Oh come on! Stop whining!

Yes, if President Trump hadn’t made those comments at the rally in Alabama last weekend then maybe Sunday would have been a fairly average NFL weekend. Leaving aside what is “average” nowadays in the NFL – Does average include Marcus Cooper’s bonehead soft shoe shuffle on the 1 yard line? Probably not – we were treated to a wave of kneel-down protests across the nation on game day.

All because of Trump according to both conservatives and left-wing activists and billionaire NFL owners. And millionaire players as well, let’s not forget.

Sorry, this is far more than just anger at the president himself, who of course loves to double down on any brawl anytime anywhere that he can somehow get into. That much is undeniable. But the politiciziing of sport is hardly a brand new phenomenon welling up out of nowhere because of one NYC developer and Reality Show owner-celebrity turned president. As important as the presidency is.

Most of you were likely not around in 1968. For example. A.most all of us, or most of us, were not around or very young in 1936 at the Olympics in Berlin where Jesse Owens rubbed Hitler’s crazed racist theories of uber whites into the dirt as he cleaned up the competition and had packs of young German girls squealing and demanding to be told where he was residing in the city. And yes, Owens faced incredible bigotry on both sides of the Atlantic. But in America he graduated from Ohio State and went on to fame, if not quite fortune.

LIke any restless trail blazer who has had his trail taken from him – Owen’s professional endorsements got him booted out of the then fully amateur track and field world which in turn KO’ed his endorsements – Owens tried his hand at a number of ventrues after working for the Ford Motor Company in their personnel division. Among them was owning a baseball franchise and sports promotion in general. He touched bottom pumping gas in the 60’s until he was made a goodwill ambassador around 1966.

Which brings us to 1968 and the Mexico City Olympics. And the raised fists on the podium by sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos. Here’s what Owens apparently told them:

“The only time the black fist has significance is when there’s money inside. That’s where the power lies.”

He changed his mind and by 1972 he said:

“Any black man who wasn’t a militant in 1970 was either blind or a coward.”

And by 1980, he had yet another take on politics in sports when he tried to convince President Carter (Owens had less than a year to live by then) that the Olympics should be beyond politics and America should not boycott the Moscow Games.

Trump threw a match on a tinder dry stack of firewood that’s built up over generations and that was burning itself out but still had plenty of fuel left to burn. Precisely because the left’s long march through the institutions is now comming to an end. By that I mean that the radicalized norms drilled into millenials by aging left wing professors is now a movement marching off the campuses and into the streets. And everything is fair game for their identity politics dogma of race and victimhood. All very real issues, but hardly advanced by taking a knee because the knee taking is symbolic. It is a symbolic assault on the very conception of what being patriotic in America means. And is being accompanied by attempts to use the judiciary to radically change how life in America is to be lived.

This wasn’t going to burn out and fade away (apologies to Neil Young for mixing his metaphors). All it needed was angry tweet or two to reignite.

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