When the majority of NFL players participating in games on Sunday protested during the National Anthem, some white team owners showed their solidarity with their black players by joining in. And that, one ESPN commentator believes, was a huge problem for the #TakeAKnee movement.
Writing for the Washington Post, ESPN panelist Kevin B. Blackistone argued that when Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder took a knee and linked arms, they were dooming the efforts of the players they were trying to show their support for.
Jones himself explained after the game, “Our players wanted to make a statement about unity and we wanted to make a statement about equality.”
And that, Blackistone says, is what “defanged” the protest. He argued that because Jones kneeled only momentarily before standing for the National Anthem, he was still twisting the protest “into some sort of celebration of flag and country.”
“It all but usurped the message of the Black Lives Matter movement, which is the foundation of Kaepernick’s remonstration. It made protest, which is supposed to make people prickly, palatable, instead,” he explained.
Blackistone also described it in this way: “In a span of less than 48 hours, what quarterback Colin Kaepernick birthed in the preseason of 2016 as a protest against the unchecked extrajudicial killing of black men in this country was co-opted by mostly white owners into dinner theater that everyone could digest.”
He also freely acknowledged that the #TakeAKnee movement is indeed a protest of America and its stars and stripes, even though some who have knelt since Kaepernick started the protest have claimed that they’re simply raising awareness of police brutality and racial inequities.
Blakistone concluded that until an NFL owner gives Kaepernick a contract to play again, “their standing with protesting players is the height of disingenuousness. The players need to recognize as much.”
What do you think of this? In related news, Nike, which is the official sponsor of the NFL, just spoke out about the protests.