Del Rio and Kaepernick: Apples and Oranges

This writer penning back-to-back columns about the Washington Commanders?

Surprising. What's not surprising?

How much you can save on car insurance by switching to Geico!

But this second column about the Commanders is entirely appropriate — thanks, for better or worse, to the audacious mouth of Washington defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.

Del Rio, you see, created a roiling tempest on Wednesday, when he downplayed the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 as a "dust-up."

(And lest we forget, Del Rio is no stranger to dust-ups himself: during the 1987 NFL players' strike, when he was a linebacker for the Chiefs, he picketed Arrowhead Stadium looking to confront "scabs," or replacement players — and while doing so, he assaulted former Kansas City wide receiver Otis Taylor, a three-time Pro Bowler who had retired in 1975, mistaking him for such a player, and at that time was working in the team's scouting department. After at first pressing criminal charges against Del Rio, Taylor agreed instead to settle the matter in civil court, receiving an undisclosed amount for his troubles).

The usual rabble-rousers pounced, with Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP — or, as the late Rush Limbaugh liked to call them, the NAALCP (the National Association for the Advancement of Liberal Colored People) — called on Del Rio to either step down or be fired by Daniel Snyder, the team's scandal-tainted owner. Johnson's specific comments were as follows:

"It is time for Jack Del Rio to resign or be terminated," Johnson said in a statement. "His comments could not have been more offensive and ignorant. The January 6th insurrection — an attempted coup — was far from a 'dust-up'. Each day we learn more and more on just how close our democracy came to autocracy. Downplaying the insurrection by comparing it to nationwide protests, which were in response to a public lynching, is twisted. You can't coach a majority Black team while turning your back on the Black community. It's time for you to pack up and step off the field."

(And by the way, despite his Spanish surname, Del Rio does not "qualify" as "Hispanic" because he is a great-grandson of immigrants from Spain — not Latin America).

But does supporting Donald Trump automatically make a person a racist? We all know what Felix Unger said, in an iconic episode of The Odd Couple, about people who assume — they make an "ass" out of "u" and "me."

Many of the January 6 brigade chanted "U.S.A., U.S.A." — and some waved the South Vietnamese flag, which has become a catch-all symbol of resistance to brutalitarian, soul-killing communism.

Contrast that with Colin Kaepernick, who blasphemed our national anthem, sparking a backlash that caused the NFL's television ratings to tank when older whites stopped watching NFL games in droves, and also prompting hundreds of thousands of almost exclusively older, affluent whites to cancel their season tickets and their subscriptions to premium cable services (e.g., NFL Sunday Ticket). These reactions combined to cost the league billions of dollars — the lower Nielsen ratings leading to a dramatic decline in advertising revenue, and the canceled season tickets and cable subscriptions forcing the NFL to turn to a poorer, younger clientele to replace the well-heeled fans it had lost.

The bottom line is that exercising one's right to free speech, as Jack Del Rio did, and getting punished for it, is rather like receiving a check for a million dollars with the signature thoughtfully omitted.

Kaepernick's seditious antics, on the other hand, constitute shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater, which a 1919 Supreme Court decision — Schenck v. United States — found not to be protected speech under the First Amendment. What Kaepernick did also runs afoul of the "fighting words" doctrine promulgated in the high court's Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire decision in 1942.

So Kaepernick is fortunate indeed that he has never been criminally prosecuted for his impudent, arrogant acts — which provoked profound disgust in just about everyone (at least if they are white) who is old enough to remember the treasonous behavior of "Hanoi Jane" Fonda, and the spoiled, selfish, disloyal hippies who burned their draft cards and the American flag while defiantly waving Viet Cong flags and chanting "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh, NLF is gonna win."

Imagine if instead Kaepernick and his fellow anthem desecrators had done what the liberals who opposed the annexation of territories from Spain after the Spanish-American War in general, and the Philippines in particular, did: they designed a banner consisting of a respectfully-displayed American flag, accompanied by the slogan, "The Flag of a Republic Forever — of an Empire Never!" — except that in this case the slogan would have been, "The Flag of a Democracy Forever — of a Police State Never!" There would have been no backlash to speak of — and millions of whites would have joined African-Americans to demand the passage of meaningful reforms intended to cut down on the use of excessive force by police in communities of color.

On Friday, Snyder, like the woke hypocrite that he is (hey Danny boy, what about those women in your front office who are — definite pun intended — groping for answers?), fined Del Rio $100,000 for exercising his free speech rights under the First Amendment. Meanwhile, Kaepernick not only didn't get fined at all for his subversive, anti-American agitation, but he received millions of dollars in what was in effect blackmail money in exchange for dropping his "collusion" suit against the NFL (and not for nothing, but if Del Rio was the defensive coordinator of the Cowboys — who aren't known as "America's Team" for nothing — does anyone honestly believe that Jerry Jones would have fined him so much as one red cent?).

And now, Kaepernick is getting a second chance, courtesy of — who else? — the Raiders.

Leave a Comment

Featured Site