Late Night Sportsball Open Thread: Kaepernick Is Still Pissing Off All the Reicht Right People

The Guardian trolls the NFL:

Colin Kaepernick’s lawyer says his client still wants to play in the NFL, and believes he would fit in well at the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

On Friday, Kaepernick and his former teammate Eric Reid settled a complaint of collusion against the NFL. Reid and Kaepernick claimed the league’s owners blackballed them because they had protested against social injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. The terms of the agreement are confidential.

Kaepernick has not played in the league since he left the San Francisco 49ers at the end of the 2016 season. In an interview with CNN on Saturday his lawyer, Mark Geragos, said the 31-year-old “absolutely wants to play” and said Kaepernick continues to stay in shape and is game fit.

Geragos said the Carolina Panthers would be a “natural place” for Kaepernick. They signed Reid last season, and their starting quarterback, Cam Newton, will have shoulder surgery this offseason. There was no significant backlash from Panthers fans when they signed Reid, who was a teammate of Kaepernick at the 49ers.

“I think you’re going to see … within the next two weeks that somebody is going to step up and do the right thing, and you want me to predict who?” Geragos said. “Besides the Panthers, it would not surprise me if [Patriots owner] Bob Kraft makes a move.”…

Not that I understand (American) football, either, but I seriously doubt Kaepernick will ever play on an NFL team again (assuming he actually wanted to do so, what with the CTE and the bodily trauma and all). NFL owners seem to have the power to punish lèse-majesté to a degree that Donald Trump can only covet, and Kaepernick’s offended their conception of ‘their’ players as dumb serfs to be treated the way they’d treat their prizewinning racehorses and pedigreed dogs, except it seems the ASPCA has more legal scope than the NFL Players Union.

But I think Jemele Hill’s take in the Atlantic is excellent — “Kaepernick Won. The NFL Lost”:

The terms of the settlement, announced on Friday, were not disclosed. But it doesn’t matter how much money Kaepernick ultimately receives from the NFL; what matters is that he bested a league that has a long history of pummeling its opposition in court, especially players.

In a way, the NFL had no other choice. Last August, arbitrator Stephen Burbank rejected the NFL’s request to have the case dismissed. That meant he believed Kaepernick’s team had compiled enough receipts to present their case. With another hearing reportedly scheduled for next month, did the NFL really want to let Kaepernick’s legal team expose those receipts in court?…

That Kaepernick was the one to make the NFL eat crow is a special kind of karma. This is just punishment because the league incompetently handled the player protests, starting with Kaepernick’s, from the beginning. Had the league not been so heavy-handed in policing the protests, this issue likely would have abated sooner. Had the league ignored Trump instead of cowering to his bullying, appeasing Trump wouldn’t have become a priority. Had one league owner had the guts to sign Kaepernick, this collusion case would have been a nonstarter…

Though this legal battle with Kaepernick has been resolved, he isn’t going away either. The league will forever have to live with the fact that it was complicit in destroying someone’s career simply because he wished to bring attention to the injustices suffered by his people. If owners and Roger Goodell believe that they no longer will have to face questions about why Kaepernick isn’t in the league, they’re wrong. No matter what an arbitrator rules, how the NFL treated Kaepernick will always be the mistake they can never amend.

It’s the Racial Panic, Stupid

In the morning thread, valued commenter Morzer pointed out an interesting piece over at Vox entitled “A pollster on the racial panic Obama’s presidency triggered — and what Democrats must do now.” I recommend reading the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt, with the Vox interviewer (Desmond-Harris) citing the pollster’s (Belcher) tweet:

Jenée Desmond-Harris: You recently tweeted that “economic power is often perceived through group lenses.” What was that a response to, and how does it tie into the message of the book?

Cornell Belcher: That was a tweet really to the progressive establishment — which means too often white Northeastern liberals — the idea that if we just had a better economic message, these people would all of a sudden go, “Oh, my god, what was I thinking, I should be voting Democrat!” That if we just find the right words to connect with downscale whites, they’ll say, “Oh, you know what, I am voting against my economic interests.”

It’s a disconnect that’s frustrating to me. They’re not voting against their economic interests; they are voting for their higher interests — there’s an idea that your group positioning doesn’t matter economically. The idea that you can disconnect white people from their group position and make pocketbook arguments to them void of the history of their group is folly.

That is not to say don’t target or don’t go after them. That’s absolutely not what I’m saying. What I am saying is just that the answer isn’t simply a pocketbook argument — we do have to inoculate against the increased tribalism and racialism in order to have that conversation. As long as there is a group sense of decline, we do have to calculate for that in our conversation and try to inoculate that as opposed to simply coming up with another argument about why raising the minimum wage is beneficial to you.

The earlier post about the Obamacare enrollees who voted for Trump even though some depend on Obamacare for their very lives lends credence to Belcher’s theory, IMO. Either those voters are irretrievably stupid, or some other, more important factor is driving their votes — like maybe they’re engaged in white identity politics, consciously or not. Or both, in some cases.

Anyhoo, Belcher identifies President Obama’s election as the event that triggered racial panic, eventually prompting many white voters to vote as a white identity group this year. I haven’t read Belcher’s book, but that rings true from my experience living among small town middle-class and downscale white folks.

I’ll take it a step further and observe that while Obama’s election undoubtedly prompted racial panic, that was only the opening salvo, and subsequent events have spread the fear. PBO is incredibly skilled at not offending white people, or he’d never have been elected in the first place. He’s the most squeaky-clean, scandal-free, family-oriented president we’ve had in generations — he had to be.

Of course, behaving as a paragon wasn’t enough: Millions of people completely lost their shit about Obama right off the bat, and the Republicans capitalized on that fear by relentlessly otherizing PBO, openly disrespecting him and abandoning all pretense of good governance to oppose him 100%.

Still, because of his singular character, strengths as a leader and political skills, there were enough white Americans who didn’t succumb to racial panic to enable Obama’s reelection. So how was it possible that a nation that elected a black man president twice could turn around and elect a racist demagogue?

My theory is that the emergence of Black Lives Matter and related resistance to structural racism in the criminal justice system tipped more white folks into racial panic mode, contributing to Trump’s rise. I don’t believe it was just that; there were many other factors.* But it was enough to tip the scale in a tight race. I’ve seen the visceral hatred of BLM and Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem, etc., even among white folks I would not categorize as hardcore racists.

Anyhoo, Belcher contends that the only way to overcome this stalemate where the GOP is increasingly the white identity party is to confront our racist past and come to understand each other. Geez, I hope he’s wrong, because I don’t see us ever doing that.

But I think Belcher’s right about the economics argument. I’m all for making economic appeals to the working class, as long as we don’t downplay our commitment to equality and focus on an extra-special subset thereof. But there’s a shit-ton of evidence — not just from this election — that such appeals will fall on deaf ears.

*Including, but not limited to, Putin / Comey / WikiLeaks, the decades-long wingnut jihad against the Clintons, a lazy, corrupt, fragmented media, etc.

The Keith Lamont Scott Execution Video

I still, for the life of me, can not figure out why they did this. Why did they have to have him out of the damned truck. he wasn’t who they were looking for, he was in his truck minding his own business, and they dragged him out and shout him. He didn’t do anything threatening. His hands were at his sides. North Carolina is an open carry state. The cops were undercover. He probably thought he was being jacked or something.

There was literally no reason for them to do this. They could have easily backed up, secured the area, calmed down, assessed the situation, and de-escalated. There is no reason for this. None.

If anyone in the military behaved like this anywhere in the world, they would be court-martialed, dishonorably discharged, and probably sent to Leavenworth. There would be a thorough review of training policies, and tens of thousands of man hours would go into making sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

Now the cops are making a big deal about the blunt they found. This is the picture they released:


I didn’t know whether to laugh and roll my eyes or just cry when I saw that. I bet if you fucking scroll back the douchebag will be wearing a hazmat suit. It’s not even a half gram of weed. I haven’t smoked pot in, well, a while, and that’s not even enough to get a person high. Maybe a mild buzz and a craving for a milkshake. They wouldn’t even prosecute this- a half ounce (that’s 14 grams for you squares) gets you a $200 fine. It’s a class 3 misdemeanor, which, btw, just to remind you, is not punishable with the death penalty. They’d most likely just make you shred it in front of them if they caught you with it.

I mean, we’ve all heard the phrase “killer weed,” but they don’t mean it literally. But now, because a bunch of hotheads with gun and a badge killed a man for no reason, this pitiful joint (it’s a shitty roll, too, if that matters) is now causus belli for a public execution. And they didn’t even know he had it. And they wouldn’t have if they hadn’t fucked up and rolled up like fucking commandos on a dude at a bus stop waiting for his kid to come home from school.

The Execution of Keith Lamont Scott

Undercover cops show up to serve a warrant on someone else, encounter a man who we now know had a TBI recently, don’t do one damned thing to de-escalate the situation, and then shoot him dead for no reason in front of his family. And shit is about to blow up if this becomes widely seen:

This stinks. We have a serious policing problem in this country.


If you missed the sermon by the Reverend William Barber, please watch this theologically conservative, liberal, evangelical, biblicist speak about right and wrong, and the heart of our democracy. You owe it to yourself.


ETA: I found the full speech by Mr Khizr Khan, in which he is accompanied by his lovely wife. Also this.

Special mention of the gentleman delegate with the fab red turban.