Do We Care about Colin Kaepernick’s Best Interest or Using Him as a Political Football?

   It has been nearly a calendar year since celebrities, and non-celebrities alike have overrun the media with a series of falderals regarding Colin Kaepernick’s decision to remain seated during the national anthem before the kickoff of a preseason game. Kaepernick was once lauded as the anticipated quarterback of the future for the San Francisco 49ers. Unfortunately, his career has been in flux since leading the Prospectors to a Super Bowl appearance against the Baltimore Ravens.

As of Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 7 a.m. EDT, the aftermath of the sitting versus kneeling controversy had left Kaepernick without a team when the San Francisco 49ers decided to allow him to opt out of his contract and become a free agent. Although he is more qualified or experienced than some quarterbacks in the National Football League, Kaepernick has not been presented with serious offers from any franchise to even have a chance as a backup QB.

Of course, there is nothing inappropriate about anyone having an opinion on this subject matter. I just have a question about the motives of certain individuals because some have little frame of reference about Kaepernick’s career. There have been people I have known over the years attempting to use Kaepernick as the clarion call for injustice, and they could not tell the difference between a football helmet and a batting helmet.

These are some of the selfsame characters who have to make statements on every facet of conversation that is trending in social media such as the following: Jay-Z’s latest album, O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing, Beyoncé’s children, God is going to send you money in three days, LeBron versus Kyrie Irving, and LaVar Ball versus everyone. They just cannot have any topic slip past them without alerting everybody and their mama on Twitter and Facebook.

Conversely, I have known colleagues for several years who have always spoken against racialism and social injustice. Whether or not I was in agreement with them, some of my acquaintances have been the model of consistency on Kaepernick and other topics.

I am just questioning the sincerity of some of my friends whom my wife claims are too afraid of missing out on the zeitgeist of the day. These are some of the clowns I may have known to have consumed barbeque ribs (and everything else pork) every week for over four decades and three days ago has some sort of epiphany and are unwilling to even walk in front of a Shane’s Rib Shack for fear that it may not be kosher. Perhaps, these are some of the individuals that Jason Whitlock could have referenced in his recent commentary on FOX Sports.

Nevertheless, Kaepernick has to take some responsibility for being an inferior caricature of a luminary such as Dr. Harry Edwards while donning a Fidel Castro T-shirt on one particular afternoon. This farce was reminiscent of a character in the movie Car Wash where the owner’s son walked around the facility wearing a Mao Zedong shirt while quoting his sayings from a book like Aunt Esther would do carrying a King James Bible on Sanford and Son.

Regardless, the national discord has been multifarious in nature about whether or not Kaepernick had the right to act in such fashion. Hidebound traditionalists were eager to point out that Kaepernick’s decision to not stand was showing contempt for all soldiers who had made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States of America despite the realization that this was done in part to allow him and others to opportunities to demonstrate these freedoms. Conversely, some progressives adopted radical positions about the patriotism of some the nation’s most nefarious criminals (such as Timothy McVeigh) not being questioned despite committing their fiendish deeds which are a means of distraction.

In truth, extremism on either side of the political spectrum should be avoided because it is easy to be misled or intentionally deceived. Propaganda of intolerance and racialism has become more prevalent from all sides since circa 2008. The demagoguery of “straight talk” and “keeping it 100” has paralyzed this nation close to the point of no return; it has resulted in politicians purported to have called for Gestapo tactics by police for maintaining order.

The recent passing of my father earlier this month has caused me to be in a deeper level of introspection about his weltanschauung. My dad served in the military during what was considered the Vietnam Era but was not deployed there during the mid-sixties. Nonetheless, he still was a fan of Muhammad Ali during that period and taught me to be the same, but his patriotism still overshadowed any shortcomings America had during his lifetime.

Thus, my conjecture is that both of my parents (who have passed away in the past ten months) would not be in agreement with Kaepernick’s action. When I received the carefully folded flag that covered my dad’s coffin at a national cemetery, I felt that a healthy respect for this national symbol is a privilege that should not be avoided as long as it does not lead to jingoism. In closing, Kaepernick (and us all) are free not to participate in certain traditions, but there are better ways to address social aspects besides this one alone.

Dallas Cowboys, Mike Singletary, and What if

  Training Camp 2017 has already commenced for the Dallas Cowboys, and a circus is afoot as per usual. There have been ominous signs that running back Ezekiel Elliott may be subject to some sort of suspension resulting from an alleged domestic violence incident; the sudden (reported) release of Lucky Whitehead adds another layer to the carnival spectacle of Oxnard, California. The Cowboys have already positioned themselves with enough potential distractions that could derail this campaign before it is even started.

    This pattern of mediocrity has been systemic for the last 20 years, and it is becoming more apparent that the Owner/President, General Manager Jerry Jones has devolved into an enabler that has made athletes with questionable characters to be too comfortable with their foibles. Now, this is not a problem if his tendencies are offset by a head coach who genuinely can command respect within the locker room.

    Thus far, Jason Garrett has demonstrated the acumen of being the kind of head coach with neoteric qualities of the late Tom Landry. Unfortunately for Garrett, football observers doubt he has the autonomy necessary to be seen in the eyes of his players more than just a substitute teacher, which was the same fate of Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, and Wade Phillips.

    If the Dallas Cowboys’ season of promise ultimately falls short of reaching the game affixed with Roman Numerals as is typical, questions will surround Garrett once again about his ability to lead whether it is fair or not. Nevertheless, this process will result in fans of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex becoming even more despondent.

    Jerry’s team does not necessarily need a head coach with the disposition of Generals “Black Jack” Pershing, Patton, or Eisenhower, but they can use a person whose bona fides of authority are unequivocal and are understood without needing any dissertations to prove that this is the case. An example of this kind of a modern autocrat is Mike Singletary.      

    Of course, some will contend that Singletary’s tenure as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers was anything but stellar. While that fact is true, one can perceive that he has learned a great deal from that experience and has prepared extensively for another opportunity if it presents itself. Besides, the National Football League has a lengthy history of accepting retreads countless times who had a better chance of capturing Bigfoot than hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Therefore, Singletary is due for another opportunity.

    The only way that a Singletary regime could prosper is by Jones showing a modicum of deference to him as he did with Bill Parcells and Jimmy Johnson. Singletary does not have a reputation of ridiculing ownership in the past, and it is doubtful he would do this with Jones. Nonetheless, respect is a double-sided phenomenon that should be explored by these two men if Garrett, unfortunately, falls on the proverbial sword.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a Masterpiece Environed by a Mess

On Thursday, June 29, 2017, 10 a.m. EDT, I had the pleasure of paying a visit to the shadows of the nearly completed Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta. The elephantine edifice can be seen from miles away and appears to have its reputation corroborated for being one of the top tier palaces on the National Football League’s forthcoming season.

Unfortunately, some of the delays in the construction of the Atlanta Falcons’ new aerie have not made a smooth transition for the process of urban renewal with areas adjacent to the stadium. Depending upon which root you select to navigate through the heart of Atlanta, one could still observe the dolorous situation of homeless citizens residing in deplorable circumstances underneath overpasses and a myriad of derelict buildings that some would consider noisome to unsuspecting tourists.

         The optics and aesthetics of some buildings in proximity of Mercedes-Benz Stadium is tantamount to having the Taj Mahal planted in one of America’s most penurious enclaves. It seems as if the current state of these neighborhoods is at variance with the rosy estimates proposed to the NFL before the first excavation process commenced.

Of course, the nostrum of gentrification is not immediate. Atlanta will need some time in developing the community into the lavish confines that both the NFL and Atlanta Falcons envisage.

Nevertheless, many individuals have seen this plot before with the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. The residents along Hank Aaron Boulevard were promised that happy days were here again after Turner Field was formed from the remnants of Centennial Olympic Stadium in 1996. A fable was presented to the community that the confluence of patricians and the Braves playing home games there would result in numerous employment/entrepreneurial opportunities for its neighbors as a result of bacchanalian activities of the patrons.

When some attempted to peddle merchandise in front of the stadium, the City of Atlanta occasionally would implement moratoriums on individuals imitating the Hustle Man character on Martin portrayed by Tracy Morgan due to safety concerns of some fans entering into the ballpark. Whether the issue was based upon public safety or lack of access to revenue from sales, the Atlanta Braves used the situation to their advantage by ultimately relocating up the road to Cobb County for the new and improved SunTrust Park where suitable restaurants, shops, lodging, and exclusive condominiums were already being constructed.

          Moreover, Atlanta is endeavoring to join the Super Bowl circuit along with New Orleans and Miami after the completion of Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Yes, the National Football League did award Atlanta the customary Super Bowl (LIII) in 2019 as a token reward for constructing this magnificent facility, but any thoughts of North Georgia being included in the revolving championship game schedule is presumptuous. At this point, Atlanta would achieve a coup d’état in order to be associated with Miami, New Orleans, and eventual return to the title game in Los Angeles; we are also in competition with occasional outliers such as Houston, Phoenix, and Tampa as well.

In conclusion, Atlanta’s propensity for the sudden inclement weather in early February (during my birthday) does not bode well for the city aspiring to be added to the Super Bowl rotation. Some fans still believe that the NFL has not forgiven Atlanta for a similar situation that occurred in late January of Super Bowl XXXIV, which is unsubstantiated. This metropolitan area can thrive if the community where Mercedes-Benz Stadium rests can be transformed completely; a Risorgimento of any kind could change the perspective of the residents and the city overall throughout the United States.

Golden State Warriors: Everyone Loves a Winner

  In 1970, the late John Facenda with his signature mellifluous voice provided one of his best narrations in his career with NFL Films. Near the conclusion of the Super Bowl IV highlight video of the Kansas City Chiefs versus Minnesota Vikings depicting one of Vikings’ cheerleaders in tears, Facenda said, “Defeat is a personal thing, but victory belongs to everyone.”

Last night, the Golden State Warriors secured their fifth World Championship with a 129-120 defeat of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals. The nearly simultaneous aftermath of celebrations and a flurry of commentary on social media outlets were observed from the Bay Area to the Eastern United States.

The dubious reaction for a franchise that few seem to remember the impact of the great Rick Barry and Head Coach Al Attles in their championship in 1975 or the number of times Mark Curry pretended to play for the Warriors in the television situation comedy Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper during the nineties is a surprise. Nonetheless, young and old alike are enamored with the relatively affable personalities of Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson. The Warriors have become so much of a fan favorite that even one of my neighbors has a Golden State flag in front of their residence here in Metropolitan Atlanta.

 Unfortunately, some members of the media have mistakenly taken an impressive achievement by the Warriors and fell prey to unconscionable platitudes by claiming that Golden State’s dominance is the best thing for the National Basketball Association. Despite the rhetoric, the 2017 NBA Finals were anything but spectacular. The series was marred by nondescript games that became more of a soporific effect upon me than a thrill.

Of course, the Golden State Warriors cannot concern themselves with how their dominance may impact the NBA henceforth. Head Coach Steve Kerr and associates must continue to strive for excellence by preventing complacency of a juggernaut that should remain so for some time to come. The rest of the Western Conference, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the league must find creative ways to procure enough matériel to be able to compete with the Warriors in the foreseeable future.

In fairness, we should not make derisive statements against Golden State of today without considering the Boston Celtics from 1957-1969 who won 11 titles during that era. Boston was victorious almost every year without the NBA imploding.

The NBA will be okay with the preponderance of the Golden State Warriors, but many individuals question how the league will be perceived without the development of a nemesis who could at least make these almost perennial champions suffer hyperhidrosis. For the time being, GSW should be commended for their excellence because having the best athletes does not always guarantee championships. The 1968 Baltimore Colts were in a similar situation in the NFL and succumbed to the New York Jets in early 1969.  Selah