SPORTS AND POLITICAL PROTEST

Photo: John Dominis/Time&Life Pictures/Associated Press

So, America's president Donald Trump uninvited Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, to the White House after learning only 10 players or so planned to attend the customary congratulations event. His excuse? The team disrespects the flag and the national anthem and are not worthy. This despite the fact that none of the players engaged in the form of protest against police abuse against black citizens by taking a knee during the anthem.

The protest, started by now blacklisted quarterback Colin Kaepernick, has turned into an idiotic discourse about the flag, disrespect of veterans and basic jingoistic propaganda. None of which the original protest was about. The right wing in America, so offended by the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression act like this is sacrilege and can't possibly understand what is wrong with this black men who make good money and are revered as athletes. Their brains are so deluded into thinking the apocalypse is upon us now that whites are a minority they fail to attempt to understand the symbolism.

This is nothing new. At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, two bonafide bad asses, Tommie Smith and John Carlos won gold and bronze medals respectively in the 200 meter running event and with support of silver medalist, Australian Peter Norman, lowered their heads and raised black gloved fists in solidarity with black Americans suffering horrific civil rights abuses, during the playing of the national anthem. Loaded with much symbolism their actions of course had them ostracized despite the awareness they attempted raise. Brave and audacious it's a fantastic moment in history, one that I'm sure would be met by Trump and his minions with the same frothing mouth noises coming from their mouths about disrespect today.

Maybe I'm not the brightest bulb on Broadway, but can anyone inform me when civil rights and social change occurred without protest? Things don't change by being respectful to institutions that oppress people. Today's NFL players (and Smith and Carlos back in 68) are legally engaging in quiet peaceful protest. What's most interesting is that in the 50 years that separate the protests that not many find it curious that the issues spurring the protests are essentially the same.

I wonder if America will ever come to grips with it's racism or if the whole system will collapse before anything meaningful happens. Unfortunately the current climate tells me America will never get it together and petty actions by the president to stir up the mob certainly don't help.

FV