). I don’t think any network has been sufficiently harmed (yet) so as to show damages, so that argument is moot. He pulls a Nixon and starts challenging licenses, though … there’s precedent that legal fees and such don’t constitute damages. Loss of advertising revenue?

 

To Mike Ditka

There may not have been oppression, of which you were made aware, in the past hundred years. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. I haven’t been pulled over for driving while black either. My melanin-challenged heritage probably has a lot to do with that fact, not the absence of racially motivated traffic stops in the twenty plus years since I started driving. So maybe do some research of your own, talk to some people, before fobbing off the experience of a rich old white dude as typical for all races, classes, and genders in America.

I’ve also had a police officer come up to me whilst I was breaking into a car in the middle of a car park and ask if he could help (yeah, it was my car but he didn’t know that and I had no way of proving it until the car was unlocked). This was before cell phones had widespread distribution, and he offered to have someone ring a locksmith to open my car for me. Didn’t have the money, I replied honestly, and continued to force the frame-less glass window down until I could reach through and unlock the door. Now some of that is demeanor. It was my car and I wasn’t freaked out because a cop rolled up behind me. I was also familiar enough with the car’s window mechanism to know a good bit of force would lower the window. The cop didn’t even ask to see some ID and the registration paperwork once I got the door opened. I have darker complected friends who have been stopped while driving a car with keys in it and accused of stealing the thing. Followed by a demand for ID and vehicle registration to prove the vehicle wasn’t stolen.

The added irony is that Ditka was discussing protests within the NFL – protests that are designed to bring attention to racial injustices around the country. He exemplifies the need for these protests.

 

Actual quotes: “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of.”

“Now maybe I’m not watching it as carefully as other people. I think the opportunity is there for everybody. Race, religion, creed, color, nationality — if you want to work, if you want to try, if you want to put effort into yourself, I think you can accomplish anything.”

For those keeping score at home …

For those keeping score at home, taking a knee (or linking arms) in protest during the national anthem should lead to immediate employee termination because the flag has been so disrespected. Walking out in protest during the national anthem? Absolutely the right thing to do.

The most ironic aspect of Pence’s worst-fake-spontaneity-in-memory protest is that it essentially proves the point Kaepernick was making. Racial inequality is a thing, and not a trivial little thing that inconveniences a few people a year. It’s a big thing that causes hundreds if not thousands of people to DIE, maybe hundreds of thousands more to be incarcerated, and who knows how many embarrassed and inconvenienced each year. If you’re an old white dude, you can walk out on the anthem. If you aren’t … you’re fired!

Manufactured Offense

I haven’t watched football in a few years. We’ll put on the SuperBowl, which is essentially the sports viewing version of a ChrEaster. As I think about the NFL protests and a small portion of the public’s distress at how disrespectful they feel the protests to be … I am remembering that the only time the anthem was broadcast on the telly was the SuperBowl game. The broadcasters are in it to make money – you get announcer chatter, COMMERCIALS, and then the kick off. How is that less offensive than taking a knee?

On Protesting

Sigh. Robert Jeffress, a pastor who is one of Trump’s unofficial liaisons from the religious community, was on “Fox and Friends”. There’s no reason to think that would go well, but I this is a new level of ignorant. He said, “I think what these players are doing is absolutely wrong. These players ought to be thanking God that they live in a country where they’re not only free to earn millions of dollars every year, but they’re also free from the worry of being shot in the head for taking a knee like they would be if they were in North Korea.”

Dear Trump et al, They *are* thanking god they haven’t been shot in the head. They are also protesting in the hope that maybe, one day, other people who share a similar pheomelanin:eumelanin ratio, size of melanin particles, and count of melanin particles might not have to consider *NOT BEING SHOT IN THE HEAD* something worth rejoicing but instead believe it is the normal state of affairs in the same way you, super white dude, go through life.

Maybe next time you want to frame this as a “you don’t realize how great the country is” … you might not want to pick an example that is exactly the problem. Say they’re free from the worry of being locked up for taking a knee like they would be in N Korea. Might move the discussion down the path of disproportionate prosecution, but I doubt it.

The Straw Man Argument

The players taking a knee during the anthem are protesting racial injustice in this country. They are protesting the fact that one’s skin tone is the difference between believing a police officer is going to save you and believing a police officer is going to literally kill you. How military personnel treat people in an occupied country is a salient discussion (see: Iraq) not only as an academic appeal to human decency but as a pragmatic approach to reducing risk to military personnel. How police treat people, yeah even people committing crimes, is similarly not just an appeal to decency. An officer engaging a citizen who fears for his life … this is an infinite loop like the arms race. Cop needs to be more aggressive to prevent violence from citizen. Citizen needs to be more aggressive in resistance to officer. And no one wins. Racial relations in general are a difficult discussion, and how to ensure reasonable treatment in situations with inequitable power distribution is exponentially more difficult. Protesters are saying there’s a problem in the country that needs to be addressed.

And we all know how Trump feels about difficult ‘stuff’ – avoid, deflect, avoid some more. Some people are partaking in peaceful protest at their workplace — that’s employment law and barely free speech. There’s a good bit of case law behind companies being allowed to prohibit free speech of employees (i.e. if I reflect poorly on my company, they can fire me). Sorry, but free speech does not ensure freedom from consequences. The government won’t stop you from marching in a Neo-Nazi rally … but your employer may fire you. Your neighbors may never speak to you again.

The president of the United States (a.k.a. ‘the government’) advocates private employers fire individuals over expressions that the company did not deem worthy of reprimand … this comes really close to actually infringing on an individual’s First Amendment rights where no such infraction previously existed.

It is a nationwide straw man debate, and now other sports players are using the same protest as a symbol of their support for first amendment rights. Glad people support the first amendment (especially when you see surveys where they ask if people support actual content of the bill of rights and not just “the third amendment” – hint: the bill of rights doesn’t poll well in details). But the discussion that was being sought – how to ensure police officers are adequately trained and incentivized to diffuse dangerous situations – has become obscured.