Grab your hat and your cane. We may not be coming back this way. You could be offended by my commentary, which is totally acceptable to me. Therefore, if you should decide to discontinue reading after realizing where I am going with this story, please understand that I am a red-blooded American patriot who served in the United States Marine Corps and retired from the United States Army. My opinions are skewed as a result of my training. This includes what I learned in kindergarten and what I was taught throughout my sixteen years of education here in this country. Please understand that millions of students all over the country have been taught the exact same things.
First, I learned to respect my parents, my grandparents, my aunts, uncles and all adults that came into contact with me. In some cases it may have been hard to do this based on your relationships with members of your family. However, in my case it was not hard to do. I was fortunate to be born into a very special family. They were hard working people who passed on to me a love for this country that we were fortunate to be born into. For the most part Americans are good people regardless of political persuasion or religious affiliation.
It was late in my life that I met people that did not believe in God. This discovery was difficult for me to understand since God had been a part of my life from birth. My acceptance of a lack of religion or a lack of spirituality on the part of other Americans is one of the things that make our country so great. To my knowledge America has never had an atheists or an agnostic as president. Therefore, our leadership from the beginning was based on the tenants of the Judeo-Christian background of our founding fathers.
Until the middle of the 20th century these principals prevailed in America. Certain other religions such as capitalism, socialism, communism materialism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islamism, and other “isms” have tried to remove and or replace our Judeo-Christian heritage. This Providential set of fundamentally sound precepts made this country the greatest, the richest, the most tolerant, the most generous, the most respected and the most free society in the history of mankind. Millions of immigrants are trying to flee their country and enter the United States either legally or illegally. Many risk their lives and the lives of their families just to enter this country. Thousand die or drown every year trying to reach our shore and our borders. There is no exodus of American citizens trying to enter other countries so that they can make a better life for themselves outside of the United States. We must have something that the world desires even above their own lives in some cases. So, what is the commotion about in this country regarding oppression of our citizens?
America has had dark days in the past where the rights and privileges of all of its citizens were not available. There were dark days when every person did not have equal protection under the law. Even today we have incidents occurring where some citizens are not treated equally by law enforcement personnel. However, this is not a failure of the law but failure of law enforcement misusing the law. A Montgomery City Judge came very close to locking me up a few years ago because I forcefully objected to his application of a law that did not exist. I knew that it did not exist. I believe that he knew that it did not exist. I also believe that the City of Montgomery collected thousands of dollars illegally from uninformed citizens over a long period of time applying a fine for a law that did not exist. Subsequently the judge has been fired. No one is treated fairly at all times. The best way to avoid being mistreated is to avoid wrong-doing or the “appearance” of any impropriety.
Our founding fathers approved a constitution that begins with “All men are created equal.” Their reference in that time was to establish themselves as equal to any person regardless of their social or financial status. Especially, they wanted to send a message to the British Crown and all of its nobility that had been so oppressive to the colonies from their inception. Only after decades of the debate, did the leaders in the developing new nation realize that they had erred in the definition of free men in a free society. Slaves were not equal in any society in the world. This debate would divide America for two hundred years. The 20th century provided a resolution to this inhumanity to man. We must continue to be sensitive to the needs and desires of all of our citizens regardless of race, creed or national origin. Equality does not exist throughout the world. But the United States of America leads the cause.
Now, what does all of this have to do with football in general and the NFL in specificity? I have participated in or been associated in some way with the game of football for seventy years. This is not to say that my affiliation with football began when I saw my first football game. The first game that I have any recollection of was when my daddy took me to watch his brother “Tom Mac” play for Wilcox County High School in Camden, Alabama at the age of five or six. I sat on my daddy shoulders in order to see the field. He would say, “see Tom Mac run the football”. In all honesty, I could not see anything but a lot of players running around in shinny helmets. I wonder how they made those leather helmets shine. The first college game that I saw was in Cramton Bowl. Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant brought his Kentucky team to Montgomery to play Coach Frank Thomas’s 1946 Alabama team. I was eight years old but I do remember my daddy pointing out Alabama’s All-American tailback Harry Gilmer jump up and throw passes that day. Gilmer became my hero. Mother sewed a red 52 on a white football jersey for me. I still have a picture of me in that jersey along with a red and white helmet and red football pants. It is menacing!
The only professional football games we could see living in Montgomery were Washington Redskin games on television if we could find somebody with a TV. I was about thirteen at that time and had been playing in the 80 1b. YMCA League for fours years. So, the disease of football infected me at an early age. I am almost eighty now and it is worse today than then. On Friday, September 22, 2017 President Donald Trump was speaking in Huntsville, AL on behalf of United States Senate candidate Luther Strange. He took to task the owners of the National Football League in his nationally televised remarks. He said that he was ashamed of the NFL. He also said that if he owned an NFL team and saw one of his players kneeling during the National Anthem or disrespecting the American Flag in anyway, he would call down to the head coach and tell him to get the ……… off the field. “Fire him”!
The President’s off the cuff remarks have caused a rebellion among the players in the National Football League. The original “kneeler” was Colin Kaepernick in 2016. In 2017 other black players have followed Kaepernicks lead. They claim to be protesting the inequalities in the enforcement of the law in the United States as it relates to black citizens. Specifically, they wanted to bring attention to the shootings of black men by police officers in different cities by mostly white officers. Notice that my emphasis is on “cities.” These random acts of perceived undue violence are not occurring in rural areas where crime is not a constant threat to our citizens. In these rural areas of the country, blacks, whites, and Latinos seem to get alone very well. Unfortunately, in the cities, blacks and Latinos are congregated in certain sections where crime is a way of life for young black and Latino boys.
Few have fathers to help with discipline. These young boys grow up to be young men who have been taught that the police are their enemy. So, it is a perpetual battle that so often ends in an early death for a variety of reasons. Some die from using drugs. Some die stealing money to buy drugs. Some are gunned down by each other because violence is their avocation. There is no escape from this way of life without being educated in the mores and the cultural society of the “white man”. They have been taught to reject the white man’s world. They are not aware of the fact that all European countries were founded by white people. Since the founders of America came mostly from European countries, the founders of America were white men. Now, before someone is offended that nothing has been said about white women , it must be understood that women were not involved in anything, except taking care of their husbands and their children until the 20th Century.
So, with the exception of most countries on the continent of Africa, white men set the standard for every nation in Europe, South America, and North America. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. It just happens to be the way that history unfolded. The big problem between blacks and whites occurred during the 17th century when the need for workers outgrew the population in the Americas. So, as it is with any need, that need will be provided by someone with a method of obtaining a solution.
Greedy African men were more than happy to provide greedy white men with slaves for the right price. This solved the need for workers in the Americas and in Europe. Unfortunately, through no fault of their own these people were sold into slavery by their own people and subjected to subservient status for centuries. This became an accepted way of life throughout all of the Americas. When Thomas Jefferson penned the famous words, “All men are created equal”, all slaves on the face of the Earth were considered chattel.
The reference creating all men as being equal is actually of biblical origin. However, throughout the scriptures there were stories of slavery being an accepted way of life. Only after the first Century A.D. did the practice of slavery being inhumane, immoral and unacceptable become a subject for debate. There were white slaves, Middle Eastern slaves, slaves from all walks of life. At that time there were few black slaves because the European countries, the Middle Eastern countries and the people on the continent of Africa had not been in contact much, even for trade purposes. Only until the 17th century did the black slave traders find it profitable to sell their own people to the slave traders of the Western world and beyond, creating a subjugated society of people who were bought and sold by their owners in an inhumane process, that was no different from trading horses or cattle.
It is unbelievable that it took three centuries for the world to realize that the enslavement of human beings was a horrible, despicable and immoral system of conducting business in a free society. It would not be easy to convert society away from the acceptance of slavery. Slavery in the United States has been misunderstood, by most every ethnic entity, in the process of converting to a world where no one could be owned by anyone. Some slave owners were kind and benevolent to their slaves. Others were cruel and dehumanizing. In either case, it is cruel and unjust for anyone to “own” another person.
Slaves were being released throughout the United States prior to the Civil War and prior to President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. However, the system continued unabridged in most of the country. The process of freeing the slaves was not immediately successful. Old habits die hard. Some former slaves had nowhere to go. Some former slave owners created another form of control by allowing their former slaves to live and farm on their land.
Unfortunately, this created a system, of what we would call today, indentured servitude. Even though these individuals were free from slavery, without a way to escape from this way of life, they were expected to do certain favors for their former owners. Why would any person freed from the bonds of slavery live this way? Because they were uneducated and financially incapable of building a life of their own. As industrious, hard working former slaves became educated, skilled in many trades, they began to migrate from the environment where they have lived in bondage.
They became leaders, not only in the black communities, but in American political, financial and tutorial endeavors. This brought a new way of life where they were given the opportunity to participate in the “pursuit of happiness”, as promised in the Constitution of the United States. It was hard. It was slow in developing. But, the “American Dream” became possible, even though maybe sometimes improbable for decades. Finally “All men are created equal” became a reality and not just empty words.
Unfortunately, our American Dream does not exist for those who are penned in by corridors of buildings and unsafe streets of the inner cities in America. Many people, black, white, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, have found an upward course for their lives and the lives of their families, through dedication to a sport in which they could excel. The rewards for
developing their talents through hard work and perseverance could bring educational opportunities and untold riches from a professional career in the sport of their choice.
Well, where are we today? Some of our greatest professional athletes still have the mindset of the inner city ghettos. Some are products of this lifestyle. Some are raised “right” and given every opportunity to succeed in life. Our multi-millionaire ex-quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, began a movement that will eventually bring a negative affect to the most popular, the most successful gateway to financial freedom for those who are still incubated in high school or college.
One would have to be a racist of the worse order, would have to be a mean spirited un-American person to not want these athletes to succeed. The overwhelming majority of the American people are kind, gentle, hard working, patriotic and spiritual in nature. They wish no harm to any human being of any race, religion, or ethnic background. I, for one, have been a fan of Colin Kaepernick since the first time I saw him play quarterback for the University of Nevada. His physical presence led me assume that he was of American Indian origin. Until his unfortunate discussion to disrespect the country that allowed him the opportunity to become one of the wealthiest athletes in the world, did I know he considered himself black. I knew that he had been adopted and raised by a caring white couple, who evidently taught him the necessary values that gave him a free college education, a job playing quarterback in the NFL for a outstanding organization in the San Francisco ‘49ers. There he was paid millions of dollars to throw footballs to other millionaires. One of his duties as an NFL player is to stand with helmet in the left arm and with his right hand over his heart during the playing of the National Anthem as the American Flag is raised prior to the kick-off of every game. That is really not much to require in order to have the privilege of playing football in the NFL for the San Francisco ‘49ers.
I am stunned, ashamed and humiliated for the sport of football, when I see other millionaire players following the lead of washed up malcontent, ingrate millionaire quarterback who has given so little and gained so much from the system that gave him so many opportunities. He has become famous, wealthy and affluent by simply using his God-given ability to run fast and throw a football. There are school teachers, coaches, druggists, doctors, dentists, soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, even some politicians, that have accomplished so much more to make life better for those who are less fortunate.
Because of our national disease called “Political Correctness” the franchise owners of most NFL teams have been reduced from men of power and influence to cowards. These cowards know the right thing to do but are afraid to do it for fear of losing the support of 13 percent of the American population, 70 percent of their employees and 100 percent of their favorable publicity from the “left wing media”.
Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, looked like a confused, meek and frightened child Sunday, September 24 when he, the coaching staff and the entire roster kneeled with locked arms and gave the impression that they were praying. After this hypocritical display, they all left the field and went back to the dressing room before the American
Flag was raised and before the National Anthem was played. The crowd booed vociferously. What a coward! Coach Frank Broyles probably turned over in his grave. Broyles was Jones’ coach at Arkansas when the Razorbacks won their only national champion.
If the owners voluntarily want to support Colin Kaepernick, I can accept that. They don’t. They are paying there employees millions of dollars a year just to play football. Where are these “employees” going to go to earn this kind of money? Nowhere!
Evidently, these owner, coaches, players are not aware of what “my” flag means to genuine Americans. For starters, it represents my uncle Thomas McWilliams (Tom) Jones who saw “his” flag flying for the first time atop Mount Suribachi just prior to him being wounded on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima. You may have heard of Iwo Jima. If you have not, check out a WWII book on the History of the Pacific. You’ve heard of the Pacific. Maybe Not! Tom was in the third wave as his Marine Division came ashore. All in his platoon were killed. I am thankful that he is no longer with us. He will never have to see the most despicable sight that I have seen on a football field in my seventy years off affiliation with Americas “favorite pastime”.
I think that I will quit writing before I throw up again!!