Athletes in Protest

When an American story spins out of control, sometimes I find it useful to read an alternate perspective, one from outside the US. In the protests and reactions to Colin Kaepernick sitting for the patriotic prelude to his athletic contest, like this.

A few observations …

Because of the considerations of image, NFL players are rather limited in their public expressions. Restrictions on uniforms and supplemental apparel are legendary, like here. Corporations buy and own where pro football is concerned. If you are wondering about how Mr Kaepernick’s protest will play out, the only thing to keep in mind is how it affects the bottom line. For now, his team supports him (even if they wish he’d do something different, like play better ball).

Fans seem divided, expressing themselves with public incinerations of duplications of his corporate uniform. (For every 49ers jersey that goes up in polyester smoke, at least one Nike swoosh vaporizes with it.)

A few military tweets include, “I serve to protect your freedoms, not a song.” I think this is about right.

One presidential candidate referred to the protest as “a terrible thing.” Interesting adjective. Usually it means “very bad” in modern English. but you can still see the root it shares with “terror” in the sense that a late medieval speaker would see “fills with fear.” When irrational reactions follow from a protest, there certainly could be an upwelling of fear, even from those who appear to be in power.

If Black Lives Matter is inspiring a bit of a threat to those in power, that may not be a bad thing. And if some in power, like WNBA establishment, are prepared to walk back on things like fines, maybe the protests are working, in some small part. Many police departments around the country work with the citizens who hire, pay, and honor them for their service. Hopefully such protests, even the unpopular ones, move some of the stragglers. Good for the pro athletes, especially the high-profile ones, who see their lives mattering on a stage bigger than a field of green plastic.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Athletes in Protest

  1. FrMichael says:

    Last night one of the San Francisco TV stations was running a poll during its newscast on whether viewers support or oppose Kaepernick’s actions. It was running 3-1 in opposition.

  2. I don’t like it when you delve into the propriety of secular conflicts. Find a secular societal conflict in the 21st century whose locus isn’t ego.

    • Todd says:

      Maybe the involvement of ego is inevitable. I have a hard time thinking of a church conflict void of ego. But if it helps, I don’t find commentary on politics quite as exciting as I might ten to twenty years ago.

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