Visit The Barber?

By: S. Davis

Funny how in the aftermath of the Michael Vick interview with Jason Whitlock people are now jumping behind a guy that was maligned for his play as a quarterback and the decisions he made on and off the field of play. So he’s the one to rally behind as it relates to Colin Kaepernick’s abilities under center? Oh the lines people draw….

Vick had to ingratiate himself to any and all who would listen. Furthermore he needed the vetting of Tony Dungy just to get the ball rolling on his NFL career when he was released from prison. His advice to Kaepernick was genuine and I feel that he was doing it for the greater good of the quarterback’s future – but you have to view it from Vick’s distinct point of view. There were steps to take; he had a list of objectives he needed to meet in order to earn his desired result: employment in the National Football League. His whole existence – as far as the NFL is concerned – is to redeem himself in the eyes of the power brokers. Even now, as a retired player, he’s still on the redemption tour when doing goodwill for his  youth camps and outreach for his commitments related to charities involving animals. These are the lenses in which he’s viewing Kaepernick – and the barriers he’s facing in resuming his career.

It is not even close to being in the same universe.

Football is my favorite sport but I personally may go without my favorite way to kill time – until Kaepernick is signed or he retires. So people who have taken lives, although not through convicted murder, can line up on Sundays. You can beat your wife and assault other human beings, drive drunk and kill animals but someone who happens to be African-American QUIETLY protests and that’s the line? That’s the transgression that the league deems as too extreme?

We can’t have that in our game!

How odd is that? Why don’t white people, by and large, understand that the American experience isn’t the same for everyone? It isn’t.

Hey, white people do you remember that tiny, secret, work-exchange program called slavery. It happened. No matter how much you want to forget it. Listen this isn’t a diatribe against white America but we all view this country based on our experiences. Your worldview is built upon those experiences – and the black experience is not remotely close to those who happen to be in the majority in America.

Why the hell are white people so sensitive about the truth of this country? This ridiculous stance the league is taking against Kaepernick is proof.

Vick needed a fresh start. He was convicted of a crime and went to jail. He needed to make things right and be redeemed. There was a legitimate stigma and baggage that followed him. He had a mandate to be presentable to the 32 owners and general managers in the league.

Kaepernick carries no such baggage and, no, he doesn’t need to visit the barber. He doesn’t need to apologize. He doesn’t need to seek redemption. He didn’t do anything wrong.

On the “Dan Patrick Show” yesterday Vick was thoughtful and apologetic. “I think it was taken out of context in regards to what I was trying to convey, but I only want to help Colin Kaepernick. I’m not a general manager, I’m not the guy who makes the decisions on getting him signed, and I’m truly sorry for what I said. I think I should have used a better choice of words. Obviously we all know his afro has nothing to do with him not being signed.”

Why isn’t he signed to a contract yet? It’s the end of July. There are not 32 quarterbacks in the league fit to start. Kaepernick was a handful of plays away from having a Super Bowl ring on his hand. He had 16 touchdowns against four interceptions last season when possessions/turnovers is the most important facet of football. There’s not a single job for him?

Outside of the game, he’s an activist donating time and money to the causes that inspire him. If Tom Brady led the exact silent protest I wonder how he would be viewed, covered and dissected. I know the answer, he’d have a church erected in his honor and the country would cite him as the coming of a new deity. People already worship him as if he is one.

If whites protest an issue that draws their attention they’re viewed as passionate and true Americans whereas any protest involving African-Americans (and other minorities) get labeled as malcontents, mobs, and breeding a dangerous element. It’s shameful and the media covers things in such a way where it’s normal for them to pass those adjectives out.

This country was started on a rebellion. Americans wanted freedom of expression, clear of tyranny and rule from Great Britain. America protested. America fought. American gained its independence and in that same vein mandated that its citizens do the same. Yet a quarterback staging a quiet and personal protest against the National Anthem – which was penned by a slave owner and anti-abolitionist – is wrong for exercising his right? What he’s doing couldn’t be more American in nature.

He doesn’t need to apologize. He doesn’t need to seek redemption. He didn’t do anything wrong.

Got An NFL Starter Here, Wait…

By: S. Davis

There are 32 starting quarterback jobs in the NFL. There are a few depth charts where the man taking the snaps is completely locked in at his position; New England, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Green Bay, New York (Giants), Carolina, Atlanta, New Orleans, etc. However there are not 32 starting caliber quarterbacks in the league (I’m counting rookies projected to start this upcoming season). I count 11-13 franchises that should take a deep look at the man tasked with being their leader, on the field.

Colin Kaepernick is still unsigned. It’s July.

Is it possible that an injury brings him into a camp in a few weeks? Yes. Possible, yet improbable as I’m sure a new, manufactured, reason would quickly sprout out of the blue to justify keeping him floating in free agency. The NFL – as a whole – has made a decision and it fills me with dread. I care more about the NFL than just about every other sport I consume, maybe combined. I love football. The chess match of offense versus defense, the coaching game plans, how a certain defense will strategize all the ways to limit the best offensive player – and vice versa. It’s such a layered game.

This space, here, covers a multitude of topics, genres, sports, etc. My passion for the NFL is a pillar of my website as I write about it more frequently than anything else. How the league has banded together, in unison, to exclude Kaepernick puts me in a corner – and I may focus more on MMA and the NBA. In the ongoing issue regarding his return to the field, I don’t think I’ll be able to write about football in the same way I’ve grown accustomed to. I may put my pen down for the whole season. This makes me want to stop writing about the game altogether.

I wasn’t a cheerleader of Kaepernick during his glory days but I’ve always respected his abilities. I respect what he felt he needed to do. Let’s not forget that he didn’t seek out cameras during his silent protest. There were two or three weeks where it wasn’t picked up by ANYONE…and then, well, we’re in July and he doesn’t have a job when he should be under center…today.

The stats don’t need to be drawn out here but he threw 16 TD/4 INT while completing 59.2% of his passes. He had the sixth lowest completion percentage of any quarterback in the league – which is nothing to disregard. He did have a record of 1-10 in the games in which he started last season and that means something. What about the coaching changes after Jim Harbaugh left town? Jim Tomsula? Gone. Chip Kelly? There’s the door, sir.

Shouldn’t stability speak for something? What about roster turnover? The San Francisco 49ers’ roster is comprised of spare parts that can be purchased in Spanish Harlem – and has been a revolving door in the last two seasons. Does none of that factor into the equation here? How about the fact that his receiving group led the league in drops; isn’t that substantial? That isn’t something he can control and yet the league is keeping him out.

It only matters that a man of color didn’t stand for the national anthem. Why is the NFL comfortable with a national anthem that was penned by a slave owner and an anti-abolitionist? Why is the country? That’s fine though. Why isn’t that disrespectful?

A starting caliber quarterback will sit on the sidelines – his career probably over – because the powerful NFL felt it was out of line for an African-American to highlight that the American experience isn’t the same for every citizen within its borders. By and large the masses are totally fine with their stance and it’s disgusting but not surprising at all in 2017. There are things about this country that will never change. It’s now being viewed through the lenses of the biggest sport in the United States.

Un-American?

By: S. Davis

AFlag

Disrespectful.

I see you America. I see exactly what you’re saying in attacking Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest (quietly) by refusing to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” As an American citizen he has the right to stand (or sit) for his beliefs, regardless of whether it’s popular or not. I guess that a large number of those angered by his choice forgot how this country was founded.

Those feeling disrespected are focused on what he did instead of why he did it. Of course that’s the case because that’s what the ignorant chorus is likely to do….it’s standard operating procedure.

“He’s disrespecting the military.”

Is that true? He clearly stated in his chat with the media over the weekend that he means no disrespect to anyone in the military, past or present, and that he has veterans within his family. Veterans are voicing their opinion and it seems that most disagree but there are some that don’t have an issue with his actions.

When did joining the military drape someone in a halo and a cloak of perfection? So every single person that’s active or former military is above everyone else? The professions I hold in the highest esteem are the armed forces, teachers, social workers and firefighters but there’s not a single person on this planet that’s perfect and can’t be wrong.

People are infallible, clearly, and that extends to those in the military. Military members have received traffic tickets, screamed at their children, cheated on taxes, got into fistfights, cheated on their spouses, been incarcerated, etc. You get the point, right? They’re human just like the rest of us. I don’t agree with veterans who call his position wrong but I respect and value their opinion.

America does a great job of disrespecting its own military by not paying them enough and not caring for them post-active duty. How many homeless veterans do you encounter regularly? How many of these soldiers are returning, broken, to a country that does little for all their sacrifice? It seems the best ones love this country more than it loves them. I could be wrong though. The country conveniently ignores the plight of service members once they return to our shores. Why isn’t that un-American?

“He’s disrespecting those that died for our flag.”

There’s not a single person that died for the fabric that makes our flag – which is increasingly manufactured OUTSIDE of America, by the way. They sacrificed themselves for what the symbol represents.

They died so he could protest; so he could speak against wrongs in this country. It’s that simple. He’s honoring what they took up arms for.

What exactly does the flag represent?

It’s a conflicting sight for African-Americans and other minorities. We don’t know how to feel about the flag, the national anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance. The three of them were created by whites during a time when slavery was big business, the main business. The national anthem wasn’t written with African-Americans in mind. The Pledge of Allegiance wasn’t created to include minorities. The flag is a symbol…of something.

There isn’t a single thing about Kaepernick’s position that’s incorrect. He’s right on all accounts. Systemic racism, injustice for minorities… “Liberty and justice for all?” Where is he off-base? America is this proposed utopia…for a select few. Ignorant whites are really uncomfortable about that and they need to wake up and realize there are two versions of America. Informed people – of all colors – understand and don’t run from it. African-Americans, specifically, see the contradictions in what this country actually is and what it claims to be.

Why doesn’t America care about racism?

Why does America continue to oppress non-whites?

I hear the screams about the rich, black, quarterback and how “he needs to leave the country.” I’ve read the outrage about him making “millions” and “cashing his American checks” because I guess being rich overrides his skin tone. Where is the outrage about how divided this country still is? There is none except for those suffering: Americans of color.

Why does the Civil Rights Act even exist? Why did it have to be written into law? Whites didn’t have to fight for the right to vote, ever. Why did minorities? This country was so vehemently against equal rights that millions of black people had to die just so we could gain the same equality that whites are gifted at the time of birth. There isn’t a white Civil Rights Act, it isn’t needed.

Why does the hypocrisy of this country go unnoticed?

I remember paying attention in history class when the topic of World War II was on the syllabus. (Personally, it’s a moment in time that fascinates me. I’m completely enthralled by it. It has so many layers.)  So America finally entered the war, reluctantly, to stop an evil dictator who was killing a select group of people due to his own twisted bigotry and ideal of racial superiority. Thousands of innocent Jewish people where being exterminated for…being Jewish. That’s it.

We were steadfast in our resolve to make a statement and end the racism, oppression and murder that Adolf Hitler was dolling out across Europe. Our troops played their part in ending the war, returned home and America continued to oppress and limit the rights of African-AMERICANS. That was America, then. We fought for the freedom of Europeans but resisted the same freedom for fellow Americans…whose only crime was darker skin.

Is that disrespectful? Is that a symbol of a united America?

America is proficient at this. We fought for our rights when we felt we were under an oppressive regime. We rebelled against Great Britain because they blocked our freedom, our rights to exist, our religious freedoms, our right to form a nation, etc. We revolted against subjugation – and then subjugated an entire race.

I remember asking my grade school teachers about this in comparison to what happened during WWII – and I recall blank stares and a great deal of stammering.

Can we still ignore that? Are you still cool with that white America?

This is directed at white people who keep their heads in the sand or say he’s “un-American.” What does being American truly mean? The answer will differ depending on the person being asked – and their skin tone…and that’s bullshit. It was bullshit during the formation of this country, during the Civil War, Reformation, the Civil Rights Era and it’s bullshit in 2016.

That Kaepernick is an athlete doesn’t matter much. I like that it’s a huge story because he’s an athlete and this country worships sport and celebrity. There’s no way to avoid it but it’s ok, America. The news cycle will churn swiftly to sweep this under the rug. We all know that.

People don’t like that he protested in the manner in which he did, ok. What type of protest would’ve been acceptable? What would’ve made his actions easier to digest? I respect that he stood out, alone, instead of with the backing of other athletes.

Liberty and justice for all? Not if you have a natural tan.

This country loves symbols and maybe that’s why it has such a hard time removing the Confederate flag. Why does that flag still exist? The only place that piece of cloth should hang is in a few museums and that’s it. However its defenders claim it’s a sign of “southern pride and values.” Who do these values belong to exactly? It’s racist. It’s disgusting. It’s hurtful.

People lauded the politicians of South Carolina for taking it down but it should have never been raised in the first place. Does this country want to keep racism alive? Does America want to really end racism? Or does it just need to hold on to these little trinkets to remember that they held that power in an overt way?

Stop making an issue about what Kaepernick did. Please, focus on why he did it. I’ m not rich but I’m black and I’m conflicted about the flag and this country depending on what day it happens to be.

He protested the country and its government. Like it or not it’s American. If anything else lives up to the definition it’s his actions. It’s akin to the time during the birth of this nation when we spoke out collectively and were stamped as “un-British.”

Focus on why he protested. That’s where all the attention should be pointed. The reasons of his protest are the only things that matter here.