I owe my very identity to football. I am named after Jay Wilkinson, All-American football player and son of Bud Wilkinson, a revered Oklahoma University football coach. No, the Wilkinsons weren’t family friends, my parents never even met them. But where I come from football is everything, so my parents naming me after a football player is completely normal. What wasn’t normal was my rejection of football as I grew up in a world were football was GOD. But my rejection of it had nothing to do with the sport itself or even to do with patriotism. It was not because the President told me to ignore what everyone around me adored, because no president had never done that until recently. I just never understood as a kid why football was placed in such high esteem. While there are football fans everywhere, my adopted home of Los Angeles is nowhere near as football crazy as the place where I grew up. LA just got a pro team after many years and right now LA has footballmania, and still it doesn’t even compare to how Okies feel about the sport. Angelinos talk about football, but it’s one of many things, not the only thing.
I have become an NFL fan recently however, because of The Moron. When Colonel Covfefe urged owners to fire players for taking a knee to protest the clear pattern of police violence against minorities, I became a fan. When he urged fans (and his Vice-President) to walk out of stadiums if anyone took a knee, I became a bigger fan. But the cheering type of fan, not the booing type. The booing fans typify the redneck attitudes that made me reject football entirely, and I’d like nothing more than for them to leave their precious Home Depot Center Stadium and turn their backs on the sport forever. Better to have those fools out of the stadium for good. And I’d also be fine for all of the players to walk off the field when they are booed by the fans and turn their backs on the sport forever. What would those beer-drinking fans actually do if the players ground national football to a screeching halt? They’d cry in their Budweisers, and then they’d go to NASCAR, which is great, ‘cuz we’ll all know where the rest of the morons are, the ones not in the White House.
I understand that we all have different versions of patriotism, and what for me constitutes a respectful protest, to others represents disrespect to the flag. But whether we like it or not, those outraged fans should understand the first amendment as much as they claim to understand the second. And then they should give it the same level of respect. But that is a complex notion, which is why it is completely over the heads of many conservative football fans. It’s not black and white, as many white fans seem to think. Nor is the issue of police abuse across this country. You can be Pro-law enforcement AND at the same time be very concerned about this long systemic pattern of police brutality of minorities. You can kneel to protest that issue AND respectfully observe the national anthem simultaneously. Those are not opposing things. Unless you make them so. Unless the President makes them so. As he has done. As did his Vice President.
The divider-in-chief has unwittingly united me with football. I don’t care which team wins, they’re all the same to me. But I care that he’s using football (and other sports) as a wedge to divide us even further. So I now have no choice but to side with the only team who has honor in this game, and it is not Captain Cheetoh’s team. It is the NFL. So I’m gonna watch now. And kneel now. And I’m gonna paint my face and scream now. And eat cheese dip now, ‘til my arteries harden. And if I decide on my own to turn off the NFL, it’ll be because I decided for myself, not because I’m blindly following the instructions of The Moron.