ARLINGTON, Texas – There were but three points of suspense for the Cowboys’ game on Sunday against the worst team in the NFL:
A.) Would the Cowboys cover the 21.5-point spread against the Miami Dolphins?
B.) Would newly acquired Dolphins defensive end Taco Charlton do a thing against his old team?
C). Would Cowboys defensive end Robert Quinn raise his right fist during the national anthem?
Explore where you live. Yes; 31-6. And no.
Quinn, who made his 2019 debut with the team on Sunday against his former team, is one of the NFL players who wore the protest movement on his body. He is not necessarily defeated but was successfully quelled.
He made a business decision, and I can’t blame him.
Save for a few players, most notably Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, the protest movement started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is all but dead. It was successfully purchased by the NFL.
What was it all for? Was it worth it?
It’s worth it if you measure progress in centimeters or inches. Which is how these sorts of things are measured.
“Yeah, it was worth it,” Quinn said after the game. “I don’t know if you know the message but for people who look like me, yes it was worth it. For the simple fact that the message was not told right that’s not my fault. But was it worth it? Yeah.”
Earlier this week, Quinn bemoaned aloud in the Cowboys’ locker room that the media twisted the point of it all to fit their own narratives.
He’s not entirely wrong.
But how does Quinn, or anyone who stepped out and took a knee, quantify success or progress?
“There is that saying, ‘You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink it,’” Quinn said. “People were telling you the facts. You see the facts. You can either admit to them and admit to them and realize what it is, or you can sit there and play the fool. Some people want to play fools. Some people want to see what it is.
“Whatever your stance is on it, that’s how you see it.”
People typically prefer to play a fool, because it’s just so much easier.
Somehow, this all became about patriotism and your love of God and country. Historians and academics will write multiple classes based just on this period in American media, and its marriage to pop culture and sport.
The original point of Kaepernick’s knee was to raise awareness about what he felt was the unfair treatment of minorities by police officers. That was back in 2016.
For well over a year the movement took over the NFL, scared the bleep out of its TV partners and advertisers, and alienated fans to turn off the games. The movement bled into other sports, down to the high school level.
Just as the noise receded, our leader, President Trump, made a few comments and the subject grew into a monster that neither the NFL, nor Jerry Jones, could kill.
Since then, Kaepernick was both blackballed, and bought out, by the NFL. He reached a settlement with the NFL back in March for an undisclosed amount of money.
For a man who has become a present day symbol of the civil rights movement, it should also be known that he had some sellout in him, too.
Rather than expose the NFL’s dark ways in court, he took their money instead.
He also parlayed his ex-communication by the NFL into a lucrative deal with Nike as the corporate sponsored outcast. Not sure how he managed to navigate this bridge of hypocrisy but no one noticed that.
Rapper and Beyonce’s husband, Jay-Z created a “partnership” with the NFL and a smiling Commissioner Roger Goodell in August.
The “initiative” is a “collaboration between the NFL and the NFL Players Coalition” to advance social and racial justice. It focuses on three causes, “Education and economic advancement; police and community relations; and criminal justice reform.”
As a closet optimist, this sounds great.
As a realist to big businesses that send out press releases, this sounds like a group of rich white guys getting in bed with a rich African-American guy to produce a three-minute and 30-second music video to be played in the first quarter of the Super Bowl.
So … did the protest work? Are we any more aware of this issue today in September of 2019 than we were when Kaepernick started this in the fall of 2016?
It worked in the sense that for a brief period the public had no choice but to confront uncomfortable truths and realities about the parts of our house that we don’t want to acknowledge.
Try as we may, we are a nation of discrimination, of profilers, of racists. Of fools.