On Bending The Knee

It’s been a month since President Donald Trump traveled to the heart of the deep south and before a raucous rally of mostly white Republican supporters, called on NFL owners to fire any “son-of-a-bitch” who dares bend the knee during the national anthem. The would-be God-Emperor is still tweeting about it, when he’s not busy berating female politicians of color or exploiting Gold Star military families.

Trump was referring to former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem before games last year to protest the disproportionate number of black men killed in police shootings as well as the deteriorating economic conditions many black communities are facing nationwide. These are, of course, the same causes championed by controversial civil rights group Black Lives Matter.

Kaepernick was joined in silent protest by several black players on other teams last season, not that anyone in Trump’s base needs reminding what color these sons-of-bitches are. According to Trump, these millionaire black athletes aren’t using their elevated status to draw attention to their community, which by all accounts is in dire straits. Instead, these ungrateful sons-of-bitches are disrespecting the flag, the country and the brave men and women in the military who fight and die for their freedoms.

Beyond the explicit racism, this is the sort of obvious bait-and-switch rhetorical device that caused Samuel Johnson to deem patriotism the last refuge of the scoundrel and George Orwell to imagine the future as a boot stamping on a human face forever.

It’s encouraging that the NFL has so far refused to implement Trump’s decree to sanction players who bend the knee—the president has tweeted his displeasure. It’s entirely discouraging that vast swaths of America, mostly white males, have bought Trump’s graceless sleight-of-hand lock, stock and barrel, if TV ratings, opinion polls and Facebook posts can be relied upon.

When it comes to Trump, they’d rather lick the boot stamping their own face than acknowledge the claims of Kaepernick and others who bend the knee before the sovereign, seeking some modicum of social justice. I don’t think boot-licking is too strong of a metaphor. The president of the United States is calling for a private corporation to fire its employees for not exhibiting blind obedience to flag and country. What else do you call supporting that?

Authoritarianism is one word that comes to mind, and I was warned about the possibility back during the campaign, when I was a lukewarm supporter of what I then thought were Trump’s genuine populist leanings. Since he’s assumed the presidency, he’s gone out of his way to demonstrate that he actually is the rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and serial liar the Huffington Post always claimed he was, in the editor’s note at the bottom of every Trump story posted during the campaign. Add authoritarian to the list. So much for fake news. They were spot-on from the beginning.

During the run-up to the election, I was highly critical of Black Lives Matter, particularly during the primaries, when BLM members commandeered the stages at Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley events. Poor O’Malley had the audacity to suggest “all lives matter,” which might have been the beginning of a useful dialogue, had he not been shouted down by BLM activists.

I understand concepts such as white privilege and systemic white racism, and I recognize that they exist, they’re tangible, measurable across a wide number of social variables, from life expectancy to personal income to incarceration rates. But this sort of rhetoric doesn’t play well with members of the white electorate who don’t consider themselves racist and deny that racism still plays a major factor in America.

Colin Kaepernick’s kneel-down protest was the antidote to all that. In a nation where it’s never the time to talk about race, he found the one moment where he could get a word in edgewise, without having to say a thing. All he did was take a knee during the national anthem prior to the start of an NFL game, while half the stadium was rushing back and forth between their seats and the concession stands for refreshments.

Kaepernick later explained what he was protesting to the press, using typical BLM lingo, but he never really went on about it at length. He just kept bending the knee, an idea he says was given to him by a former Green Beret, who explained that’s how fallen colleagues are sometimes honored. While you’re all holding your hands over your hearts thinking about America, Kaepernick is saying, please consider, if only for a few seconds, the plight of the young black men in this country who are gunned down by police at a disproportionate rate compared to other races.

Make that was saying because Kaepernick, despite possessing skills that could prove useful to any number of NFL teams at the present moment, remains unemployed after declaring free agency and leaving the San Francisco 49ers in the spring. Last week he filed a lawsuit against the NFL, accusing team owners of colluding against him because of his protest, an alleged violation of the league’s labor contract.

Nevertheless, the NFL player protests will continue, in no small part thanks to Trump, who, if he was half the populist he once claimed to be, would be busy working on a plan to rebuild black urban communities, like he promised during the campaign, instead of race-baiting black athletes on Twitter.

I’m not going to call anyone names if they’ve abandoned the NFL because the president of the United States says the players are disrespecting the troops. I’ve already tried it. Name calling doesn’t work. All I can tell you is that I’m an honorably discharged Navy veteran and that’s not the way I see it. In fact, this is precisely the sort of despotism I was supposedly defending this country against.

To me, the choice is clear. I’ll take bending the knee to licking the boot every time.

R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas.
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90 Responses

  1. cheyenne says:

    It should be noted that when Kaepernick first began his “kneeling” protest and before it became the “Hop on the bandwagon” moment for latecomers only a few close friends supported him. One who supported him who has reached the international pinnacle of her sport, which most of the latecomers never will, was Megan Rapinoe. Redding should be proud but I may be influenced by the fact my youngest daughter played soccer at Anderson and went on to play at a small college in Nebraska.

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      I, too, thought of Megan Rapinoe. Her reason for supporting Kaepernick and taking a knee herself was to shed light on gay rights. I hope that the Redding Rainbow event earlier this month indicated to her that support is building. That being said, I must admit that the whole knee thing is aggravating to me.

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        It’s supposed to provoke a response. It’s supposed to be aggravating in some sense. It’s intended as a statement that the status quo isn’t acceptable.

      • CoachBob says:

        It’s just more proof that few are on the same page…everyone has a different opinion of what they’re protesting. Not focused at all.

        • Dawn Marie Jens says:

          it is “Spiritual Schizophrenia” -As close as we can seem to unite and focus is the adage “to agree that we disagree”

    • Carla says:

      Thank you for mentioning this. I also wondered why no one seemed to be recalling her early support. She did it when it wasn’t fashionable, and I admired her courage. Though I don’t know her personally, I am a big fan of hers because of her strong and courageous character.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I thought it was cool that Megan Rapinoe supported Kaep from the beginning. The bandwagon effect in my opinion was created by Trump. I’m sure many of the players who jumped on after Trump started raising this ruckus a month ago did so because like me, they recognized the president is stepping beyond the traditional bounds of the office. That does not change what the protest is about, as some Trump supporters keep insisting.

  2. trek says:

    There is much speculation in regards to if an NFL team owner can legally even fire a player for kneeling even though those players whom do take a knee also receive their paycheck from the owner of such team.

    • CoachBob says:

      Read today’s RecSearch editorial page on the NFL being a business like any little country diner. May put everything in perspective

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        The NFL is not a little business like a country diner. It is a monopoly that has been exempted from federal anti-trust law. In exchange, it is subject to congressional oversight.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      It’s pretty clear to me that the NFL, as a private business, could legally order the players to stand during the anthem or else, if it drew up the appropriate contract changes. That makes the fact that the NFL has so far refused to do that all the more important. I believe the NFL, which of course as an interest in keeping its players happy, also recognizes that the president has over-stepped his bounds, and that to give in to him is to lick the boot.

  3. KB says:

    RV your evolution on Trump gives me hope for the people still drinking the koolaid.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      KB, I only wish the evolution wasn’t so painful. Supporting Trump, even lukewarmly, was the biggest error I’ve ever made, and I’ve made some doozies. I am filled with nausea and regret every time he does something stupid, which is at least three times a day.

      • Tom says:

        Your honesty on this, RV, is refreshing. Hopefully more will see that light. Am sorry for the pain, though. Take solace in your redemption. 😉

      • Kathryn McDonald says:

        I admire you for being willing to change your mind and admit you were wrong.

      • cheyenne says:

        I never supported Trump or Clinton, I wrote in Mitt Romney, and I believe the anti-Clinton vote elected Trump. I also believe that the media elected Trump by stating that HRC was going to win in a landslide and that “false news” by supposedly legitimate news media caused many HRC voters to stay home. I, along with(I’ll throw a number out there} 75% of the nations voters thought these were the two worst presidential candidates in history.

      • Larry Sparman says:

        Why does losing seem to bring out the hating?

  4. conservative says:

    Not an important issue. If tax reform gives 4% annual GDP growth, double the rate in the Obama years, Republicans will continue to win elections. Liberal economists can make models to predict that tax reform will not help the economy. Economists’ love affair with models continues, even after the models failed to predict the housing bubble collapse and its consequences.

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      We’ll see what the Congressional Budget Office has to say about Trump’s proposed tax cuts. The CBO was pretty much spot on with the Reagan and Bush II tax cuts in terms of impact on the federal debt.

      Conservatives have their own economic models—supply-side economics and Laffer curves are the favorites. There isn’t a more thoroughly debunked economic model in modern American history—yet here we are again, gearing up for another round of creating the illusion of prosperity by running up the nation’s credit cards.

    • Gary Tull says:

      Trickle is fickle
      Only the top see a positive ripple

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      “Liberal” economists, conservative? Don’t you mean “neoliberal”?

  5. TJ Gold says:

    Thank you for saying what needs to be said…

  6. DougM says:

    “All he did was take a knee during the national anthem prior to the start of an NFL game, while half the stadium was rushing back and forth between their seats and the concession stands for refreshments.”

    ‘Nuff said.

    • Gary Tull says:

      Prior to 2009, NFL players were not (even) required to be on the sidelines during the playing of the U.S. national anthem for primetime games. Seems to me, bending the knee demonstrates social and political concern… and patriotism at the same time.

  7. Robert Scheide Sr. says:

    Well said son. I was shocked by the reaction of the fans, don’t they know the only reason the anthem is played at games because they get payed to play it as a recruiting tool… So to me that makes it not so bad to take a knee, it’a like taking a nap during a Pepsi commercial.

    I might suggest to those who are raising so much hell about this that the military recruiters are standing by to sign them up. These patriots might better serve their country objecting to these unwinnable wars we keep engaging in. They might even take a knee for those who have paid the ultimate price serving the country in wars we should never have been in.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Thanks, dad. It’s understandable why the U.S. military (not to mention militaries around the world) seek to recruit from fans of professional sports such as the NFL and NASCAR: the young men who are fans of these sports make ideal recruits. We’ve been subjected to these marketing techniques ever since we went all-volunteer. Bringing back the draft would be an excellent way to bring our never ending war mongering to a quick halt.

      • Tom says:

        “Bringing back the draft would be an excellent way to bring our never ending war mongering to a quick halt.”

        That is a really interesting perspective, and one I had not considered yet. ?

  8. Peggy says:

    Thank you R. V. It has never been about the flag or the troops…let’s all agree to do what we can do to end racism and prejudice in our time.

  9. Virginia says:

    If anyone in NFL wants to use their first amendment right, is to do it on their own time. During a football game, is not their time, but ours, the viewers, that pay their salary. That doesn’t help dialog, but shows the team members only use someone else’s dine and time.

    If the men wanted dialog and help the situation, then, they should go into the black areas and get the boys and girls to get an education, stop killing the family life, and the members of the Community will not go out and kill each other. Start Boys & Girls camps, etc. Be a stand up member of the World: no wife beaters, drug and alcohol abusers belong complaining. But unfortunately, they take their millions and go out and hurt each other off the field. How very sad……….

    Just to make my views seem more normal, I volunteered at a live-in, drug rehab facility years ago. The drugs had began to rise, and I saw too many of my son’s friends in the neighborhood begin to use. I did something, not just put a knee down. I became involved! So, too, could the football and other sports players. Talk is good, BUT action is better where it counts……….

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      When in uniform the players represent their teams. However, the owners and the players all signed up to the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which has a lot to say about conduct. If the CBA is silent on the issue of what players do during the national anthem, the owners may not have the legal grounds to prevent players from taking a knee. An owner could probably fire a few players for insubordination or whatever after telling them to stand during the anthem, but those terminations would likely start a shit-storm.

      Many professional athletes, including Kaepernick, are generous with their time and money when it comes to giving back to their communities. Volunteering/donating and kneeling in protest are not mutually exclusive. They can do both. (Kaepernick is giving away $1,000,000 this year—he’s dispersing it in $100k block grants.)

      Lastly, you should be careful about being viewed as a white person telling people who you perceive as “thugs” how to behave. That’s not a good look.

      • Tom says:

        Really good rebuttal, Steve. Thank you for setting that straight.

      • Virginia says:

        How do you know who my ancestors were? You don’t!

        The owners have a lot of say as they pay the men for their participation. That is called paying a salary!

        Steve, shame on you. I never called all the men “thugs”, nor do I feel they all are! Arron Hernandez was not a wonderful person, who unfortunately blew his life away in more ways than one…

        As for Kaepernick, he was a good quarterback who eventually became 2nd or 3rd string material. He is no one to look up to. Take a look at the socks he wore. Not good a good thing.

        • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

          I didn’t guess at your ancestry, nor did I accuse you of using the word “thugs.” My comment addressed how you might easily be *perceived*—a white person lecturing disobedient black men on how to properly behave. (Do this, don’t do that.) But if that’s the impression you intended to leave, go ahead.

          Yes, the owners pay the players, but they have a negotiated employment agreement called the CBA, and the owners don’t get to violate it at will. Neither do the players.

    • K. Beck says:

      Are you saying you KNOW what every player does with his time and money when he isn’t on the field? REALLY?

      I don’t disagree with the putting your money where your mouth (or knee) is idea. I object to you stating you KNOW what all those players are doing off the field. How do you KNOW that?

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      The league could force the players to stand. The fact that the league hasn’t shows it has evolved more than Mr. Trump and his followers.

  10. Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

    That was as good a synopsis of the Trump/Kaepernick fiasco as I’ve read anywhere. Well done, R.V.

    Trump’s almost daily tirades and tantrums are distractions from serious issues—in most cases, a good thing. Those tirades and tantrums have been useful, as they have helped make Trump wholly ineffective at governance. He and the GOP-dominated Congress continue to march on their collective junk when it comes to passing legislation.

    The single most frightening thing about Trump at this point is that he remains Commander-in-Chief.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Thanks Steve. I wrote it for you. You’re the first one who was telling me Trump was an authoritarian, back in the summer of 2016 I believe, but I just didn’t see it. I simply didn’t believe Trump could be all the things his most vehement critics said he was, it seemed impossible. I thought it was an act. As I’ve discovered, it’s not an act.

  11. Tom says:

    Brilliant, as always, RV. I’ve been beating the drum on this since day one. I remember the moment the news feed came across, and I remember waiting through the weekend (I was out of town) and watching my social media friends and family berate Kaepernick over and over. On Monday, I wrote a piece on my own blog in defense of him taking a seat (it all started with sitting during the NA, became kneeling afterwards). Of course, I was lambasted then, too. 😉

    I have many friends and family who have stopped watching the NFL because of it. I know, because they post the same stupid comment every week about “who else is not watching the NFL because of those rich, spoiled, anti-patriotic whiners!” or something to that effect.

    I’ve never been a bigger fan of the NFL, or of freedom, than I am now.

    Even if I wholeheartedly disagreed with the cause (I don’t; I understand it completely) I would stand by the sitting QB and his right to kneel. I think it’s an insult to the flag, and to the freedom it represents, to tell anyone how they can honor it. The flag belongs to the country which belongs to us, not the other way around.

    Thank you again. Nice work!

    • CoachBob says:

      There is no “right” to kneel. This is a workplace issue. Get over that. There is no “honor” in kneeling just because you’re “following the leader” and half of you can’t explain why you’re doing it. Simply a big stage to shove your feelings onto the rest of us. Cops shooting blacks? Seriously? Look at any data and it does not support the claims. Feds keep pretty good tabs on this. You want killings? So. Chicago! Period. And it ain’t cops shooting blacks. 13% of our population is holding the rest of the population hostage over PC. And that 13%, looking at the total murders in this country, are committing well over half of them. Simple data does not support taking a knee for publicity. No honor in taking a damned knee.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        If you’ve got nothing insightful or original to say, whip out a tired cliche. “But Chicago!”

      • Tom says:

        There is a right to kneel. There is no law stating that one has to stand, with hand over heart, in front of the flag, when the National Anthem plays. In fact, if there were, these guys would have the human right (and responsibility) to resist. So would we.

        Beyond the civil and human right to kneel, they also have a workplace right to kneel. There is no statute in their charter demanding they stand and salute the flag before the game. They are well within their rights, on every level.

        I’ve seen the data. I’ve seen your interpretation and theirs. You have the right to disagree with their conclusions, and they with yours.

        Again, if I wholeheartedly disagreed with their cause, I would still stand by their right to express their freedom. The flag represents the ideals this country was founded upon; they honor those ideals every time they take a knee. We should, too.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Thank you, Tom. I’m by no means certain that NFL players have the absolute legal right to bend the knee. If the league drew up the proper contract, they could do so. Perhaps Trump will wear them down and they’ll relent yet. But the fact that the league has so far resisted Trump’s efforts is, I think, telling. This is a culture war being fought on explicitly racist ground, and the team owners, are signaling whose side they’re on.

      • Tom says:

        Oh, I agree, there is no absolute legal right. For the time being, however, they do have the right to bend the knee, or stay in the locker room, or raise their fist in solidarity, or simply meander around on the bench looking at the playbook, if they want. I also think that if the league did get heavy-handed, they might have a bit of a NFLPA revolt. As Steve inferred, the NFL is more of an owner/player partnership than an absolute dictatorship.

        Much to the little-handed American dictator’s chagrin.

        On a related note, did ya hear that Kaep is expected to be invited to the next players/owners meeting, on Tuesday? That, I would say, is progress …

  12. Joanne Gifford says:

    The previous comments ( rushing back and forth to the concession stand ) gave me reason to change my way of thinking. Thank you. I now have a clearer view.

    • Angela says:

      If you’ve ever been to a pro baseball game and the anthem comes on, you will see countless people who stop what their doing, watch the display of the flag, take off their hat, and honor the military. There are many who won’t as well, but I have personally done that more than once at a baseball game. I’ve only been to one pro football game but I imagine it happens there too. Just throwing that out there. To me it is a time to reflect on those who sacrificed and a reminder to be internally thankful for the freedoms that I do have because of those sacrifices. My two cents 🙂

      • Tom says:

        That’s the key, Angela, it’s “your time to reflect on those who sacrificed.” It is a reminder of our freedoms, of the ideals that this country was founded upon, and each of us must interpret that and reflect upon that in our own way.

        For these fellas, the ones who take a knee, or stand with their fists in the air, they are reflecting upon the history of inequality and the current climate of injustice that they see. I don’t disparage you the thoughts you have during the Anthem, or them theirs.

        Both are valid. There are a great many who have paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. And there are a great many who have, and still do, meet injustice in our country. Let us honor each person’s right to express their freedom, their way, when the flag waves.

      • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

        Angela, I did say only half the people in the stadium. I’m one of the people who will stop halfway up the steps if the anthem starts playing. One of the things I do while I’m standing there with my hand over my heart is observe all the people who don’t stop. I don’t consider this a big deal. I try not to think about our military, because I inevitably start thinking about the millions of people we’ve killed around the world during my lifetime.

  13. Tom O'Mara says:

    The reason I go to a sporting event is to watch the event. Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin had his players stay in the locker room for the anthem, and this was how it was done (by both teams) at this week’s USC-Notre Dame game which I attended. I try to honor America in many ways on my own time, and I’m sure there are many others (including the players) who do the same. If this is a problem for many, bring the players out after the anthem (if it’s deemed necessary to have it at all), and let’s have a good game!

  14. cheyenne says:

    When the players take a knee in protest during game action I will protest. What they do on the sideline doesn’t concern me and before all this knee jerk reaction the TV never showed the sideline during the singing of the national anthem except momentarily.

  15. Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

    I think the best defense of the NFL teams regarding the collusion charge brought by Kaepernick would be for many of the general managers to issue statements like this:

    “Kap is a pretty good player who can play in this league, and as far as we’re concerned he can stay in the locker room, kneel by the sideline, or stand on his head during the national anthem—but for some other team. We don’t want him because we get 16 games to make the playoffs, the league has more parity than ever, and you can’t afford to lose focus. Losing a game or two extra due to distractions means you’re out of the playoffs. Kap strikes us as both distracted from football himself, and distracting from football for teammates. We can’t have it—our QB’s need to be 100% in the game, all week and on game day. If some other team wants deal with the inevitable distractions, they should sign him. Good luck to them—maybe some team will hit the jackpot and prove me wrong. We’re fine with Kap being in the league somewhere. But not here.”

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      From what I’ve read so far, the opinion appears to be the collusion case is not strong. I think it’s unfortunate. While your general manager’s note is accurate, Kaep can be the kind of player that breaks a team out of parity. He’s in better shape than ever, he’s been practicing, he could step in right now and help any number of teams out. Of course, he could fizzle and turn in a subpar performance. But I liked what I saw those final games with the Niners. He was coming back. I’d love to see him play again. I think his lawsuit is unfortunate, because it means we probably never will see him play again.

  16. Pam says:

    I deeply appreciate the journalism and your views expressed here RV as well as those of the majority of those who commented. It is definitely time to speak out and you do it incredibly well! Thank You

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I do feel a sense of duty to speak out, especially considering my past support for Trump. There’s still a chance they’ll find the right medication for the president.

  17. Adrienne says:

    Two things : number one , I’ve never understood why it’s considered reverential to bend the knee before the queen or before the pope but not reverential to bend the knee before the flag . Number two , I also don’t understand how we can gnash our teeth and wring her hands about protesters in the streets breaking things and burning cars and all that other stuff but then we also object to somebody doing a peaceful protest that hurts no one damages no property . If that isn’t acceptable, Where then ?

    • Peggy says:

      I agree Adrienne..where and when and how and for what would be acceptable protests?

    • CoachBob says:

      AJ, it’s an employment issue. Read todays RecSearch editorial comparing the NFL to a local diner. Same diff.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Adrienne, your observation concurs with mine. Kaepernick found the perfect way to stage a silent, peaceful protest about one of the most trying issues of our time. You can’t deny people are talking about the issue more thanks to Kaepernick. Whether anything gets done is another story.

  18. michael kielich says:

    Questions: I am curious where people fall on this issue.
    1. At what point does it become morally acceptable to protest patriotic rituals/traditions of one’s country? or Where do we draw the line?
    2. Who has the right to tell others that their protest is not in line with the values of our country?
    3. When is it a better expression of patriotism when a person chooses to protest rituals rather than pay blind allegiance?
    4. Why do we often honor the protesters of those in the past as being patriotic but get rankled when someone does it today?

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I’ll take a stab at your questions, Michael.

      1. I suppose the ultimate act of desecration is burning the American flag. The Supreme Court has found burning the flag in protest to be protected free speech. I agree with this decision.
      2. No one has the right to force their political values upon you. Not even Trump.
      3. Never.
      4. Not everyone honors the protestors of the past. In fact, the right wingers are still pissed off about it.

      • K. Beck says:

        1. At what point does it become morally required to protest patriotic rituals/traditions of one’s country? We retire old flags by burning them. What would have happened in Germany if people had protested the Nazis from the beginning?

        2. No one.

        3. Never? R. V. I think you need to re-read the question. Blind allegiance is never the way to go! Maybe that is what you meant?

        4. The protests are treated differently today because we now live in Trump-Times. The right wing says is not OK to protest today. Resist!

      • michael kielich says:

        Thanks. I agree with you. The questions were meant to put a light on the silliness of all this patriotism talk. We all draw our lines somewhere and for probably 70% (or so) of us it is tit for tat. The rest are trying to polish their own turds.. According to our history textbooks, and general sentiment, we generally admire patriots who stand up for justice or the constitution.
        Minorities (and women) have generally been at the forefront of protests (at least for the past 100 years), because that is who historically needed the protections of our constitutional system. I know that many people in the colonies did not want to break from the British because of their allegiance to the crown.
        Well there is a new king in the office….. Shall we bow?

  19. michael kielich says:

    Thanks for the article. Lots of concepts to ponder.

  20. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    “I can tell you is that I’m an honorably discharged Navy veteran and that’s not the way I see it. In fact, this is precisely the sort of despotism I was supposedly defending this country against.”

    I’m an honorably discharged Army veteran, and I very much agree with that sentiment, R.V.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      One thing I’ve learned about my fellow veterans, they have opinions all over the place, just like every body else. There’s a sizable number of us who do recognize that Trump is clearly out of his depth when it comes to the military, which is a scary thought, considering he’s commander in chief.

    • K. Beck says:

      I will just throw this into the mix. I worked a number of years with someone who came to the US from Jakarta. He was still living in Jakarta when the Japanese invaded in 1942. Fast forward. When he was in the US long enough to apply for citizenship he started that process. BUT, he found that in order to become a citizen he had to pledge allegiance to the US Flag. He refused to do that because he saw far too many men lose their lives because their “duty” was to carry and hold on to the flag during battle.

      “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
      and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation
      under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

  21. Richard Christoph says:

    I am an honorably discharged Army veteran, and find the solution proposed by Bob Costas to be a good one. Stand until the last note of the anthem, THEN take a knee to call attention to your cause. No need to alienate a significant percentage of football fans who believe that kneeling during the anthem is disrespectful.

    Colin Kaepernick has every right to peacefully protest in whatever way he chooses, and NFL owners have every right to decline to hire a player whose behavior would likely cost them fans and $.

  22. Sal says:

    What if, in the end, he was no better at his job than Tim Tebow was?

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Kaepernick took the Niners to the Super Bowl, light years beyond anything Tebow accomplished in the NFL. That said, I thought Tebow was treated unfairly for expressing his Christian beliefs on the field. I thought it was kind of cool.

      • Sal says:

        Statistically they were very similar in performance.

      • cheyenne says:

        What Tim Tebow did was elevate all the players around him to preform at a higher level of play. I don’t know if you can say that about Kaepernick. And it took a future Hall of Famer to replace Tebow and placate fans and team members. I know I was unhappy to see Tim go but two Super Bowl appearances, 1 win, 1 loss, helped. And the way the Broncos are playing now they need a quarterback change. If Elway hadn’t gotten Osweiler on the cheap, $575,000, I think Denver might go for Kaepernick. It could help a team and a player career.

  23. Kathryn McDonald says:

    R.V., you have become my favorite conservative writer.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Well, thanks, but I’m really more liberal than I am conservative, in general terms. I don’t like malfeasance no matter who commits it.

  24. Virginia says:

    You night find the NFL Commissioner on Yahoo interview:
    “As the issue of player protests continues to dominate the current NFL season, other American pro sports are not immune.

    The NHL has not said that it will explicitly restrict players from protesting, but NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, speaking at Yahoo Finance’s All Markets Summit on Wednesday, suggested that he’d rather they not do it.

    “I think people come to sporting events to come together, to be unified as a community, to root, and to be distracted,” Bettman said. “I don’t think fans like to come for political rallies. There are other times to do that. We didn’t issue an edict or a rule, and almost without exception, our players have been focused on being a team, serving their communities, and trying to win their games.”

    The new hockey season began this month, and while the NHL hasn’t had a player kneel during the anthem yet, it has certainly seen some of its players express public opposition to President Donald Trump’s war of words on protests during the anthem.

    Chris Johnston ? @reporterchris

  25. Terry says:

    Brilliantly done. Thank you!

  26. name says:

    off topic – but they are finally logging that SPI tract near you. CLT logging out of Montague, CA. Seems like a waste of time, as there is not that much good timber there – but SPI knows a lot more than I do…

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Shhh! That was gonna be my next story. May still be. They’re selective logging from a very mixed tract. So far they’ve been pretty non-invasive. Crossing my fingers!

  27. Steve Murray says:

    I hope your piece gets national distribution RV. Well done and it’s never too late to see the light!!
    BTW I am not watching football until Colin either gets a job or retires. I am boycotting the billionaire owners and their weak backbones. I give them full marks for not licking Trump’s boots, but I’ll bet the vote on that was very close.

    • Tom says:

      Additionally, I’d bet Jerry Jones just about blew a gasket upon losing that vote …

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I’m 50-50 0n whether the owners eventually fold.

      • Tom says:

        When Bob McNair made his unfortunate comments last week, about the inmates running the prison, almost the entire team took a knee this past Sunday. In response to that, hardly a word. Even the president seems silent on the subject all of a sudden. I’m guessing, though, after yesterday, that the POTUS has a lot more on his mind right now than the disposition of NFL players during an anthem.

        I’m more like 70-30 this goes back to being largely ignored again, like it was just before Donald Trump opened his mouth about it.

  28. Joe says:

    I have mixed feelings about the flag “issue”. I supposed because I love both that flag and the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

    Yet……. vis a vis Trump, what irony. And unwitting comedy!

    He laments, “…people tune in to see whether or not our country will be disrespected”.

    This coming from the man who essentially spit in the face of John McCain, a tortured American POW/Silver Star recipient for “conspicuous gallantry”.

    And then he followed up by being a bigot and actually insulted the grieving mother of another valorous American combat veteran – who was KIA’d in Iraq while protecting his men – because she was Muslim.

    As a US Air Force veteran, how ALL Americans did not find these juvenile stunts, by this consummate ingrate, reprehensible is beyond me. And that so many Republicans were completely willing to condone it and actually elect this dishonorable fraud is truly troubling.

    Disgusting cowardice and jaw-dropping hypocrisy are not the characteristics that decent, patriotic Americans want to see coming from their White House.

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