With the college football season set to begin later this week, I had intended on using today to make some general comments about the upcoming season. Then, two things happened in the NFL that made me change my mind – so college football needs to go on the bottom shelf for the moment.
The first thing that happened was that Colin Kaepernick sat down during the playing of the national anthem prior to an exhibition game. He is a backup QB and this was an exhibition game so that act was not exactly something of a magnitude that we might equate to events such as:
The Battle of Hastings in 1066
The Spanish Inquisition in 1480
The Declaration of Independence in 1776
VE Day in World War II in 1945.
Nonetheless, there has arisen a furor over that event that is totally out of proportion to the event itself. This is even louder than the recent “affront” that Gabby Douglass paid to the national anthem when she “failed to put her hand on her heart” during its playing in honor of her achievements in the Olympics. She did nothing wrong and Colin Kaepernick did nothing wrong. The reason that some super-patriots are so offended today is based in the document they purport to know and love so much – – The Constitution of the United States.
People like to point to the 10 amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights as the foundation and the codification of what US society is. Usually, they are right to do so – until they fail to see that their outrage and scorn at a behavior such as Colin Kaepernick’s is a logical consequence of the Bill of Rights.
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech (expression) particularly when that speech (expression) focuses on political matters.
Here is something else the First Amendment guarantees:
Every single American with an IQ larger than his/her belt size will someday hear, see or read something they find offensive. Some other person is going to express an opinion that is fundamentally contrary to someone else’s opinion; it has to happen; it is NOT a reason for vitriol.
I do not agree with Colin Kaepernick on this inconsequential matter. When I am at a game and they play the national anthem, I stand; I remove my hat, I look at the flag during the rendition. I do not sing the song or hum along; I just look at the flag. That is what I do; that does not mean that is what you have to do.
This is a tempest in a spittoon. All of the actors in this drama to include Colin Kaepernick, other NFL players, reporters who keep this “story” alive and folks on social media who have little of substance to add to this subject need to take a deep breath and put this matter into perspective with other US and world problems.
To give you an idea of the import I put on all of this, let me pose a question:
Which is the greater affront to the US and/or its national anthem:
A. Colin Kaepernick sitting quietly on a bench during its playing – or –
B. The abject mutilation of the score of the song by those who sing it with their own “artistic flair”?
My answer is “B” – and it is not even close…
The other NFL event of the weekend was the injury to Tony Romo in a meaningless exhibition game. He will be unable to play for about 6 – 10 weeks according to doctors due to a fractured vertebra. Last year, the Cowboys were 1-11 in games that Romo could not start; his return to action was assumed to be a fact by the Cowboys who did not sign a backup QB after Kellen Moore went down with a leg injury in a previous meaningless exhibition game. For the moment, that leaves the Cowboys in the hands of Dak Prescott – a rookie who has looked like a Hall of Fame player so far in the meaningless exhibition games he has appeared in. I never profess to have mind-reading skills and even if I did, I doubt that I would try to read Jerry Jones’ mind. However, it does seem to me that GM Jerry Jones has to be looking around to see how to make some chicken salad out of this chicken s __ t.
Here is a possible suggestion:
Put Tony Romo in the injured reserve list as a player who can return to action once he heals. I believe each team is allowed one such designation. A player on that list cannot practice for a minimum of 6 weeks and cannot play in a real game for a minimum of 8 weeks after being put on that list. The Cowboys should wait until the day before the regular season starts to make that designation so that Romo’s return to action would be 8 full weeks into the season and there would be no temptation to “rush him back to the field.”
Simultaneously, the Cowboys need to get another QB – if for no other reason than Dak Prescott might also get hurt. With Romo and Kellen Moore “on the shelf”, the backup to Prescott is Jamiell Showers who was with the Cowboys for the 2015 season but never saw the field on game day.
Trading for a QB might be expensive for the Cowboys since other teams ought to recognize that the cowboys are in a pickle here. So, are there any free agents out there who might help out? Off the top of my head, here are some of the possibilities – and none are particularly appealing.
Jimmy Claussen: Teams keep giving him workouts.
Matt Flynn: Hey, he is vertical and taking nourishment.
Tim Tebow: Hey, he has won a playoff game as an NFL QB.
Charlie Whitehurst: A classic caretaker backup QB.
Michael Vick: Hey, he started 3 games last year and went 2-1.
One other route to obtaining another QB for the roster is to wait and see who gets cut by other teams as they get down to a 53-man roster. If you believe the rumors, here are some possibilities:
Mark Sanchez may be a “cap casualty” in Denver.
Brandon Weeden is “on the bubble” in Houston; might the Cowboys and Weeden enact a reunion in Dallas this year?
The Jets have 4 QBs on the roster and one almost surely has to go. My guess is that it will be either Bryce Petty or Geno Smith.
Lots of folks have thought that the Cowboys would be a contender in the NFC East this year. If Tony Romo cannot play for the first 8-10 weeks of the season, Dallas’ fortunes will rest with a rookie QB and/or one of the retreads listed above. The Cowboys are now officially the most mysterious team in the NFL for 2016.
Finally, here is a comment from Brad Rock in the Deseret News from a couple of months ago:
“BYU had a great day, last Saturday and an awful one at the same time.
Three teams (men’s volleyball, men’s and women’s rugby) played for national championships.
“All three lost.
“After which Susan Lucci was overheard saying, ‘It can get worse.’”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………
6 thoughts on “A Tempest In A Spittoon”
Sir: I would respectfully add another choice to your question about the National Anthem:
C: Roseanne Barr purposely butchering the National Anthem for comedic effect.
I guess I considered that fiasco as a subset of choice “B” but you are correct that it too was unsavory behavior.
You & I grew up in an era where our fathers had just returned from a great war and those “commies” were an everyday threat. Standing for the pledge of allegiance and the anthem and, in my case, the Lord’s Prayer were embossed on my subconscious brain as something you did without question. It wasn’t until Viet Nam and the civil rights movement that I began to question why those things were important.
I, like you, stand for the anthem. But, I would not do that as easily if it was required.
I completely agree. If there were to arise some “movement” to require one to stand for the national anthem, I would be opposed to that “movement”.
Who would have thought Dak Prescott would be the first QB from the last draft to get a regular season start?
Surely not I…
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