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Protests made no sense and still don’t

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By BEN CARLSON

 A note from Ben: I asked Teri Carter and she agreed to do an occasional point-counterpoint on issues of the day. Here’s the first installment.

 

The NFL’s temper tantrum over President Trump’s ham-fisted remarks on players kneeling during the National anthem wasn’t two weeks old when it began crumbling before the nation’s eyes.

By this past weekend, players didn’t know whether to kneel or get off the pot, so to speak, because what began as one player’s protest of how police treat minorities had morphed into a Trump-hating mish-mash of disrespect, confusion and downright foolishness.

Not that their collective failure came as a surprise, given how misguided the effort was from the start.

Let’s backtrack a bit. Long before Trump was anything but a reality TV star and billionaire, Colin Kaepernick decided to sit during the anthem, angering most of the beer-buying, F-150-driving fans who devote an inordinate number of hours to watching profession football players give each other concussions and permanent limps.

Me? I’d rather spend my Sundays in the fall hunting, gutting and butchering deer, but enjoyed watching the Bills play when they were on local TV, painful as it was.

Anyway, Kaepernick’s decision to kneel or sit followed events in Ferguson, Missouri and other areas that drew massive media attention but more importantly swift action for then-president Obama’s justice department.

Let that sink in for a moment. The federal government, which is in large measure represented by the flag and national anthem, leaped into action — some would say without due cause — and took up the cause for which Kaepernick knelt. 

His response? Disrespect those national emblems by refusing to stand for them rather than using his platform to do something about what actually happened in Ferguson and other communities.

That, to me, made no sense and still doesn’t. If someone with Kaepernick’s notoriety — he did play in a Super Bowl a few years earlier — were to actually spend time in places like Ferguson encouraging people to throw out city officials who oversee what he saw as a racist police department, that would do much more to improve the lives of the people who live there.

The same could be said for other cities such as Baltimore, New York, Los Angeles and the like. 

Of course, as the issue grew and metastasized, Kaepernick’s message became muddled to the point where the only thing most people saw was football players being disrespectful. Taken aback after realizing that 70-plus percent of Americans took offense, players who insisted what they were doing wasn’t offensive openly tried to be less offensive by locking arms or kneeling before the anthem, none of which made any difference to fans who don’t go to or watch games to get a half-baked civics lesson.

What the players still don’t seem to understand is that their actions aren’t going to win hearts and minds, and certainly won’t to do a darn thing about how minorities are or will be treated by the police, or anyone else.

But then again, temper tantrums rarely do.