Lockhart's solution to NFL's anthem issue worse than Brees' tone-deaf statements

Ron Borges

Drew Brees’ tone deaf statement explaining why he still opposes NFL players taking a knee to express the need for social justice and significant change in American policing in minority communities has raised the temperature of proponents of the movement Colin Kaepernick started by taking a knee during the national anthem. But as bad as Brees’ comments were, those of former NFL and White House spokesman Joe Lockhart were far more revealing of the underlying reason why nothing has changed since Kaepernick lost his livelihood four years ago for the simple act of weary protest in a country literally built by protest.

In a column Lockhart penned for CNN.com, he claimed Kaepernick was blackballed not because the NFL wanted to punish him but because “signing Kaepernick, (owners) thought, was bad for business.’’ He claimed the league office repeatedly urged owners to sign him, but “an executive from one team that considered signing Kaepernick told me the team projected losing 20 percent of their season ticket holders if they did.”

The reasoning behind blackballing Kaepernick is bad but hardly a news bulletin. Why else did you think the former Super Bowl quarterback of the 49ers couldn’t find a job while proven NFL failures at quarterback could? His Oscar Gamble afro?

The real problem, though, is Lockhart’s suggestion that the Minnesota Vikings now run out and sign Kaepernick to back up Kirk Cousins. The very thought that this would be some form of ‘doing the right thing,’ even if belatedly, is the kind of Pontius Pilate-like hand-washing reaction to riots in the street that allowed the problems of inequality in American justice to fester until a man once again had the life choked out of him in the custody of a Minneapolis policeman for allegedly trying to pass a phony $20 bill.

Lockhart now claims he felt the NFL was doing the “righteous’’ thing by throwing millions of dollars at the problem of social justice in America while choking the work life out of Kaepernick but now sees he was wrong. 


It took a televised alleged murder and a week of rioting to understand that? That seems the very definition of systemic racism because you don’t even realize the effect of what you’re doing.

What Brees had to say about being unwilling to “disrespect the flag’’ by kneeling in protest because his grandfathers both fought to preserve what it stands for during World War II completely missed the point of Kaepernick’s act. It doesn’t make him a racist by any stretch. It just makes him blind to what’s really going on here.

But Lockhart’s position cuts to the real problem itself.

Window dressing and a phony job offer are not going to change the fact that many NFL owners, like Dallas’ Jerry Jones, threatened their players with being fired if they continued to exercise one of the elemental rights the flag represents: The right to peacefully voice your displeasure with how things have been going for the past, say, 400 years and counting. A second phony act doesn’t negate the first.

Worse, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement of the league’s opposition to such protests during the anthem and threatened disciplinary action if they continued. No personnel was to take a knee during the anthem going forward. And so most did not. But the real problem didn’t go away. It festered until its societal virus rose up again in Minneapolis and poisoned our society and, to a lesser degree, the NFL.

Basically, the majority of league management adopted a point of view that taking a knee to protest a wrong made again obvious by the recent death of George Floyd was a workplace issue, not a civil-rights issue. For all intents and purposes, it was a business problem to them, not a social one, and it had to be quelled. But such things are not quelled so easily by forcing angry and frustrated people of color to stand or lose their jobs.

Four years after Colin Kaepernick first took a knee in silent protest, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin took one, too, and America exploded. He took a knee and pinned it to the throat of George Floyd for eight minutes and 46 seconds, literally choking the life out of him as phone cameras captured it on video. As he did, three other officers stood by and watched.

On Wednesday those three were finally arrested as accessories to murder. Those arrests came far too late and will not be easy to prosecute despite video evidence of Chauvin’s vile act of choking a man to death while casually keeping one hand in his pocket as if he was watering the lawn.

Chauvin’s face is the face of evil but so, too, is the idea that the NFL’s complicity in all this can be expunged by the team that represents Minnesota hiring a quarterback it never wanted simply because his silent protest made some folks uncomfortable. Chauvin’s heinous act was a symptom of a far deeper systemic problem in American society. Lockhart’s suggestion that the NFL blackballed Kaepernick because his action was bad for business and should now hire him to change that perception gets more to the root problem.

As for Brees, his statement opposing those who take a knee because he perceives it as disrespectful to the flag misses the entire point. Kaepernick’s message was co-opted by President Trump almost immediately after it began. Trump twisted taking a knee into a show of disrespect for the military and the country when it was neither. 

Taking a knee didn’t have a damn thing to do with what the flag symbolizes. In fact, it WAS what the flag symbolizes. Or at least what it should symbolize. It’s the very reason Brees’ grandfathers fought. They weren’t fighting to defend a piece of cloth. They were fighting to defend an ideal.

That Brees remains blind to that speaks to a lack of understanding on his part. Many others still feel the same way. It is a false equivalent that Brees is now being vilified for ... and understandably will have to deal with among his peers of color. Good luck with that. Brees seems to be a good man who made an ill-informed statement. If that’s all it takes to be branded a racist then we better all get ready to face the same change.

The real culprit here is the suggestion by Joe Lockhart that the league justified blackballing Colin Kaepernick because of a fear he was bad for business and now should sign him because it would be good for business. Could there be a more cynical approach to what we’ve seen and heard from the day Colin Kaepernick first took a knee in silent protest until Officer Derek Chauvin took one across the neck of poor George Floyd?

This is no time for false equivalencies like Brees was making, but, more importantly, no time for empty gestures designed to save face. It is time to take a knee … and then stand for something more than just the anthem.

Comments (4)
No. 1-1

8 mins
The truly tone deaf are those attacking Brees simply for saying he opposes disrespecting the flag, which is extremely insulting not only to veterans but to everyone who supports what America stand for. America wasn't founded by "protest" btw, but by individuals with backbones standing and fighting for grounded, well thought out principles. What's happening now has more in common with the French Revolution, violent mobs looting and rampaging out of emotion. That revolution cannibalized itself in a blood bath and ended in dictatorship.

It's happening again. Last time you were this convinced you were right the NFL lost 20% of its viewing audience in 2 years and finally backed down. Americans might not be as forgiving this time, especially after a week plus of violent riots that have seen at least a dozen or so dead and that I bet most people aren't as happy with as a cheering, delusional echo chamber bubble of liberal media, spoiled brat celebrities like Lebron James (who, like the NBA in general, showed how little they care about human rights when they dutifully did communist China's bidding and threw Hong Kong protesters under the bus), fringe twitter mobs who don't remotely represent the people, and cringe worthy Democrat politicians hounding cameras and believing their own BS.

Contrary to your false claim, Kaepernick DID say he didn't want to honor the nation. He's repeatedly spewed anti-American rhetoric, raised money for convicted Black Panther cop killers, praised brutal communist dictators like Castro (infamously right before the Miami game; Cuban-descended LB Kiko Alonso had something extra for Kaepernick's ignorant butt that game), and mocked police with "pig" socks. Ungrateful to the white parents who adopted him, he was motivated by a mix of resentment over being benched and his crazy anti-American girlfriend who pulled into him into that fringe garbage.

But you comparing the disgraceful Kaepernick to Jesus really takes the cake. That level of cluelessness is almost impressive. Talk about tone deaf.

Everyone opposed what the cop did to Floyd, though I haven't yet seen any evidence that it's racial (not that an isolated bigoted cop would prove police have a "systemic" problem, or are remotely the problem overall compared to the real problem of crime), and he was fired and arrested in maybe record time. The justice system was working.

MEANWHILE A WHITE MAN, TONY TIMPA, WAS KILLED IN ALMOST EXACTLY THE SAME WAY BY POLICE A FEW YEARS AGO. You've probably never heard of him because it didn't make the national news. There were no protests. No riots. Because he was white. THAT'S the double standard.

Like Floyd's death, it was careless, abusive police behavior but they were probably both accidents. Timpa's death was under even worse circumstances if anything, and underscores that just because a cop does something wrong doesn't necessarily means it's racially motivated. White people get mistreated too. Studies have even shown white people are more likely to be killed by cops when you control for interactions.

The media ignores cases like Timpa's, or for that matter the facts that blacks are way more likely to murder cops than vice versa, way more likely to murder whites than vice versa (so who's "hunting" whom?), and even more likely to murder other blacks, because those hard facts don't advance their broader, BS political narratives.

BLM is an inherently bigoted movement founded on lies (e.g. "Hands up don't shoot", debunked by witness and forensic evidence) and running purely on emotions, namely hatred and racial hostility cynically cultivated by political elements.

Not facts. Not truth.

Even if the underlying cause was legitimate, which it's not, there are lots of extremely important issues out there (abolishing abortion anyone?) whose deeply devoted activists don't promote by dishonoring the flag. Have you spent 5 seconds wondering why that is?

What you miss, and why Brees is absolutely right, is that the flag represents those values you superficially claim to support, including treating people equally regardless of race. It's in the Declaration of Independence. Those struggling to free the slaves didn't burn the flag as BLM rioters have been. They planted it. Civil rights marchers through MLK respected the flag. They pointed to it to call on people to live up to its values when that wasn't always happening.

The flag, and core American values, are the solution, not the problem. Attacking it misses the point, shows a deep ignorance of basic civics let alone history, and aligns you with Marxists and other enemies of freedom and human rights, the true face of evil. Just look at the body count wherever BLM goes. Jerry Jones made his great, courageous stand, while the rest of the NFL cowered, in part because Dallas had just seen BLM supporter Micah Johnson murder several cops in Dallas who were there PROTECTING BLM rally goers. He said he wanted to kill white people and cops because he was angry about the news coverage he had seen.

The true face of evil, cultivated by dishonest media narrative.

Drew Brees speaks for most Americans, who have no voice in the media. I literally pray to God he doesn't fold under pressure and backpedal or issue one of those Orwellian apologies like Grant Napear did after he was recently fired from both the Sacramento Kings announcer job he had held since the 1980s and his radio show simply for answering a question (he didn't even raise the issue) by saying "All lives matter - every single one." ("free speech"?) I don't think you or BLM for that matter speak for most black players, but if Brees really is mistreated because of his simple, unassailable patriotic statement, then those critics are the ones with the "systemic problem".

Never bend the knee. Stand for what's right.

3 Replies


I guess "never" meant one day. Brees bending the knee to the mob and releasing a statement that sounds like what Chinese political prisoners during Mao's Cultural Revolution would read after they had been coerced into "confessing" following their "reeducation" is certainly a betrayal of every patriotic American, but also helpfully shows that this isn't about principles or valuing lives.

It's a power play.

brian wolf
brian wolf

Then there is Jake Fromm ...

He APOLOGIZES for Jokes/Sarcasm made in private, confidential TEXT messages, not social media because his so called "friends" want to snitch on him like chinese citizens ...

Free Speech only works in this country when talking to yourself ...


Private conversations. Thought crimes.

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