Get ready to take a powder when the players take a knee, the NFL protests are back. You know, right before game time when we shuffle back into our kitchens to smash the guacamole to save ourselves the awkwardness of head shakingly ineffective social justice posturing.
The NFL today adopted a new policy that fines teams and players who don't "stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem."
I understand the need for and power of protest in this country, and the beauty and bravery of sacrificing your name and possible livelihood for your beliefs. This is not what these players are doing, and whatever they were initially trying to achieve, they have failed. We are still talking about the protests, not the issues, and certainly not a path to better outcomes.
Jared Kushner has done more than Colin Kaepernick in terms of criminal justice reform, and the latter wants discord, not solutions.
Football is supposed to be escapist, emotional and all encompassing, not divisive and distracting. If these players were genuine in their pursuit of necessary change, and I believe they are, they would bring kids and cops and activists together in the same room with their star power and goodwill and foster great, lasting discussions. If a handful are doing it, they have also failed, either with their impotent social media reach or inability to articulate what needs to change and how to make it better.
The NFL has also failed here by trying to have it both ways, exacerbating and further dividing an already over-politicized conversation. All the league knows how to do is offer ham-handed token gestures a day late and a dollar short that neither address nor fix the problems they pretend to care about.
The NFL is a private organization that is perfectly capable of enforcing its own rules, and those who are lucky enough to have reached the zenith in their beloved sport better find a way to reactivate the smothered love of the game before fans take a collective knee on the remote.