The lessons of history are being reflected in the collections by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, if only we will look. Two pieces of cloth commemorating protests by African-American athletes have achieved the sacred status of residence there.

At the time of Colin Kaepernick’s seminal protests that birthed the NFL’s kneeling crisis he was on record believing that the United States flag is nothing more than a piece of cloth.

“At the end of the day the flag is just a piece of cloth and I am not going to value a piece of cloth over people’s lives.  That’s just not something I can do, it’s not something I feel morally right doing and my character won’t allow me to do that.”  

Another former football player, Shannon Sharpe, has said much the same thing, declaring the American Flag — the Red, White, and Blue — to be merely a racist “piece of cloth” that “nobody fights for.”  

Mr. Sharpe went further by showing his disdain for America, the American Flag, and for Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner.  The full quote from his television show is,


“Well, we know what the anthem was originally written for and who it was written by, okay?  The flag, okay?  We understand what the flag?  What does it represent?  When did this narrative come to be that the military and the police own the flag and only them?  I can go buy a flag and I can hang it up in my backyard.  We need to stop this, Skip.  We need to — the flag is a piece of cloth and nobody fights for a piece of cloth.”

Another piece of cloth, Colin Kaepernick’s jersey, recently became part of the Black Lives Matter collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. He sullied his own mess kit with his racist activism — he is a Black Lives Matter icon worthy of inclusion into the Museum of African American History and Culture — and he was not picked up for the current season.

  “The Colin Kaepernick collection is in line with the museum’s larger collecting efforts to document the varied areas of society that have been impacted by the Black Lives Matter movement.” 

Among the museum’s featured sports items is a track warm-up suit that belonged to gold medalist Tommie Smith, who with teammate John Carlos famously executed the Black Power Salute during the American National Anthem at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.  That event is regarded as one of the most overtly political statements in the history of the modern Olympic Games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was not very happy with Carlos and Smith, and deemed their domestic political statement unfit for the apolitical, international forum the Olympic Games.  The president of the IOC ordered Smith and Carlos suspended from the U.S. team.  When the U.S. Olympic Committee refused, IOC President Brundage threatened to ban the entire U.S. track team.  The U.S. Olympic Committee capitulated and for their racial protest Tommie Smith and John Carlos were expelled from the Games. 

In other words, Tommie Smith and John Carlos were booted out of the Olympics and they didn’t come back.  They went on, got jobs, and lived a good life as Olympic gold medal winners and world-class athletes. Their fate came from above, the work of autocratic Avery Brundage.

Colin Kaepernick also faced the loss of his athletic career, this time from a group, not an autocrat. But like Smith and Carlos, his gesture spread as an emblem of defiance. Unfortunately for them, the NFL owners did not learn the lesson on power taught by Brundage.

A rational person should come to the conclusion that across the NFL team owners were not very happy with the spectacle of a disruptive influence who should be focused on football, not his own personal anti-America agenda.  There is sufficient evidence that NFL team owners deemed Colin Kaepernick’s political statements and actions disqualified him from receiving another contract.  There is a reasonable expectation that had he received a contract it would be construed as a “green light” to deviate from what is expected of him contractually as a player and enable him to continue his agenda.  Giving him a new contract would be rewarding bad behavior. 

A number of high profile people — professional athletes, Hollywood stars, politicians — claim Colin Kaepernick should be in the NFL.  But for his expression of his First Amendment rights, he’s being blackballed.  By and large, this is not a smart group of people.  The First Amendment guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  As any good corporate lawyer can attest, the government cannot restrict free speech but a corporation can.

Not a single one of this august group of people would come to the microphone and announce that President Trump also has First Amendment rights.  IOC President Brundage had no qualms in booting Olympic gold medal winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos out of the Olympics for their egregious political behavior.  They were held accountable for their actions.

In 1968, for banning Carlos and Smith, the left railed at IOC President Brundage and threw every scurrilous and racist charge that they could muster at him.  Fifty years later, the left has a death grip on the NFL.  There is a complete lack of leadership by the NFL owners and the commissioner to hold players accountable for their on-field political actions.  If they continue to support players who kneel during the National Anthem as a form of protest against what they perceive as a racist American Flag, I submit they are either leftists or clueless.  Either way, they are killing the Golden Goose.

If you want to play politics, run for office or take up another occupation.  Quit bothering the nice people in the stands who pay to see you.  The NFL should get a clue.  But I’m afraid than’t and consequently, I’ve watched my last game.  The NBA owners, coaches, and commissioner (are even worse than the NFL’s and) need to pay attention, quit the social justice game and focus on basketball and your fans otherwise, you too will have a non-socialist fan base that rejects your political message and walks out on you.  We have other things we could be doing.

The lessons of history are being reflected in the collections by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, if only we will look. Two pieces of cloth commemorating protests by African-American athletes have achieved the sacred status of residence there.

At the time of Colin Kaepernick’s seminal protests that birthed the NFL’s kneeling crisis he was on record believing that the United States flag is nothing more than a piece of cloth.

“At the end of the day the flag is just a piece of cloth and I am not going to value a piece of cloth over people’s lives.  That’s just not something I can do, it’s not something I feel morally right doing and my character won’t allow me to do that.”  

Another former football player, Shannon Sharpe, has said much the same thing, declaring the American Flag — the Red, White, and Blue — to be merely a racist “piece of cloth” that “nobody fights for.”  

Mr. Sharpe went further by showing his disdain for America, the American Flag, and for Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner.  The full quote from his television show is,


“Well, we know what the anthem was originally written for and who it was written by, okay?  The flag, okay?  We understand what the flag?  What does it represent?  When did this narrative come to be that the military and the police own the flag and only them?  I can go buy a flag and I can hang it up in my backyard.  We need to stop this, Skip.  We need to — the flag is a piece of cloth and nobody fights for a piece of cloth.”

Another piece of cloth, Colin Kaepernick’s jersey, recently became part of the Black Lives Matter collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. He sullied his own mess kit with his racist activism — he is a Black Lives Matter icon worthy of inclusion into the Museum of African American History and Culture — and he was not picked up for the current season.

  “The Colin Kaepernick collection is in line with the museum’s larger collecting efforts to document the varied areas of society that have been impacted by the Black Lives Matter movement.” 

Among the museum’s featured sports items is a track warm-up suit that belonged to gold medalist Tommie Smith, who with teammate John Carlos famously executed the Black Power Salute during the American National Anthem at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.  That event is regarded as one of the most overtly political statements in the history of the modern Olympic Games.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was not very happy with Carlos and Smith, and deemed their domestic political statement unfit for the apolitical, international forum the Olympic Games.  The president of the IOC ordered Smith and Carlos suspended from the U.S. team.  When the U.S. Olympic Committee refused, IOC President Brundage threatened to ban the entire U.S. track team.  The U.S. Olympic Committee capitulated and for their racial protest Tommie Smith and John Carlos were expelled from the Games. 

In other words, Tommie Smith and John Carlos were booted out of the Olympics and they didn’t come back.  They went on, got jobs, and lived a good life as Olympic gold medal winners and world-class athletes. Their fate came from above, the work of autocratic Avery Brundage.

Colin Kaepernick also faced the loss of his athletic career, this time from a group, not an autocrat. But like Smith and Carlos, his gesture spread as an emblem of defiance. Unfortunately for them, the NFL owners did not learn the lesson on power taught by Brundage.

A rational person should come to the conclusion that across the NFL team owners were not very happy with the spectacle of a disruptive influence who should be focused on football, not his own personal anti-America agenda.  There is sufficient evidence that NFL team owners deemed Colin Kaepernick’s political statements and actions disqualified him from receiving another contract.  There is a reasonable expectation that had he received a contract it would be construed as a “green light” to deviate from what is expected of him contractually as a player and enable him to continue his agenda.  Giving him a new contract would be rewarding bad behavior. 

A number of high profile people — professional athletes, Hollywood stars, politicians — claim Colin Kaepernick should be in the NFL.  But for his expression of his First Amendment rights, he’s being blackballed.  By and large, this is not a smart group of people.  The First Amendment guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  As any good corporate lawyer can attest, the government cannot restrict free speech but a corporation can.

Not a single one of this august group of people would come to the microphone and announce that President Trump also has First Amendment rights.  IOC President Brundage had no qualms in booting Olympic gold medal winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos out of the Olympics for their egregious political behavior.  They were held accountable for their actions.

In 1968, for banning Carlos and Smith, the left railed at IOC President Brundage and threw every scurrilous and racist charge that they could muster at him.  Fifty years later, the left has a death grip on the NFL.  There is a complete lack of leadership by the NFL owners and the commissioner to hold players accountable for their on-field political actions.  If they continue to support players who kneel during the National Anthem as a form of protest against what they perceive as a racist American Flag, I submit they are either leftists or clueless.  Either way, they are killing the Golden Goose.

If you want to play politics, run for office or take up another occupation.  Quit bothering the nice people in the stands who pay to see you.  The NFL should get a clue.  But I’m afraid than’t and consequently, I’ve watched my last game.  The NBA owners, coaches, and commissioner (are even worse than the NFL’s and) need to pay attention, quit the social justice game and focus on basketball and your fans otherwise, you too will have a non-socialist fan base that rejects your political message and walks out on you.  We have other things we could be doing.



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