Its time to rethink anthem protests

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If you try to link arms with me during the national anthem at the next sporting event as a show of unity, I’m slapping the shit out of you.

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Kaepernick’s protest gets the remix it was always going to

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Based on the way people are reacting to Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem and confusing it with disrespect for the nation’s military and everything the flag stands for, I feel like I need to break some news to y’all.

Sources familiar with the situation are indicating that it’s just not that deep, fam.

As a matter of fact, here’s a handy graphic showing you how deep it’s not:

 

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What’s happened here is pretty clear. People, white people in particular, have ignored the statement Kaepernick was trying to make regarding the way black people are treated by the police and decided to have the red herring discussion of how disrespectful he was to the military.

I’ve even heard the argument that by not saluting the flag he is disrespecting everyone who’s ever fought defending. This argument has been circulating unironically, as people neglect to realize that part of what our military tries to defend is the right to do things like peaceful protest. And apparently Kaepernick comes from the Rosa Parks school of thought that says the best way to peacefully protest is to sit your black ass down while the white people around you lose their minds.

But the timing of this is interesting, as there hasn’t been any one incident of excessive police violence that has recently dominated the national conversation. Maybe Kaepernick just went down the depressing-ass Youtube rabbit hole of police killings that I refuse to go down myself and came out with a new perspective. However he reached his enlightenment, the decision to address it the way he did shows a level of fearlessness on his part, a fearlessness that was not shared by his teammates as they all responded with some variety of “he’s entitled to his own opinion.”

But while his teammates at least didn’t do anything stupid like  forget Kaepernick was black or revealing yourself to be a resident of masta’s house, there doesn’t appear to be too much support for someone who has been very clear about what he is and is not taking a stand against when asked by the media that surrounded his locker after the third game of the preseason.

People are still looking for ways to make the flag into some untouchable symbol beyond criticism while pretending the Star-Spangled Banner is the hottest track ever recorded.  Let’s be real: that song is in desperate need of a remix. Maybe Desiigner can do some ad-libs. Have Funk Master Flex throw in some bomb drops over “the bombs bursting in air” part of the song. Dr. Dre can remix the national anthem to build anticipation for his forthcoming album that never comes. Beyonce and hologram Whitney Houston can team up on the vocals. Big Sean can spit a fire verse at the end, only to be upstaged again when Kendrick spits his verse. DJ Khaled can say something ridiculous and patriotic as the song fades out. (“They don’t want us to dump the tea in the harbor, so we dumped the tea in the harbor. That’s a major key.”) If we do this right, this can be the hottest posse cut since “We are the World.”

The idea of having a full on remix of a national anthem is ridiculous, if for no other reason than hologram Whitney Houston would sing Beyonce under the table and cause wars to break out in the hashtags on Black Twitter as the old heads argued with young bucks about who the better singer was.

However, turning Kaepernick’s stand for justice into an opportunity to get into an irrelevant debate about his respect for the country and the military is equally ridiculous and not nearly as funny.

One of the more interesting debates that has emerged from this is the discussion of whether Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality has failed. It’s too early to tell if it has failed, but if it does, it will be because his message was purposely mangled by those who would rather pretend to care about the troops more than they actually do than discuss the reality that a large segment of the populations views traffic stops as near death experiences.

I was originally going to write a really serious piece in which I would dismantle the thinly-veiled racism that surrounds the “shut up and play” narrative that has been used to  discredit Kaepernick’s peaceful protest. If black people hadn’t been experiencing this since the days of Jack Johnson, I’d be more surprised and feel more compelled to talk about this without the jest.

I was even going to relate my own personal story about how San Francisco’s finest tried to jam me up one night, and the only thing that kept me from going to jail was the receipt I had in a shopping bag that proved I was where I said I was. (Shout out to Patrice O’Neal for teaching me how to prove my innocence.)

But, since we arrived at such a familiar place with Kaepernick’s protest, a discussion of the quality of our dated national anthem seems much more appropriate.

If Kap is anything like me, maybe he would feel better if a song that represented his black experience was playing. I bet we can get him to stand for the black national anthem.

 

Canelo Alvarez isn’t here to box, he’s here to win

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When I texted one of my good friends to ask what he thought of the match up between Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto he told me that fight would hinge on the footwork of the two boxers. He said “Canelo has cinder blocks on his feet and has terrible movement.” He also said that if I were a betting man, which I am, that I should put my money on Cotto to pull the upset.

I went against his advice and I’m slightly richer for it.

My friend was right, though. It was clear from the opening bell that Cotto’s plan was to dance around his flat footed opponent all night. Cotto out boxed Alvarez for the entirety of the bout. If boxing was like figure skating and the judges were looking at the purity of the technique, Cotto wins all 12 rounds.

But boxing is mostly about inflicting damage. Those cinder blocks that were attached to Alvarez’s feet were apparently attached to his hands too because everything that he landed, landed hard. Cotto was looking real nice with his own quick combos but nothing he landed really seemed to phase Alvarez. Alvarez would get hit with a couple of hooks and jabs, shake it off, and get ready to come forward again. But Alvarez was landing those punches that make you reevaluate your life choices.  Cotto got hit with one of those uppercuts in the late rounds and you could see him thinking, “Damn, maybe I should go back to school and get my bachelor’s” When Cotto was eating punches in bunches during an intense exchange in the 8th round it looked like he was making retirement plans in his head like, “I wonder if HBO would hire me as analyst when my career is over. I speak better English than Roy Jones Jr anyway”

Alvarez had the overall advantage in percentage of punches landed but absolutely  dominated in the power punch category landing 40 percent while Cotto was only able to land 14 percent.  Numbers like that have me questioning the sanity of Freddie Roach.

The scary part about what we saw from Alvarez is that he doesn’t need to try to box with his opponents. He tried to box with Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather had him swing at air. (Except for that one time where he made really solid contact with the ropes.)

This version of Alvarez knew his limitations and stayed in his lane. He doesn’t have footwork. He just kinda walks towards you and looks to land hay makers like he did against James Kirkland.

The best part of that highlight is when the ref says “show me something,” to Kirkland and Kirkland gets slept and does his best impersonation of someone with narcolepsy.

The people who doubted Alvarez thought that a superior boxer would pick him apart. But when he’s making up for his lack of footwork with above average head movement, taking advantage of his 70.5  inch reach, and landing his power punches with accuracy like he did against Cotto, he’ll be damn near unbeatable.

He’s not overly technical and now he knows he doesn’t have to be. He’s like Rick Ross, he ain’t trippin’ on the technical parts of his style too much.  He’s just gonna make sure those hooks hit hard.

 

Kaepernick gets his chance to chill

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Its official. Colin Kaepernick is on vacation. He got demoted to back of quarterback just in time to really get turnt up for his birthday. He may be on the sidelines watching Blaine Gabbert while nursing a hang over. If you see him on the sidelines wearing sunglasses sipping Gatorade then you know what he did with his birthday weekend.

And he’d better enjoy the break while it lasts because as bad as things look for him now, he will be back by the end of the season.

The issue with Kaepernick isn’t one of physical talent. Ron Jaworski caught a lot of heat for his praise of Kaepernick but his analysis wasn’t completely baseless. We’ve seen the flashes of brilliance. We saw him bolt away from the entire Green Bay Packers defense like his name was Usain just two years ago. We saw him lead the team to three NFC championship games and a Superbowl. He’s got the tools to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He’s just forgotten how to use those tools and being knocked around by one of the worst o-lines in football isn’t gonna help him remember any time soon.

The general line of thinking is that if the 49ers are making a move like this, then the coaching staff and the front office must think that Blaine Gabbert is a better option to help this team win. Maybe this is me being a 49ers fan and giving the coaching staff too much credit, but they can’t possibly be that stupid. Its not possible that anybody even half way mentally competent looked at Option A that used to work and thought that the solution to the problem was to go with Option B that has never worked. Whats Gabbert about to do to show you that he deserves that job more than Kaepernick? While you think of possible answers to that question enjoy this Blaine Gabbert music video.

If you came up with an answer other than, “Gabbert isn’t an NFL caliber quarterback,” in those three minutes and 53 seconds  then there’s a good chance you’re related to him.

Whats actually happening here is that Kaepernick is getting a break. He’s a  badly beaten boxer who’s been given a standing 8 count. Gabbert is in a situation where the front office and the coaching staff has made his job to lose. And because he is Blaine Gabbert he will find a way to lose this job by doing typical Blaine Gabbert stuff. (The coolest of the Blaine Gabbert stuff obviously being that he cussed at Brian Cushing while running out of bounds.)

People are calling this the end of the Colin Kaepernick era and I can’t blame the sports columnists of the world for jumping to that conclusion. Robert Griffin III lost his job to Kirk Cousins in Washington and Jay Gruden is making every excuse to justify this choice. But the bias against Kap in San Francisco isn’t as strong as the bias against RGIII in Washington. All Cousins has to do is be white and not be Robert Griffin. Gabbert’s excepted to actually look like a legit starting quarterback. Since its impossible for him to pull that off we’ll see the bicep kissing QB back  by Christmas. Which will be just in time for that Kap to get off the stool and throw his punches at the end of the season, for better or worse.