It’s the Right’s Fault that the #TakeAKnee Protests are Spreading

Congratulations patriotic Americans, it is YOUR fault that more athletes are joining the “Take a Knee” movement.

For those who aren’t in the know, athletes across the country, mainly in the NFL, are taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police violence and specifically, the murders of black people at the hands of police.

The protests have now found their way into baseball with Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell dropping down to his knee for the Star-Spangled Banner before a Saturday night game against the Texas Rangers. To be fair, in Maxwell’s case, he explained,

And this goes beyond the black community, and this goes beyond the Hispanic community, because right now we’re having an indifference and a racial divide in all types of people. It’s being practiced from the highest power that we have in this country, and it’s basically saying that it’s OK to treat people differently.

I mean, what? But still, the protests surround the idea that there is an epidemic of black people-murdering cops across the country. Stupidity.

However, that the protests have become this widespread is the fault of proud Americans. Right wing pundits are the biggest perpetrators, and even now, the president deserves fault too. As president Trump stated during a rally in Alabama the other night, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired.’”

See what this does, is make the debate about disrespecting the flag, country, anthem, etc, instead of highlighting how the protest itself is invalid because it is based on untruths and lies. I mean we can go over again and again about how wrong the Black Lives Matter movement is, about how cops do not often kill anyone, let alone black people, whose violent crime rate would predict a higher rate of contact, specifically lethal contact, with cops. The information is out there and easily accessible, Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute, linked above, has been shouting about this for years now and is a great source to look to for information on all the lies told by Black Lives Matter.

All we need to do is focus on those lies, and every time a player kneels during the anthem, we need to bring up the facts and take the player to task for advancing an insidious movement. This would keep the focus where it needs to be and people would understand the fierce opposition to the kneeling. Instead, we get tweets like this:

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And, the narrative is shifted to: “please don’t disrespect the country by kneeling during the anthem.” The underlying message here is: it’s not the reason for the protest that is in question, but the method of protest. Asinine. If Black Lives Matter’s claims were true, they should be planking during the anthem. Furthermore, to the uninformed, this kind of narrative makes it seem as if the claims of the protesters are true and that the right wing in this country is simply telling the players to “stick to sports,” and not protest injustice. Of course, anyone who doesn’t know any better will shoot over to the left’s side on this one, given this kind of messaging. And it is certainly not a surprise that more athletes are joining in on the “Take a Knee” movement as it is fellow athletes who are being criticized for protesting. Bruce Maxwell most likely, in his ignorance, feels a sense of duty to stand with other athletes who are being told to shut up for standing up for their, albeit dumb, beliefs.

No one should be calling for the athletes to “protest another way,” or to be “fired,” a la Trump, because they are protesting. For President Trump especially, that is inexcusable and with his comments in Alabama he has no doubt none irreparable harm to the public discourse surrounding this issue, and more broadly, he has exacerbated national divisiveness.

The left now gets to put themselves in the position of defending free speech. And so we get tweets like this:

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See how the debate becomes completely off point from what matters, aka the facts?

According to the Washington Post there were 963 people of all races killed by cops in 2016. 466 of those killed were white, 233 were black, and 160 were Hispanic, the vast majority of which seem completely justified. As in 2015, when in three quarters of fatal police shootings, cops were under attack or defending civilians, 733 out of 995 incidents to be exact. According to WaPo, overall in 2016, seventeen unarmed black people were killed by cops, ten of whom were allegedly fleeing, seven of whom were allegedly attacking or in physical confrontation with the cop(s), three of whom allegedly led the cops on a chase, three of whom were allegedly either stealing cars or driving stolen cars, and one who allegedly brandished an object that looked like a weapon and assumed a shooting stance. These instances account for 13 of 17 of the victims. Of course, it’s not completely clear if cops were in the right in these cases and mental illness plays a big role, but as one can see, if you stay out of trouble in this country you’re chances of being killed by a cop, no matter your race, are nearly nonexistent. With an American population of 323,100,000 people in 2016 and 963 people killed by cops, that works out to .3 people per 100,000 killed by cops. The murder rate per 100,000 in St. Louis in 2016 was about 60.

The only killing epidemic even worth mentioning, if it can even be called that, is the one that taking place in cities across the country, like Chicago, where in 2016 there were 762 murders in that city alone, the vast majority of which most certainly involved black victims and black perpetrators. In 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, 75% of the murder victims in Chicago were black and 71% of the murderers were black. These facts may get repeated again and again by some on the right, but they bear repeating until they get the attention, or knee, they deserve.

The response to the protesting athletes should not be to criticize their method of [peaceful] protest or to call for their silencing. On the contrary, every time an athlete joins in on the movement, our opposition needs to be as on point and clear as possible as to make it known that the “Take a Knee” protests grew out of lies and misinformation. As much as America should be respected for being such a great country, the right to protest freely is part of what makes the country so great. A rejection of truth and reason is not. Let’s focus on the latter issue, publicize the relevant facts, and make sports great again.

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