By Charlie Johnston
I love football. I fell in love with the game during the Chicago Bears 1985 Superbowl season and have been a fan ever since. Alas, no more.
I am not a purist on the matter of boycotts. I well know that in toxic times in a toxic culture, everything is affected – and even some of the best institutions are tainted for a time by the disorders of the age. But those institutions that take the lead into assaulting the culture deserve special attention. Ever since Target Stores decided it would take the lead in forcing women, even little girls, to share the washrooms with grown men, never mind how many perverts are in the mix, I have not set foot in a Target Store – and gave away two gift cards I had to the store. Since I preferred Target to Walmart, it meant something – at least to me. I doubt it meant anything to the store.
I grew agitated when Bob Costas and other NFL announcers, bearing lots of attitude and no data or knowledge, began using halftime shows to lecture about social issues they can’t be bothered to actually learn anything about. Then in the last year, Curt Schilling was fired from ESPN for noting on his private account that a few committed Jihadists can do a lot of damage and we need to take radical Islam seriously. Another employee was dropped for suggesting transgenderism isn’t the idyllic paradise progressive clowns make it out to be. A few years back, when some of the St. Louis Rams came onto the field in the “Hands up, don’t shoot” pose lie that arose from the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, I quit watching any game involving the Rams. (That’s what Black Lives Matter, BLM, made the narrative…but witnesses and forensics showed the reality was that Brown had just robbed a store – and had charged the cop who stopped him and tried to take his gun when he was shot.) The NFL has forbidden the Dallas Cowboys to do anything to honor the police officers slain by radicals from BLM in a massacre earlier this year. Meantime, San Francisco backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick won’t stand for the national anthem. He says it is in solidarity with BLM – and wears practice socks with pigs wearing police hats. Brandon Marshal of the Denver Broncos takes a knee for the national anthem and the entire Seattle Seahawks squad talks of boycotting the anthem. The NFL says that is their right of free expression (but God help them if they try to freely express disagreement with that attitude). Aside from the hilarity of modern sons of privilege telling me to check my privilege, I realize that the NFL and many of its players have become the spiritual heir of Bull Connor – the racist, thuggish Jim Crow enforcer of another generation.
If the NFL is determined to express solidarity with racist cop killers and people who enable the destruction of already vulnerable communities, I can’t stop it. But I sure won’t patronize it.
Bull Connor did not care if black people were around, provided they busied themselves getting his coffee or carrying his bags and kept to their “place.” The NFL doesn’t mind – actually prefers – cops to protect them and their venues…so long as those cops keep to their “place” – as children of a lesser god. Bull Connor, with a wink and a nod, would say HE was not actually killing black folks, even as he provided cover and encouragement for those who did. The NFL and some of its players, similarly, with a wink and a nod say they do not encourage the actual killing of cops or white people, even as they provide cover and encouragement to those who do – while shutting up or firing those who actively oppose it. It is the new Jim Crow.
I guess when you have completely lost sight of God or commitment to a principle of universal humanity, you don’t judge people by the content of their character, but by the color of their skin or uniform. All the progressive left seems to have learned from the terrible stain of racism, which we had largely overcome, is to shuffle the deck of who will be victim and who, victimizer. You flunked the test, guys, and in future generations will be viewed with as much contempt as Bull Connor and the racist thugs of his generation.
I will not patronize a league that hates me, disciplines anyone who dissents, and enables people who think killing cops is great sport. I won’t leave someone’s house if a pro football game is on, I don’t expect or care that others won’t choose to boycott the same way as I do. In this toxic culture, we all ingest some poisons – and it does not bother me that others choose different poisons than I do. But I won’t choose pro football anymore, nor will I buy anything that has an NFL logo on it or go to a pro football party. If I have to have a fix, I will watch a college game (yeah, I know they have their own problems). I know it won’t make any difference to the ugly men who operate the NFL. But I would not have gone to a football game with Bull Connor – and I will not patronize a league and players who have channeled his spirit.
California is trying to pass a law that would send whistle-blowers to jail and significantly chill free speech – and it is particularly aimed at pro-lifers. I guess the good news is that David Daleiden’s undercover investigation, which has put Planned Parenthood in a ticklish spot, has rattled its fellow travelers in government. The bad news is that, like ideological supremacists throughout history, they seek to solve the problem by jailing their critics rather than reforming their behavior. America, America, God shed His grace on thee.
Meanwhile, President Obama is determined to transfer control of the Internet away from America to some undetermined international body on September 30. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Representative Sean Duffy (R-Wisconsin) are trying to stop this transfer. If they fail, some international body like the United Nations will end up deciding what you can and cannot say online – and hate speech will be defined as being Christian, conservative, and pro-life. The rush to get it done later this month is so that a new leader would have a hard time reversing it.
One could be depressed at the daily evidence of our culture’s degeneration. W.B. Yeats ominous poem, “The Second Coming,” seems terribly prescient these days, especially the first stanza:
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.”
But God does have a plan – and all these things I covered today are merely aspects of the death rattle of an exhausted old order.
A very hopeful note I got came from a police officer. He certainly is gentler than I am about these things, though his anguished frustration comes through. I confirmed both his identity and that he is a police officer. He asked that, if I published this, not to use his name – apparently fearful that his bosses, both departmental and political, might side with the thugs, even for this gentle piece. Sorrowful times. Here is his letter:
“Everyone on social media is buzzing about how Colin Kaepernick is either a hero of the black community or the shameful man who should be fired for not standing. I think he is trying to do something right, but he is certainly misguided in how to do so.
If you didn’t know, Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the national anthem in a preseason NFL game. He later cited his reason as, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
When I read his statement, it was pretty clear he was referring to his issues with police officers. Why did he decide to disrespect the flag and all who died for it to show his dismay for the wrong group? My guess is that this was his quick and easy way of making a statement.
I’m upset with this because I am a veteran, and also a white police officer working in a black neighborhood. Actually, my town has more black people than any other race. So technically, I’m the minority. I’ve never shot anyone, but I do hand out my personal cell phone number like it is going out of style. I talk to drug dealers, addicts, thieves, and every other type of criminal. I offer them assistance in finding a job and try to present an alternative to their current life style. This is not in my job description, but it is my chance to stand up for a change.
To date, I haven’t received a call for help. I have taken a couple people to job fairs on my time off, and I keep handing out my number. I try to chat with people as they are walking home and routinely get told to go away (though it is not as polite). Being cursed at or yelled at does not deter me. I try to see people as they are – and most want to speak about doing great good without actually trying to DO great good. Most talk about what they could do if they were given the chance while they sit on the sidelines.
Luckily, life is not like elite level athleticism. There is no specific level of talent required to make a change in someone’s life. All it takes is a bit of self-sacrifice for the good of another. If I had the resources that Kaepernick has, I’d quit my job and start an organization to give all impoverished people an education and a realistic way out. There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing a successful person. If every criminal had a job the world would be a much different place. I don’t see how sitting through the national anthem would help that situation though.
Rather than letting our views on what Colin did polarize us, why don’t we go help someone today? Why don’t we look for the good in a fellow man instead of burning him for the little miscues? The goal is not to polarize and divide, that doesn’t help anyone. Help someone today instead of sitting on the sidelines.” – A Cop