Tag Archives: Star Spangled Banner

NFL17 – Las Vegas: Think Symbolism Is For Suckers? Try Sitting Out Francis Scott Key

6 Apr

Las Vegas Raiders: It has a certain NFL ring to it, no pun, even as I’m not a fan of the relocation. But “a rose is a rose,” i.e., it is what it is, in pragmatic speak.

The Raiders name is not what I would envision for the League’s newest member of metropoli (2019), a family of locales where, once you’re in it’s not hard to get out (Oakland, San Diego, St. Louis), i.e., no knuckle-crushing or horse-head sheets. Though, Davis-the-Younger will no doubt take heed of Tom’s warning, “you can’t go home again,” not to set things right, anyway.

That’s not because the silver & black pirate-guy image is not a terrific motif. Arguably, it’s the NFL’s best. I’ve got a hat and cherish it. And its slogan from the mind of AFL original and their legendary owner Al Davis (d.2011), ‘just win baby,’ flows from the lips like wine on a Spanish galleon.

But when a city (LV) – State (NV) contract to commit $1.5 billion (+) to build a new home in cement & girders, coupled with the fact that those parties-of-the-first-part are landlocked (not oceanside), they’ve every right…no, they’ve every obligation to nix half-measures, start anew and wave their own design.

I like the Nevada Sunsets or Las Vegas Buffets (seriously) as new name possibilities, but if the Raiders name remains, which it probably will, the slogan and uniforms will need some detail work: ‘Just roll baby’ and gold ($) trim to create a sense of both separation and remembrance of their California roots.

— — —

Back to the decision to relocate, a move marking the ramblin’ Raiders third attempt to find a permanent home (‘82-94 LA).

I’m no curmudgeon. I like football.

I like city- states that’ll fork over the ducats to get it done (new stadium).

And I like games of chance in their proper place, person and time. But this is neither the place nor the time to set-up shop in the gambling capital of the Milky Way galaxy, outer rim, notwithstanding.

NFL Cufflinks collected in Phoenix the last weekend in March and voted on Monday 31-1 (Mia) to give go-ahead to majority holder Mark Davis to move his father’s silver & black baby from Oakland 400 miles southeast to Sin City.

Vegas’ detractors in its smaller TV market (#40 +/-) (Bay area #5 +/-), and a more transient, tourist-based economy were obviously out-weighed by its biggest asset in that the citizenry of Nevada are willing to foot a little over one-third the $2 billion bill expected for a new stadium planned to open for play in 2020.

But sport + gambling (≠ success) = $#8%?@!! (big trouble).

Does an NFL presence in Las Vegas (NHL’s Golden Knights (there’s a bold name) begin play in 2017) necessarily mean team personnel will be rubbing shoulders with corrupt elements, those who’d solicit game-change (fix)? No, it does not.

The morality of individual or corporate greed aside, Vegas’ strip is no longer gangster-operated as it was in the heyday of heavies (1950 – 70s) as depicted so colorfully (gulp) in the Martin Scorsese crime-drama, Casino (95).

It’s now quite the opposite as Sin City is one of American’s favorite destinations for family fun, food and wholesome frolic.

As for betting, practically anyone, anywhere with internet capability can make a wager in 2017. Knowing a bookie, or as “Jim Rockford” would’ve quipped, “those short little guys in their green cigars,” is no more necessary than dressing up for the game in fedora and dress-jacket (See; 50s photos).

And that, while gambler age seems of little concern to sport moguls or Americans in general as all the Majors have been soliciting investments from children by way of fantasy for a decade now yet raising not a peep from politicos nor socialites.

It’s one thing to bombard kids with shoe and team apparel advertisements where the buyer gets something concrete in return, but the fantasy gamble offers no such quid pro quo, only speculation as if it were Romper Room roulette.

The goings-on in Las Vegas is not so much the problem with it housing a major pro sport team, but rather, the symbolism of what used to go-on (bone-break / life-savings lost) and still does in the Neon City (gambling galore).

‘What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ may apply to a whole slew of sultry affairs in Sin Central but not when it comes to symbolism.

The city’s wagering reputation, even as fun-parks fill-up daily with families working to scrub that image clean, will remain the same were the Girl & Boy Scouts, Policeman’s Benevolent Society and Sisters of Notre Dame to all relocate their headquarters to Nevada’s most populous city.

That means the message will remain the same with a Vegas major: ‘Gambling is good for everyone in the NFL fan family, its partners in business and pink-wear (ACS),’ where the gamble cancer-patients and families fretfully undertake every-day is the costliest of all and was the real message behind early Breaking Bad.

While I’m confident the vast majority of Nevada citizenry are as hard-working (or lazy) as anywhere else in America and probably have little or no connection to the gamble, that’s not what the public nor players will see.

Some jocks might use Vegas venue as excuse to cross the line (‘Hey, the Big Boys (NFL) are rolling in it, takin’ chances, why not me?’). Why not indeed? It’s a crossover that, if it did happen and were detected today by League watch-dogs would likely not be broadcast in the news as it was in 1919-20 (Black Sox).

Can’t mess with the golden goose, right? Right. And athletes don’t need another reason to cheat themselves and the fans (See; PEDs).

Think of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, aka, Kaep Krusader, and ask yourself if symbolism doesn’t matter.

Kaepernick was never gonna’ be an elite QB, not with his red-zone blues, a habit of coming up empty on the goal-line late in the big game (SB47 – NFCC14). It was a run-QB skill-set that would keep him in the back-up or temporary starter’s role. Once that status became clear in 2016, the Anthem kneel-down began as he threw caution to the wind which became his best completion percentage (ugh).

But Kaepernick’s matured in the pocket, less likey to rabbit and improved TD ratio (v. INT) which should’ve made him an ideal clip-boarder to have rostered if a starter goes down. But no such luck for him, not at this posting.

Clearly, it’s not CK’s limited skill-set that has him waiting on the phone call. Had he caught one more break and put it in the end-zone to win SB47 (+ power-outage), he’d be sporting one of those god-awful-looking champion rings.

And it’s not his National anthem stance, or sit, in protest of what he claims a brutal American police policy. These United States were born in protest (1776-83) and can appreciate, or at least stomach, a sincere objection.

Instead, it’s Kaepernick’s racist pig socks that depicted only white (pink) police that he sported as he hit stride on his shtick, which has him persona non grata and unemployed apart from Beats By Dre, etcetera. And that’s not owner collusion, that’s fighting the good fight against ignorance and hatred.

Symbolism matters. Money matters, too.

But when you make a pact to be the gambling Mecca to every creature with coin or credit (‘Take me to your (ATM)’), a social contract Las Vegan elders freely entered, you forfeit the moral right to house a major professional sporting enterprise, meaning, all bets are off, or on, or whatever the bad one is.

The National Football League, who, ironically, have been successfully fighting a legal battle against the sport-betting biz, it’s sponsors and current Vegas elders are all in breach, non-actionable as that state will remain.

Steven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: R.Goodell, NFL, wc.cca, 8.30.12, SSG.T.Wade, USMA; LasVegas-sign, wc, 4.19.05, D.Vasquez; dice-Antonio, wc, JGuzzMaan, 6.24.16; C.Kaepernick, wc, M.Morbeck, 9.9.12; NFL-wikiproject
Posted: 4.6.17 @ 12:28am EST, edit 4.10; Copyright © 2017

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NFL16: $ales $oar, NFL Evades and No Forward Progress in Kaep Krusade

9 Sep

Colin Kaepernick’s Sit n’ Stew over his national anthem and white police officers is a big hit with some NFL jersey buyers (‘You’re not gettin’ it until Christmas, you know that, right?) but leaves him and his team about 9 yards shy of 1st & 10 with a playbook long on smack and short on answers.

— — —

America the democracy. That’s the game-plan, as long as Diebold® does its duty and those Electoral Collegians behave themselves. In truth, what we’ve really become is a consumerocracy. Oh…my…god.

China’s gaining ground on the consumer front but U.S.A. still holds commanding lead in the drive to grab (merchandise), gobble (gluten) and guzzle (HFCS & oil) like there’s no tomorrow. Course, if we don’t keep buying we can say bye-bye to the economy and “tomorrow” may be “another day” we just assume skip.

Some set-up, eh, buy or die? I can see it now, AT&T’s new ad campaign: ‘”(We’ve made you) an offer (you) can’t refuse,” and have a nice day.’

money-drawbag-2006-johnny-automatic-wc-thm*The Powers-that-be can chisel away at our liberties in a post-9.11 State of Alert and have consumers dancing on a string and we barely make a peep. But take away our cruise package, Big Gulp® and Facebook feed and watch the streets fill up faster than a 6am express lane.

An athlete who had been an NFL player of some note, though, appeared headed for a reserve role, makes a public-gesture-short-on-a-few-facts to purportedly bring attention, not to himself (oh-no), but to what he claims is a serious and pervasive national wrong (police misdeed), and the biggest societal response is a smattering of jock-joinder (Megan Rapinoe, Brandon Marshall, etc.) and correlating spike in sales of his NFL jersey, vaulting it to the treasured #1 spot (“Colin..Jersey“ / nymag.com / 9.7.16 / A.Raymond).

In Colin Kaepernick’s world, such a perch might just be more esteemed than the triple crown: An MVP, Super Bowl ring and a ♫ hip-hop ♫ chart-topper. Top it off with the Oprah interview and the man’s made.

But even as Kaep Krusader’s jersey likeness makes appearances at events and gatherings around the nation in coming months as the glitter garb, the mass of buyers probably won’t be taking to the streets in furtherance of his purported purpose (awareness & change), not if it interferes with The Simpsons schedule or a Walking Dead marathon.

kaep-10-27-13-wc-cca-d-hartwig-thumbThere are statements, then there are priorities. It’s 2016.

The act itself, Colin’s refusal to stand in a pre-season ceremony (v GB (8.26)) in allegiance with his nation’s flag and anthem in Key‘s Star-Spangled Banner, a hopeful gesture in show of patriotism, camaraderie and conformity, has been on rare occasion displayed by athletes in the past in one like form or another.

It was the timing and the man behind the gesture that caught most by surprise.

And it’s what has transpired since that opening act that has many passing a critical judgment on Mr. Krusader.

Being a believer in that Anglo-American tradition known as due process (Magna Carta (1215)), I felt obliged to give the would-be social advocate a fair chance to make his case. Push-back on forced conformity has its place. If I’m ever in a public arena where God Bless America gets amplified in snub of another bedrocker in the principle which separates that cantankerous twosome of church and state, watch this fan pull a Keys Krusade of his own, i.e., remain seated.

In that initial stage there was no Trump-like, knee-jerk reaction (love it or leave it) to Kaepernick’s sit-down strike from this quarter. Like it or not, unless it’s mean-spirited or clearly self-serving, we can all afford to lend an ear to hear-out the protestor, for a time. We’re a democracy, right? Right.

Time’s up.

I suspected self-service and politics were Colin’s true motives given the initial form of protest and timing, but wondered if something constructive, more hopeful might come from it. “(Prejudice) is forever busy and needs feeding.”

Then came the mock-socks and Krude Krusader exposed himself as a fraud.

.........Goodell.8.30.12.wc.2.9m.SSG.T.Wade.USMAThe socks took stage in 49ers final pre-season game in San Diego, depicting cartoon police figures as what appeared only white (pink) colored swine. Racist?

Anyone with a sincere beef on local or State police misdeed, and actionable cases do exist, need look no further than the U.S. Justice Department. President Obama’s enforcement arm oversees and is broadly empowered to intervene on any set of facts that even remotely relates to racial injustice in America.

All Kaepernick has achieved in substance from his juvenile display in petulant finger-point and high drama that singles out one profession, one race, a show that devolved into mean-spiritedness (mock-socks), is to administer one big booster shot to one man’s celebrity, a voting sector looking to pass ‘the buck’ of blame (Harry‘d nod ‘no‘), a ready platform for a smattering of jock-joinders (Rapinoe), claimed-victims who’ve more to say (Marshall, etc.) and then those who’d profit from Nike jersey sales and the like.

The Krudesader will be milking this bovine for as long as it gives juice. Probably about as long as Tim Tebow and his sponsors (Mets, etc.) will be milking his Heisman for all it‘s worth. But at least Timbo’s on his feet and giving it the old college try, I’ll give him that much.

For the NFL’s part, they’re apparently cool with Colin (“Roger Goodell“ / usatoday.com / 9.7). It took Roger Goodell and his team of law review legal eagles two weeks to decide on the appeasement approach to CK’s passion play.

goodell-wc-cca-7-10-08-sgt-b-delvecchio-afgh-616kI know of no other private enterprise that does more to encourage racial harmony and career opportunity for blacks and other minorities than does the NFL, which might explain the tepid, tardy response.

The Commissioner, as well as DeMaurice Smith (NFLPA) and his lawyers, could have penned a joint-statement that found Colin’s complaint too narrowly worded (white police), krude (socks), cuts too broad a swath (v. patriotism) and yet still respected his right to non-conformity. As reported, CBA does not require stand-at-attention.

Instead, the League and union, who have a close relationship with the U.S. military, took a page out of Ms. Clinton’s playbook and chose to tread lightly.

Most observers likely see Kaep in one of two lights: He fumbled on the play and then laughed about it (mock-socks), or, he ran it in for TD. No fence-sitting.

Oddly, even had Goodell come out in complete support of Kaepernick’s sit ‘n stew and the socks, supporters of the reserve signal-caller would most certainly still believe the Commissioner to be the devil. It is what it is, “a rose is a rose,” racism, from whichever direction it emanates (mock-socks), is still racism.

And don’t expect Kaep & Co. to make a call for consumer boycotts or anything weighty that would require self-sacrifice in their own top income sources or the buying public’s discretionaries department, though, it does appear others are forcing the issue a bit in that Mr. Marshall has reportedly been dropped as a spokesman by the Air Academy Federal Credit Union (“Broncos LB” / nbcsports / 9.9.16 / J.Alper). A decision to Brandon’s displeasure, no doubt, but guessing AAFCU is not his bread n’ butter account. Will the Krude Krowd see that severance and raise the stakes? Time will tell.

Above all, Colin, like Smith, Raja and Dick Sherman too, hold this truth to be self-evident: All consumers are created equal and endowed with an unalienable right to purchase without unreasonable restriction. On that, they all agree.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo credit: C.Kaepernick, wc.cca, Aukirk, 2.3.13; R.Goodell-soldier; 7.10.8, wc, Sgt.B.DelVecchio, Afghan; money-counting, J.Belmonte, 2004, wc; Money-drawbag, wc, 2006, Johnny-Automatic; Kaepernick, wc, 10.27.13, D.Hartwig; Goodell, wc, 8.30.12, SSG, T.Wade; R.Goodell-soldier; 7.10.8, wc, Sgt.B.DelVecchio, Afghan; Moneybags-stacks, wc, 1921, SRS, BauerLineInc; NFL-symbol, wikiproject
Posted: 9.9.16 @ 6:08pm, edit 9.10 @ 12:03am; Copyright © 2016

NFL16: Kaep Krusader Sitting Tall In Anthem Boycott? Better Guess Again

30 Aug

What lives in a man’s heart, who can really say?

Sometimes even he won’t know, not until Father Time brings it all into focus, that is, if that man (woman) finds enlightenment along the way. ‘Some grow older and wiser, some just older.’

That’s the question (♥) football fans around the nation are asking themselves following Colin Kaepernick’s decision last weekend to sit down during the national anthem in a 49ers’ pre-season, pre-game (v GB) show of defiance and determination over the on-going issue of racial inequality in the United States.

.........Kaep.9.9.12.GB.M.Morbeck.wc.cca.291kGotta admire one who advocates for justice. It’s the motive, method and then level of sincerity behind the overt act(s) that’ll peak the curiosity, cue debates, set media scrambling and strain the sensibility of more than a few commentaries.

I’ve never been a big fan of forced conformity (one reason I‘ll never be rich), though, it has its place (HOA covenants, compulsory education, military service, immunizations, speed limits, etc.). That’s where one’s judgment capability, even surrounded by advisers, will come into play.

Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner (1814) is not the ♫ toe-tapper ♫ the former Super QB (47) has come accustomed to hearing when filling his cranium with music from the ever-present head-muffins he wears (Beats-by-Dre). But its inspiration is honorable (War of 1812), its cadence easy and makes no religious test in the version of which I‘m familiar (See; God Bless America (Berlin)).

.........Key.wc.8.9.48.USPS.BE&P.378kMaybe, just maybe, Kaep has other motivations in mind as he keeps up his sit-down strike for as long as San Fran brass keep him in uniform, which was a somewhat tenuous proposition before his pessimistic statement on the nation’s racial state.

And one has to wonder exactly how tuned-in to any issue of social merit could be the Milwaukee native, Cubs draftee (‘09-R43) and Runnin’ Rebel alumnus (2010) (Wikipedia) if that issue does not emanate (w/wisdom) from lips of his favorite balladeers, given the head-gear routine and the world of NFL accoutrements in which he and every pro player is ensconced: Limited library.

As such, I have a few guesses as to what else might be driving Kaepernick’s display of social conscious and non-conformity, and why now:

1) Never Stop Caring…or Careering

With his NFL gig appearing to be in fade-mode and possessing of a business background (UNLV), pumping-up your political credentials can enhance post-NFL marketability. On the issue of racism, one on par with the national jobs outlook (always assailable), Colin can’t miss.

But that’s too risky a tack, no, Stevo? ‘Au contraire, Esteban,’ might say his agent. ‘The folks who’re characterizing Colin’s gesture as un-American were likely not in his corner before nor target-market to buy his pitch today.’ What Colin’s boycott will do is solidify a favored position with his peers that may include the SAS’y one (Disney), Black Lives Matter and many in the Democratic Presidential nominee‘s campaign who’re all too eager to remind America just how much work is yet to be done on the racial fronts, at least one of ’em, and energize a base in the process.

Key, of a different note (♫), you have gotta’ protect & promote the product ($), whatever your commodity may happen to be. Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith (NFLPA) and Rich Sherman know it all too well.

2) Doing the Sam-Sham

.........Sam.wc.8.23.14.ED.Drost.380kLike Mike Sam before him (2014) whose deficiency in NFL talent did not stop him from receiving ample opportunities (Rams, Alouettes, Dallas, Vet Combine) after his pre-Draft disclosure of having a homosexual orientation, a social notoriety seemingly worked as leverage, Kaep too is, intentional or not, putting his 49ers team in a rather precarious PR position where his release / trade could give, to those of a bully bent, cause to attack the club in claim of racial insensitivity when, in fact, such postulated roster move could be rationally-based entirely on talent, or the lack thereof.

Theoretically then, Kaep could, like Sam before, use his new civil rights notoriety, as leverage to, in his case, forestall any roster move.

Much speculation on my part. But two (2) points on which I am certain:

[1] While Kaep’s intentions may be just, if not entirely free of self-interest, choosing to diss the national anthem is a bad play. Mixed messages and half-measures (unilateral racism) make for poor social statement. Indifference to such can suggest impure motives; And [2], when juxtaposed against actions of others in sport (Ryan Lochte), Colin’s call deserves at the very least a modicum of patience and consideration from his critics.

.......Lochte.Phelps.Et.al.wc.Rio.8.9.16.F.Frazao.5mWhen you think of the string of wrongs that Lochte perpetrated, all working a taint upon the Olympics, Brazil, team USA and then boyish dismissiveness of taking responsibility once the bad was exposed (“I exaggerated that story”) and following favoritism afforded by many in the media and entertainment worlds (Dancing With the Stars), in a comparative sense, Colin can be fairly characterized as Walking Tall (‘73 / 04).

And “this (calculated confrontation) too shall pass.”

The San Francisco 49ers, if they don’t release / trade CK soon will seek, then demand his cooperation as preferential treatment and actions viewable as un-patriotic cannot stand, no pun intended. The NFL will then assert policy directives while NFLPA will back its member regardless of the merits or non-conformity (CBA) of his actions (See also; PEDs).

When tackling issues that sweep across the social plain, the bravest people are often the loneliest (See; Trumbo & Abbey). They count their profits in common coins of community breadth, substantive gesture and the few but sincere conversions that may come. In weight-room lingo, it’s called no pain, no gain. True progress exacts a steep price in self-sacrifice, all around.

If Colin’s cause is sincere, largely unselfish and informed (again, the ♥ thing (?)), I wish the man well. Lacking in any of those and the Sporting Gods should, in time, exact their revenge, i.e., ex-QB.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo Credit: C.Kaepernick, wc.cca, M.Morbeck, GB, 9.9.12; Kaepernick, 10.27.13, wc, D.Hartwig; F.S.Key, wc, 8.9.48, USPS, BE&P; M.Sam, wc, 8.24.14, ED.Drost; R.Lochte3-M.Phelps4, 4×200, wc, Rio, 8.9.16, F.Frazao, Agency.Brazil;
Posted: 8.30.16 @ 12:25pm, edit 9.1 @ 11:26am; Copyright © 2016