Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: America 2017: What’s Changed? What’s Changing?
If you ask this question to most people you come across I’d like to think they’d reply “Well a lot”. In my humble opinion not much has changed. This country’s history is a rich, flawed and abhorrent one from the past till now. Have there been many victories? Yes. Have there been many losses? Yes.
Victory: America elects first Black President of the United States
Loss: America follows by electing Donald Trump his successor.
Victory: Muhummad Ali refuses to be drafted for Vietnam & pays heavy price for his refusal yet ultimately becomes the social conscience blueprint of the modern day professional athlete thinking outside of sports & celebrity to impact others not just his own bottom line. He is immortalized in the minds, hearts, and memory of the historians because of the stance he took at the peak of his celebrity and prime of his professional fighting career. He served jail time and later returned after 3 years in prison to fight and reclaim his rightful title as Heavyweight Champ of the world which was stripped from him for his refusal to be drafted.
Loss: NFL chooses to blackball Colin Kaepernick for exercising his right to protest the killing of unarmed Black people in America at the hands of law enforcement. He chooses to simply kneel in protest of the flag that fails to live up to the simple tenets it’s supposed to represent in the constitution of the United States of America.
NFL owners and their PR spin teams headed by their very own versions of an “Olivia Pope” will say he’s not signed on with any team as a free agent due to poor performance on the field even though his career stats speak to the opposite of that assessment. We all know it’s because he chose to take a knee in protest is the real reason no team will sign him. It’s a loss for the NFL not so much for Kaepernick. Sure for now he’s out of a job in the NFL but that’s not the be all end all.
All the NFL has done is show that what Kaepernick’s stance is for has validity that literally threatens the status quo. If not, he’d be employed. The owners have told us all by his non hiring that his message, his protest, which is to bring light to something we’ve been harping about long before Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, and on and on. The fact that those who say they hate Kaepernick’s form of protest or that they revere cloth more than human life tells you who’s who. Who’s a true American patriot and who’s an “American” in name only, not principle.
They’d rather hide behind fake patriotism and straw man arguments than acknowledge that racism, bigotry, hatred, prejudice, and injustice reign supreme in America. That all of the aforementioned are engrained if not entrenched in the psyche and make up of the American fabric that history has born out. The guilt and the lack of accountability weighs heavy on the collective American conscience. If not there wouldn’t be so much avoidance to say what the reason for Kaepernick’s protest is for in the first place. He’s successfully created a discourse on American and world society at large but especially here in the “Greatest Nation on Earth”.
I once heard a sick freestyle from an amateur MC who said he’d spit on the American flag or any humanitarian fallacy claiming things they didn’t actually live up to. Kaepernick didn’t burn the flag, spit on it, curse it, or desecrate it, he simply said I’ll kneel until you live up to your credo and people address this ever present issue of the killing of black men, women, & children unarmed at the hands of the police. For that he’s been vilified and blackballed. It’s a worthy price to pay and I believe he knew that going in when he decided to first make his protest known.
No matter what happens going forward he’s forever an icon and town crier if not whistleblower, a modern day socially conscious activist pro athlete who thought beyond himself and his celebrity or wealth. Make the flag your argument if you want and ignore the principles behind what the flag is supposed to represent but do so at your own peril. If a house be hollow with sand for its foundation how will it stand even against the smallest of floods?
Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: Is The NFL Black-Balling Kaepernick?
The above title question is a rhetorical one. The answer in short is 1000% yes, the NFL is “black-balling” Kaepernick. Let me start by saying it’s not that we all should feel sorry for Kaepernick because his former employer the NFL no longer deems him worthy to represent or earn a living under the “shield”. It’s the optics and the not so subtle message being sent to all the remaining gainfully employed players within the league.
This is America… the land of opportunity… so long as you play by the unwritten rules. While we can’t say that the NFL owners got together in secret to collude against the hiring of Colin Kaepernick, say the way Rockefeller & his peers did on a subway car decades upon decades ago to create a tacit system of control and concentrated power among the elites, the effect is no less chilling or real. By the very fact that Kaepernick who is in his youthful athletic prime hasn’t been offered a job to continue his career in the NFL to date speaks volumes.
When owners are willing to on the surface say let’s “talk” to Kaepernick but no job ensues team after team while career losers who have proven less than Kaepernick are offered jobs even out of retirement speaks volumes. Why is it that no team wanted Jay Cutler until Tannehill got injured in practice and he’d already agreed to a commentator job that he signs a $10 million 1 year deal, but Kaepernick remains unsigned.
Can we really doubt that had Kaepernick not taken a stand last season and become the face of protest for the murder of unarmed black citizens male/female at the hands of police around the country that he would be employed today? And let’s look at what he did. He didn’t shoot anybody, he didn’t drive drunk and kill anybody, he didn’t as far as we know, fail any drug tests, or commit domestic violence. He simply took a knee. He took a fucking knee during the national anthem to say “America you aren’t living up to what you’re supposed to stand for and until you do I feel it appropriate to take a knee.”
America for the youth and those who have forgotten is supposed to stand for “Freedom” and the right to protest, to have an opinion, to express it without fear of reprisal for expressing dissent. If this isn’t the case then there should be no hateful tweets or objection to the tyranny that is Kim Jong Un in North Korea. It is this basic concept that distinguishes America and it’s greatness from the non free world and dictatorships around the globe.
This country was founded on dissent and often VIOLENT dissent. Civil war is not a peaceful action. War by its literal definition is devoid of peace until a victor is declared and America fought for its independence through protest and dissent. I wonder if the same people who wrote to the NFL that they’d no longer buy season tickets even know about the founding principles of the very country that gives them the opportunity and privilege to work, live and pursue happiness within.
Protest by its very nature is not intended to make others who don’t agree with the protest comfortable. It’s designed to open eyes, to create discourse, and bring the very issues that are causing protest in the first place to the forefront to be heard. After all it’s always going to be the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. If we’re willing to suffer in silence we’ll never be heard. The dummies who drape themselves in the flag so long as only their interests are cared for, are not true patriots and should first pull their heads from their nether regions long enough to read the history of the country whose flag they worship blindly without respect for, or understanding of the symbolic meaning of the flag. They hate Kaepernick because he took a knee. They throw up a straw man argument to distract from the issue he’s raising. Forget about the military and veterans for a second. They are important but they died for the very rights Kaepernick and many other pioneers exercise in this great nation.
I’ll make it even more plain. I’d like to think pretty much everyone loves Superman. If Superman was running around saying he’s a hero and only serving the public good but was robbing banks on the side or killing unarmed citizens while saying “hey I’m Superman the law doesn’t apply to me because of my stature and powers” what would we say? Would we as a people protest him? Would we look at each other and say but that’s Superman, you’re disrespecting Superman? Or would we say Superman has to live up to the standards and ideals he claims he stands for?
The NFL is a hypocritical organization. It’s blanketing itself in its own perceived self-righteousness by punishing Kaepernick for exercising the power of his platform and his right to dissent. Shannon Sharpe hit the proverbial nail on the head with his commentary earlier today about what’s happening to Colin Kaepernick. The NFL is rewarding others with the opportunity to earn money from it who’ve done far worse repeatedly. I’ll borrow the phrase from Skip Bayless what does the “eye test” tell you? If we’re being 100% real, every person with a brain can see plain as day what this whole situation is and it has nothing to do with performance or productivity regardless of the apologist pundits out there. If that were the case every starter or backup who has career stats the same or worse than Kaepernick shouldn’t be employed. I end with this, Blaine Gabbert has a job in the NFL. Is Blaine a better QB than Colin Kaepernick?
For most people lets face it MLK Jr. Day has become a day in which not a lot of emphasis is really put on celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.’s life.
It’s a day where the kids get to be home from school relishing a 3 day weekend of binging on junk food, watching TV, playing video games, and/or going to the movies while the mainstream media plays either an excerpt or the entire “I have a Dream” speech (depending on the network) in remembrance of Dr. King.
Most people say a few words about how great the “I have a Dream” speech is and was and what the dream speech means today. As a black man living in NYC modern day I see that the dream still hasn’t been realized and I’m not sure that it ever will be just based on the past few years happenings.
As a black man living in a “post MLK Jr. America” I keep thinking about the lack of leadership we have in the black community today. At the same time I wonder why is it that America so readily celebrates MLK Jr. but acts as if Malcolm X never existed or shouldn’t be in the same breath as MLK Jr. Personally I believe we should be celebrating both of these iconic black leaders not just one.
We can agree that both of these great men were critical to the mindset of waking up the world to the plight of black people living the daily grind and constant uphill battle facing us as a nation and people living in a country that practices the opposite of what it preaches. From slavery, to segregation, to Jim Crow, to Civil Rights Era, to modern day slavery reincarnated as the American Prison Industrial Complex the reality is America still is what it always was.
The reason why MLK Jr. is celebrated is because he was the less threatening of the two leaders within the black community. The belief that passive nonviolence would eventually overcome the atrocities we face continually, while being told to wait for justice that almost never comes, was more appealing than a man waking up to the reality of his plight in a system that is designed around his oppression, suppression, theft of his property, ignorance of his/her rights & labor being supplied without the commensurate compensation if at all.
Malcolm X’s “By any means necessary” meant there would be active resistance when necessary in the defense and protection of one’s life, family and/or property. History has shown that nothing has ever been achieved through just passivity alone. It takes action, it takes being willing to die for the rights and freedoms this country is supposed to afford all it’s citizens even if that fight is against fellow citizens who refuse to acknowledge that not just they, but all of human beings deserve the same respect and rights afforded to some.
Tell us what’s really changed since the days of MLK Jr. and Malcolm X with regards to the plight of black people living in America today.
We watched in horror as a cowardly low life cop wannabe reject got away with the murder of a 17 year old Trayvon Martin using a law that only afforded the killer (Zimmerman) the application of the law of stand your ground. The victim’s last screams for help were stolen as was his young life and claimed by his killer George Zimmerman to bolster claims of self defense. No weight was given to the fact that Zimmerman was in fact the aggressor or that Trayvon Martin also had a right to stand his ground. The only problem was there no video evidence to show us what exactly happened and the knowledge of the law and the media vilification of a 17 year old allowed a murderer to go free recast as the actual victim. This is some America.
We watched in horror as the news media showed the bullet riddled body of a young 18 year old Michael Brown Jr. laying dead in the street of Ferguson, MO for at least several hours. The officer responsible for his killing able to lie and give an account of what he said led to him shooting an unarmed teenager as many times as he did when he was in no threat of danger to himself. Eyewitnesses were dismissed as confused or mistaken as to what actually happened and with no video to show the public of his tragic last moments, both the judicial systems refusal to indict an officer and the power of the blue wall protecting their own once again meant there would be no justice.
We watched as another officer shot a 12 year old Tamir Rice to death literally in 2 seconds based off some asshole calling the police acting as if a child playing with a toy gun was a grown man walking around brandishing a real gun. We watched as Freddie Gray’s spine was severed at the hands of the police in Baltimore before he was loaded into the back of a police van. They claimed he had a weapon when he was arrested and was arrested for simply running when he saw those who would ultimately take his life.
The fact that he ran was used as justification for his arrest and subsequent death. They can claim he broke his neck inside that van all they want but the video showing his arrest clearly shows he was unable to stand up on his own two feet let alone walk as he was dragged in obvious agony to the back of a police van before he was loaded inside.
The accounts of the officers as far as what transpired after he was inside the van we can take with a grain of salt. Cops lie and routinely lie especially when it comes to their accounts of what happens when they interact with the public at large. The prosecutor Mosby never had a chance to get justice for Freddie Gray because there is no independent prosecutor to prosecute police officers when they run afoul of the law themselves.
They are above the law and every time they kill a citizen of the U.S in unjustifiable cold blood and they aren’t prosecuted and found guilty, reinforces the idea that the police are above the law. They not only get paid leave after they kill, they get to go home spend time with their families, and whine about how unfair their treatment is by the media and anyone questioning them. Meanwhile they continue to have jobs afterward and probably get promoted.
We watched as police officers murdered Eric Garner on video and no one was punished for his death even though there was clear video evidence of wrong doing. No indictments. How does that work?
We watched as a police officer Michael Slager murdered Walter Scott on video unbeknownst to the officer who then planted a taser on or next to Scott’s body after he shot him to death to claim Scott went for his taser so he had to shoot him. Without that video from a bystander we would only have heard the officers account and the public as well as the judicial system would have believed the officer. As for the victim Walter Scott, his account wouldn’t be believed even if he had lived to tell it without video corroborating it.
We watched as the killer of Jordan Davis (Michael Dunn) got convicted not for his murder but for the attempted murder of his three surviving friends. How crazy is that? Even the ballistics showed Michael Dunn a liar and was not in any imminent threat of grave bodily harm from the teenagers he met and exchanged words with over loud music. They were all unarmed young black teenagers and tragically one of them lost his life and received no justice. Save for his friends surviving, Michael Dunn would be free today just like George Zimmerman.
We watched in horror as the news reports came out about the historical Black Church Massacre in South Carolina where Dylan Roof murdered nine congregation members including the pastor of the church after sitting among them for over an hour. His motivations were clear and that he was able to not only walk away alive after committing the heinous acts he did but was rewarded with Burger King tells us everything we need to know about America. I’ve yet to hear of a case in which a black suspect is wanted for killing that many people and is taken first of all ALIVE, and secondly to Burger King to eat afterwards courtesy of law enforcement. Roof’s conviction and death penalty sentence is one glimmer of hope for an ocean of black victims still waiting for justice.
We witnessed all these things while America watched it’s first Black President at the end of his second and final term in office. I can’t even recall a memorable speech the outgoing president made with all these killings of unarmed black people by fellow citizens and/or police alike. The only one that comes immediately to mind is the president saying if he had a son he would look like Trayvon Martin. It’s that kind of Duh moment that just leaves one shaking his/her head like What? As January 20th rapidly approaches and America ushers in the Trump Era I think it sufficient to say we have very far to go if we’ll ever see dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. realized. I don’t think I’ll live to see it come to fruition in my life time.
😛 In the aftermath of one of the most shocking outcomes in a general election (the likes of which hasn’t been seen in our lifetime) the new president that “America” selected to represent the nation is Donald Trump. Many believe that the country and the pundits as well as national polls all had it wrong all along. It was the media and common sense red, white & blue believing citizens who were all out of touch with the “Law & Order” candidate in Trump and the massive number of “Americans” who voted for him. Trump a “mogul” who’s incendiary rhetoric and vitriol not to mention racist comments only helped to heighten sensitivities and further divide the nation politically, racially, and socio – economically.
I’m not going rehash every controversial statement president elect Trump has made over the past few years but it speaks the truth about what America has become versus what it’s supposed to represent. I’m finding parallels between the history accurately depicted and spoken of in the documentary 13th and how we as a nation came to select Trump as the “suitable” or “acceptable” representation for the highest position in the land. To me the election came down to race and gender bias. An appeal to the white majority to come out in droves in defense of their position in the country as it currently stands is what led to Trump’s victory over Hillary.
The day after the election I went to work still in disbelief like much of the rest of the country that didn’t vote for Trump. It was interesting though that after taking stock of the situation I was at peace. The fact that I wasn’t screaming or crying over the election or depressed was a shock to some who were like how come you’re okay and we’re not? Was I happy Trump was now president? No. Did his election make me feel any worse or better about the nation as a whole? No. Life goes on and all that really happened is another mask has been “Donned” (pun intended) to push the agenda of the elite. Donald Trump is a return to more of the same from yester – years past.
It’s too early to understand fully what Trump’s real approach to all the aspects of being the president will entail. There is no cohesive and clear vision of how to live up to his campaign rhetoric of “Make America Great Again”. For most minorities that statement has little if anything to do with our being uplifted and more to do with going backwards to where things were really only good for once again the top 1%. White America said there’s no way we’re going to allow the world to see America led by a woman when we have men and the history of the presidency being held only by men. I think too many bought into the idea that just because America has seen it’s first black President that it was so progressive as to think it would entertain a woman in that same position.
In the future months to come I expect that president Trump will undoubtedly repeal the Affordable Care Act and increase the privatization of the prison industrial complex. Let’s see how he intends to live up to building a “Wall” that Mexico is supposed to pay for and how exactly he’s going to bring back jobs to America.
I had a recent debate with a friend over whether my friend agreed or disagreed with Colin Kaepernick’s protest by sitting during the national anthem. My friend and I both were passionate in our arguments for and against Kaepernick. My friend’s view was that the 49ers should get rid of Kaepernick or the league should throw him out of league altogether. He went on to say Kaepernick should try driving a cab for living instead of playing football over his refusal to stand during the national anthem. He said “When you make your living here you should respect the flag and stand for the flag during the national anthem”. I shot back what does how much money he earns have to do with his right to protest?
My argument was that Colin Kaepernick wasn’t doing anything unpatriotic by silently protesting injustices in this country which touts itself as the world’s greatest nation. America espouses the moral beliefs that all men are created equal, and have the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. That they have the right to freedom of speech/expression. It also says that all men have the right to be protected and treated fairly under the law regardless of gender, race, religious beliefs or ethnicity. These are all the things that the founders of America believed in and what made America greater than any other nation on the face of the earth.
What we have seen though is that America was founded on injustice, slavery, exploitation, double standards, systemic institutionalized racist policies and/or practices which continue to this day. This is so much so that it has to be spelled out for people in legislation for employment, for housing or even to attend institutions of higher learning.
Colin Kaepernick’s protest using his celebrity/athlete platform to highlight the contradiction between what America was founded to be versus what is has historically shown itself to be (while better than many other nations) isn’t actually living up to the foundation it’s predicated upon for ALLof it’s citizens. It’s important to note that the right to protest is an American idea and tradition supported by the constitution. Colin Kaepernick as a man and citizen of the U.S.A is exercising his rights and for that he’s ridiculed by fellow “Americans”. I call that ignorance and B.S.
I say all this to say that we ended our dialogue agreeing to disagree on whether or not Kaepernick was disrespecting the flag. I ended my point with my friend by saying “How unpatriotic could he be when he goes out there, works for his living, supports this very same government which taxes his multi-million dollar earnings annually, by electing to exercise the rights afforded to him as a citizen?”
I turn the debate over to you with this poll question
Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: “Affluenza”: Reflection
Upon first hearing about this case my thoughts were “what the hell “was I listening to?! A young suburban white kid from an affluent background got wasted, got behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, drove drunk, & killed (4) people while injuring an additional (9) people. I was in total disbelief that this kid was set free by the courts with the most asinine defense I’ve ever heard of…”Affluenza”.
On first hearing this word “Affluenza” that didn’t exist (before this case as far as I’m aware) what does it conjures in the mind if not a prescription drug commercial?
This kid’s defense attorney coined “Affluenza” and blamed not the spoiled youth who drove willfully impaired but his privileged background. Claiming that being raised with no boundaries or restrictions enabled if not created this tragedy.
So who’s to blame if not the person who caused these tragic events with poor decision-making. His parents do have their share of culpability but that shouldn’t let this killer kid completely off the hook.
To add insult to death and injury, having been let go with not even a slap on the wrist he’s recorded on video drinking at a party after all this. Seriously, who does that? The video that surfaced caused him and his family to flee because they knew once that video came to light he’d be thrown in jail as he should have been in the first place.
The judge who let him go looks down right stupid if not incompetent for having allowed his release. It’s appallingly clear that the victim’s lives weren’t as important to the judge as the deep pockets of his parents.
What does this mean for future defendants in the same position with far less than an affluent background? What should happen (if and when) he and his mother are apprehended by police or federal agents?