Hand-in-hand they do not stand

Mason Schweizer, Guest Columnist

The NFL, its owners and the president are running a false flag
operation. Literally.

More than a year after Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem (a kneel, mind you, that was decided upon after Kaepernick met with veterans in the NFL when he wanted to find a way to peacefully protest, while still respecting the flag and those who served to protect it), President Donald Trump spent his weekend lashing out against the NFL, urging owners to fire the “sons of b—–s” who knelt
before the flag.

To Trump and his minions, Hand-in-hand they do not stand err, supporters, protesting during the anthem is equivalent to protesting the anthem, which has never been the truth. Players knelt in protest of the unequal treatment that African-Americans and other minority
groups face every day. The right to protest is due to the freedoms
that the flag, and those who fight to defend it, provide us. Anyone
with half a brain can determine that the protests were never about a flag.

But here we are. After Trump’s comments condemned the league, their falling ratings and for some reason, the increase in caring about player safety, owner — seven of them who personally donated a million dollars or more to Trump’s campaign — decided to respond.

These owners and their players knelt, linked arms, etc., in what
owners and organizations are calling “unity.” You want to show unity? Then sign the quarterback you blackballed from your league after he protested. You want unity? Make an effort to listen to why he protested in the first place, rather than take his protest and turn it into something for your own benefit.

You’ll find more unity on a Rick James record than you will in an NFL locker room. Aside from those 60 minutes spent on a field as a team, players who come from a multitude of backgrounds are not united. If
they were, these protests would not be controversial in the least.
The only thing the owners are united in with their employees is that they don’t want ratings to keep dwindling. If I didn’t question Trump’s mental capacity, I would be willing to support a conspiracy that he went on his tirade to give his NFL buddies a ratings boost.

Look at Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones. He took the kneeling and completely ruined it, turning it into nothing more than a meme (literally, spend five minutes on Twitter this week and you will see a picture of Jones on a knee with a s–t eating grin on his face). Jerry was able to maniacally pander to both sides of the fence here
when he joined his team in kneeling together before the anthem, and then standing in locked arms during it. He got the photo op of kneeling “united” with his players, while making sure everyone stood during the anthem. Way to miss the point, Jerry.

A majority of those protesting the protesters don’t even realize
that players were kept in the locker room during the anthem until 2009, when the Department of Defense began paying the NFL and their teams millions of dollars to put on a grandiose, patriotic showing of the anthem.

Yes, the theatrical performance of the anthem as we now know it is paid for by the state as a means of military recruitment.

And that obnoxiously large flag that is rolled out to cover the entire field that we are all supposed to pledge to? It’s a violation of flag code. In a multitude of ways.

It is bunched up before being slowly unrolled, which is a violation. It lays across the field horizontally as well, which is also a violation.

But keep telling yourself this is about a flag. When Trump has harsher criticism for black people protesting their unfair treatment in our country than he does for white supremacists, it’s about more than a flag.

When fans boo the Cowboys for kneeling without an anthem played or flag present, when they say the issue isn’t with protest, but the flag, it’s about more than a flag.

It’s about privileged people of this country not listening to their
fellow countrymen who have been systematically oppressed for centuries.