I’m so proud of the NFL today!

Y’all, I am just THRILLED at the response from NFL players, team owners, and coaches. I teared up reading this post from Mother Jones about how many players/owners/coaches took a knee, stood with arms linked, or just straight up decided not to take the field for the national anthem. I’d also like to give a shout out to all the performers who took a knee this weekend.

This issue has been going on for over a year now, since Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee during the anthem. For doing that it seems like his career is completely derailed, which is incredible bullshit. But that isn’t the point I’m trying to make. My point is that in a year, people have not figured out that this isn’t about the anthem or the flag.

People (who don’t appear to have served in any branch of the military) go off about how it’s disrespectful to servicepoeple and veterans if someone kneels during the anthem. These people have somehow woven together the military, the flag, and the anthem.

  1. The flag represents the country. Period. Yes, the military fights for the country, but they’re fighting to protect our freedoms. These freedoms include – wait for it – the right to free speech. An act can be speech. An act like, kneeling.
  2. The national anthem is racist as hell. It’s been chopped by a stanza because the missing stanza talks about slaves and basically the worthlessness of their lives. Pretty sure we should be looking for a new national anthem. Perhaps, America, the Beautiful?
  3. They aren’t letting veterans speak for themselves. As I saw posted on Facebook earlier today, veterans are not a monolith (rather like people of one race aren’t – like black people or Muslims). They don’t all think or feel the same way about issues. So I am sure there are veterans who hate that anyone takes a knee during the game but there are many others who are pleased to see it because it means that their service is validated. People are exercising the rights they fought to protect.
  4. If they want to talk about dishonoring the flag, they should worry more about bikinis that rest on someone’s cooter and not someone who isn’t actually touching the flag when they kneel. (We do all kinds of things that dishonor the flag (per the Flag Code) all the time. Every day. Almost every change we get.)

I don’t know if this focus on the military is just a way to try to shit away from the fact that people (probably almost all white) still don’t get why black people are upset at the way things are going in the US. That we are still a damn racist society and that it’s systemic.

I saw someone who said he’s pissed because people are looking at the police officers and saying/thinking they are ALL racist. While that is demonstrably untrue for the majority, its’ also incredibly fucking stupid. He was trying to point out that there are just a few bad apples. The problem he’s ignoring is that a few bad apples placed in positions of authority sour the entire bunch. THAT is the problem. THAT is what’s being ignored. THAT is what we have to solve. Until people can get on board with that, we’re going to continue to wallow in shit.

And Trump. That guy. He’s proven, conclusively, his leanings toward white supremacists. He says that there are “nice people” on both sides (talking about the alt-right Nazis and the “alt-left”) but that people who kneels are “sons of bitches.” What else do we need to just admit that he’s got some really fucked up ideals and that he shouldn’t be POTUS? Even his friends are turning on him now – people who donated millions to his campaign, opened rallies for him – are saying that he’s wrong.

Well, it’s about damn time.

A Symbol of Bravery: Caitlyn Jenner (Also, check your privilege)

There’s been a lot of article writing, commenting, etc. on Caitlyn Jenner’s debut. She’s on the cover of Vanity Fair. She will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPYS.

I’ve seen a lot of comments on the web that Noah Galloway should have been chosen over Caitlyn for the Arthur Ashe Courage Award instead of her (despite lacking proof that Galloway was a contender). I’ve seen posts about people who believe that if we’re looking for heroes, we should be looking toward those who fight for the US military.

I have some problems with these comments. First, it would seem that these people truly do not understand what it takes for someone to do what Caitlyn Jenner has done. Accepting who we are is hard for anyone to do. We all have some battle with ourselves and when we finally get to a point that we say, “This is who I am. I accept ME. I love ME” we all deserve recognition. Recognizing and accepting that you aren’t the gender that matches your sex is a whole other level of acceptance that I cannot comprehend. How confusing it must be trying to work that out. Then trying to explain it to the people you love? Holy. Shit. “Yes, you’ve known me as a woman, but who I am is really a man.” Can anyone even really imagine saying that just? Go ahead. Say it. Then, think about what it would be like to tell people you love. Regardless of whether you think celebrities do it to themselves, they are in a difficult position. They don’t have the luxury of a private life like the vast majority of us. Caitlyn Jenner had to accept who she is, tell her family, and then tell the world.

People went apeshit over Michael Sam’s entry into the NFL draft and subsequent drafting. He’s gone on to say that there are other gay players in the NFL (duh), but none of them are coming out. And we all now why – people can’t accept it. Their teammates won’t accept them. They will be shunned in the locker room. And then they may end up playing in the Canadian Football League with Michael Sam. Big, strong football players can’t openly admit who they really are, but somehow Caitlyn Jenner telling us she’s a woman is not courageous?

Second, Caitlyn Jenner IS a hero, probably to millions of people. Because every transgender person has someone else (besides the awesome Laverne Cox) to look at and say, “They’re okay with who they are. I can be okay with who I am. Yes, it’s hard, but if they can do it, so can I.” We should be celebrating Caitly.

Third, the Arthur Ashe Courage Award is individuals whose contributions transcend sports. Arthur Ashe was the first prominent black tennis player. That shit was HARD. And it wasn’t just about that. The award came about because of what Ashe did with his life outside of sports, including working to end apartheid in South Africa, and his battle with AIDS. It seems to me that when you consider what the award is really about, Caitlyn Jenner is absolutely deserving of the award.

We should all spend more time celebrating people, instead of wasting our time ragging on people for their achievements. We should be thanking Caitlyn Jenner for challenging us as people to accept and appreciate the diversity in this world.