Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Donald Trump Can Shut Up About Sports Forever

I am not a sports fan, really. I'm not athletic myself, for one thing and I don't really have the capacity to invest myself in watching organized sporting contests for a whole season. It is just entertainment that I don't quite understand, in some ways, although I appreciate that people have trained and pushed their bodies, through muscle memory and a long understanding of various plays, to excel in well-regulated physical contests of skill. I get it, but I don't. I also don't watch billiards or chess tourneys. I follow politics. It's like, the one game of homo ludens I actually grok.

This is why the intersection of sports and politics matters to me. We have witnessed sports history as  being about multi-talented people, and heroic symbols of the excellence of diversity.  We see sports records at times in light of many "firsts". And we can also view sports as a platform for role models who display acts of conscience.  

President Trump in his long and rambling speech in Huntsville, Alabama, had something to say about athlete protesters (but I am sure he probably had Colin Kaepernick in mind): 

Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers during the offseason. He has not been signed by a new team since then. Several players have continued to protest during the anthem this season.

"The only thing you could do better," Trump said, "is if you see it, even if it's just one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave. Not the same game anymore, anyway."

Leave the stadium? Does this jackass know what people pay for these seats? What a dumbass. Pay for a ticket, then fail to watch the game, and the NFL still gets the same revenue. This guy has a problem with understanding that the NFL needs to confront the brain damage issue, but sounds like he has a bad case of CTE, himself. And what would people be walking out for--a failure to appreciate people taking advantage of the platform their skills have given them to try to start a conversation--

About whether black lives matter. Whether black people can drive cars, walk streets, carry things that might look vaguely gun-like, in public where cops can see, without getting shot dead. They aren't protesting every damn thing about America. They are protesting people getting killed for their skin. And I acknowledge and see their point, and don't get how this is offensive to anyone. People should not be killed for no good reason by duly constituted authority. Blackness shouldn't ever be a death sentence in a world where we live by a presumption of innocence for suspected persons.

Donald Trump disparages the speech of some people, to stoke the biases of biased people. He is just a divider, and an overt and grotesque one at that. I stand with and if necessary, take a knee alongside someone like Kaepernick, who has given back and done the work of supporting his community, not just agitating about it.

I get what Trump was stooping to in Alabama.  And I guess he got his applause. But I think less of him. Because he makes it so clear how little he values human and civil rights.


neoconstantine said...

Please never use the non-word grok again. Of all the non-words ever invented for a novel grok is the worst. Really, I'm not kidding. Please don't use grok anymore. It sounds like something Ally Oop would say. Grok! See how awful it is? Grok!

Thomas Ten Bears said...

Boycott football. Boycott its venues.

Boycott professional and semi-professional (college) "sports". Boycott their venues.

Don't just change the channel, don't go places where they are viewed.


Vixen Strangely said...

I don't usually use the word "grok"--I guess it's like a signifier for that graf in context that in my youth, I was definitely Team Geek, not Team Jock (both four-letter words ending in "k" that might have fit in Alley Oop's mouth, and neither of which I think were spoken by Michael Valentine Smith).

I have problems with sports as an industry, and football in particular, especially because I see certain aspects of toxic-masculinity and abusive and exploitative behavior as a part of that industry. At the college level, I've got the example of beloved coach Joe Paterno turning a blind eye to the rampant child rape of Jerry Sandusky, which went on for years. I can't understand if winning, or the reputation of the school, were the motivations in not bringing this abuse to light, but neither reason was worth the innocence of one single child. (And with the recent conviction of Sandusky's son, we can see the horror has now been visited to another generation.) We see cases of rape, steroid abuse, domestic violence, ordinary street drugs use, dog-fighting rings, and who knows what failing to keep many players in the commercial sport off the field, but Kaep is blackballed for taking a political stand?

I already can't take any enjoyment from the sport because of what medical science has shown is being done to these young men's brains over time. Thee aren't any number of millions of dollars that can be worth fucking some kid's brain up so bad that at 27 he's murdered people and goes and kills himself because his cerebellum looks like Swiss cheese. Knowing these things go on--but suddenly one guy is too dangerous to play because he's politically aware is just sick-making.

I don't know what fixes football, but it needs to include respect for these players as people, which means respecting their freedom of speech, along with good interventions and networks for preventing long-term physical and mental damage. I don't hate players or the games (much as I can't follow them) so much as the capitalization of a culture that rewards people for having their bodies broken to, from what I can tell, sell beer, cars and pharmaceuticals ads between plays, host weird patriotic spectacles at halftime shows, and make compulsory anthem-respecting some kind of big deal.

I hope many players tomorrow take a knee just to tell Trump to stuff it.

Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen, “grok” comes from Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. It was a sort of metaphysical science fiction novel that made a big splash in weirdo circles back in the 60s. So naturally I liked it, though it seems adolescent to me today. There was a person from another planet who found himself on earth where customs and life were very different. For example, they had so little water on his planet that it was an enormous deal if someone asked you if you wanted a drink of water – almost a sacred act. Grok was his planet's word for understanding. Except it was a little more than understanding, like someone who had intuitively and psychologically become identical with your thinking and feeling about the subject for the purposes of understanding. It was pro-sex, probably pro-drugs (I don't remember) and pro- most of the social trends of the 1960s. As I say, cool for a kid, but adolescent for an adult.

I live around a bunch of high school coaches, and President Trump was articulating their feelings and the feelings of most ordinary Americans. (People go to sports to get away from politics and cares of the day, only to have politics stuck in their faces, and that is why the box office is falling for football.)

Our press is absolutely pathetic. What they didn't tell us is that yesterday the First Lady made her first solo debut as one of the officials at the Invictus Games in Toronto. She was there along with Prince Harry, who was motivated to start the Invictus Games because of the similar venue we have in the US. It is an opportunity for handicapped veterans to compete in a sort of Olympic-like event, playing different sports that demonstrate the ability to transcend their handicaps.

Melania and Prince Harry kicked the event off with PM Trudeau and his wife. And as always Melania brought a faithful image of the United States to the world. She wore a hounds tooth Dior outfit that set off her flawless sense of style and let everyone from many countries once again realize that the First Lady of the United States is a graceful and striking woman. We are very fortunate to have her as a First Lady, as no one with her fashion sense has been in the White House since Jacquelyn Kennedy.

The Games went very well, and many countries participated, and I'm glad the First Lady was there.

It is doubly important that the US is fortunate to have Melania as first lady at this time. The Duchess of Cambridge is an absolutely gorgeous woman, now entering middle age with a third child on the way. To some extent she has taken Diana's place as a representative of Great Britain. Kate was not a lady in the technical sense; she is therefore a transitional figure. Allowing the prince to marry a commoner. The class distinctions have been punctuated to some extent when a future king can marry a woman who is not part of the peerage. Even though in every other sense of the word she qualifies.

One of the most important assets a head of state can have is a wife who is beautiful, gracious, intelligent, and capable of dealing with the publicity aspects of governing. Until Melania became First Lady (she speaks 5 languages) the Duchess of Cambridge was pretty much taking up all the oxygen (with a little help from Queens and Princesses of other countries). The queen of Spain is a knockout; up until now the European heads of state have owned elegance and fashion through their wives. Now Melania has come along, and the Europeans no longer have exclusive ownership of this territory.

We do not have royalty, but because of Melania we now have a de facto princess or queen who has all the assets needed to make America shine. We have every right to be proud of Melania and her performance at the Invictus Games.