NOTE: The issue over the supposed NFL player protest is not what the players and media would like you to believe. However, it is not easy to explain why this is true. Most people do not want to spend the time necessary to understand everything that is in play here. But I beg you, please, stick with this post to the end. You just might come away with a different perspective on this issue.
The NFL players ‘protest’ is not a protest, and it has nothing to do with their right of free speech. It never was. It is about subversion — pure and simple. And here’s why I say that:
First, let’s remember what the word ‘protest’ actually means:
1 :a solemn declaration of opinion and usually of dissent: such asa :a sworn declaration that payment of a note or bill has been refused and that all responsible signers or debtors are liable for resulting loss or damageb :a declaration made especially before or while paying that a tax is illegal and that payment is not voluntary
2 :the act of objecting or a gesture of disapproval
- resigned in protest
; especially :a usually organized public demonstration of disapproval
3 :a complaint, objection, or display of unwillingness usually to an idea or a course of action
- went under protest4 :an objection made to an official or a governing body of a sport
Now, on the surface, the definition may appear to support the players’ claim to be protesting. However, note what the definition says about the object of a protest. This is the key to understanding why this is not a protest. It says the object of a protest is supposed to be an idea or an action. Is the NFL player ‘protest’ focused on an idea or action? Yes! It is focused on the Nation and its symbols. But that changes everything. You see, when you focus on the Nation and its symbols, you are now undermining the nation and its foundation. Then you move from protest to…
2 obsolete :a cause of overthrow or destruction
Remember, this whole thing started as an attack on the police, then it was extended to include the military, and now the President and the Nation, through its symbol (i.s. the flag):
Law enforcement is the Social Institution upon which our system of government relies to enforce our laws. The military plays a similar role in defending our Nation. The President is supposed to be the leader of the Nation. And the flag is a symbol of the nation. When you attack the three together, you are not attacking ‘social injustice,’ you are attacking the Nation, itself. This is what the NFL players are actually doing: they are attacking the Nation and its system of government.
Now, if Kaepernick had focused on a specific act or police misconduct, or a specific police department or police policy; or if he had focused on a person or Party’s political positions, that would have been a protest. But he did not do that. he attacked the very foundation of the Nation. Whether we like it or not, that is not a protest, it is subversion. This is by definition, which means it is not a matter of ‘opinion,’ but logic. It is like saying the sky is blue and grass is green. If you disagree, then you are wrong. Well, the people calling this a ‘protest’ are wrong for the same reason: their actions do not meet the definition of ‘protest,’ but they do meet the definition of ‘subversion.’
This brings us to the next point: this is not about free speech! What the players are doing is not speech, it is an action. I know the Courts have deemed such actions as ‘symbolic speech,’ but that is also subversion. The Courts know that an act is not speech — not in the sense the Constitution protects. If the players wanted to call a press conference and go on a rant after the game, that would be free speech. But they have not done that. Instead, they are performing an action — an action that has nothing to do with free speech.
What’s more, this act of subversion is being supported by the NFL and the Teams. Lest we forget, these players have clauses in their contracts that allow the teams to control their actions on and off the field! What’s more, the NFL has rules governing the players conduct. Remember this?
They NFL found Tebow praying offensive, and it didn’t allow players to wear a decal honoring the slain Dallas officers. It didn’t allow a player to wear pink in honor of his Moms breast cancer. It didn’t allow players to wear 9/11 cleats in honor of the victims. But the NFL is allowing the players to subvert the Nation.
Let that sink in for a moment. Then ask yourself how the NFL can prohibit these examples of ‘free speech’ (I’m being sarcastic here), but then permit, explain and protect the players’ ‘right’ to ‘protest’ the Nation — the very Nation that makes the NFL possible in the first place? The answer is simple: the NFL is actually engaging in subversion of the country while hiding behind a claim of protecting their players’ right to free speech. That’s not only called subversion by the NFL, it could also be considered a form of cowardice.
Now, I can already anticipate objections to my argument based on the claim that the NFL and the teams are private property — but that would also be incorrect! The NFL and the individual teams are not private property!
The NFL is not only a corporation (which is a construction of the Public), but it is also a ‘legalized monopoly.’ This means it was allowed to be created by the people and then given special status by the people. The teams are also corporations. I have written about this at great length: a corporation owes its existence to the People who — through their representatives and the law — allow their existence. This means the People created the corporation — all corporations! And if they created it, they retain control over it. If the People (i.e. public) control it, then it is not ‘private.’ That does not mean it cannot be allowed to function as ‘private property,’ but it does mean that such a privilege can be conditional.
There’s a great deal more to this claim of the NFL and teams being ‘private’ property. They play in what are almost always publicly funded fields. The NFL has been given tax exempt status, as well. This actually gives the People a claim to the NFL — because they have helped pay for it! It also means, if the NFL is going to attack the People — who allow its existence and even fund its operations — then the People have every right to respond to the NFL’s attacks on them. If the tax exemptions and trade mark protections were pulled and the people re-claimed the stadiums, this would not only be legal, it would be justified.
Then there is the matter of the media’s role in this subversion. If the games are on cable networks totally divorced from any form of public funding or favor, then they are free to do whatever they wish. But if the games are broadcast over any form of medium which is supported by the public in any way, then the People have a right to demand that those broadcasts be free from attack upon them. To put it in a more simple manner: if they broadcast over the Public airways, then they are not afforded the protections of ‘private’ property. They must conform to the dictates of the People’s restrictions on their use of the Public’s domain, and refraining from attack upon the Public is most certainly a fair requirement on the Public’s part.
Finally, lest the read still not be convinced that this is actually an attack on the Nation, I would point to the players’ actions in the game in England this past week. They knelt during the American National Anthem, but stood for the English Anthem. Even if I grant you that this is a ‘protest,’ the players in that game clearly demonstrated that they are protesting the entire Nation, and not ‘social injustice.’ Furthermore, by objecting to the symbols of America and showing allegiance or support to those of England, the players actually made my point for me: that they are not protesting ‘social injustice,’ they are protesting America. That, dear reader — whether we like it or not — is subversion!