NFL’s Late-Arriving Protesters Only Get Partial Credit


All of a sudden protesting racism by promising to kneel during the national anthem is a thing in the NFL. Even among white people. Roger Goodell offered up sincere-sounding words of support. Texans coach and GM Bill O’Brien says he’ll take a knee. Baker Mayfield’s affirmative response to the will-you-kneel question was so quick-draw it bordered on rude. JJ Watt laid down some law for a presumptuous (and presumptively racist) fan.. By the season kickoff expect the number to be significant.

First, let’s be clear: they’re doing the right thing.

But let’s also be clear about this: you folks were not kneeling last season. When there was actual risk and sacrifice involved you were standing tall with your hands over your heart, making the president proud. You weren’t on your knees in 2016 and you haven’t been down there in the intervening years as Colin Kaepernick was transparently blackballed by league owners.

You don’t get full credit for jumping on a bandwagon you never helped push just as it’s becoming cool to do so.

Your support now is appreciated, I’m sure. Better four years late than never, perhaps, but you’re helping turn a small minority into an irresistible majority. And that’s critical. So thank you.

Still, surfing the backside of a tipping point isn’t bravery. It requires about as much courage as going to The Gap.

Glad you’re here. Just be sure you understand what you are. Because we all do.

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