Caution, read at your own risk it, as may make you “feel some kind of way.”
Vice President Pence; Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones; ESPN; President Trump; the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell; corporate America; and the one percent are all ganging up on a handful of Black professional athletes and a sports personality. Why? Because the power structure knows its history, they know that dissent has a way of catching fire and it already has— thus the opposition.
Consider the suspension of Jemele Hill, which doesn’t make sense considering that she is paid to offer her opinion on her ESPN sports show. But it makes sense from the corporate perspective. They can’t have Black folks running around telling the truth and encouraging resistance. Can’t you hear the execs now mumbling to themselves over and over, “Did she say boycott?”
This chapter in history is similar to the late 1950s and early 1960s when the power structure instructed its minions to get the protesters out of the streets. Make concessions, make promises even if they can’t be kept, but get those people out of the streets. STOP THE PROTESTS. They understand that revolutions begin with some deeply felt grievance. Remember the U.S. revolutionaries of 1776 screaming “no taxation without representation.”
This is a sign of desperation, pleading STOP THE PROTESTS. Hill made it clear that she wasn’t calling for a boycott, but she did provide details on how it could be accomplished.
Colin Kaepernick had captured the attention of much of the U.S. and young people as they emulated the quarterback protesting the prevalence of police violence in our society
The NFL thought they could STOP THE PROTESTS when they conspired to keep Kaepernick out of the league. That act was collusion and, supposedly, it was illegal. Incredibly, some dishonest sports writers continue to make excuses for the NFL’s obvious Black (White) balling of the quarterback.
But to the chagrin of the exploiting class, the moneygrubbers and parasites (that’s what they are) didn’t STOP THE PROTESTS. Young people are still putting their playing status on the line by taking a knee.
The powers that be understand the power of symbolism and a gesture. They couldn’t care less about the U.S. flag or the national anthem; they are merely symbols to keep us suckers in line.
American corporations like Ford, GM, Carrier, Apple and Nabisco claim to be patriotic and stand at attention for the national anthem, all the while taking jobs and work away from U.S. workers. Their pledge of allegiance is to profit making, which keeps them in an endless pursuit of cheaper work forces and larger profits.
And no entity has disrespected the military more than the U.S. government, which has historically treated veterans of its incursions poorly. When vets came home from the U.S. war in Vietnam complaining of sickness from exposure to the defoliant Agent Orange, the government denied them help and only acknowledged the problem after public outcry.
When the veterans of the first Iraq war complained about Gulf War Syndrome, again resulting from some of the weaponry used, once again the U.S. government denied its existence and denied benefits to veterans suffering from it.
When it was discovered that troops returning from U.S. interventions and invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were suffering from PTSD as a result no doubt partly from fighting an unjust war and witnessing or participating in the mistreatment of the enemy, the government balked, intentionally ignoring vets who needed help.
It was only a few years ago that VA hospitals were counted among the worst in the nation. So much for loving the military, but STOP THE PROTESTS.
Only recently, in 2009, did the NFL begin standing at attention for the national anthem. The Armed Forces were being paid to put on patriotic/militaristic displays.
So much for patriotism!
While those in power are probably aware that movements seldom start at the top (artists athletes and entertainers don’t usually have the ability to sustain a movement) they understand the power of those in the spotlight to keep the flames of discontent lit. And that explains Pence’s staged walk out of a game where players took a knee, the president’s bullying, Jerry Jones ultimatum, Hill’s firing and NFL Commissioner Goodell’s attempt to water down the issue by focusing on “strengthening their communities” was the agreed upon mantra.
Jones delivered his ultimatum to STOP THE PROTESTS, but his follow up was even more insightful. He threatened players with suspension so they could use the consequence (suspension) “to resist peer pressure.” In other words, Jones threatened his players with suspension so the players would have an excuse to STOP THE PROTESTS and stand down, in this case to “punk out.”
A Forbes opinion writer pointed out that “The protests are meant to spotlight racism and police brutality. Players are engaging in a gesture that affords the subject its most visibility.”
This is why the bosses are trying to STOP THE PROTESTS! But protest we must.
Justice then peace
Mel Reeves welcomes reader responses to email@example.com
Mel Reeves was the community editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder until he passed away on January 6, 2022. He had a long and storied history working at the MSR.
Find more about Reeve’s life and legacy here: spokesman-recorder.com/category/remembering-mel-reeves.