A devout friend of mine wrote to me this morning:
"It has seemed to me watching the Anthem thing unfold how much the right's view of patriotism amounts to idolatry, which in my faith is the worst sin."
He's right. It's not about the flag, the anthem, or the military. It's about self-worship of one's white tribal identity, lead by Donald Trump.
This was proven beyond a doubt when the Dallas Cowboys, after much discussion between players, coaches, and owners, decided to kneel BEFORE the anthem was played in solidarity for the protest against police brutality toward black people.
They stood for the anthem. Got that?
They still got booed for kneeling.
It's not about the anthem, the flag, or the military. It's about protesting white supremacy.
Scott Van Pelt ran a clip of Cowboy's coach Jason Garrett, explaining the thought process the entire team when through. Garrett specifically noted that the team wanted to make a statement about equality "without involving the flag or the anthem."
Van Pelt spoke directly to those who booed the team for kneeling at all:
Did anybody listen to what the man just said? Will anyone listen to what he said about what they did as a team? How they talked for days to figure out how they could show their support and then not be disrespectful to the flag and that's what they did. But if this is something that upsets you, you are just going to be mad. And no conversation can take place if that is all there is. It just can't happen. If you just want to be mad. This was before the anthem. What they did was boo. If the anthem wasn't being played and the flag wasn't being displayed and you are angry at that, what are you angry about? I'm out on this one. I'm out of gas. I don't know what else there is. If you had listened to what he said about an organization, a billionaire owner and a group of players from all over the country that thought about what they wanted to do and they did that. If that didn't work for you, then I don't know what to say. But we're going to talk about sports.
Related, and even stronger, was Coach Greg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs.
This is not the first time Popovich has spoken out about White supremacy. He said essentially the same thing in the video above that he said at the beginning of Black History Month earlier this year:
It’s a remembrance, and a bit of a celebration in some ways. It sounds odd because we’re not there yet, but it’s always important to remember what has passed and what is being experienced now by the black population. It’s a celebration of some of the good things that have happened, and a reminder that there’s a lot more work to do. But more than anything, I think if people take the time to think about it, I think it is our national sin. It always intrigues me when people come out with, ‘I’m tired of talking about that or do we have to talk about race again?’ And the answer is you’re damned right we do. Because it’s always there, and it’s systemic in the sense that when you talk about opportunity, it’s not about ‘Well, if you lace up your shoes and you work hard, then you can have the American dream.’ That’s a bunch of hogwash. If you were born white, you automatically have a monstrous advantage educationally, economically, culturally in this society and all the systemic roadblocks that exist, whether it’s in a judicial sense, a neighborhood sense with laws, zoning, education, we have huge problems in that regard that are very complicated, but take leadership, time, and real concern to try to solve. It’s a tough one because people don’t really want to face it. And it’s in our national discourse. We have a president of the United States who spent four or five years disparaging and trying to illegitimatize our president. And we know that was a big fake. But still, [he] felt for some reason it had to be done. I can still remember a paraphrase close to a quote “investigators were sent to Hawaii and you cannot believe what they found.” Well, that was a lie. So if it’s being discussed and perpetrated at that level, you’ve got a national problem. I think that’s enough.