The National Anthem: a tale of two football teams

It will be a cold day in hell before I root for the New York Giants to beat the Washington Redskins (or any other team not named the Cowboys). But after today’s game between New York and Washington (won, somehow, by the Redskins), I have a strange new respect for the football Giants.

Why? Because every member of the team stood with respect during the playing of our National Anthem. No sitting, kneeling, bowed heads, or raised fists — at least not from I could tell or what Fox reported.

The Giants apparently made a collective decision fully to honor our country before the game. Running back Rashad Jennings explained: “What I think we’re going to do is stand, and play ball, and find another way to attack the issue outside of the national anthem.”

Spot on. We constantly hear that the players who show disrespect during the playing of the Anthem are trying to start a discussion about policing and/or “social justice.” But if you want to start a discussion, then start discussing. Explain, preferably via a newspaper or internet article, your beef with America.

Jennings made just this point. He said that because they play in the NFL, and in New York, he and his teammates are in a position to express their thoughts daily to media. New York, to be sure, is a media mecca. But any NFL player in any NFL city can articulate his thoughts on racial issues and have them reported by the media.

Unfortunately, we’re seeing too much gesturing from the players and not enough discussing.

Which leads me to the Redskins, four of whose members stood with a raised fist during the playing of the Anthem. One was star receiver DeSean Jackson.

Jackson is a spectacular player. Yet, the Philadelphia Eagles cut him for being an airhead and a malcontent. Jackson’s alleged connection with a Los Angeles gang also reportedly troubled the team.

In addition to the raised fist, Jackson posted this on his Instagram account:

Us as black people are a threat, so just take our lives smh. The system been set up for us not to live and make it thru all this [nonsense]. Another RIP to [Crutcher] but they say have faith & trust?? In what them to keep killing our [loved ones]?

Given all of the black lives that have been taken in violence committed by blacks, Jackson’s message is almost obscene. Whether or not he was connected to a gang, Jackson should know that black on black violence perpetrated by gang members takes far more lives than the police, “the system,” or whatever Jackson may be protesting.

Were the system set up for blacks “not to live,” the police would withdraw from black neighborhoods instead of policing them. To some degree, this has occurred in Baltimore due to protests, and the murder rate has soared.

If the post on Jackson’s Instagram account is the best he can do, maybe it would be better after all for him to limit his political expression to gestures.