A Certain Level of Obdurateness is Necessary for Public Stances

According to the Associated Press, there was a smattering of boos in Toyota Stadium (Frisco, Texas) last night during the national anthem for the match between FC Dallas and Nashville SC as players from both teams knelt in peaceful protest. Consequently, Reggie Cannon, Dallas FC defender, took exception to the hearing of the Bronx cheer by some fans.

            Cannon expounded further on his displeasure of the unexpected sounds of raspberries by stating, “The players had asked that [the anthem] not be played before the game because they didn’t feel it was right for [it] to be played in this moment.” Cannon’s overweening response failed to take into account the fact that a certain level of obdurateness is necessary for public stances, especially in the presence of those who may be classified by others as the rearguard. Did he believe that the national anthem would just fade into oblivion?

            A degree of democracy operated successfully because the patrons who may have still wanted to hear the national anthem were allowed to do so, and the athletes had their moment to kneel in commemoration of the atrocities in the deaths of George Floyd and others simultaneously. The most underrated aspect of this narrative is the fact that there were no acts of violence as a result.

            In general, any athlete who expects a majority to recognize his/her point of view and have them respond with an esemplastic reaction by suddenly singing Kumbaya is quite unrealistic. There is still going to be a delay in the period of understanding for the reasons outlined by athletes in peaceful demonstrations whether the anthem is played or not. Also, some athletes have to be prepared for the realization that some individuals are just unwilling to ever be enlightened by the causes of others.

Nevertheless, total agreement is not an essential ingredient for civility amongst citizens of a nation. It is not too much to ask for fans in any stadium or arena to be urbane despite what may occur in the field of play. Of course, governance of these organizations and athletes have to realize that fans do have the option not to patronize sporting events no matter how limited attendance may be during a pandemic to voice their displeasure.

In conclusion, history should serve as a reminder of how perspectives can change over time. Muhammad Ali probably did not imagine going from exile for his stance during the Sixties to having the honor to light the flame of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Sacrifice was a better-understood concept in that era compared to the few moments of feeling uncomfortable by a few individuals who may endure today.

Cowboys Win, Media Not So Much: A Conversation about Washington’s NFL Franchise


The Dallas Cowboys’ 31-16 defeat of NFC East foe Washington Redskins on Sunday Night Football validated the notion that Dallas and all of the pageantry of the NFL’s Taj Mahal, AT&T Stadium, certainly is aesthetically pleasing to millions of professional football fans throughout the land on primetime television. Although Washington’s quarterback Robert Griffin III was showing steady improvement in his mobility and overall game, the Cowboys’ attenuated, makeshift defensive line contained the versatile QB before he could lead the Redskins to multiple touchdowns even after defensive end DeMarcus Ware’s evening on the field ended abruptly.

            Dallas not only had to adopt a platoon philosophy on the defensive side, the sudden injury to running back DeMarco Murray after opening the contest with a four-yard touchdown run forced the Cowboys to lean on the services of Joseph Randle, who is in the nascent stage of his career, as the primary ball carrier for the remainder of the game. Nonetheless, another contributor, wide receiver Dwayne Harris, displayed the kind of grit necessary when he finally had to showcase his skills. Harris’ efforts on special teams (two punt returns for 109 yards and a touchdown, two kick returns for 113 yards) was largely responsible for tipping the balance in the Cowboys’ favor.

            Quarterback Tony Romo’s surprisingly steady influence and elusiveness in his own right allowed him to evade the Redskins’ pressure to stun his opponent even when was not playing at an optimal level. Romo completed 18 of 30 pass attempts for 170 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Now Dallas has a 3-3 record and is tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in a lackluster division, and the Cowboys must travel to Lincoln Financial Field to meet the aforementioned Eagles for a slight edge in control of the NFC East during early season play.

            On another topic for discussion, the venerable Bob Costas, who has equaled Howard Cosell as the éminence grise of sports journalists in my lifetime, took the opportunity to eloquently educate the country via brief dissertation about the perils of having the ‘Redskins’ as a team’s nickname during halftime. While the points Mr. Costas made were logical in scope, it only briefly mentioned the most egregious of images in North American sports with regards to the once prominent Cleveland Indians’ logo.

            In addition, the national media (save for Costas perhaps) did not appear to be ready to take a stand in the argument until the President of the United States of America recently admitted that the Washington Redskins’ issue probably should be revisited by both franchise ownership and league governance. Now, viewers can observe various media outlets daily make mention of the obvious incendiary nature of the derogatory name.

            This is especially troublesome for me when I remember the first thought-provoking article on the subject with a photograph of a concerned Native American woman seated in front of pennants bearing the names of various races and/or ethnic groups approximately 30 years ago by Sports Illustrated. Reading that story in conjunction with meeting a gentleman of Native American descent while working in an educational television station in Claremore, Oklahoma as he explained to us as his colleagues how these names being used in various forms generally made him feel as an individual was very enlightening, to say the least.

            In retrospect, President Obama generally should be commended for his candor on the subject. The problem with this situation is that the American media should not be poltroons in this endeavor because it smacks of elitism when they ignore the entreaties of the populists in favor of the powerful at times.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013