Peter Funt Peter Funt, 10/2/2017 [Archive]

Linking Arms, But Not Minds

Linking Arms, But Not Minds

By Peter Funt


NFL owners should be flagged for excessive shrewdness. They've managed to obfuscate a legitimate protest against police brutality that had, at least briefly, heightened the nation's consciousness about a serious issue.

Colin Kaepernick started it last season by quietly taking a knee during the National Anthem. His reward was being blacklisted by the NFL, even as several teams turned to clearly less capable quarterbacks.

Then, a few weeks ago, Donald Trump got into the act, slamming NFL players who would dare join the protest, calling them SOBs who should be fired. That prompted more players to step up. But what began as a clear cut protest quickly became a meaningless tangle of causes and emotions.

Were the players supporting Kaepernick? Opposing police brutality? Protesting the president's remarks? Or, perhaps just saying, "We all love football"? It wasn't clear.

Seizing the moment, Trump tweeted that locking arms is good, while kneeling is bad.

Presto change-o. Overnight we had owners and players standing arm-in-arm on the sidelines during the National Anthem. Even college and high school athletes joined in this sideshow of "solidarity." Solidarity over what? Nothing.

NFL owners only embrace solidarity - alternately, "unity" - when it comes to: (a) seeking high TV ratings and stadium attendance, (b) supporting Donald Trump, as many owners did through campaign contributions, (c) keeping Kaepernick out of the league, and (d) avoiding negative publicity that might hurt the NFL brand.

By Week 4, waves of protest had shifted to waves of confusion. Some teams took a knee briefly before the song, then stood as it was played, apparently seeking to separate their protest from what many fans wrongly perceived as disrespect for country and flag.

The NFL has long sought to make football synonymous with patriotism, using excessive pre-game and half-time ceremonies to link the nation and its military with games on the field. Before the Steelers and Ravens played Oct. 1, the stadium announcer in Baltimore read this NFL script: "Please rise for the National Anthem and pray that we embrace kindness and unity among all Americans."

At that point, the scoreboard should have read: Touchdown for Team Trump!

Across the nation there are reports of high school players, backed by their coaches, linking arms in unity. Typical was a coach in Massachusetts, who explained that football is a unifying sport and uniting, with arms linked, is a way to honor America.

What a shame that students are being dragged through a mind-field of tortured emotions.

America should be honored. Police brutality should be protested. Football is a dangerous sport, especially at the high school level. Any attempt to conflate these serious issues is misguided.

Colin Kaepernick is a genuine hero for sacrificing his career to conduct a silent, respectful protest of police brutality against minorities. The fact that his cause can be so shrewdly diffused by master manipulators like the NFL and President Trump only confirms that Kaep's protest was necessary in the first place.

-----

A list of Peter Funt's upcoming live appearances is available at www.CandidCamera.com.

Peter Funt is a writer and speaker. His book, "Cautiously Optimistic," is available at Amazon.com and CandidCamera.com. © 2017 Peter Funt. Columns distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate.

Download Peter Funt's color photo - Download Peter Funt's black and white mug shot photo
Why not run a cartoon with the column? We recommend the cartoons below as a good compliment to Peter Funt's topic.
Click on the thumbnail images to preview and download the cartoons.

Related Cartoons

Our Divided Country
By: Jeff Koterba

September 25, 2017

King Trump
By: Pat Bagley

September 27, 2017

King Trump
By: Pat Bagley

September 27, 2017

NFL Protest
By: Nate Beeler

September 29, 2017

NFL Protest
By: Nate Beeler

September 29, 2017

Take a knee
By: David Fitzsimmons

September 25, 2017

Take a knee
By: David Fitzsimmons

September 25, 2017

Taking A Knee
By: Bob Englehart

September 25, 2017

Taking A Knee
By: Bob Englehart

September 25, 2017
 

We do not accept and will not review unsolicited submissions from cartoonists.
Sales & Information: (805) 969-2829 sales@cagle.com
Billing Information: (805) 969-2829billing@cagle.com
Technical Support: support@cagle.com

FREE cartoons for your website if you're already a paying print subscriber!
Artwork and columns are copyrighted by each creator. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. [Privacy Policy]