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Just one problem with Pence's Colts game counterprotest

Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence
White House/Myles Cullen
Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence standing during the national anthem prior to the start of the game between the Indiana Colts and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

A lot of lefties were annoyed by Vice President Mike Pence’s departure from Sunday’s Indianapolis Colts game to protest against several players taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. I’m not annoyed (except for one pretty big problem with it). I favor peaceful protest, including by those with whom I disagree.

Pence’s move seemed a bit canned, a bit planned, but so what? There are those who believe Pence went there just so he could walk out. But so what?

I don’t doubt that the players who knelt also had a plan to do so. The NFL players who have been kneeling since this whole thing started have, mostly, as best anyone can discern, been protesting racism and perhaps some other forms of social injustice. It is a peaceful protest. There is no law nor even an NFL rule against it. Same for the veep walking out of the game. Let him. After doing so, he issued this statement:

I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem. At a time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience, now, more than ever, we should rally around our Flag and everything that unites us. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem. I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem.

Personally, I don’t think the players’ protest has anything to do with “our soldiers.” That’s just cheap political posturing. The players haven’t said anything to protest about soldiers, except for some who have said their protest has nothing to do with soldiers. The flag isn’t any more a symbol of soldiers than of anything else about our country. It does so happen that the anthem is a song about war, the relatively obscure and confusing War of 1812. And it happens to have been written by a slaveowner (Francis Scott Key). And it originally had a verse in it that mentioned slavery (although it’s unclear what kind of statement that long-ago-dropped verse was making about slavery).

The flag and the anthem are symbols of our nation, which is, among other things, a complicated bundle of ideas, some better than others. One of the ideas I particularly value is freedom of expression, which includes freedom to protest, especially peacefully, and to argue about what’s right and wrong about our nation. The football players have that right. The vice president has that right.

Oh, yeah, the one problem I had with Pence’s protest is not that it was planned but that he flew on Air Force Two from Las Vegas for the game in Indianapolis, then back to Los Angeles after the game, and President Trump announced (by tweet) afterward that he had asked Pence to do the whole thing (including walking out if the players took a knee), which makes it look like an expensive stunt, at taxpayers’ expense.

The cost of the two flights was estimated at a quarter million dollars, slightly more than the veep’s annual salary. Personally, I’d be happy to see the Republicans show their famous concern for the high cost of government spending by doing less flying around in Air Force 1 and 2 and more time doing their jobs in Washington. (And, by the way, you should see the inconvenience to any city that is visited by these federal dignitaries, not only at the airport but in closing highways for the use of the presidential limos, etc. But, pardon that interruption. I wasn’t talking about government spending, I was talking about peaceful gestures of protest, which I support.)

Now play ball. And after the game, having peacefully announced by our different silent acts of protest that we disagree, let’s find a time and place to talk over our disagreements, calmly, respectfully, maybe even factually, and see if there’s any way to move toward common ground or a compromise. Or is that just too freakin’ crazy?

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Comments (68)

Anthem and Slavery

The line dropped from our National Anthem was:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,

It was not a statement about slavery in general, although it likely was included in the original lyrics because Francis Scott Key was a slaveowner. Hireling refers to a merchant soldier and slaves were the slaves fighting on the side of the British in the War of 1812, with the promise of their freedom after the British were victorious.

As far as the second line, while British Soldiers who might happen to be so lucky to get captured and attain the status of POW, a captured "hireling and slave" would receive no such courtesy. They were executed and likely tortured before being dropped in an unmarked grave.

Actually

that second line was directed at black soldiers who fought for the British (and whupped Key's unit).
And I don't believe that the last first was ever officially dropped from the National Anthem -- just no performed.
The official version appears to have four stanzas:
see http://www.music.army.mil/music/nationalanthem/

RIght

My comment was to note that the line was not a comment on the slavery in general, but rather a comment on the pivotal role that former slaves played in the war of 1812, and the second line was my projection of what Keys wished for these former slaves fighting on behalf of the British - which, was a gloomy grave.

so ... how about

we take a national referendum, use that to replace the Star Spangled Banner with Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land" .....

Soldiers don't fight for a

Soldiers don't fight for a brightly colored piece of cloth or a piece of music.

If they have a philosophical outlook on their enlistment, they enlist to fight because they believe it is important to the survival of the American way of life against an enemy that threatens the USA. And most commonly, in the midst of a battle, they fight for the tangible survival of their fellow soldiers and themselves.

If anything, the USA was formed on the right to dissent to power. That is the fundamental core of "the American way".

The totalitarian bent is increasing. Snowflake VP's not able to withstand expressions different than their opinion. Lots of usage of private planes by Cabinet members to avoid interaction with the general population. A call from Bannon this morning for Corker to resign because "a Senator should not say negative things about the President" (Bannon say anything similar during Obama term ?) Calls for governmental investigation of the media for "fake news". Proclamations from the White House press office as to who should be fired in private enterprise in the US. Proposals to punish certain parties via the tax code.

Thanks, MAGA !!

Trump and Pence are obtuse . . .

The proper response is that while they disagree with the kneeling during the national anthem, they celebrate that the United States is a country where you can protest by kneeling during the national anthem, marching in the streets, spout lies without consequence, tweeting frequently, and disagreeing about how the country is run and the direction it is going.

Dignify?

The whole idea that either Pence or Trump could dignify an event by their presence seems a bit ridiculous to me.

I have seen no evidence that either of them knows how to dignify anything, or even wants to dignify anything. Rather, the goal of the current administration appears to be to debase to the point where they can easily manipulate. And, unfortunately, this is the one area where they are effective.

Military service

Pence, like Trump, never served in the military.
Trump's attitude is best summed up as "I am the State."
Any disrespect for him is disrespect for flag and country.

"I am the state"

Nice way of putting it.

Louis the XIV

said it first.

The easy solution...

...as some have said, is to get rid of the anthem at the beginning of sports matches altogether. We don't sing it at concerts or plays or poetry readings, so why sing it at sports events?

Now, as to the anthem itself... Replace it with "America the Beautiful." A much more singable hymn and one that is not based on the glorification of "rockets red glare" or "bombs bursting in air" but on the natural beauty that is our country.

Except that

it establishes religion.
"God's Grace" is a Christian concept.

Not really...

I see your point, but the anthem is not an "establishment of religion" in that it is not something enshrined in the legal code, unless, of course, Congress were to do so. I would also argue that "God's grace" is something recognized, in one form or another, by most of the world's religions.

Having said all this, I would not be averse to changing that one line. Either way, it is much better than what we have now.

The Real Problem

Cheap theatrics and obviously-contrived publicity stunts are going to be the hallmarks of this administration, so we may as well get used to it.

I understand that every administration in modern history has indulged in symbolic stunts that seem more like entertainment than policy. The picture of President Coolidge in a headdress remains the paradigm.Nevertheless, the Trump administration seems bent on giving us nothing but theatrics, and theatrics of a particularly lowbrow nature. There is no thought to how any of this will look. We are just going to see reactions to whatever bothers the President that day (Pence walking out of a Colts game, and telling the world about it, seems to have been more important than recognizing the four soldiers killed in Africa). It's something between a reality show and All Star Wrestling.

Is this true?

Since Mr. Black writes often about the meaning or the constitution - or what he thinks it means, is the following statement true?

Employees don’t have a Constitutional right to free speech or freedom of expression at work.

Is this true?

I do not blame the players (for many reasons) - most owners and the league are just plain afraid they will be labeled as a racist.

The First Amendment

refers only to government restrictions on speech -- not private ones.
Employers may restrict some classes of employee statements while on the job or speaking as representative of the organization, but generally not when speaking as independent individuals.
But now we're getting into state constitutions rather than the Federal one.
In the case of the NFL, it's a question of whether their contracts specify some restrictions on what they can say when identified as team employees consistent with the First Amendment and state constitutions.

That was not what Mr. Black said....

" One of the ideas I particularly value is freedom of expression, which includes freedom to protest, especially peacefully, and to argue about what’s right and wrong about our nation. The football players have that right. " E. B.

There is no right to self expression, protest, etc., on the job. They can do that off the job. I encourage them to do such. The NFL players are on the field -on the job. There is no constitutional right.

The point is - when and if the owners and league put a stop to this they will be call racists. They already have been called such a name.

Mr. Black claims to know much about the constitution - and constantly argues how it should be changed and interpreted.

However - there is not a" right" for anyone to express deeply held political, economic views, religious, or any views, - while on the job - unless allowed by the employer.

What is sad - Mr. Black knows this. I doubt he took a knee during constitution 101 class. Maybe his statement was deliberately designed to mislead.

Above and Beyond

"There is no right to self expression, protest, etc., on the job" and "there is not a 'right' for anyone to express deeply held political, economic views, religious, or any views, - while on the job - unless allowed by the employer."

So the rights of those individuals who, according to a recent Supreme Court decision, are erroneously known as "corporations," private business owners, or ANY employer, trump the constitution . . .

Good to know.

Thanks.

Players do not work for Trump, Pence or the NFL

They have individual contracts with owners. Owners also have free speech rights. If they approve of the player's protest neither the Trump administration or the NFL has any right to tell owners what to do. The adminstration is violating the Constitutional rights of owners to try to bully them and the NFL can only regulate player behavior through the contract. If players sign away their right to kneel, they are entitled to get something in return. And fans - you can boo or do anything you want - it is a free country for everyone involved.

“The administration is

“The administration is violating the Constitutional rights of owners to try to bully them…” No, Trump is just expressing his displeasure which he has the 1st Amendment right to do.

“If players sign away their right to kneel, they are entitled to get something in return.” Correct – their jobs.

“And fans - you can boo or do anything you want - it is a free country for everyone involved.” Also correct – they can boo and they can stop paying money… In customer driven economy, it doesn’t sound good for the NFL.

Well

Since we are getting picky:
So what you are saying is that employees shall be compelled to show proper political correctness/allegiance, as defined by the great "T" which can be changed with a tweet, when they are on the job, is that it? That's got to be it, private employees will be compelled to show proper political correctness as defined by the big "T". (Guess there ought to be a law)

As with many things

…especially things constitutional, it depends.

As Paul Brandon suggested, if you're speaking for yourself, and there's nothing in your employment contract prohibiting it (that's some fine print worth reading), you can be Steve Bannon or any number of other right-wingers and question Mr. Obama's citizenship, Hillary Clinton's sexual orientation, the intellect and/or character of either or both of them, the lack of patriotism expressed at public meetings of your local city boards and commissions, and so on ad nauseum, find that there's no constitutional case against your doing so.

When I worked in big-box retail, my employment contract specified that I was not to speak to the media under any circumstances without prior approval from, at minimum, the store manager, and the company much preferred that the decision be made by someone higher up the corporate food chain. "Silence as a condition of employment" sounds so… negative, doesn't it? It makes some sense in industries and businesses engaged in work that qualifies as "classified" for reasons of national security. Otherwise, it's simply executive intimidation of the sort the Current Occupant practiced in the private sector, and has now brought openly to the public sector, as well.

When I taught high school social studies, there were numerous restrictions on what I could say in front of a classroom. Some were written, though in fairly vague language, others were simply long-established precedent in an era when a few shreds of what passed for "manners" still existed. For the most part, as an employee of the public school district, I simply got used to leaving any 1st Amendment rights I might have had at the schoolhouse door.

Others may have had similar, or very different experiences, and it largely depends upon whether or not someone can reasonably be seen by the public as a representative of their employer, especially if that employer is publicly funded, as public school districts generally are. Even off-campus and out of the classroom, I made a point of being careful about what I said, at least in public venues. Superintendents have very large ears in some cases.

Most owners, and the NFL as an entity, can plausibly be labeled as racist, so perhaps you're correct in asserting that they're afraid to say something, lest that unspoken label be presented to the public as far closer to the truth than the owners and the league would like.

if you're speaking for

if you're speaking for yourself, and there's nothing in your employment contract prohibiting it (that's some fine print worth reading), you can be Steve Bannon or any number of other right-wingers and question Mr. Obama's citizenship…” Nope, most states are “at will” employment ones so people can be fired for saying something the owner doesn’t like.

“Most owners, and the NFL as an entity, can plausibly be labeled as racist.” Of course, everyone and anything can be labeled as racist but that doesn’t make them racist (that requires some sort of proof).

Yes. Stalin

Was an “at will” employer

What does Stalin have to do

What does Stalin have to do with at will employment in America?

He made at will employment

An art which is now acceptable to present conservative businessman whether they know it or not.

Rights

Are you saying that our only rights are those enumerated in the Constitution? Because the Constitution explicitly says that's not true.

250,000 things wrong with his protest

$250,000 of taxpayer money for a protest by this phony who claims fiscal responsibility?

It's all distraction...

Every Sunday---another round of snowflakes-in-chief being confronted by views that they don't like.

Meanwhile, in the real world, war a nigh, treaties are being scuttled, diplomacy is being abandoned, coal is king, Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico (!!!) and Mississippi deal with damage, emails are being sent on private servers, scammy for profit educators are back in favor, health-care is being stripped on and on.

And our chief snowflake says he's not appreciated enough for taking a break from golfing...

From Twitter:

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
Nobody could have done what I’ve done for #PuertoRico with so little appreciation. So much work!
6:37 PM - Oct 8, 2017

So much work !

Chief Patriot

Trump has disparaged John McCain because he was captured; picked a fight with parents of a dead soldier because they were Muslim; got a deferment multiple times because of some problematic medical condition; and has joked that avoiding venereal disease during the late 60's was his Vietnam. And now he is the arbitrator of what it means to respect or disrespect the flag? I believe you could broaden Rex's "moron" label to anyone who thinks for a minute that this is primarily about patriotism and respect for the flag.

Yawn...

Yes, the anthem is soooo sacrosanct that the networks sell ads instead of showing it. Networks only air the anthem on special occasions like the Superbowl, honoring 9/11, season opener, etc.
This entire "scandal" is nothing more than a dogwhistle. Kaepernick sat for three weeks before anyone noticed. He never held a news conference and decided to kneel after speaking to Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret, about it.

The point is

Everyone agrees there is the right to free expression. Fans also have a right (and a whole lot of them are) to be angry that they spend a small fortune to go to a game (heaven forbid you take your kids) and these ungreatful zillionaires who grow up in a free country and make tens of millions dollars with their God given talents have the gall to protest.all the liberal smoke screens in the world wont distract us from that. We spend our hard earned money to pay the huge salaries these players make.

I was In Green Bay for a game recently and before and after the anthem the crowd chanted usa usa usa! Felt so good and am told players were irked, poor babies.

Cant blame Trump/Pence for making political gain out of, the Nfl is taking a revenue hit in many ways because fans are free to expeess too.

Ungreatful!

What do the players owe the fans? Do they have some obligation to stand, passively, so as not to offend the snowflakes in the stands who want to ignore racism ("Shut up, boy, you make plenty of money!")? Is it "gall" for them to protest evil? Is that worse than the "gall" that the NFL exhibits in trying to turn a game into a militarized patriotic spectacle?

It's a pity that their independent voices disturb you. It's such a shame that players don't just be quiet and commit organized violence for your amusement. Why do Those People insist on causing a fuss, right in public?

What took so long

A whole 29 minutes elapsed, must be busy.

As the electoral votes showed, you annoyed anti everything lefties just dont connect wirh every day Americans, why waste valuable time explaining it to you.

Btw, snowflake is term for liberals, not conservatives.

Snowflake is someone who

Snowflake is someone who can't stand the heat of a differing opinion or adversity--they have a melt-down !!

Who is in the headlines every few days having a melt-down ?

Trump !!

Conservative Snowflakes

The worm has turned.

Lapse of Time

"As the electoral votes showed . . ." I see you're not trying to make a claim that Trump has broad electoral support. I guess the popular vote really wasn't stolen. No, Trump's installation as President is due solely to a constitutional quirk that lets someone become President even if most voters favored another candidate.

'[Y]ou annoyed anti everything lefties just dont connect wirh every day Americans, why waste valuable time explaining it to you." Priceless. As noted above, it seems that most Americans have not "connected" with the dysfunctional circus in the White House today. Furthermore, annoyance at everything American is the hallmark of the modern conservative. Why did Trump get elected? It wasn't policy. Your average acid head has better formulated public policy than this administration. No, it was his "plain speaking," his disdain for "political correctness," and his hatred for all things Obama and Clinton . If you hate what America really is--a racially and culturally diverse country--you voted for Trump.

"Btw, snowflake is term for liberals, not conservatives." A quick check of the Patent and Trademark Office database shows that no one has registered or filed to register "snowflake" as a reference solely to liberals. You folks better get on the stick.

Actually, that last bit was sarcasm. I did not check the PTO database, so I have no idea if someone with too much time on his hands has tried to register it.

“What do the players owe the

“What do the players owe the fans?” Well, actually everything because without fans that would be struggling to make a living… “...who want to ignore racism…” Or they just don’t think it exists…

Debts in teh Age of Trump

"Well, actually everything because without fans that would be struggling to make a living…" Every time there is a news story about some athlete negotiating a contract that should keep him wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice, I hear disgusted fans say they are "through" with the NFL, the NBA, MLB, etc, because it';s all about the money (I have a neighbor who still refers to "Dollar Bill Bradley"). Come the opening of the season, these same disgusted populists are lining up to pay good money for tickets, or waste their time in front of a TV, paying homage to these "overpaid" guys. So fan support does not seem to be an issue.

"Or they just don’t think [racism] exists…" I question whether people who are that clueless should be allowed to handle money.

“So fan support does not seem

“So fan support does not seem to be an issue.” Well, apparently, this may not be the case anymore: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/exclusive-poll-62-nfl-fans-plan-watch-les....

“I question whether people who are that clueless should be allowed to handle money” Well, I guess you should provide some proof of its existence then…

So you mean no professional football player

Could make a living outside of playing football? Or a racist remark?

No football player can make a

No football player can make a living at the same level outside the football field – no professional athlete would… race has nothing to do with it.

You're welcome

to indulge in as much blind nationalism as you want, but you're not entitled to misrepresent their intent. They're taking a knee to protest social injustice for the people that have no voice.
Apparently, your contention is that we are so lucky to live in a free country that we should never take advantage of that freedom other than to enrich ourselves financially.
The "point" is, a truly free country does not demand that its citizens recite a loyalty oath or indulge in forced patriotic gestures. As for Trump and Pence, yes I can blame then for not only politicizing it, but using it as a wedge to further divide this country.

The point is

Most see the irony along with their hypocrisy and ignorance. Nothing blind about that,

“They're taking a knee to

“They're taking a knee to protest social injustice for the people that have no voice.” Who and what do you mean?

Yet another example

Of the annoyed, professional snowflake protestors onthe alt left (99% of the entertainment business, 90% of the media) creating hysteria and out of step with the average person. Gee, just cant understand how you don’t win the electoral college, or the house, senate, governorships, etc.

Thanks for proving my point.

I guess the "average person" doesn't care about racism and social injustice. They just care about waving a piece of cloth around and indulging in a faux patriotism. No wonder Trump only communicates in tweets...drilling down past bumper sticker rhetoric is just too hard from some people,.

The average person doesn’t

The average person doesn’t see racism and injustice that you do. Can they be right?

Stupidity is no

Excuse. Are you speaking of poor southern whites?

Nope, I am talking about

Nope, I am talking about folks throughout the country between the coasts that gave Trump the victory, including the ones in Minnesota where Clinton barely won.

I'm an average person

and I see racism and injustice. How can someone who isn't me say what I see?

Will you please share with me

Will you please share with me where you see it?

I don't need to show you

because I wasn't commenting on what you believe you see. So, it's useless to point out things you wouldn't believe anyway. However, please answer my question - how can you tell others what I see when you aren't me?

Gerrymandering is how

Most people voted for Democratic candidates for Congress.
Somehow a majority of votes produced a minority of seats.

Kneeling

The Colts were playing the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick’s old team. I think players from the 49ers have been kneeling every week since it started. Pence was guaranteed someone was going to kneel at the game. I read that the vp press pool was kept in their vans and didn’t go into the game because they knew he was leaving after the kneeling. 250K to fly across the country and back.

Pence is also a Catholic which has its own kneeling controversy. Of course that one is where people are seen as MORE reverent if they kneel and that God will favor them over those, shudder, standers! Why is standing more reverent than kneeling at a football game but at church it is the opposite?

No one should bow down to another

The Catholic ritual of kneeling is to symbolize bowing down to God. We as Americans have chosen to eschew bowing down to ANYONE, and instead creating a system in which everybody has a say, and everyone has a right to justice that is based only on facts and evidence.

We have seen how that whole system has been distorted and perverted over time, and I believe the protests by NFL players, and others, of kneeling during the National Anthem is meant to remind others that SOME of us are required to kneel before people in power, regardless of its justice, rather than submit to the rule of law. If you are not black, you simply don't understand what a traffic stop is like. That is at the heart of this protest.

And for that, I fully support it, and I think the counter-protesters, the flag-wavers, are completely wrong. We are a society of laws, and nobody should have to bow down before another. And yet, here were are...

Hold Your Horses There

Mike Pence is not a practicing Catholic.

Standing for the anthem is also political

What always surprises me in this discussion is the idea that standing for the anthem is treated as neutral while "taking a knee" is a political act. It seems to me that these are both political acts. By making players stand for the national anthem, the NFL is compelling them to make a political statement in the first place.

I suppose it must be legal to force an employee to make a political statement, but it strikes me as hugely hypocritical for people to criticize Kaepernick et al. for "bringing politics into football" when a certain political stance was already being forced on them.

That said, this whole controversy strikes me as a non-issue and a distraction from Trump's multiple failures of leadership.

Mr. Black Is 1/2 Right

But he did not mention the cost of the Secret Service and the brave and heroic state and local police to usher Pence from the airport to the stadium and back. How much did they confiscate from hard working honest American for that? (All taxes are confiscation, I'm told.) With BILLIONS in government waste, these stewards of the federal treasury squandered even more.

"alt-left"?

While I don't doubt your "99% of the entertainment industry" (especially NFLers and professional wrestlers) and "90% of the media" (every organization other than Fox News, Breitbart and AM Talk Radio) statistics for a minute (everyone knows "They" control the entertainment industry and that the entertainment industry is independent of "the media," right?), I was going to ask you what your definition of the "alt-left" is. But I did a quick search and am pretty sure I don't need to now:

alt-left (top definition)

1) People, who ban other's freedom of speech, because they feel "uncomfortable" hearing different opinions.

2) People, who physically assault other individuals, and damage both public and private property in the name of "peace" and "love."

3) People, who care more about their selfish desires and arrogant views than about the country they live in.

As in, "Why is everyone so supportive of alt-left destroying our nation? When will finally someone stop those alt-left terrorists?"

Or . . .

alt-left (number two definition)

Radical marxists bent on subverting and collapsing the USA who strong-armed the sane people out of the Democrat party and are favored by the criminal leadership of the DNC because they see opportunity in having a mob of ignorant, violent fascist footsoldiers.

As in, "What about the alt-left that came charging at, as you say, the 'alt-right'? Do they have any semblance of guilt?" -- President Donald J Trump, addressing the Charlottesville Unite The Right rally at his August 15, 2017 press conference.

www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=alt-left

Or maybe your definition is a lot simpler than that. Maybe it's just something more along the lines of, "Stupid cry babies who don't have a clue."

If I'm too far off base be sure to set me straight.

And while you're at it (if you do that), it would be interesting to know the origins of "alt-left." Is it a term that has been around for a long time, or is it a name the "alt-right" (which is the name "alt-right" founder, Richard Spencer, gave it as an alternative to totally inaccurate labels like "white supremacists," "Nazis" chanting things like "Jews will not replace us!" while carrying torches to light their way through the park and "women-bashing garden gnome-like trollish types who choose not to dance or go on many dates") recently gave to all those opposed to the "alt-right's" message and actions (whether or not they're employed by the entertainment industry or the media)?

In other words, did the "alt-right" not only name and define itself itself, but the "alt-left" too?

Or is "alt-left" a term that's been around for years that I just wasn't aware of before Richard Spencer moved out of his mom's house and hit the (non-entertainment or media industry) big time?

“let’s find a time and place

“let’s find a time and place to talk over our disagreements, calmly, respectfully, maybe even factually, and see if there’s any way to move toward common ground or a compromise.” Great – let’s try this.

Football players, like everyone else, do not have First Amendment rights to do anything during their paid job time http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/26/opinions/first-amendment-football-protest-.... On the other hand (from Snoops): “Rule 5, which covers Players, Substitutes, Equipment, and General Rules, does include (in Article 8) a section prohibiting players from “conveying personal messages” throughout the game day while they are visible to fans in attendance and television audiences, and from “convey[ing] messages, through helmet decals, arm bands, jersey patches, or other items affixed to game uniforms or equipment, which relate to political activities or causes …”Obviously, taking a knee during anthem is “conveying personal message” which relates “to political activities or causes” so players do violate NFL rules (logically, if one cannot pray in the end zone, one cannot take a knee either).
Historically, standing while a country’s anthem is played has been considered a show of respect for the country, which, by default, makes not standing a show of disrespect. So it is not about the flag, anthem, or soldiers but about the country itself; if I remember correctly, Kaepernick said that he could not stand for the flag of the country where black people are oppressed so they are protesting the country and should not be surprised when people are upset and don’t want to pay for football anymore… If it was not about the country but about injustice, they could take a knee after the game on the parking lot…

Now, about money… I personally think that flying to disaster areas are publicity stunts with no other reason: with current technology it is easy for presidents to understand what has happened without actually standing next to flooded highway or talking to survivors. Plus they had an explanation so is it important enough to write about?

Time

For a little re-write?

"O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave."

We aren't free to show respect (first amendment) as we see fit, and surely if we break tradition (express our freedom) we aren't brave!

The US and Canada are the two countries

In the world to sing a national anthem at sporting events. That has become the chief way for people to be patriotic in this country?! How sad. I certainly hope we do not take the next step of forcing citizens to watch military parades with plenty of tanks, fighter planes and nuclear missiles.

Don't Give Them Ideas

"I certainly hope we do not take the next step of forcing citizens to watch military parades with plenty of tanks, fighter planes and nuclear missiles." We're doing that now, only it's "voluntary," not because of any governmental coercion. Athletic events have routine tributes to the Armed Forces, coverage of all nice military things fills newscasts, and reverence for all things military has become the defining attribute of patriotism.

Too late

"While meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Monday, [Trump] praised Macron for his Bastille Day parade, which he saw during a summer visit.

" 'It was one of the greatest parades I've ever seen. It was two hours on the button, and it was military might, and I think a tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France.'

"He told Macron he wants to have a similar parade in the United States to show off his country's military force."

I saw a clip of the Bastille Day parade on the news and Don's reaction stuck me as being a little extra bizarre, even for him . . . For a tough guy who never smiles, he was "positively giddy." When the jets flew over in formation he was pointing to the sky and beaming like a goofball. He had the same excited look on his face a six or seven year old has when they're in the sandbox playing with their new Tonka dump truck or "army men" and tanks and planes and bazookas, making those bomb and machine gun noises kids make.

He (really) likes army stuff.

If they were here, James "No standing army" Madison and Dwight "Watch out for the military-industrial complex and cut defense spending now!" Eisenhower would be flipping out. But I wouldn't be surprised if, sometime this winter, we start hearing about our fearless leader's desire and vague plan ("the outline") for the "billion dollar" North Korean-style "Fire and Fury" 4th of July parade he wants to stage (Wrestlemania-style) to give a much-needed boost to the spirit of America.

Maybe not

They've been singing the national anthems at international soccer games for a while. It's interesting to see how much some nations get into singing instead of just standing still. Much like The Wave, singing the national anthem might be something the US has exported.

They play the national anthems at Olympic medal ceremony. There was that kerfuffle when one of our gymnasts apparently didn't show enough respect in Rio.

I plan to be at ....

the ready when the recycling and waste collection people come this week. I will also kiss their feet for the work they do for my and the collective benefit. That was King’s mission when he was murdered in Memphis in 1968. He was there to draw attention the underpaid garbage workers. Yes he had a dream and that dream also included economic equity which has become a forgotten goal in new Mcarthy America. So let’s not muddy the water. What Kaepernick started is poor people’s revolution 2.0. If you are going to red bait or you have totally missed the point. If you are going to wave a flag to cover that truth understand it is not the Stars and Stripes you are waving.

Kaepernick was not talking

Kaepernick was not talking about poor people but about black people… And why isn’t it possible to help poor people and not show disrespect for this country?