Not content with "riding the pine" as the backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick last week began what he hints will be an regular display of moral preening during the NFL pre-game playing of the national anthem. Instead of standing to honor the country, he will sit or kneel to protest its lack of cosmic justice.
From San Francisco FOX affiliate KTVU:
I am not a fan of the NFL.
I am not a fan of playing the national anthem before athletic events.
I am not even a fan of the the selection of the "Star Spangled Banner" as our national anthem.
Kaepernick's protests, however passionately he may feel about them, are both misguided and, as a consequence, ineffectual. Some of the purposes of his protests, as stated above, include the following:
To "bring awareness."
To help "people realize what's really going on in this country."
Even though, "everyone knows what's going on."
And, of course, to start "conversations."
Most of these phrases sound like talking points regurgitated from progressive pundits on MSNBC or lifted from the web pages of the Huffington Post.
Because his protests, and even this post-game interview about the protests, are largely content free, he is not bringing awareness of anything to anyone. People are are not going to realize what's really going on, even when everyone (as he says) knows what's going on. Consequently, the only conversations taking place are about, you know, Colin Kaepernick.
Meanwhile, over at the National Review, Jonah Goldberg calls for the For the Separation of Stadium and State. Sports, like all entertainment, serves as a refuge from the more serious business of life. Whether watched in a stadium, a bar, or at home, NFL football provides fans an escape from work, finances, and most of all during this time of the season--politics and political campaigns.
In fact, sports serves as one of many amusements that people choose in lieu of politics. A hundred and fifty years ago, 80-90% of eligible voters showed up on election days. They participated by the thousands in rallies, debates, and parades for their candidates or issues. One reason may be their sense of duty as republicans to exercise their civil virtue. But another reason, no doubt, was that there was nothing else to do for entertainment.
Today we have a nearly endless variety of amusements available to entertain us besides political involvement. The NFL is just one of them. This partly explains why less than half of eligible voters bother showing up at the polls.
Now this boorish bench-rider, from the safety of the sidelines, intends an indeterminately long campaign to violate the NFL's entertainment etiquette.