Tuesday, September 26, 2017

time to take a knee, I guess

Every damn person is writing about this whole "take a knee" flap, so I suppose it's time for me to slap up my own thoughts as well. But first, here are some others' thoughts that are worth a view or a read.

First up is Paul Joseph Watson, who as usual minces no words:

Zen teacher Lorianne offers her own opinion on the knee situation here.

Mike Rowe thinks the situation is in the hands of the fans, and he expresses disappointment in all the parties involved, from the players to the president.

Styx offers a take that is more nuanced than Paul Joseph Watson's, but his general view is that the football players are spoiled brats undeserving of sympathy:

All of the above-cited people make points that I agree with, as well as some that I disagree with (e.g., I disagree with Lorianne's blanket claim that taking a knee is a reverential gesture: it's obviously a gesture of defiance in this instance, although not, as some would say, a crass gesture of disrespect: this is what peaceful protest should look like). My basic stance is similar to that of Styx and Mike Rowe insofar as I believe the kneelers are simply taking advantage of their right to free expression. At the same time, I appreciate Rowe's point that, ultimately, the fans are the ones whose threshold of tolerance matters: if the fans get disgusted enough, they'll withdraw their business, and the NFL's owners and coaches will start to tell the players to cut out the kneeling. As Styx notes: the owners and coaches already tell the players what socks to wear onto the field; if they control the players' behavior so minutely already, what's so hard about telling the players to get their collective act together?

I also agree with the notion (I think propounded by Styx and others) that Trump's having weighed in on the situation with his "get that son of a bitch off the field" is yet another Trumpian smoke screen designed to keep people agitated about things that don't matter while Trump quietly implements a deeper agenda. If I've learned nothing else about Trump since the election, it's that Trump is as much a media guy as he is a real-estate guy, and he knows how to manipulate. The smoke-screen theory isn't kooky at all, from my perspective. People are also noting (this was from the PJW video) that the kneelers are basically playing into Trump's hands, politically speaking: the public gesture will solidify resentment on the right and ensure that Trump's voting bloc remains solid through the midterm elections and beyond. When 2020 rolls around, and all the left has to work with are the usual accusations of bigotry/racism, sexism, and general crassness (along with claims of insanity and stupidity), Trump's voter base is going to steamroller over this utter lack of a platform and win Trump a second term. Whether you cheer this or fear this is up to you, of course.

ADDENDUM: David French, a conservative writer at National Review, cautions righties to beware the hypocrisy of trumpeting free speech only when it suits them:

Now, with that as a backdrop, which is the greater danger to the ideals embodied by the American flag, a few football players’ taking a knee at the national anthem or the most powerful man in the world’s demanding that they be fired and their livelihoods destroyed for engaging in speech he doesn’t like?

As my colleague Jim Geraghty notes this morning, too many in our polarized nation have lately developed a disturbing habit of zealously defending the free speech of people they like while working overtime to find reasons to justify censoring their ideological enemies. How many leftists who were yelling “free speech” yesterday are only too happy to sic the government on the tiny few bakers or florists who don’t want to use their artistic talents to celebrate events they find offensive? How many progressives who celebrated the First Amendment on Sunday sympathize with college students who chant “speech is violence” and seek to block conservatives from college campuses?

The hypocrisy runs the other way, too. I was startled to see many conservatives who decried Google’s termination of a young, dissenting software engineer work overtime yesterday to argue that Trump was somehow in the right. Yet Google is a private corporation and Trump is the most powerful government official in the land. The First Amendment applies to Trump, not Google, and his demands for reprisals are ultimately far more ominous, given his job, than even the actions of the largest corporations.

InstaPundit commenters vociferously disagree with David French. See here.

ADDENDUM 2: Offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, of the Pittsburgh Steelers, is now apologizing for having stood during the national anthem while all of his teammates took a knee. Villanueva is a former Army Ranger; I'd have thought he'd have more of a spine.


John Mac said...

What I find most amusing is the players are supposedly taking a knee in order to protest social injustice, but all everyone is talking about is whether that action is disrespectful to the flag and what it represents. I'm in that camp personally. Anyway, there are better ways to fight against injustice. And like you say Trump is playing these folks to his advantage.

I get what French is saying, BUT...wasn't it just last week that the left was trying to deny right wing speakers a platform in Berkeley? Free speech for me but not thee is seems.

Ah well, it's all a distraction and ultimately meaningless.

Kevin Kim said...


Yeah, I think French wrote about that inconsistency. In the second blockquoted paragraph, we see: "How many progressives who celebrated the First Amendment on Sunday sympathize with college students who chant 'speech is violence' and seek to block conservatives from college campuses?" I think this is both a general reference and a specific dig at the recent cowardly cancellation of Milo Yiannopoulos's free-speech march.

John from Daejeon said...

For one brief moment, Alejandro Villanueva had the number 1 selling football jersey on NFLShop.com, but now I bet there will be quite a few cancellations due to his apology for saluting the U.S. flag.

King Baeksu said...

Employees do not have "free speech" when they're on the company clock.

Kevin Kim said...


Much the same sentiment is expressed here. It's a fair point.