Feelings don’t care about your facts: The NFL anthem controversy

· May 30, 2018  
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LeGarrette Blount is now a member of my Detroit Lions, so welcome to purgatory, buddy. This ain’t the New England Patriots or the Pittsburgh Steelers, where you recently won Super Bowls, any more.

As a fan of the least successful franchise in NFL history — one playoff win in 61 years, but who’s counting? — I can personally attest that the struggle is real. Blount should be prepared for cosmic levels of lamentation. And the good news is thanks to his recent encounter with some of the local media, he now is.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I was listening to a Lions podcast that featured Blount commenting enthusiastically about a recent USO tour he was on and how grateful he was to have been afforded such an opportunity to serve the troops and their families stationed overseas. He was talking to a gaggle of sports reporters, so you know what happened next. An industry led by an entity like ESPN, which provides a platform to Keith “F*** you @RealDonaldTrump Nazi Nazi f*** Nazi Nazi RACIST Nazi BIGOT go f*** yourself f****** Nazi f******” Olbermann, simply wouldn’t permit Blount to honor his country like that in this age of Trump.

Thus Blount was met with a volley of follow-up questions about the NFL and President Trump. Surely this gathering of pasty-faced Millennial media would finally do their humanities professors proud by prompting Blount, who is black, to virtue-signal on cue.

Except Blount, who doesn’t have a reputation for being either timid or a choirboy, wouldn’t play his part. Instead he took the high road by refusing to comment from there on anything that wasn’t specifically about football. If only there were more like him. By saying nothing, Blount may have had the smartest take of all.



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Take, for example, longtime Detroit Lions beat writer Mike O’Hara, whose work I have read and enjoyed for decades. On his podcast he was adamant that players weren’t politicizing the game by politicizing the game, but instead were simply offering up what O’Hara called “social commentary.” Having followed O’Hara’s work most of my life, I’m confident he’s got a strong grasp of the English language, which is why I’m befuddled by his odd distinction without a difference. Saying players aren’t politicizing the game but providing social commentary is like telling the wife, “I didn’t cheat on you, I just enjoyed sexual gratification from another woman.”

Better yet, it’s reminiscent of saying something like this: “It depends upon what your definition of is is.”

But O’Hara’s plunge into the dumb wasn’t even the worst offense. Not even close. One former NFL player compared America to Hitler, and it’s easy to see why he’s so bitter. After all, this racist country had the unmitigated gall to allow him to get rich playing football after he killed a man drunk driving. Yep, just like Hitler!

But for my money, the magnum moronic opus goes to NBA social justice shaman … err … Coach Steve Kerr. Because he should know better. The dude is brilliant and an American inspiration/success story, who overcame his father’s assassination at the hands of Islamic terrorists to become an All-American college basketball player and an NBA champion as both a coach and player. When asked about the NFL’s anthem policy, despite the fact he doesn’t even coach in the league, Kerr said the following:

“I think it’s just typical of the NFL. They’re just playing to their fanbase, and they’re just basically trying to use the anthem as fake patriotism. Nationalism, scaring people, it’s idiotic, but that’s how the NFL has handled their business. I’m proud to be in a league that understands patriotism in America is about free speech.”

Um, yeah, Steve, about that last part in bold. You know, that you’re “proud to be in a league that understands patriotism is about free speech.” There’s just one problem, Coach Kerr — your league, the NBA, has the strictest national anthem policy of them all.

But when you’re lining up to emote for the cameras to assure you’re highlighted as a paragon of fake virtue on tonight’s WokeCenter, the NBA’s drastic infringement on its players politicizing the national anthem suddenly becomes “free speech.”

For in the idiocracy … err … utopia, feelings don’t care about your facts.

Author: Steve Deace

Steve Deace is broadcast nationally each weeknight on CRTV. He is the author of the book “A Nefarious Plot.”