America, Friday Night Lights and Ditka Is An Ass Trash

_91332625_091716-woodrowwilsonhighschoolfootballteam-ss14Colin Kaepernick started something when he sat, and then kneeled, for the Star Spangled Banner. Not sure he knew or fully intended the scope of reaction he generated, but generate it he did. It has led to much consternation and discussion across sports, media and the nation’s conscience. Not yet to the significance of the #BlackLivesMatter effort, but remarkably substantial.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said of his decision to kneel during a pregame performance of the national anthem.

The action, which Kaepernick said was intended to draw attention to the way law enforcement, and American society in general, treats minorities, has since been adopted by other athletes, professional and otherwise, around the country.

Critics, like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, have upbraided Kaepernick and others for an action that they say is disrespectful and unpatriotic. Kaepernick recently shot back, saying “there’s a lot of racism in this country disguised as patriotism.”

I always had some doubts about Kaepernick as an upper tier QB in the NFL, but nobody who has listened to him talk about his basis for doing what he has, and read about his backstory, can doubt his sincerity and motivation in what he is doing as to seeking social commentary, action and remediation.

Oh, and before you get too wrapped up in your flag, patriotism and the holier than thou national anthem, take a gander at the third verse Francis Scott Key wrote, and that is now oh so conveniently omitted from the hallowed singing of it:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Yeah. Our precious national anthem, from the conveniently omitted third verse, to other descriptions of only “free men”, was really a racist ode to slavery and oppression. Go figure. How dare Colin Kaepernick, or any other citizen possibly object??

Now there is a distinction, often poorly understood, between free speech, and free speech that is protected by the Constitution. The former is what we pretend to ascribe to, the latter is that which the Constitution, mostly, protects from from impingement from government law and/or censorship. There is a difference. And, no, please, do not even think about netsplaining to me that there are limits because “fire in the theater”, lest I have to reach through the inner tubes and strangle the last ounce of life out of you.

Even the craven cop unions which have predictably displayed their belligerence and ignorance over national anthem protests are likely not government actors per se impinging on Kaepernick and others free speech. Unamerican jerks who have no clue what the founding principles (including life other than those in blue) stand for, sure, but that is it.

Before this morning, I might have ended there with a few more words about the dubious antics of jacked up militarized police unions. But then Hall of Fame coach and player Mike Ditka went off in full ignorant racist bigot mode:

Anybody who disrespects this country and the flag, if they don’t like our flag then get the hell out,” he said on Dallas’ 105.3 The Fan. “That’s what I think. So if you’re asking me, I have no respect for Colin Kaepernick.

Yikes. That is not the lovable, if cantankerous, “Da Bears” guy Ditka has made a living existing on. Not to be impolitic or anything, but Mike Ditka can go fuck himself. And, since we are all entitled to our opinion without having to leave the country of our birth and residence, there will be no call here for him to go elsewhere. But I’d sure rather have a thoughtful human like Colin Kaepernick, concerned about racism and fundamental rights, than a blowhard fat jackass like Mike Ditka if it came down to a choice for a neighbor.

And then I saw the story of Coach Preston Brown and the Woodrow Wilson Tigers of Camden, New Jersey. The Tigers don’t play on Sunday like the oh so important NFL, nor even on Saturday with the NCAA elite. They play on Friday nights (okay, sometimes Saturdays), and make it through the week to get there through grit, determination, character and the love of their coaches, led by Preston Brown.

As the head coach of the Woodrow Wilson High School Tigers, he took on the 24-hour-a-day job of being a mentor and a father figure to 68 young men and boys who are growing up in one of the poorest cities in the US. The 31-year-old spends his own money to feed them when they’re hungry. He gives them a place to stay when they have nowhere to go.

So why do so many strangers want him out of a job?

“You are a disgrace to your high school and a coward.”

“I will help them fire you … I hate you with all my heart.”

“Get the f*ck out of this country if you don’t like it you anti-American asshole.”

Brown – a married father of three – wakes up every morning to emails, Facebook messages and voicemails questioning his intellect, his humanity, his patriotism.
For the past two weeks, the Camden City School District has received dozens of calls from across the country, calling for Brown’s dismissal. A local radio personality denounced his “ignorance, shame and stupidity” on the air.

The sin that Brown committed: on 10 September, at the Woodrow Wilson Tigers’ first game of the season, Brown refused to stand for the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner. Instead, he took a knee in a silent protest.

With the exception of two players, the entire Tiger football team joined him. A local sports reporter captured the incident on video – a row of players kneeling in their black and orange uniforms – and posted it online. By evening, the story had gone viral.

Ain’t that America? It is not all little pink houses and white picket fences. The American ethos will not succeed from the top down. Decades of income inequality, land barons, corporate depravity and arrogant Trumpism have proven that. It will come, if at all, from the streets and ground up.

Read the full story. I implore you, read the thing. It is long, but oh so worth it. Preston Brown is a man, a teacher, a leader, and everything that is America. At least that we are supposed to cherish and that we deign to claim with the drumbeat of “American exceptionalism”.

Colin Kaepernick and Preston Brown clearly don’t know each other in the least. but while Kaepernick started a valuable conversation, let the story of the Preston Browns, and the students he is shaping, be the bigger story. And that is the thing, a single man like Brown or Kaepernick can start a fire, even tend it somewhat, but it is up to those it touches to absorb the heat and take it further. So, for all the focus on Preston Brown, let the admiration also be for the students and players at Woodrow Wilson High who are buying into the message and taking it to heart. This is how a difference is made, both small and large.

Okay, moving along to the games, there are a few good choices in the NCAA. The best of the lot is probably Wisconsin at Michigan State. Sparty, despite their 2-0 record looks off this year, and the Badgers look on. But the game is in East Lansing, so I rate it a pick em. Georgia is at Ole Miss, and I will take the home team in an upset. Jim White’s Gators are at Neyland stadium to take on the Vols. Shaky on this, but will take another home team for the upset. And then there is the Stanford Trees at UCLA. There is an old joke that goes “what happens when the smog lifts in Southern California”? The answer is “UCLA”. Okay, lame joke, can’t pick against a McCaffrey, but this has trouble for the Trees written on it.

In the pros, Jacoby Brissett and the unstoppable Patriots have already dispatched Houstonians. But Brissett injured his thumb, and I am calling for the signing of Tebow to play and win the next game. That would truly cement the Belichick legacy. Broncos at Bengals and Lions at Green Bay will be critical games. The Cheese has looked Swiss with holes early on this season. The Kittehs look dangerous. We shall see. The really exciting matchup is the Steelers versus the Eagles in Philly. Carson Wentz and the revamped Iggles under Doug Peterson have been great so far. But Big Ben, Antonio Brown and D’Angelo Williams are rolling. This should be a great game, but have to take the Stillers. Lastly, Honey Badger and Pat Peterson are coming for these two clowns.

Music this week by John Mellancamp. That is it. Go, set forth, and make America great again (by voting against Trump).

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.
64 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    A marvelous way to spend a summer’s week or two if any of us are still around in 2024: The Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Rome has now all but quit the race, leaving Los Angeles and Paris as the prime contenders. LA already has in place most of the venues that would be needed, so it actually seems affordable. That would be an experience to top a lifetime of watching sports; I can’t begin to imagine how it feels for a participant.

  2. bloopie2 says:

    Well I’m not a robot, but I can’t get past your “Security Check”.  What’s up with that?  I’m not even bitching and moaning this time!

      • bloopie2 says:

        I compose in Word then copy and paste into this box, and then the security thing comes up asking me to (1) click on the I am not a robot box, then (2) click on the pictures that have billboards in them.  I do that and then I get a “403 this iss forbidden or such” warning.  I’ll try that now, if this one goes through, I’ll try it with the real post.

  3. bloopie2 says:

    Well, that one worked. I’m waiting five minutes then posting this.
    That high school football thing is fantastic.  Here’s another right-thinking response, per the Guardian:  “On Wednesday the NBA and NBA Players Association sent a letter to their players saying they want a discussion about the problems raised by Anthony, James, Wade at the ESPYs this summer.  ‘The league and players association, working together have begun developing substantive ways for us to come together and take meaningful action,’ the letter signed by [NBA commissioner Adam] Silver and players association president Michele Roberts said. ‘These ideas are based on the actions many of you have already taken or supported, including convening community conversations in NBA markets to engage young people, parents, community leaders and law enforcement in a candid dialogue, using our game to bring people together and build bonds of trust in our communities; and supporting mentoring and career development programs that help bring economic opportunity to young people of color.’”
    It is SO good to know, in all this, that there is one old powerful white guy, who can see past his privilege–and one pro sports league as well.

  4. dakine01 says:

    Not to be impolitic or anything, but Mike Ditka can go fuck himself.

    Hear Hear!

    Here in the Bluegrass, the Mild Cats are hosting South Carolina tonight in hopes of evening the record and keeping the faint bowl hopes alive.

    Down in the Bowling Green they sing about, the Hilltoppers are hosting the Commodores in the first ever visit by an SEC team for football.  The Toppers took care of bidness last year in Nashville and I’m hopeful they will do so again this year (and put the Tops at 1 – 1 in the SEC portion of their schedule…

  5. Jim White says:

    a blowhard fat jackass like Mike Ditka if it came down to a choice for a neighbor

    Way back in times of old, our family lived in a Chigcago suburb when I was in the first and second grade. And guess who was a neighbor, just around the corner? Yup, designated blowhard fat jackass Ditka.

    I won’t be able to watch the full Gator game on TV this afternoon, as we are headed down to St. Pete to catch the last two home Rays games for the season. Our older daughter informed us this summer that she had never been to a pro sporting event and this weekend seemed the easiest time to remedy that.

    As for the game in Rocky Top, I think the Gators will somehow find a way. For your musical enjoyment as you await the game, here is James Bates (linebacker on the ’96 National Champion Gators) as Luther Ogle accompanied by Sister Hazel’s Drew Copeland: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYjPYPAnad4 (Try not to have that catchy tune stuck in your head the rest of the day.)

    • Bay State Librul says:

      Enjoy the game.

      poor-SEL-oh vs ANN-dresse

      Please do something about the Trop.

      What section will you be sitting in? I will be watching at 6:00PM, perfect timing for a game.

  6. Peterr says:

    Really curious about the NFL game between the Vikings and Panthers in Charlotte on Sunday.

    Malcolm Jenkins of the Iggles has a great interview up at SI about the anthem protests generally and his own personal reasons for engaging in it. He also said this:

    In our NFL security meetings that we do every year, the head of security for our team speaks to us about numerous topics like gun safety, domestic violence, how to keep our house secure, personal security, everything. And in the last two years, they have talked about police encounters, but this year stood out to me specifically because he started by saying, I am not here to get into a conversation about what is right and what is wrong and what your rights are as a citizen. I am here to simply coach you up on how to survive the encounter. There was a little bit of rumbling and he said, Look I get it, there are a lot of things going on, a lot of things that aren’t right, but we are here so that you survive the encounter. In that moment you knew that he was not talking to Carson Wentz. He said, look if you get pulled over, most of you probably have tinted windows, so roll all your windows down, keep your hands on the steering wheel. If the officer asks you to pull out your license and registration, don’t just reach for it, announce and say, Hey, officer, I am reaching for my license. He said, I know all of this is not right and this isn’t in line with the rights you have as a citizen, but we need you to survive this encounter and you can report the officer later after that. The fact that we even have to have this conversation tells you that there is something wrong.

    Amen to that last sentence.

  7. Pete says:

    Mellencamp – great pick.  Also really love “Justice and Independence ’85”.

    Personally, I think “America The Beautiful” would be a better NA, but:

    1) Congress would never change it.

    2) And if they did, it would be in keeping with the American Way to make a bandaid change and not have the National dialogue on (a) topic(s) that are needed.



    Fins – will they or won’t they go 0-3

    • bloopie2 says:

      Personally, I think “America The Beautiful” would be a better NA”.  How about “Allah Bless America”?  If you don’t like it, get out.

  8. scribe says:

    #1. Kapernick is right.  Ditka is wrong.  End of discussion.

    #2.  It would be ironic if it were even a bit funny, but the Camden coach and his team play for a high school named after one of the worst racists to ever occupy the White House.  And Camden, a town familiar to me, is the paradigm of post-industrial America turned into a slum until campaign contributions warp the land-use laws enough to make it profitable for the contributors to come in and “redevelop” it.  There was an article a while back highlighting how Christie has turned Camden into a paradigm of his ideal of police-state policing, made all the easier by it being a majority-minority town surrounded by waterfront views of downtown Philadelphia on one side and lily-white suburbs on the other.  Can’t find the link now, but someone surely will.

    On to trashier topics.

    At the risk of offending TPTB and in lieu of my usual rant, yesterday EW, Bmaz and yours truly got into an epic trash-talking session that is just too good not to share.  Start from the bottom.


    From: bmaz
    Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 5:24 PM
    To: ew; scribe
    Subject: Re: it never stops


    Nobody watches or gives a fuck about Skip Bayless. He is
    truly irrelevant. But the beauty of Belichick would be perfectly


    This IS what the world needs..


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 5:02 PM, scribe wrote [again, bmaz having
    failed to rise to the bait]:


     “Tim Tebow:  The Man Nobody Wanted.
    Cheatin’ Bill made him into a champion.”  I can see it now.


    Skip Bayliss would die, ecstatic, on the set.


    From: EW
    Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 4:51 PM
    To: bmaz; scribe
    Subject: Re: it never stops


    This miracle 4 game string can only work if BillBel succeeds with a truly terrible QB, bmaz. 


    Or Edelman. That would work too. 


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 4:47 PM, bmaz wrote:


    No! Great kid. Terrible QB. 


    Baby Jesus is the man!


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 4:40 PM, scribe wrote:


     “Tim Tebow:  The Man Nobody Wanted. Cheatin’ Bill made him into a champion.”  I can see it now.


    Skip Bayliss would die, ecstatic, on the set.


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 1:33 PM, ew wrote:


    You don’t like my Lindley suggestion? 


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 4:28 PM, scribe wrote:


    Well, next week is Fat Rex.  At the rate his team is imploding, I could play QB
    for the Patsies and win.


    Or they could go to the A-11 and watch Rex and Rob explode in frustration.


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 4:28 PM, bmaz wrote:


    Sure, sure, sure……But then what???


    Come on, it would be the ultimate Bill Bel thing to win the last game of Brady’s idiotic suspension with Tim Tebow. 


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 12:55 PM, EW wrote:


    We will see. If we has surgery AFTER next week then we’ll get teh old fart back to to replace him in the interim. 


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 3:53 PM, bmaz wrote:


    You have to admit, Tebow could run the Brissett offense perfectly.


    It is perfect!!


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 3:48 PM scribe wrote:


    It’s surgery on the throwing thumb, also spelled “out.  4 to 8 weeks.”


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 3:40 PM scribe wrote:


    Needs surgical repair of right thumb ligament.  Ow.


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 3:38PM scribe wrote:


    You get Tebow, you have to add Denver/Gator/Mets orange to the sparkle mix.


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 12:29 PM, ew wrote:




    Also, I won’t be able to see that game, as I’ll be I dunno wandering around [some town without cable] maybe. 


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 3:27 PM, bmaz wrote:


    Is that the uniform you want your new QB, Tebow, to wear?


    Brissett now injured.


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 12:20 PM, ew wrote:


    Obviously: red white and blue with shiny silver highlights. 


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 3:16 PM, scribe wrote:


    What color sparkles do you want with the pony?


    From: EW
    Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 3:02 PM
    To: scribe
    Cc: bmaz


    Subject: Re: it never stops


    I want my 27-0 third stringer win AND a pony.


    But if forced, I will settle for the 27-0 third stringer win.


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 1:34 PM, scribe wrote:


    It’s Cheatin’ Bill we’re talking about here.  And, besides, any serious student of
    Massachusetts patriotism knows it was all driven by the desire to avoid taxes
    and regulation and make as much f’g money as humanly possible.  So, it
    necessarily follows they’ll run up the score.


    From: bmaz
    Sent: Friday, September 23, 2016 1:24 PM
    To: ew
    Cc: scribe
    Subject: Re: it never stops


     Is that how a Patriot Acts?? 27 to ZIP not enough?


    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 10:12 AM, EW wrote:


     I’m maybe 1% sad there was no Edelman trickery.

     But I’m getting over it quickly. 

    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 11:57 AM, scribe wrote:
    You’ll get to enjoy goof football for a change….

    From: bmaz
    Friday, September 23, 2016 11:48 AM
    To: scribe
    Cc: EW
    Subject: Re: it never stops

     On a positive note, I get the Stiller/Iggles here on my TV!

    On Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 8:40 AM, scribe wrote:
    Re:  It never stops

    Instead of Stillers/Iggles on my TV, I get the f’g Jets-Chefs.  Why, oh Football
    Gods, why?  What have I done to offend thee?

    That said, the big surprise last night was the lack of surprise and trickery by
    Cheatin Bill and the Cheating Cheaters of Cheatertown.  I would have
    expected something, but they just went straight ahead and bulled over the



    • Peterr says:

      Had to cast that bait out there twice before you got a strike, but you were obviously using the right bait.

      I still think signing Peyton to a one game contract would be the BillBel move, as it lets him poke Elway in the eye: “Peyton left football as a Patriot, ’cause winning the Super Bowl as a Bronco just wasn’t enough.”

      • scribe says:

        He’s a crotchety one but wily, too.  Gets in behind the stumps and lilypads and you have to be able to cast a curve to get at him.  But when he hits, there’s no mistaking it. Fights like the devil and it takes good, strong equipment to horse him out of the thick stuff.
        But it can be done.

  9. emptywheel says:

    Shit. Forgot about the MSU game.

    I’m driving to DTW to fly away today and though briefly of Big Game traffic in A2. But forgot that East Lansing is, unlike Ann Arbor, unavoidable and equally annoying.

  10. lefty665 says:

    Thanks bmaz, I couldn’t have come close to expressing similar feelings as well.  From the time I entered grade school I never understood why I should be pledging allegiance to a fucking flag, or that “under god” stuff when it was added.

    Does the NSA know about that reaching through the inner tubes to strangle people stuff?  Guess not since Snowden’s still among the living. Don’t tell ’em how to do it.

    Looks like the Giants will hand the ‘Skins their heads again this week. Cousins has come down with another case of the yips and the defensive backfield doesn’t seem to be able to communicate coverages among themselves. Sigh, it could be another long year.

    Thanks for cleaning up the logon, and thanks for a wonderful new site.


    • Bay State Librul says:

      Thanks, I’ll be looking for you.

      Let me know what your thoughts are about the game. We only get “homer” analysis and I’m way too prejudiced….


  11. rosalind says:

    testing, 123.

    Go Trees!!!
    Watched “Pitch”. Entertaining take on first female MLB pitcher. Molly Knight, who wrote “The Best Team Money Can Buy”, is their technical consultant. Fox Thursday, 9pm.
    Sigh. Actual NYT Tweet: “How will ‘Pitch’ cater to the hard-core baseball fan expecting authenticity while still appealing to women?” And thus the hashtag “WhataBaseballFanLooksLike” born.
    Team McCaffrey!!!

    (bullet points show up in original, but not now. comment awaiting moderation. will see what it looks like when sprung)

    • Rosalind says:

      for shame, should’ve been my lead-off: this Sunday is National Treasure Vin Scully’s last regular game broadcast. 67 years as the Dodgers play-by-play announcer. 67. Prior to last night’s game the team gave him a beautiful good-bye.

      Kevin Costner summed it up.

      • phred says:

        Hi ros!

        Thanks for posting the link to the tribute to Vin Scully, so well deserved.  I’m sure the game out your way will sound funny from now on, when you turn on the game and the wrong voice comes on.

  12. P J Evans says:

    A marvelous way to spend a summer’s week or two if any of us are still around in 2024: The Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Rome has now all but quit the race, leaving Los Angeles and Paris as the prime contenders. LA already has in place most of the venues that would be needed, so it actually seems affordable. That would be an experience to top a lifetime of watching sports; I can’t begin to imagine how it feels for a participant.

    I can do without this kind of “event”. It’s a PITA, as well as being a money sink. (Note that they didn’t bother to ask the people who actually have to live in the region.)

  13. scribe says:

    L.A., Paris or Budapest.

    Per Euro media, Roma has dropped out entirely, not just most of the way.

    My money’s on Paris – close enough to Switzerland for the IOC place-pickers to make a bank run and get back all in the same day.

  14. scribe says:

    Watching Michigan/PSU.
    PSU’s kicker is some guy Joey something or other, 5’10”/271 from Hummelstown, PA. (Deep in Penn Dutch Country) Grew him up some on good Penn Dutch cooking. Likes to cover his own kicks. Also makes devastating hits on ball-carriers. He’s a football player.
    They had to wheel the Michigan guy off.

  15. Denis says:

    After a decade of blogging and commenting on others’ blogs. the one lesson I keep learning and forgetting is you can never know who the person at the far end of the internet connection is.  I had concluded from previous interactions here at EW that this guy bmaz and I were so far apart that our minds would never come to a meeting on any issue, any where, at any time.

    And then a few days after my pro-Kaepernick rant against the cowardly slave-holder F.S. Key and his rousing song that is not worth rising for and against California cop unions was published on Dissident Voice, I stopped in here and found bmaz’s post on Kaepernick and 9/11 and my jaw dropped.  It was absolutely inspiring.

    And now bmaz has hit it out of the park again with his rant against “blowhard fat jackass […] Mike Ditka.” Out of the park.

    It just burns my bacon when a holier-than-thou, US faux-patriot prick like Ditka who never risked his own ass for his country grabs the mic and attacks someone like Kaepernick who sees America for what it is and despairs because it is so far removed from what it should be.  That whole “love or leave it” line he spouts could just as well be trademarked by America’s combat vets and modified to read “If you don’t love it enough to put on a uniform and risk dying for it, then you are the one who needs to get the fuck out.”  Mike Ditka, I’m staring straight at you.

    But here is were bmaz and I are going to diverge again: Pro sports clowns like Ditka – along with the NFL, NCAA, and ABC’s Wide World of Sports and its media progeny – have been dragging America down since at least the early 1960’s.

    In my Kaepernick rant I characterize American football as: “brain-damaged white people paying to watch (mostly) black players damage each other’s brains.”  And of course America’s pro football organizations, notably the NFL and NCAA, are making billions on this sick paradigm, which is to say the fans love it.

    Along the way the NCAA has had a horrible effect in excising scholarship from America’s universities and replacing it with lucrative, televised intercollegiate jingoism.  When football coaches get paid more than entire academic departments; when states have cut back funding drastically for state colleges and universities on the grounds that they are getting huge millions from ESPN et al.; when students choose where they want to get their education based on the freakin’ football or basketball standings – well, I can only liken it to the insane popularity of Circus Maximus as the Roman Empire went into collapse.  It is a symptom of a diseased culture.  Besides, the fact that the average ticket to the XLIX Super Bowl was $4314 and the stadium was full tells me that the US income tax rate is nowhere nearly high enough, at least for some classes. NFL and NCAA football is a game of idiots, played by idiots, for idiots — virtually all of whom are Americans.

    But the larger problem is the way all mass-produced team sports instill and nurture in young people violent tribal instincts to see the other side as enemies that need to be wiped out.  Those of you over about 35 might remember Peter Davis’ 1974 documentary masterpiece on the Vietnam War called “Hearts and Minds.”  It is still a brilliant film in just about every possible way: filmography, editing, dialog, impact. There are some scenes there that are historic, like footage of Phan Thị Kim Phúc the 9-yo girl running from a napalm bomb, her burnt skin falling off of her. Instead of the famous still-shot of Phuc, the film shows the whole horrible scene, including a couple of US grunts pouring water on her. Anyone who watches Davis’ film, and that scene specifically, and claims to be proud to be American needs to check into Bellvue.

    Throughout the film Davis keeps going back to shots of a highschool football game and the way the idiot coach is slapping the players around and pumping them up to kill!, kill!, kill!, in Arlo’s words.  The juxtaposition to the American butchery in VN is both accurate and disturbing: stupid, gullible American kids doing horrible things to “the enemy”solely because their moron leaders tell them to.  One recalls the “old lie” as Wilfred Owen called it: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. And one recalls the most brilliant thing Mohammad Ali ever said: No Vietnamese ever called me “nigger.” Ali, one recalls, took a lot of shit from “patriotic” American couch-potatoes, too.

    If you haven’t seen Hearts and Minds recently, go back to it.  It is almost as relevant today as in 1974. This link goes to a YT version that requires sign-in to verify age.  This link does not require sign-in but has Spanish subtitles, which are distracting because they obscure text in the film.

    But what really drove home the disturbing reality of Americans’ twisted love/tolerance of their own illegal wars was my experiences at Ohio State University during the intermittent anti-war and football riots of 1969 through to about 1972.  After having been tear gassed and knee-knockered by cops and National Guard during anti-war protests on High St. and the Oval, and after the National Guard massacre of protesting students at Kent State in 1970, I couldn’t help but take notice of the hands-off approach the cops took when it came to football riots, including one in which at least one car with its occupants was turned over and shop windows were broken after a Michigan game. No gas, no knee-knockers, no aggressive pigs w/ sticks, no arrests.  It underscored the warped cultural values of Americans: Rioting because your team lost was OK, but riot against being drafted into a war in which tens of thousands of Americans and millions of Vietnamese were being killed for no discernible reason was not and so you’re gonna’ get your head busted . . . or worse.

    That’s when I came to understand how sick America really is, and I’m not even black. One would perhaps expect that our generation, who became adults during the civil rights violence, the political assassinations, the Vietnam violence, would do whatever is necessary to change the game and right some wrongs so the next generation wouldn’t stumble into the same mess.  Guess not.  But, hey, football is a popular as ever; somebody’s getting rich.

    Go, Bucks.

    (Love the new format.)

    • bloopie2 says:

      “Go, Bucks.”  If NCAA is so bad, and OSU athletics as well, you could consider boycotting them.  Tell them why.  Enlist your compadres.  Or, do we love the game so much (“it’s as popular as ever”) that we can’t do that, that we must stay in our place at the back of the bus?

      • Denis says:

        Bloopie: you could consider boycotting them.

        Thanks for the suggestion, but I haven’t had to consider it, I have boycotted the NCAA bullshit my entire adult life, including 5 yrs I spent as an undergrad at OSU and 7 yrs in grad school at UVa. In all my days, many of them in Columbus, I have  attended only one college sport event — that was an OSU b’ball game while I was in HS. Yeah, you can bet I boycott the NCAA.

        BTW, I don’t have a problem w/ the way tennis, hockey, baseball and other extramural college sports are handled.  I object to the commercialization of scholastic institutions and the exploitation of football and basketball players. If NFL and NBA need farm teams, they should do it like baseball and other sports — community-based teams where the players are actually paid, as in $$$.

        In the interest of avoiding confusion in the future, “Go, Bucks” appended to any of my comments is facetious. I thought that would be evident from the content of the comment.

        BTW — has anyone else been goofed up by the new “edit” app?  I went into edit and in about 30 seconds the edit app closed and my comment disappeared altogether.  Not just what I was editing but the whole g’mish. I waited a few hours and it reappeared, unedited.  This bug is going to invite double-commenting and all sorts of confusion.


  16. bmaz says:

    Looks like Jim should have kept his eyes on the Gators prize. Things went downhill in the second half without him.

    Also, went to see Hell Or High Water this afternoon with Mrs. Bmaz. Fantastic movie, highly recommended. I know it doesn’t sound like it would be a remarkable film, but it really is. Exceptional acting by all the main characters (especially Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine), and beautifully scored, directed and photographed.

  17. Jim White says:

    Yeah, that second half must have been ugly. My first action when I get home tomorrow will be to delete the game from the DVR without watching.

    And baseball wasn’t any better. Sawx fans grossly outnumbered us in our home park. After having the lead for a while, Rays manager Cash inexplicably pulled a dominating pitcher after 6 even though his pitch count was low enough for two more innings. A depleted bullpen loaded the bases with two outs and disgusting little squirrel Pedroia barely lifted a grand slam over the fence. Ugh.

    It was still a fun family evening, though.

  18. Peterr says:

    Ken Starr remains an idiot.

    Former Baylor chancellor Ken Starr (yes, that Ken Starr) praised the character of ousted head football coach Art Briles, saying he felt Briles had been the object of a “grave injustice,” in a Saturday interview with the Texas Tribune. . . .

    In Saturday’s interview, conducted by Tribune CEO Evan Smith and livestreamed as part of the nonprofit media group’s annual festival, Starr centered his frustration with the situation on the treatment of Briles, who was fired in May for his role in the scandal and is apparently already looking for his next job in football.

    To Starr, however, Briles should not be seen as the leader of a program that repeatedly twisted its priorities to place football victories above basic human security, but rather as the victim of exaggerated claims spun by the media.

    “A grave injustice was done to Art Briles,” Starr said of the coach’s firing, going on to say that he takes issue with media descriptions of Briles’ behavior. “Coach Briles has been calumnied … it’s completely unfair.”

    Of Briles’s character, Starr had nothing but high praise, requesting “fairness to Coach Briles” in discussion of the administration’s failings and describing him as “an honorable, decent man who committed his life to molding the lives of young men.”

    In an hour-long interview that involved much in the way of circumlocution and meandering non-answers from Starr, there was but one question that received an immediately clear reply:

    “Was Art Briles given a raw deal?”


    Full Texas Tribune story here.

    Warning: at the end of the story, there is this ominous foreshadowing (emphasis added): “But Starr — who said he is writing a book about his time at Baylor — rejected the notion that Baylor’s problems with sexual assault were widespread.”


  19. Bay State Librul says:

    Thank you Kevin Cash for the victory.  Jim’s right, credit the manager with overthinking.

    “We didn’t want to extend him too much,” Cash said. “We’re trying to be smart.”

    Will they be giving out a David Ortiz bubblehead to the first 15,000 customers today?



  20. bloopie2 says:

    “That would truly cement the Belichick legacy.”  I would venture to say that said legacy is already cemented.  A dominating team for over a decade.  Legions of fawning acolytes who swoon over their every achievement.  Oh, and wasn’t it just SO precious that Goodell showed his worst on a player who is just, well, God?  Think of how much people fall all over themselves adoring Belichick now; then, think of how unlikely his feats will be duplicated by another in our lifetime, and realize that you will have no choice but to say, “Who else but BillBel can merit our praise?  Surely there is no other before him?”

  21. phred says:

    Wowser, wander off the tubes for awhile and look what happens!   Nice digs ya got here.  Probably shouldn’t have cycled off with bmaz pocketing the keys to the licker cabinet, though ; )

    HAPPY FOOTBALL SEASON!  (and BSL — Go SOX!, sorry Jim)

    Great post bmaz, thanks for that.  Go Packers!

  22. bmaz says:

    Questions were asked this week about Aaron Rodgers.

    That appears to have only made him mad. Pack up 14-3 early versus Kittehs. Rex Ryan and the Bills having their way so far with seriously lethargic Cardinals.

    • phred says:

      I wouldn’t say “mad”, he and the rest of the Pack are looking cheerful to me at the moment – Pack up 24-3.  Woot!  Go Packers! Nice defensive take-away they had there, too : )

  23. bloopie2 says:

    To Denis at 2:33 pm (“reply” button not working here): Thanks for the reply as to boycotts. Yes, I missed the facetiousness of “Go, Bucks”. This is because there are some on this blog who rant at the NFL, for example, then spend a hundred or more hours a year watching NFL games. Not me. The NFL on TV is exceptionally well done and so is great entertainment, but in the end, spend a weekend or a month without it and you realize you haven’t lost anything, while you have gained your weekends back. My two cents’ worth.

    • Denis says:

      Bingo!! You win the Kewpie doll, if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors.

      Next time someone here in Canada asks me why US is so f’d, I will direct them to your comment.


  24. greengiant says:

    Any thoughts on analyzing what various shoot before you think training the perps have taken?   Killing people is a business after all.

  25. P J Evans says:

    “Why is the [COUGH] National Anthem even played at sporting events?”

    My understanding is that it’s another souvenir of the Cold War. It started in the late 1950s or the very early 1960s. (See, for example, the comments on it in “Willie’s Time” by Charles Einstein.)

  26. bmaz says:

    Anybody heard from the local denizens from Pennsylvania?

    Apparently a LOT of commotion going on in Philly tonight. Not so much from the Pittsburgh set.

  27. bmaz says:

    Thanks for the link PJ. Very sad. I was always a terrible golfer, though grew up by two tournament level courses. But Palmer and Nicklaus made it must watch TV, and made going to the Phoenix Open exciting. Giants. Palmer always seemed like the affable everyman that you would like to hang with. What an ambassador not just for golf, but sport and the US too.

    • dakine01 says:

      From the article:

      Growing up near the sixth tee of the club, Palmer learned the grip and the swing from his father, as well as manners, empathy, integrity and respect.

      There are far too few people in all walks of life exhibiting those last four traits.

      RIP Arnie…

        • bmaz says:

          And The Bear, Jack Nicklaus, speaks:

          “I just got the news at about 8:45 that Arnold had passed. I was shocked to hear that we lost a great friend—and that golf lost a great friend.

          At this point I don’t know what happened, and I suppose it is not important what happened. What is important is that we just lost one of the incredible people in the game of golf and in all of sports. My friend—many people’s friend—just wore out. I know he was in Pittsburgh trying to find out how to make himself better. That’s what Arnold has always tried to do. He has always been a fighter and he never gave up on anything. He didn’t give up even now. Maybe his body did, but I know Arnold’s will and spirit did not.

          I wish I had another chance to talk to him, but I am so glad we talked a couple weeks ago on his birthday (Sept. 10), when he sounded great. So Barbara and I are just in shock and incredibly saddened. Our hearts, thoughts, prayers and sympathies go out to Kit, his kids, grandkids, great grandkids, and his entire loving family.

          He was one of my best friends, closest friends, and he was for a long, long time. I will miss him greatly.

          Arnold transcended the game of golf. He was more than a golfer or even great golfer. He was an icon. He was a legend. Arnold was someone who was a pioneer in his sport. He took the game from one level to a higher level, virtually by himself. Along the way, he had millions of adoring fans—Barbara and I among them. We were great competitors, who loved competing against each other, but we were always great friends along the way. Arnold always had my back, and I had his. We were always there for each other. That never changed.

          He was the king of our sport and always will be.”

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