It would appear that it is officially time to stop asking “What else could possibly go wrong in 2020?” There was a time when we could throw a question like that out to the universe with a chuckle and expect it to be understood that it was rhetorical. Well, this is the year that the universe got bored and decided to start answering—and none of those answers have been good.
As I write this, Seattle has a freak-show zone that’s being run by a self-proclaimed warlord and the mountains here in my hometown are a flaming hellscape. To top all that off, the coronavirus petty tyrants who were on sabbatical during the riots are finding their groove again:
We have received 25,000 complaints of reopening violations.
Bars or restaurants that violate the law can lose their liquor license.
People with open containers in the street can be fined.
Police & protesters not wearing masks can be fined.
Local gov't must enforce the law.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 14, 2020
No doubt Gretchen Witmer will soon be jealous and try to top that.
As I’ve written many times throughout the past few months, I’m a sports fan and I’m still annoyed about the baseball season being ruined by the pandemic. I was holding out hope that we would at least get a full NFL season to enjoy.
I know, I know, a lot of you are all still mad at the NFL but — until this column, anyway — I have been busy directing my disdain elsewhere. Yes, I was annoyed with them when the whole kneeling controversy erupted a few years ago. I only watched a couple of games that year but, like every other breakup I’ve attempted with the National Football League or Major League Baseball, it didn’t stick.
A good friend of mine organizes a get-together every year for the first weekend of the NFL season. It’s always in a different city and a small group gets together to day-drink and watch a lot of football. I went once and was planning on going again this year. I got a text from him last week that said something to the effect of, “The NFL going to get so woke now they’re going to make me not care if they have a season, aren’t they?”
Yes. That is precisely what they are going to do.
Like so many other institutions, the NFL is caving to the mob rule of recent weeks and dressing it up as being sensitive and affecting change. We’re now going to be subjected to a barrage of 28-year-old white millionaires lecturing us about how they are now down with the struggle.
Baker Mayfield 'absolutely' will kneel during national anthem https://t.co/7hvzzt1ys4 pic.twitter.com/JC81vilmjE
— New York Post (@nypost) June 14, 2020
Isn’t he ever so bold? As Mayfield is the quarterback for the eternally-sunken ship that is the Cleveland Browns, this may be the most positive press coverage that he gets all year.
Of course, each one of these newly woke rich boys is going to be celebrated by the MSM, which will provide even more incentive to participate in the virtue-signaling. Color me skeptical, but I’m having a difficult time believing that these guys are actually acquiring any virtue.
Every so often there is a young professional athlete who seems to have a better head on his shoulders than most of the others. In the NFL, that role has been filled by J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans.
A) don’t speak for me
B) if you still think it’s about disrespecting the flag or our military, you clearly haven’t been listening https://t.co/tnsEq5D9WC
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) June 13, 2020
The replies to that tweet are some entertaining reading, if you have a minute. They’re also pretty indicative of how the overall reaction of rank-and-file NFL fans will be.
There’s my problem with this new woke narrative: it really is about disrespecting the flag. I don’t care how many people march or how loud the mob gets, the truth is still the truth. There is no amount of spinning that will change the fact that the kneeling stunts originally began to disparage the flag, the military, and the United States. They can’t make them morph into some plea for grand societal change.
Here’s the thing: if this change of heart by the newly woke football players were sincere, there are many ways that they could get the message out that don’t involve kneeling during the national anthem. They can carve out some time elsewhere in the game for a group protest. If they are all so concerned about it, let them give up five minutes of their allotted halftime minutes.
Given the fact that they’re all rich, they could pool their resources and pay for an ad campaign that would have a much greater reach than the anthem stunt. But we know that they aren’t in it for much more than some quickie virtue-signaling so they can all get a pat on the head from The New York Times.
Every NFL fan who is put off by the new woke wave — and there will be a lot of us — will be dismissed as being racist. It’s really all the Left has anymore to keep control of any of their narratives. Again, all of the shouting in the world doesn’t make it so.
Regular NFL fans weren’t pleased with the players or the league when the anthem kneeling first began. Round Two and all of its lecturing and telling the fans that we’re awful people for not caring enough really won’t go well for them. The league may end up playing in front of empty stadiums and it won’t have anything to do with enforced social-distance protocols.
PJ Media Senior Columnist and Associate Editor Stephen Kruiser is the author of “Don’t Let the Hippies Shower” and “Straight Outta Feelings: Political Zen in the Age of Outrage,” both of which address serious subjects in a humorous way. Monday through Friday he edits PJ Media’s “Morning Briefing.” His columns appear twice a week.