Sunday, September 24, 2017

What's the Protest: NFL and NBA Athletes

When Martin Luther protested, he nailed 95 theses to the door of a Wittenberg church building.  He was very specific about his problems with Roman Catholicism. The Protestant Reformation came out of that protest.  Many people know the very beginning of the Declaration of Independence, a very small portion of the declaration, but very few, I would guess, could name one of the twenty seven grievances the colonies had with the British monarchy, written down by Thomas Jefferson.  Zoom forward to the monumental early 21st century protest of NBA and NFL game players.

Society regressed to where the opinion of people playing games became important.  The characters of the Roman circus became prominent before the downfall of Rome.  The combination of the internet and people's hunger for entertainment overinflates the role of actors and games and players, like the performers of the Roman coliseum.  This does not bode well for a culture, that people care what Lebron says about anything important.  What he says, however, brings web clicks, which sells advertising.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I have for awhile heard Stephen Curry hold forth on whatever the media asks him.  I have found Curry to be very, very good at saying nothing -- genius level flurries of snow.  Even I must admit that he is a master at saying nothing about a great many different topics.  As NBA camp opened this week for this new season, he of the champion Golden State Warriors was asked about whether he would attend an invitation to the White House, and he enunciated his carefully thought-out reasons for not accepting something he had not yet been given.  What would he do? He chose to insult the president, still relying on some of his well tuned skill at saying nothing, so that it was difficult to comprehend the denigration:
That we don’t stand for basically what our president has done, the things that he’s said and the things that he hasn’t said in the right times, that we won’t stand for it.  And by acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to. It’s not just the act of not going there. There are things you have to do on the back end to actually push that message into motion. . . . You can talk about all the athletes that have said things and done things – from Kaepernick to what happened with Michael Bennett to all sorts of examples of what has gone on in our country that has led to change. We’re all trying to do what we can using our platforms, using our opportunities to shed light on that, so that’s kind of where I stand on it. I don’t think us not going to the White House is going to miraculously make everything better, but this is my opportunity to voice that. . . . We have an opportunity to send a statement that hopefully encourages unity, encourages us to appreciate what it means to be American, and stand for something. So whatever your opinion is on either side, that’s what we wanna take advantage of this opportunity.
Curry, the now long time face of the Warriors still, even with Kevin Durant having joined him, would not say, "No comment."  He took his stand.  He nailed his abstractions to the proverbial backboard to a leftist media's delight.

I need some help trying to support what Curry said.  What is this 'message he wants to push into motion'?  What does he want to 'shed light on'?  In what way is anyone 'turning a blind eye to something'?  His lack of clarity produces a perfect opportunity for deniability.  You could tap into what he might have been saying if you were savvy enough, keeping up with what's politically correct.  You could read between his lines if you followed the media's talking points, what Trump calls "fake news."  However, it adds up to saying about nothing, zero -- a whole lot of verbiage, nothing of substance at all, which is what I find typical of protesting today.  You can't figure out what is bothering people that might motivate you to join them in their fight against oppression or injustice, or whatever it is.  I'd be glad to join Curry and the Warriors in their fight, but they are going to have to talk more plain to do that.

If the slightest intelligent person could engage Curry in a minimal amount of debate, he could tear through what Curry said in seconds.  The media doesn't hold game players accountable for their incoherent pronouncements.  They trade responsibility for availability, like when Kaepernick wore his Castro fanboy shirt in Miami when the 49ers played the Dolphins.  Rather than expect them to mount some sensible defense, they would rather take their few statements, play off their celebrity for the attention they receive, and blow them into larger proportions.

The image that comes to my mind for Kaepernick is the one of him kneeling with an afro the size of a beach ball, the one now that you'll see on people's t-shirts similar to the iconic deco art of Che Guevera, its immensity a great feat of engineering over which to pull a football helmet.  He could grow it even bigger if he wanted, but its size is suitable for making his point.  It says all over him -- I'm black -- his emphasis his race, his ethnicity.   Even though MLK yearned for a society that judged not by the color of the skin, Kaepernick delights in one that judges by the circumference of his afro.

I know the hair was part of the protest with Kaepernick, part of the messaging, but I still don't get the point, except to make note of his race.  He wants to end something.  What?  With his attitude, racism is bound to accelerate.  Some people are glad to be an American, the anthem represents their joy, and they know that no one has to live in this country if he wants to move somewhere else.  Because Kaepernick is free, he doesn't have to stay -- he can go find a better country -- but he chooses to stay where something is so, so wrong that he can't stand for the national anthem.

From what I had seen, Trump had never said anything bad about Stephen Curry, never attacked him, never hindered him from working or traveling (I see pictures of Curry all over the world every year) or from receiving what Forbes reports is 80 million dollars this year including his endorsements.  Trump still doesn't threaten any of that for him, despite what he and all these players have said. They wouldn't enjoy this same freedom in China or Cuba. In the current NBA climate, disrespecting Trump is about the easiest thing that Curry could do.  Coaches who criticize Trump can only help themselves in their locker rooms.  Their statements pander to their target audience.  Saying something nice about Trump would bring far more grief and opposition for Curry.  Anyone above a lobotomy knows that.

So Curry, the leader of his franchise, maligns President Trump in public.  He's not going to the White House.  Trump does bad things, says bad things, doesn't say enough good things.  Trump says, no invitation, and now Curry speaks his victimization:

I don't know why he feels the need to target certain individuals rather than others.  I have an idea of why, but, it's just kind of beneath, I think, a leader of a country to go that route. It's not what leaders do. 

Curry pulls the victim card.  He whines about being targeted and then he insinuates a sinister motive, allowing again for deniability.  Speak up.  Take your stand.  Produce your evidence. Curry says he doesn't want to go. Shouldn't he be happy that Trump pulled the invitation?  Why can't Trump reply to your criticism?  Leaders can't do that?  If Curry is a leader, as he purports to be, and he takes a stand against another individual, Trump, targeting him first, why would he not expect some opposition from the person he attacks?  When you take a stand, shouldn't you expect some opposition?  How hard was it, really, to hear that Trump wasn't inviting you to the White House after all?  Curry again doesn't make any sense at all and the media doesn't require it.  The people just want their bread and circuses.

For this "stand for something" (his words), Curry receives only 100% verbal support from NBA players and over 90% support from the media and Hollywood.  Fox News will give tiny pushback to that, this giving single digit opposition.  Those who choose not to support him will be attacked by multitudes with as much foul language as possible and their lives threatened.  They are the ones actually taking a stand.  In my understanding of a stand, Curry's isn't a stand.  It's moving right along with the current of present society, swimming downstream.  Curry is lockstep with popular culture.  It's not a stand at all to say what he says.  The worst persecution Curry actually receives comes from other players who are jealous of his popularity and his pigmentation.

Curry says he's a Christian and points to the sky, apparently to God, when he makes a basket.  He writes an innocuous verse on his shoe.  That's his stand for God that results in zero suffering.  How does Curry manifest a holy life though, the life of biblical obedience? How does he stand on the Bible?  Could he come out against fornication among NBA players, repudiated again and again?  That would be a stand.  Curry makes public shows of the causes he supports that aren't a stand at all.  Who isn't against malaria killing people in Africa?  Curry has had the opportunity to speak out against same-sex marriage and has capitulated.  I've never heard him say a strong, biblical statement for the truth of the Bible ever here in the Bay Area, and he has been asked many times.  Where he finally takes a "stand" is against Trump in a San Francisco Bay Area that voted against Trump about 9 to 1.  Curry stays silent on subjects where he might suffer the most for a Christian testimony.

Nevertheless, I really want to know what Curry and even Colin Kaepernick and the NFL players  are protesting, who kneel during our national anthem.  How are they suffering?  What's wrong?  What in particular is being done to them that they feel helpless to stop?  While the average salaries of NBA and NFL players has risen, the median income of Americans plummeted during the Obama presidency, lower when he left office than when he came in.  They were silent.  Since Trump entered, median income has risen 2%, that is, it has risen faster in the first six months of his presidency than all of Obama's combined.  While rich professional players got richer, the average citizen under Obama got poorer.  Black Americans suffered the most.  Poverty is also the greatest measure of lifespan, and the average lifespan of Americans decreased under Obama for the first time in American history.  If these players are going to have me join their protest and support them, they are going to have to do a better job of persuading me with facts and with truth as to what is so much worse under Trump, that would merit this kind of reaction from them.

How have the protests of professional athletes helped the lives of average Americans?  When things were getting worse for everyone else during the last eight years and so much better for themselves, what did they have to say about that?

Since I've lived in California, always under a Democrat majority, our church property has been robbed or vandalized over thirty times.  We're a church and church school.  I've been told by our sheriffs that they can't do anything to stop it.  They won't do anything, because they can't.  They can arrive after the crime to take a report -- that's the best they can do with far more serious crimes, like murder, taking their attention.  We've caught criminals ourselves three different occasions since I've been here, and nothing has ever been done to any of them.   At the worst, the criminals were inconvenienced by us for catching them in the act.  That's all.  We've never received any remuneration for anything that anyone has ever done to us or taken from us.  I know for a fact that many democrats in public office here would be happy if the violence against us would shut us down forever.

I already know that if someone came on our school campus to start shooting, that my only, I repeat, only recourse is to absorb the bullets to give the students a few extra moments to run and get away.  The state won't protect us or let us protect ourselves.  We ourselves can't have guns.  We and you know that criminals know this too.

The same government that won't protect us is also a threat to our belief and practice.  My daughter attends a state college, where the professors attack the Bible and Christianity.  They do it with freedom. They do it with gusto.  There is an intimidation on the campus not to say anything for the Bible and Jesus Christ.  These people are paid for out of taxpayer money, but students are threatened not to speak up against what they say.  This is all happening and I can go much further in describing it.  I wish Stephen Curry would say something about that.  Instead, he protests the position most difficult, while taking the one easiest and most politically correct.

As far as being an actual solution to the most serious problems of our society, I'm sure that as a whole professional athletes contribute more to the problem than the solution, more symbolism than substance.  Lenin referred to those Communism had successfully manipulated as "useful idiots."  That sums up the commentary and talk of most professional athletes and their coaches.

17 comments:

Tyler Robbins said...

Perhaps your best article yet. Thanks.

Rickey Moore said...

The best commentary on the protests that I have seen. Thanks for putting into words what many of us are thinking.

Anonymous said...

Mr. B, good article. I disagree with you much of the time, although it's hard to disagree with this post.

Leroy St. Jean said...

I have read it and heard it on the news but for the life of me I don't get what these players are protesting against or for, and that thing is all over the news?
Curry should not be mad over an invitation when he has a mansion in Heaven.;)

This article seemed like it was written with some venom.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks for the comments, all four.

I received a fifth comment from an anonymous, who thinks I'm a hypocrite, because I criticize Curry, but I don't criticize Trump. He uses harsh words. I'm going to include his comment here, rather than publish it, and comment on it. He wouldn't say his name. I reserve the right not to publish negative anonymous comments. That's been my policy for awhile. Sometimes I do, and I will in this format, because I want my commentary all around it. Here it is:

Kent, you are a hypocrite. It is absurd that you take Curry to task for pulling some punches and showing some grace yet give a pass to the fool in the White House who says whatever is in his mind, shows no restraint and in general acts like a 10-year-old. Why don't you apply what you wrote in this article to Trump? You actually have the audacity to complain that Curry "maligns" Trump when Trump acts as he does, maligning everyone from the mailman to the leaders of our allies? I grew up in your version of Christianity. I assure you I have no respect for you and your ilk that preaches your view of holiness and yet pragmatically provide ground cover for Trump. Shame on you.

One, I'm sure you didn't grow up in my version of Christianity. I'm sure of it. You have no idea. I'm sure of that.

Two, you prove my point, because you don't know what Curry is talking about either as shown in your comment. He's not going to the White House, because of what? He doesn't say. Just say, so we can be upset. I guess people would say it's obvious. If it is because of his "mean tweets," then say I don't like his mean tweets.

Three, Trump says in public what he thinks about things. I think he should hold back too. Don't say everything you're thinking. However, almost everything he says in those tweets, I agree with. If what he says is wrong, then point it out, by all means. Besides that, all that is wrong is that he should show more restraint. You don't point anything. You just name call. What has he done that is wrong. I'm not talking about his pre-presidential immorality, that he doesn't understand a true gospel (and anything like that), and the use of some foul language that I don't like. I wish he wouldn't do that. I'm not going to write a whole post about it though. I didn't write a whole post about Obama or his chief of staff's filthy mouth either, or Hillary's.

You are as unspecific and, therefore, inane as Curry. Kaepernick has been more clear than Curry. He says essentially police brutality. Is that what these protests are about? If so, then they completely ignorant, but they don't come out and say what they are protesting. Black lives didn't get better under Obama. They got worse. They are improving under Trump.

Tyler Robbins said...

If there's one thing you can count on from Trump, it's clarity. You always know exactly what the man thinks about somebody. Curry's statement . . . not so much. It's meaningless. If you ask Curry, "what do you mean by that?" over and over, after each attempted clarification, you might get somewhere, eventually.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Tyler,

I agree. Anonymous and his ripping on me, which itself is not clear, except that I'm a hypocrite and shame on me, isn't clear himself. He says that Curry is gracious. This is a definition of gracious, saying something very mean and saying it in a way that people have to guess what you mean. That's gracious. It's a kind or rorschach ink blot that you read into whatever you want it to mean, which the media and leftists read the worst possible -- that's what they want. That's gracious. This is where we're at.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kent, I said I grew up in your kind of Christianity and you say I did not. How do you know? Just curious... Are you saying that if I did I would think like you?

Frankly, you have no idea if blacks are better off under Trump than Obama. I suppose you are talking about financially which in itself is ironic. What talking points have you been reading? Exactly how has Trump helped the economy or anything else since he has gotten into office. He has done a bunch of low-impact executive orders. He has 0 (zero) legislative achievements outside the Supreme Court justice. The economy was rebounding long before he got to office.

I do appreciate you finally speaking truth about the idiot in chief though just in a response to me. You have been his cheerleader for so long that you really SHOULD do a post or maybe even a series of posts decrying him for the fool he is, his lack of restraint, his pettiness, his moral inadequacies, his constant lying, and his obsession with running the country like a reality TV show. If you want conservative Christians to have a bit of credibility when the fool is out of office, it is time for some of you people to get started calling a spade a spade.

And seriously, Tyler. You think you actually know what Trump says when he opens his mouth? When he is coherent, he is lying half the time or flipping his position based on what his ratings obsession tells him to do.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Anonymous,

You would be considered here to be a troll, dictionary definition. You are anonymous, off topic, and inflammatory. I'm going to answer you, because I think it's important to deal with your type of comment.

I'm sure you don't know. I don't know what you grew up with, but I'm sure you don't know our church, because I'm sure you didn't grow up in a church like ours. I could find out in about one to two minutes of conversation, but I don't think you have any idea what our church is like. I'm also saying it isn't like what you grew up in. I didn't grow up in a church like ours or ever attend a church like ours.

The standard of living has increased this year by 2%. It went down in Obama's 8 years. The measurables show that it was worse for African Americans, even worse for them than anyone else, dropped worse for them during the Obama years. If it has grown in the last 6 months more than the entire 8 years, then we know that has helped blacks too.

I know people in business. Many. They all tell me it's booming in a major way because of Trump. It even started the day after election. The powers that be, people with your mindset, are the only cold water on it. The best it could be is yet to come, because a lot of what's happening is based on what people anticipated, and the House and Senate are the only thing from something even better. The cutting of regulations alone created a lot instantly. Businesses started acting before the regulations were even cut, expecting it. The way you talk, you don't sound like you understand economics or what creates a good business environment. I'm guessing you can't admit that.

Trump's support of police will help save black lives. During the late Obama years, the environment was that police backed away and the murder rates in many urban areas was increasing. Violent crime rose 3.4% in 2016, the second straight year it rose. The crime rate for 2017 is down 2% and the murder rate is 2.5% lower according to the Brennan Center of justice. That mainly affects urban areas.

I said I didn't think Trump should react so much. However, I think the media, your type of people, are way worse, I'm saying five times or more worse. His tweets are a way to counterbalance, and I agree with almost all of them. Very few do I think he's out of line.

About all you wrote is name-calling. You wrote nothing. Nothing. Nothing of substance. You are essentially a media talking point, which I can read all the time without your comment. You sound just like the leftist media, the NY Times and Washington Post, you may as well be them. You sound like the folks around Berkeley here, championed by antifa, who are actual fascists.

Tyler Robbins said...

Anonymous:

Here is my response - "cheeseburgers are purple." That has as much original thought and communicable content that your response did. It means nothing, and you can't get anything of substance out of it - just like your comment.

Anonymous said...

I called Trump a fool. I stand by it. Based on your reading of the Bible and observing his words and deeds, do you deny that he is a fool?

I love how all you guys (and I mean ALL) excuse the foolishness, lies and disgusting behavior of Trump by talking about the other side is 5X worse. That is grade school logic. And I love how you say Trump's only sin is "reacting" presumably to the horrible treatment he gets. That says a lot about your bias.

In the past few years, I have built out of the ground (without Trump's help and gasp while Obama was President) two multi-million dollar businesses. I think I know what a good business environment is. In fact, there is no doubt in my mind that I know economics far better than you. You think you know about my church background. I think I know you don't know jack about economics really.

Your selective use of statistics is laughable. Why don't you acknowledge the fact that the unemployment rate was dropping long before Trump got to office? Does it not fit your politics? Why don't you talk about the long term crime rate being down including the first many years of Obama's Presidency.

Anonymous said...

Let's admit it: the media control our thoughts and our lives. It is they who determine what we as Americans think about and talk about and focus on. The mainstream media are just an arm of the CIA/deep state. The media could not care less about sports. This is just social engineering designed to further incite their wish for a race ware in the nation for one thing, and a a dig against Trump for their other goal. Yes, because he is such a "white supremacist racist." People, this is just social engineering and you are buying into if you really think this is a real or legitimate or serious issue.

For those of you who buy into it, can you at least be intellectually honest? Instead of falling all over yourselves trying to see who can be the most guilty and ashamed and like garbage simply for being white, can you just admit this is just another excuse to get your digs in against Trump? I've seen some Christian blogs tripping all over themselves trying to see who can have the most white guilt and acting as sanctimonious as they can in their proclamation that they are not racist. I question that. Don't those of you are doing this think it's pretty cheap and slimy to use "racism" as just another chance to give criticize Trump? I am not so sure it's better than the left who use black people as political tools by making every single issue one of "race." It seems unkind to cheapen racism and turn it into a cheap political tool. By doing this, it cheapens the instances in life where there actually is real racism.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Anonymous,

I could keep going tit for tat, but I'm not going to do that with anonymous. You'll have to give your identity, Mr. Multi-million.

Kent Brandenburg said...

For all those reading,

This is about the recent protest against America, not about Trump, who drew attention to it. Don't miss the point. And for the indecipherability of it, its incomprehension. We've got to be clear on what they are protesting or just whining about and with the idea that someone wants to solve it, not just throw a fit or use it for political gain.

When it comes to voting and who wins elections in America today, I understand the desire to smear you with everything bad about a leader. That's not the way it really works. It is a comparison. If you don't get this, then you do get this. If you don't vote for this, then you'll get this. It is a matter of, he's better than them. A lot better. But it is also that he with all his flaws is willing to fight where others would not, because they want to look good for Mr. Says-He's-Multimillionaire.

Neither is this going to ruin our representation of the gospel. There is overlap, but Trump couldn't join our church. If he didn't repent, we would have already disciplined him out. We would not put up with his behavior. But this is not about salvation and being a church member or who a Christian is. We've long passed that, so no one should let that pablum work as an argument. It's a fear tactic that shouldn't work. Beware of it.

Paragraph 2 does go along with a major theme of the post. What is the opposition saying? There is a lot of nothing being said. I listen to the commentary and you get meaningless verbiage, very unspecific, but a name-calling meant to smear, like anonymous here is doing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mr. B., for publishing the comments of those who disagree. While your article may be about protests against America and not about Trump, this whole story is ONLY about Trump. Who determines what is "the news"? It's not you or me! Like the comments from a post previously, the whole purpose of this story for being "the news" is because it's social engineering. This has absolutely nothing to do with sports, with legitimate issues of racism or anything else. It is only a "story" because it is just another case of media manipulation in order to criticize Trump and wear him down. The powers that be hate Trump and by and large hate America, so they use fake news such as this in an attempt to wear down and destroy both. The media want a race war and are determined to push determined to push that agenda every chance they get. If they can create civil unrest in America, the sooner it can be destroyed. And as alluded to earlier, it seems like the real racists are the ones who cry "racism" at every - single - issue. By using racism as a political tool, the left is showing their disdain for blacks because it really does make light of instances of real racism. Instead of caring about racism, they just consider it a tool in their arsenal of social engineering methods. I have also seen recent increases in so-called conservative blogs in discussions on racism. That's fine. But like the comments above, can those who do this at least have the honesty to say that the main reason they are highlighting this issue is because it's more so of a chance to beat up on Trump and not as much of a a new-found stand against racism? Come on, real conservatives and/or Christians should not be racist at any time. It's not that hard to understand.

Daniel Kelso said...

So this all started when the St.Louis Rams all ran out of the tunnel with their "hands up don't shoot" (which we know didn't happen), and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee and wearing socks with police officers depicted as pigs. This started as something that was against the police, that started when Barack Obama was the president. Now it's turned into something totally different. Now it's a protest against Trump. Will next week it be a protest against someone or something else they don't like.
I also don't watch or listen to sports to hear a professional athletes political views. If I want to hear about politics I turn on the news channel. Stick to football please!

Kent Brandenburg said...

Daniel,

I think that's a good summary. The reason I think that Curry won't say anything is because whatever he says won't stand up to any kind of scrutiny. Right now it's easy to say it's about Trump. However, if we don't know what it's about, then what difference does it make? It seems like just disrespect to the flag and a protest against America. Kaepernick said it was because of living in a country that supported or believed in oppression, via police. Now it seems to be, look at me, I'm taking a knee, because I'm a victim of some sort, or someone is being victimized and we're standing up for that, look at us, we care.

I think that one reason evangelicals are for Trump, contrary to anonymous here, is that they see their right to the free practice of their beliefs going down. Their beliefs and practices are ridiculed by the mainstream media, and Trump won't do that. He may not believe them or practice them himself, but he sees the value of them and then protecting them.