Friday, March 10, 2017

Stirrings of freedom: somehow it's worse when a girl does it?

Last fall a sprinkling of professional athletes, following the example of Colin Kaepernick, started kneeling during the national anthem in protest of injustices visited on Black people. It was never a huge number, but something novel was happening.

The politics/sports nerds at FiveThirtyEight recently produced a podcast on these protests and professional athlete activism in general. One insight: where once coaches and teams could squelch such uppity behavior by threatening to cut short a performer's career, the top players in pro sports nowadays make so much money and are so valuable to teams, they can get away with far more political expression. And when a few stars step out, there is more room for others.

I hadn't realized that any women had taken up the kneeling protest, but here's Megan Rapinoe from the U.S. National Women's Soccer Team.

The U.S. Soccer Federation is fighting back. Here's Ken Reed from League of Fans on that decision.

U.S. Soccer Takes on Role of Third-World Dictator
In the wake of women’s national team member Megan Rapinoe’s decision to kneel during the national anthem last September in protest of injustices she was seeing in the United States, the U.S. Soccer Federation has issued a new rule REQUIRING all players to “stand respectfully” during the Star Spangled Banner.

If you took the “U.S.” part out, and inserted “Syria” or “North Korea” in front of “Soccer Federation” you would understandably think the new rule had been passed down from dictators Bashar al-Assad and Kim Jong-un.

What happened to the First Amendment, the thing that more than anything else separates us from Syria and North Korea? ...

You can read the rest at the link.

Rapinoe has said she'll stand this year, as has Kaepernick (if he catches on somewhere). But these aren't children; athletes are adults and they have growing support for expressing political opinions. FiveThirtyEight's Harry Enten reported that a majority of U.S. residents express support for athletes' right to make public political statements -- though a majority also don't approve of their doing it in the context of the anthem. Most likely, there will be more ...

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