Sep
26

Protesting in sports and hockey’s missed opportunity

September 26, 2017, by

This past weekend we all bore witness to a monumental collision between politics and sports.  You all know the backstory.  I don’t need to rehash that here.  The fascinating and horrifying thing to behold during all of this was the uncomfortable punditry watching every move of the sports entertainment industry.  Watching solidarity and derision, anger and hubris collide in this fashion was something I never expected to see as a sports fan.

As an attorney, watching people twist and contort the first amendment to suit their personal political beliefs was difficult, as well.  The anger and confusion about what the protests actually represent caused additional upheaval.  Back in 2014, Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers took the stance that he was no longer going to stand for the national anthem prior to NFL games as a show of support for the people of color in this country who are victims of oppression, police brutality and injustice. It was out of this concept that #TakeAKnee was born. That was three years ago.

Fast forward to 2017, the Trump Administration has been a lighting rod for racial tensions and it came to a head (at least in the sports context) when Trump referred to players who would not stand for the anthem as “sons of bitches”, who should be fired for their lack of compliance.  This led to league wide protests on Sunday; teams either kneeling or remaining in the tunnel or locker room during the national anthem, with teams locking arms in solidarity and other means of protest.

Since this story became national news, the arguments surrounding it have been distorted in multiple directions.  The first was that this was a protest in unified opposition to Trump and his administration.  Since this movement began during the Obama administration, it is impossible to have been created for this purpose.  It was always and has always been about systemic racism and police brutality.  On the other side of the coin, the argument became about disrespecting the military.

The right and the choice to protest your government and voice your feelings of dissent against its actions are a profoundly American concept.  Of course, you can connect the preservation of those rights to the brave men and women who fight to defend this country.  That is more or less where any application in this context ends.  To say that kneeling during the national anthem is per se disrespect to our military service members ignores several things.  First, it assumes that the military itself and those who serve have an unwavering and unified view of the objectives of, and current state of this country.  Soldiers are people.  They have their own views and opinions, come from different backgrounds and family situations.  They have their own biases and political stances.

On Sunday, many veterans have come out in their support of the right of these athletes to choose to recognize the growing problems within America’s societal structure.  To blankly state that the decision to exercise those rights are disrespectful to the military, turns your back on these brave men and women who believe the ability to protest is exactly what they fought to defend.

Second, you ignore the fact that the ability to question the conduct of your government is exactly the principle on which America was founded.  Protesting and standing up to injustice is necessary for change.  For the government to take away or condemn the rights for people to make their voices heard is tantamount to dictatorship.  Whether you agree with what the voices are saying is irrelevant.  It is the right to say them that is important.

The involvement of sports is a tricky one in these situations.  People “follow” or “subscribe” or watch sports personalities more or less in a vacuum.  They want coverage of their team or the ability to know the star player on that team a little more intimately, etc.  However, when politics intersects with sports and a social media account makes their personal beliefs known, it becomes a “stick to sports!” shouting match.  The problem with that is just because you are a sports writer/blogger/player/agent, etc., doesn’t mean that you are required to only speak to that topic.  You are human being with every right to participate in the political activities of your government as the person telling you to “stick to sports”.  The only thing people get more riled up about than sports is politics, and unfortunately in this country, we take an “us or them” approach to both.  In sports, that’s fine.  It’s generally harmless.  In politics, however, it is a questionable intellectual approach and a dangerous practical one.

I guess my point to this backstory is twofold.  The first, and quite frankly, more important is to point out the massive distraction that this whole thing has turned into.  The movement itself is important to highlight the very issues that Kaepernick cites.  However, the twisting, turning Trump rhetoric has served to disguise massively important issues.  How about the fact that there are millions of people in Puerto Rico without water, power or access to medical care in the wake of hurricane Maria?  Definitely seems less important than debating the morality of kneeling during an anthem.

The second point, since this is a hockey blog, after all, is to take a look at hockey culture through this lens.  In probably the most ill-advisedly timed press release in the history of sports, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins announced their decision to accept the President’s invitation to the White House to honor their victory.  Penguins’ captain and face of the NHL, Sidney Crosby, supports the team’s decision to accept the invitation.  He stated that he is “pretty aware of what’s going on” and believes that a teammate could choose not to go if they felt strongly about it.  That is some fearless, unwavering morality, there.

There are several problems here.  The first one is simply optics.  In an environment of rising racial tensions, athletes of all colors have united to bring awareness to this movement.  That hockey, a sport comprised almost entirely of affluent white people, takes a qualified, half-stance on the issue, especially in light of the NHL’s recently decreed “Declaration of Principles”, which purports to believe that “hockey is for everyone” comes across as woefully insincere.

The bigger problem, is that the NHL missed an opportunity not only to try to break from the perception of being exclusionary to people of lesser economic means and people of color, but more importantly, to the do the right thing, in general.  When a movement grows big enough, people have a tendency to put their own meaning on it.  Whether you believe in the original intent of the protest of police brutality or if it has morphed into a general defiance of the President, it can be a force for change.  The NHL missed an opportunity to send a message that they are serious about inclusion, equality and freedom.

Hockey’s culture has traditionally been one of humility, team first, hard work and don’t make waves.  I grew up in this culture and much of that experience has shaped me into who I am today.  There are many virtues of embracing a team-first mentality.  Respect, dedication, hard work, perseverance and caring more about the name on the front than the one on the back are good qualities to espouse.  It makes for boring interviews, but it makes for close knit dressing rooms.

However, when that prioritization of the status quo bleeds into apathy, it can do much more harm than good.  While it is true that most hockey players tend to be conservative based on their typical socio-economic profile, this has gone too far.  I love this sport with everything in my being.  My wife and I were married on an ice rink.  My time writing here has introduced me to amazing people who share the love for this game.  Just like a love for your country, it is natural to question it when it is morally out of bounds.  For the love of hockey, I beg the NHL to do the right thing and take a stand.  Put your money where your “declaration of principles” is and stand up for the people you pontificate about including.  Hockey is for everyone.

Note from Dave: Comments on this post will be unmoderated. Enter at your own risk.

Categories : Rants

265 comments

  1. billyy1407 says:

    They have a right to take a knee, we have a right not to support them…simple. Gave up on that sport years ago

    • Al Dugan says:

      Let me guess….you haven’t watched a single NFL game?

      • Pas44 says:

        I stopped watching when every play came with some silly celebration to sell jerseys…

        If the anthem is to honor vets, and none of the knee taking players are vets, I think thats just DUMB

      • billyy1407 says:

        correct…i was at a superbowl party a couple years ago…watched when people screamed….15minutes maybe

  2. SalMerc says:

    First this is a NYR blog, and I often get blasted by Dave to “keep to sports”. I guess your left wing atonement allows different rules.

    People have choices. Employees have a set of company rules. Which one supercedes? Sure the issue of the original protect had merit, but the current atmosphere is similar to the stance in your “Hillary’s” book; complain loudly so you are still relevant.

    Hockey is run by the same affluent white (majority anyway) that football is. Football thinks it is America’s game. Hockey knows they are number 4.

    I want my players on my team to wear a jersey and play ball. If they have bad morals or bad taste, they can play elsewhere. Don’t make a political statement because your candidate lost, make it based on morals- this is what is happening. Kapernick had a strong statement. The followers now want press and accolades for seeking first amendment rights, while the truth is they didn’t have those morals 2 years ago when Obama was in the white house.

    Kneeling now is a political statement, not a moral issue.

    • Dave says:

      Your frustration is understood and completely warranted. Normally, I do not allow for politics on the blog.

      Justin came to me with this, and I thought it was well written and from the most level headed writer on the staff here. As a lawyer, he understands the legal rights here more than any of us. I felt that, given the atmosphere in the country, it was a necessary post.

      This will likely be the first and only times politics is discussed on the blog. Comments will be unmoderated. Have at it, Sal.

      • SalMerc says:

        Honesty always works!

        Thanks

      • RichS says:

        Dave,
        Being a retired teacher, dean etc, and somewhat older individual I enjoy this blog immensely. That being said I echo sal/merc sentiments above.
        I and others been ‘censored’ for our opinions , hockey and otherwise [free speech], but this article is entirely political!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        Justin and you if you ok’d this are way off base……
        1. I played/coached/refed hockey and was low-middle income-as were all my friends —-certainly not rich white, which I take offense to!!!
        2. Having taught in high poverty/high crime neighborhoods for the better part of 35 years……Justins take on the problem is totally uninformed.
        3.Approx 9 unarmed blacks were shot by police this past year while the other 5,000 or so were armed!!!!!!!!! [ all FBI Stats}
        A greater percentage of unarmed whites were shot!
        4. Black on white violent crime has reached epidemic proportions in this country……there are over 95 crimes perpetrated against whites by blacks for every ONE by a white against a black!!!!!
        Time for Justin to educate himself before spewing out racist ,brainwashed propaganda!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Justin says:

          You are missing the point entirely, Rich. If you look up the demographic statistics on the composition of the hockey world, it is overwhelmingly white. You can of course cherry pick small examples of lower income and minorities communities participating. The public’s perception is that hockey is a white sport.

          As a general rule, we don’t discuss politics on the blog. Dave made an exception for this post and allowed for unmoderated comments for everyone to make their opinion known. No one is being censored here.

          I’m also not spouting crime statistics and telling you that everything that the protestors are saying is correct or just. The message here is that we live in a divided nation and fellow Americans are trying to get our attention about an issue that they believe is threatening their lives and communities. Even if in the end they are proven to be wrong, they deserve our attention and a national discussion.

          There is nothing racist or brainwashed about my position. I believe we all have the right to be heard and to make our opposition to our government known. Millions of people out there have a serious problem with what Trump is doing. If you think he is doing a great job, fine, you are entitled to that belief. Just don’t act like people who are angry have no reason to be.

          • RichS says:

            Justin—-Please answer these 4 questions….
            1. How can you IGNORE the blatant fact that there is approximately a 95 to 1 ratio of black to white VIOLENT crime, and believe that white people are more racist than blacks, which I think you do???
            2. How can you IGNORE the blatant fact that there were only 9 unarmed black shot last year by cops out of close to 5000 violent armed criminals apprehended????
            3. How can you IGNORE the blatant fact that a GREATER percentage of unarmed white criminals were shot by cops last year that blacks???????
            4. Tell me how you can still have the opinion that blacks face racism from whites after now knowing these truths/facts?????

        • HARLEMBLUES says:

          You FCKN racist asshole. What does the stats say about 1866 or 1870. How many Blacks were hung beaten and never founded. Your stats are BS. How about 1923 or 1936. How about Mississippi or Alabama in the 69’s and 70’s when Young Black men were fighting in Vietnam. For your racist ass and no freedom at home.

          • RichS says:

            You are such an uneducated moron and so uninformed your pathetic. But to answer your question about 4700 total which includes 1300 whites!!!!!! I bet you didnt know that did you?????
            How many irish, italians, jews, spanish polish, british, french american indian, soldiers were killed in all the wars………into the TENS OF THOUSANDS!!!!!!!!!!!

            • HARLEMBLUES says:

              What’s your point about who was killed in all wars? Is it that they were started by Whites don’t get that one. WW1 and WW2 both started by whites and MIllions of Human beings died. What’s your point again. Because I mentioned Vietnam to show black blood Spilled injustices when they came home. As was the case went black so just came home after the Civil War.

          • RichS says:

            HBs——Please answer these 4 questions….
            1. How can you IGNORE the blatant fact that there is approximately a 95 to 1 ratio of black to white VIOLENT crime, and believe that white people are more racist than blacks, which I think you do???
            2. How can you IGNORE the blatant fact that there were only 9 unarmed black shot last year by cops out of close to 5000 violent armed criminals apprehended????
            3. How can you IGNORE the blatant fact that a GREATER percentage of unarmed white criminals were shot by cops last year that blacks???????
            4. Tell me how you can still have the opinion that blacks face racism from whites after now knowing these truths/facts?????

            • Pas44 says:

              HB can ignore all these facts because he has been allowed too, years of helping people get this mindset to drive an agenda…

              what HB and these players don’t get is that the power is with the people, all the people who can vote, even those in small states, all because of the electoral collage…

              People should also get the F over the past, Wake up, move on, call violence and police work what they are in the eyes of the law…

              UNREAL

              criminals have rights because their messed up world hurt them! PLEASE

              BLUE LIVES MATTER MORE!

            • HARLEMBLUES says:

              Where did you get your facts from. What website gave you these set of facts. Remember Bernie Maddoff? How many lives did he destroy how many people lost their lives savings . White-collar crime by white privilege .

      • RichS says:

        Dave
        Most Lawyers do not know and do not practice ‘constitutional law’…..only procedure and statutory law…..if they bring up someones ‘constitutional rights ‘ in court they will likely face sanctions……
        Example…..the constitution protects every mans right to travel…..yet we are told we need a ‘license ‘ when we drive? How is that ?????
        Example…..the constitution gives us the right to bear arms…..yet you need a permit or registration to have a gun in some states…How is that???
        Example …..most [ except supreme and common law ] courts are listed on dunn and bradstreet, as for profit businesses…??? How is that possible????
        Dave….I hate to break ot to you but most of what you have been told is not true……BUT dont take my word for it, do the research…..

  3. RangersRock says:

    If you look at the founding fathers they came up with an incredible revelation and how to get to freedom. The dribble that you stay on this website is one-sided blinded and ignorant. These are the reasons why you want to keep people down and uneducated. There’s a lack of IQ in your Knowledge. For the most part you’re courting evil and I am ashamed of your thoughts. Truth cannot be spoken because of idiots like you. Have a nice day.

    • Justin says:

      I would invite you to expound upon your statement that “there is a lack of IQ in my knowledge”. You express that I am courting evil and name calling. How about you provide a well reasoned argument detailing why that is true?

      • Rangers Rock says:

        There is too much to go over. Almost every paragraph comes from a position of complete denial of good and evil.
        Being an attorney does not put you on par with goodness. Attorneys do not look for the truth, just try to push a position.The first amendment is good until the Presiden says something.
        Here is an example the country is about to have another civil war and you are worried about Puerto Rico.
        If this country comes apart because some in the population do not like to follow laws because they have been coddled by people like you who think conservatives are the bad people.
        “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,'” Trump told a crowd in Alabama.

        You think people are being oppressed? The oppression is done by the people that are representing them like lawyers and Democrats. Keep them stupid so you keep electing Democrats.

        Race relations were made worse by Obama. He made black people poorer. Math does not lie.

        What is more exclusionary than democrats! You want to separate everyone by race and gender and religion.

        Trump has been a lightning rod for racial tensions because democrats only way to fight is to separate everyone by race, gender, and religion.

        There is time to protest and to use your first amendment. Your hatred for the president got me to ask about your IQ. You are ass backward on everything.

        When the football players will no longer make millions of dollars because they put their collective foot in their mouths, maybe then they will be happy. Football lost a fan.

        • Justin says:

          First of all, I never said being an attorney puts me on par with goodness. It helps me understand the legal issues in play.

          What you have ass backward is the fact that the President (and other elected officials) are exactly the threats to the first amendment that the constitution protects us from. The first amendment is always good, it just doesn’t protect violence inciting hate speech.

          To your point about Puerto Rico, I really hope we do not have another civil war on our hands, but if we do, it’s not happening right now. People are literally dying on a disaster ravaged island, right now. How is that not pressing?

          No one is saying that Trump’s comments about black athletes being fired is oppressing them. His comments that private businesses should conform to his belief system regarding these athletes is what is concerning. The oppression people speak of comes in many other forms. Police brutality being one of them.

          No one is even speaking about Obama’s impact on race or his performance as President. I don’t know why that is even an issue. Presidential performance does not take place in a vacuum, but don’t you have to wonder why so many people hate Trump so this extent? He has taken positions that large portions of the population find morally reprehensible. You may not, but don’t act surprised that they do.

          For the record, I am not a democrat. I am not a republican. I am a registered independent and I prefer to reason through my own views independent of a party line.

          • Rangers Rock says:

            About business, do you back your employees or is the customer wrong? If your employee wants to talk about politics during business hours he needs to be let go. This is business hours for football players.
            The President spoke the truth. I am sorry you don’t like it. When bad things were being done by Obama you said nothing. When he wrongly picked on the cops for doing their jobs you said nothing. This is happening because the American people are trying to fix what the worst president forced on the people, a bad situation.

            • HARLEMBLUES says:

              He spoke the truth when he called their Mother’s Bicthes. That’s what Son of a Bitch means. Let’s see your Mother is a Bitch dead or alive.

          • RichS says:

            Justin
            As a retired teacher of some 40 years my expert opinion is that you have succumbed to the brainwashing and propaganda you have been indoctrinated into your whole life…..
            Your article is total opinion, zero facts……..believing and repeating a bunch of lies you were told , yet never bothered to substantiate them…..does NOT make them true………
            The national and local crime statistics broken down by race , gender, age etc are readily available on the internet, it will serve as a rude awakening to you …..I suggest you begin with those……Facts are whats important……

        • HARLEMBLUES says:

          So what part of the world did your COWARD family run away from?

        • Pas44 says:

          Why can’t we all just get along?

          Because its not ok to throw away a nice tradition when everyone stands and respects each other, no matter what, during the anthem

          Well done, COMPLETE IDIOTS OF THE NFL!

    • sherrane says:

      Really? So the Federalist Papers championed opposing views as did the Anti-Federalist Papers? Perhaps the newspapers of those times were completely unbiased and not like the partisan crap we have today? If you believe that nonsense, you have absolutely no right to claim anyone else has a low IQ or lacks historical knowledge.

    • Steve says:

      I leave you with the wisdom of Billy Madison since I think it succinctly sums my reaction to your argument:

      “Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

  4. ken in sarasota says:

    Thanks, Justin. I know this is a Ranger hockey blog – the best forum there is for Ranger hockey! This is not a political blog nor should it be. But this isn’t politics. This is really about making America great again!
    I’m a veteran. I love my country. I believe in the American Dream. I know my country is not perfect. No country is. But we re unique and special. What makes us special, what makes us perfectible, is our right, in fact our duty as citizens, to stand up and make our voices heard when we feel something is just plain wrong. For our President to call peaceful protestors SOBs and to falsely assert that these protestors are anti-American is just plain wrong. This form of peaceful protest is essential for our growth. In my heart (and I’m white, by the way) there is no doubt that blacks are still getting a raw deal in our country. But that’s not the point. You may disagree with my opinion. We can have a civil discussion about that. But, if I were on the field today on a televised sport, I would take the knee in support of what our men and women in the Armed Forces have always fought for – my right to take that knee.
    I’m a hockey fan. (LGR) I know that hockey is still basically a white supported sport. It is also the most international of sports. Just for that reason alone – the diversity of the players that so matches in many ways the diversity of our great nation built on immigrants – wouldn’t it be heartening to see a bunch of (mostly white) hockey players show support for the America we all love, the America that is the beacon for freedom and justice, the America that shines bright in every corner of the world. Let’s make America greater again, together.

    • Hockey Sittoo says:

      Crap. Ken, I hit the wrong thumb on my itty bitty phone and tried to undo it but ended up thumbs downing twice when I meant to thumbs up a million times over!!!! Totally support your statement and thank you for your service.

      • ken in sarasota says:

        You are welcome, Sittoo. There is an important discussion to be had here. Let’s hope we can keep all our comments civil. We all really are in it together and we have to find away to talk and to find common ground in this mine-field of a DMZ we seem to be living in currently.

        On another topic (this is still a Ranger blog, no?) I am so hopeful this year. A bunch of talented kids, young vets reaching their prime, a resurgent Hank, such defensive depth, center position looking tentatively solvable. LGR!!!!!

    • Matt R says:

      Now this guy gets it. Seriously, how can anyone justify having a view different from this one if you call yourself an American.

      • Rangers Rock says:

        I am taking a knee on this one. You think I am less American than you?

        • Matt R says:

          No, I am saying we have soldiers die in battle so that we can have a country where we are allowed to protest without fear. Nothing is more American than that.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      I would have said thumbs up but for the make America great thing at the end. See White America just says shit without thinking make America great again. He’s straight up code make it White again because is greater today then it’s ever been. It sure wasn’t great in let’s say 1834 or 1934 for Black America’s. Well in 1834 we weren’t Americans just SLAVES making master rich. See shit comes out your mouth just because you really think your superior.

      • ken in sarasota says:

        Harlem, I was looking for common ground. I said “greater” again, meaning more civil. I would like to see us coming together to try and really make this country color-blind.

        • HARLEMBLUES says:

          I’m with that all in Ken. Just really wanted to make the point that America is greater today then it’s ever been. We are moving closer to a greater union. It starts with really having a talk about how the powers play the race game to divide. He’s especially play on white’s, it’s a fear or they’re the reason you aren’t making it.

  5. supermaz says:

    I couldn’t possibly disagree more. Hockey is better than the bullshit we see on NFL fields. Stand for the flag, or your an ignorant moron in my book.

    • Egelstein says:

      *You’re. Nothing like calling people ignorant morons…with a typo in the insult.

  6. Hockey Sittoo says:

    Beautifully written piece. Thanks for sharing. Those people who yell and scream about black athletes “disrespecting” the military/flag by simply kneeling during the anthem need to go back to school and study American history. My Grandfather, Father, all of my Uncles, Brother-in-law, Daughter-in-law, and Nephew all proudly served in different branches of the military. My 19 year old Uncle was shot down over the English Channel fighting vs a madman who would have embraced the angry divisive rhetoric this president spews. He loved flags and symbols too… For better or worse sports is a microcosm of our society and the likes of Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and now Colin Kaeperneck, have served as lightning rods to to illuminate injustice and move the needle painfully forward for our country. To quietly kneel in protest to illuminate a painful injustice has nothing to do with the flag and everything to do with being a proud and free American taking a “knee” against systemic racism.

    • sherrane says:

      “Those people who yell and scream about black athletes ‘disrespecting’ the military/flag by simply kneeling during the anthem need to go back to school and study American history.”

      The people who are attempting to turn this into “disrespecting the military” don’t have a valid point. This was NEVER about the military. The people who claim this don’t honestly know why OR are being dishonest because they know their opinion does not show them in a positive light. If you are a mature vet and understand the issue while claiming this disrespects you, realize that you would be a Social Justice Warrior if you were a young Democrat. You have more in common with each other than you may want to admit.

      • Mintgecko says:

        I have vets in my family that are all about the brotherhood in a squad but they’re still like F the military, it’s brought nothing but PTSD for them. My grandfather came to this country for college from Haiti around the time WW2 began. Just like some of your fathers or family were somewhere over Europe or the Pacific. All I can say is let me tell you how much you would be amazed how little the “leaders” care about the military. I have stories up the wazoo of how evil and money hungry certain names are who the public puts on a pedestal. There’s a picture that I personally kept of him with some other people at Wall street and it shows a bunch of rich people who were running things in NYC at the time and a famous WW2 army general who were all laughing on the 2nd day of Operation Market Gardens. The story behind it was the general telling the wealthy men that they would be fools to fallout this agenda about “American pride”, then there’s my grandpa with zero emotion in his face looking like a ghost and then someone randomly took a picture of them. Sad to say he worked for the United Nations once he moved back here after his political stunt in Haiti but one thing he made clear was this is all a game, being filled with pride to stand up was apart of it. If you don’t believe in Heaven and Hell than your 10 steps behind no matter how hard you try to wave that flag or diss it.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      Well said. We can walk and chew gum at the same time. It’s the Constitution Not the flag and doesn’t have anything to do with the armed branches of the services. That flag flew in 1910 or 1950 and as a Black man I wouldn’t have given 2shites about it.

  7. Ben says:

    Jerry Jones did not take a knee for police brutality. He took a knee to show support for his players against Trump’s divisiveness.

    Players can protest if they want, just as owners can fire them for doing so. But let’s not pretend that protests can’t be appropriated.

    • Mythdoc says:

      As mentioned elsewhere, when the entire Cowboys organization knelt BEFORE the anthem, then rose and stood DURING the anthem, they were still criticized by the prez and his ditto heads. Proving that this whole thing is not about the flag and the anthem, but actually race baiting and sending signals that if you are not white and Christian, this group feels you are to be “kept in your place.”

      • SalMerc says:

        This is the same Jerry Jones who make a big deal over the NFL suspending his player (Ezekiel Elliot) for domestic abuse. All his rhetoric on Sunday shows is that he wants his team to win, regardless of how they feel. If he comes on the field and buddies up with their cause, it is about winning, not about morals or free speech.

        If Jerry Jones had either he would have punished Zeke by himself, but domestic abuse is “okay” as long as his players are happy.

        Jerry Jones is a hypocrite.

        • Mythdoc says:

          You may be right about JJ, irrelevant, since you haven’t addressed my point, which was not about him but about Trump and others who still deride protest of inequality even when separated from the flag and anthem.

          • SalMerc says:

            Trump wants people to respect the flag and the national anthem. I see no problem with that, but I assume you do.

            • Mancunian Candidate says:

              Trump wants to fool you into thinking he’s actually pro-American. He doesn’t mean a word he says, he’s a con man & pathological liar.

              • SalMerc says:

                And you know this how? I do admit he is no Hillary Clinton, but that is what this whole country wanted. Some lose sight of that.

              • Mancunian Candidate says:

                You’ve lost sight of what it is to be American. I’d pity you if I wasn’t so angered by the ease with which Trump has fooled you. Enjoy your reduced health care & higher tax rates if the liar gets his way.

              • SalMerc says:

                If you need the government to pay your healthcare, then you already have a problem that cannot be fixed by kneeling for the anthem.

              • Mancunian Candidate says:

                Enjoy your fox news broadcasts today and for the rest of your life. Can’t waste my time with someone who responds with canned talking points written by the ruling class, dispersed by their favorite propaganda networks.

              • SalMerc says:

                For someone with ties to Manchester England, I am surprised how much you despise the American leader, when your own mother country decided that leaving the EU was in their best interest. That was also playing the race card.

                You can continue to watch the Clinton News Network – it is made for you.

              • Matt R says:

                This guy gets it, thanks for that comment Mancunian

              • Mancunian Candidate says:

                Actually Sal I’m 100% American, never lived anywhere else. Thanks for assuming otherwise. I lived through 9/11 in NYC, spent most of my life in the city, I have 2 relatives who are currently NYPD and a family tree full of veterans on both sides. Every part of my family arrived in the USA through immigration, as I assume yours did as well, Salvatore. My screen name is a joke, a pun–though I suspect humor is lost on you, similar to how the Bill of Rights in the American constitution seems to be lost on you.

              • Ray says:

                SalMerc, I do not approve of the question, “And you know this how?” People know things by observing and thinking about what they see. Mancunian makes four assertions, all of which are crystal clear. Whether Trump is good for the country or not is something that can be debated. Whether he is better than the alternative would have been can be debated. But that he is a con man and a liar is not subject to question.

                Everyone has faults. Faults need not exclude options, but we should acknowledge. In more distant history, it could be argued that Bill Clinton was a good president despite his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky. However, everyone should acknowledge that that dalliance was reprehensible.

                Incidentally, the whole country did not choose Trump over Clinton. A faulty electoral system did that – we must live with the consequences, but we should not be thinking mandate.

              • SalMerc says:

                Ray, stop listening to CNN.

                If you work for Trump, you may not think he is a con man and a liar, you may think he is a shrewd business man who gets things done.

                It is all about perspective isn’t it?

              • Ray says:

                Obviously not everyone can spot a con man – otherwise there wouldn’t be any. Yes, you are right, it is about perspective. The secret of the con is finding people who see what they want to see, instead of what is there.

            • HARLEMBLUES says:

              Sal you are so wrong and to deep in the Kool aide to be saved. So when did your COWARD family run to America and don’t lie. Be a man about it. Just like Trump whose family ran when shit got tough in Europe.

  8. Agentsmith says:

    Im seeing a lot of this “hockey is expensive therefore its inherently racist” thing going around. I think it’s ridiculous.

    Ferraris must be racist. Only rich can afford them.

    So what are you proposing…. Free public equipment depots ? (As if budgets arent tight enough) Getting rid of goalie gear?

    Sorry grand pappy greg popovich there are white people in the world struggling. Being white isnt the privlege here. Being able to play prof hockey (and other sports too for that matter) is.

    • Justin says:

      That is not the point, at all. I haven’t seen anyone draw that conclusion. The point is that when a sport is is perceived as indifferent to the plight of less fortunate people, it creates a bad impression of that sport.

      No one expects major initiatives to finance poor families to get into hockey. However, if hockey really wants to court these people as fans and wants the respect of the people as something of a niche sport, it needs to act accordingly. In the light of everything that is happening, hockey isn’t helping the perception people have of it as an elitist game.

      • Mintgecko says:

        Hey Justin that’s impossible to bring the game to people’s front door like that. I live in a area that has every town named with the word Lake either before or after the town’s actual name. It’s pretty easy to play a pickup game when you have the hardest part already given to you by mother nature. The world is getting hotter, it took until early February for it to really pour on some cold weather and snow to perform any outdoor activity last year and traditional hockey is a seasonal sport. I don’t know how the kids are doing it today but there are quite a few factors to get a pickup game going let alone a high school team on it’s feet for the game. Money is very important in hockey gear when it comes to gloves and skates. If you were talking about Lacrosse as that preppy narrative then I would say that you’re spot on because quality of equipment doesn’t matter nor does the playing surface or garbage can that you use as a net.

    • Al Dugan says:

      Why is playing sports a “privilege”?

      • Mintgecko says:

        Because that’s life? As a upstate New Yorker who spent his summer days in a Queens neighborhood full of Jewish kids who bleed blue for NYR hockey all I would do was laugh at them every time I was in town. They had zero clue on how to even roller skate let alone cradle a tennis ball at the same time, that was goofy as hell to see from where I’m from. Those are the people who make up half of the garden crowd, probably the same crowd that boo’ed Nash and Hank. I’m not trying to shame them like Sean Avery recently did with his Torts comments but those people aren’t equip to play real puck but yet they have MSG that’s a hour away from them. So you tell me who has the best privilege here because it definitely exist but it just doesn’t always come in different shades as some may hint at.

        I don’t about you but I played hockey against Euros, western Canadian boys, French-Canadians, Boston, Vermont, Minnesota and against North Dakota teams. I was lucky to grow up near the Can/Am tournaments so my region imo is another type of privilege that I had.

      • HARLEMBLUES says:

        Thank you. It’s hard work to be one out what 300 or so players. In a world where millions play the games. It’s special and has been achieved by hard work.

  9. njterps says:

    Right On!

  10. PAL says:

    Justin, as an attorney, you should know that the First Amendment is completely irrelevant here. The First Amendment applies to governments that seek to suppress or ban protected speech. All private organizations have much greater leeway when it comes to controlling the speech of their members when they are on the clock. The President’s comments do not rise to the level of a threat to free speech, as he was expressing a point of view, and has zero ability behind him to actually back his opinion up with force.

    Secondly, I am not sure that just because the NFL players themselves perceive that the police are brutal and target the members of certain minority groups, that the police as a rule actually are. I have read of studies showing that incidents of police brutality and badly handled situations that result in a cop killing a civilian when he or she should not have cut evenly across racial lines (adjusting for rates of criminal activity); if this is true, why would you call for the NHL and the Pittsburgh Penguins to support a factually incorrect narrative?

    Thirdly, the lack of “support” of the NFL for their players for expressing themselves is uncomfortably selective; players have been fined for voicing support for remembering 9-11 or wearing eye-black with the words “find the cure” supporting breast cancer research. Yet it is ok to intentionally disrespect the national anthem and the flag – which is what many people perceive the players’ act to be.

    Hypocrisy and ungratefulness from fabulously wealthy individuals doesn’t sit well with me.

    • Justin says:

      When the President posits a position that is threatening to our first amendment rights, we should all be concerned. Private organizations can handle the situation however they want, but they operate in the sphere of public opinion and there will be consequences, both morally and financially, to the choices they make.

      I generally don’t believe that there is an inappropriate forum for protesting injustice. Every major change in American society has been inconvenient and faced opposition stating that “this isn’t the time or the place”. There is a significant portion of the population of this country that feels systemically targeted by the government and the police. Whether you believe it to actually be true isn’t really the point. The point is, they should be listened to.

      • agentsmith says:

        re first amendment: then forcing, bullying, pressuring penguins in light of their team decision – should violate it as well, no?

        • Justin says:

          Not at all. First, myself or any member of the public, media, fans or otherwise is not the US government, which is what the first amendment protects us from.

          Second, attempting to communicate that a certain course of conduct is the right thing to do, is not bullying or forcing. Pointing out hypocrisy or how conduct would be perceived by the non-hockey watching public does not in any way violate the first amendment.

          • RichS says:

            Justin
            I noticed you DID NOT answer any of my questions……Why???
            You had the guts to write the article, show some more and answer my questions……
            1. How can you IGNORE the blatant fact that there is approximately a 95 to 1 ratio of black to white VIOLENT crime, and believe that white people are more racist than blacks, which I think you do???
            2. How can you IGNORE the blatant fact that there were only 9 unarmed black shot last year by cops out of close to 5000 violent armed criminals apprehended????
            3. How can you IGNORE the blatant fact that a GREATER percentage of unarmed white criminals were shot by cops last year that blacks???????
            4. Tell me how you can still have the opinion that blacks face racism from whites after now knowing these truths/facts?????

    • sherrane says:

      Your first paragraph is 100% completely factual. You should also realize that most Americans don’t understand this completely. In fact, Donald Trump wanted to sue Univision based on violating his First Amendment rights when they dropped the Miss Universe Pageant because of his language regarding Mexicans and illegal aliens, so you can say that the sitting President of the US doesn’t completely understand it.

      The rest of your post is opinion. In fact, recognizing that US citizens have a right to petition the government for a redress of grievances (assuming you are among the 3% of Americans who realize this right is protected by the 1st) does contradict your opinion in the 3rd paragraph. A protest / petition does not conform to standards. How can you march in protest down a street or even in a park without disrupting traffic? By definition a protest is a non-conformist action.

    • Al Dugan says:

      “Adjusting for rates of criminal activity” ?

      Are you kidding with a statement like that?

      • PAL says:

        I did not make that up. That’s how the studies are done. All sociological studies of crime do that.

      • PAL says:

        I meant to add, all sociological studies of crime make such adjustments; raw numbers are meaningless, unless you restrict them to a single independent variable.

  11. Mancunian Candidate says:

    The Penguins are a garbage organization and have been for decades. This action cements that. Kudos to you Justin for writing this.

    Trump is indefensible as a human being, let alone as an incompetent racist American prez. It’s a disgrace that the Pens are choosing not to stand with courageous athletes in other sports in protesting racial injustice. But at the same time it’s unsurprising–the entitled selfishness that the Penguins’ organization has embodied goes back beyond Sid Crosby, all the way to Mario Lemieux.

    Hockey will probably never have a Muhammad Ali or Colin Kaepernick–that’s not a shock–but it would be nice to see a team full of Canadian & Russian & Finnish & American nationals reject Trump’s ethnic prejudice based on their own daily professional experience. If even Tom Brady & Robert Kraft can chastise the orange goon, then certainly you’d expect somebody on the Pens’ roster to speak out against what’s happened in the USA since January 2017. It’s a shame they haven’t.

  12. Bloomer says:

    Americans are always preaching freedom. Yet when a football player kneels down as a protest during the athem the President goes ape shit. That doesn’t sound like freedom to me.

  13. Stevesse says:

    I agree with much of what you stated, however placing hockey in your crosshairs,I believe is wrong. Most of its players are guests in this country and to boycott would lead to another political headline about ungrateful foreigners. I think they chose the most prudent thing to do. Their timing stunk.

    • Justin says:

      That is a fair point. However, if the league and the sport want to stay out of this particular debate, they shouldn’t be lining up all these initiatives about inclusion and then stand silent. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

  14. Eugene says:

    You see, guys, I just recently, just few weeks ago took a citizenship oath, it was around 50-60 folks in a room, many of those folks were crying while taking the oath, and when those guys take a knee…. their right to take a knee, my right is to boycott those lost millionaires.

    Shame on you NFL players!!!!!!!! and shame on you media supporting them!!!!!

  15. Leetchie Nut says:

    As much as I loathe the Pens organization, they absolutely DID do the right thing by accepting the invite. It is about the honor and privilege to be recognized by the office, not the individual, and choosing to go to the White House does not lessen one bit the league wide inclusion mantra that has always been prevalent in the NHL.

    • Justin says:

      Honestly, Leetchie. I’m not specifically saying that they should not have accepted in the invite. I think that they should have 1.) been more sensitive to the timing of the announcement and 2.) made a stronger statement about the league’s position on the matter. Nothing is more distasteful to angry people than someone pretending there is no problem.

      • SalMerc says:

        What about the few that perceive there IS a problem, when maybe there is not?

        This has become an individuals political stand, not unlike Odell Beckham’s dog peeing. I guess it is his right to embarrass the team and his fans by his actions. He may be protected by the first amendment, but that doesn’t protect him from criticism. So hold true for the players who kneel. You can take a stand, but the money paying public don’t have to like it, support it or be silent about it.

        • Justin says:

          You are absolutely right, Sal. You have a right to believe there is no problem and fans have the right to choose their feelings about how players behave.

          The issue is that, whether or not a problem actually exists, a significant portion of the American population believes on does. Therefore, a conversation is warranted. When people feel ignored and voiceless, they are going to get louder and louder until someone listens.

          The NHL’s problem is that they have already “taken a position” by putting forth these initiatives and NHL sanctioned events about inclusion and equality, then stand pat when the chips are down.

          • SalMerc says:

            Everything become bigger when the race card is played. Some are making this a race issue, when it is a freedom of speech issue. IMO, this is where the concern should be.

            • Mancunian Candidate says:

              Were you sleeping when the NHLPA recently issued their declaration of principles? In this declaration the NHLPA and NHL express a desire for a “common commitment to respect, inclusiveness, and sportsmanship”. Trump embodies exactly none of these ideals–he’s disrespectful to women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, African-Americans, Latinos, and working people in general. As far as inclusion? He wishes to kick people out of the US and destroy our proud tradition of immigration. And this pathetic narcissist who inherited all his money knows nothing of sportsmanship. Trump in short violates all the principles that are supposedly important enough to the players that they felt the need to codify them. And that’s why the Pens should’ve declined the White House’s invite.

              The only person who has played “the race card” (ugh, such a dated and racist phrase in itself, sorry to even type it out) in this situation is the schmuck in the Oval Office. As such his words should be protested against.

              • SalMerc says:

                There is always Canada. They have hockey and no Trump. You can follow Rosie O’Donnel there. Oh wait, she is still here because of the almighty dollar. If people don’t like it they can protest respectfully or they can leave. Trudeau has open arms.

              • Mancunian Candidate says:

                I’m not the type of person to leave the land of my birth, the land that I love, the land where my right to disagree with racist morons like Trump is guaranteed in a constitution. Anyone who tells anyone else to leave this country is the real problem, they’re terrified little snowflakes who’ve been charmed by the lamest of snake oil peddlers.

              • SalMerc says:

                Or we really fear the left wing cowards who think socialism is right for a capitalist society.

                Talk to your European friends, even they are beginning to understand that socialism coddles the under privileged to the point that all have no desire to better themselves. If that is the America you want, I pity thee.

                I think Mother England could use your presence.

              • Mancunian Candidate says:

                The fact that you need to spew this hatred at people who are merely expressing their constitutionally-protected opinions shows that you’re nothing more than a scared old man who watches too much fox news. The obvious emptiness of your life is a great comfort to me.

              • SalMerc says:

                Empty? If you only knew. God bless your children and the world they must know.

              • Rangers Rock says:

                Mr Mancunian Democrat you are the racist! You want to separate us by race gender and religion. You are so low the snakes have a problem seeing you. I take a knee on you.

              • Mancunian Candidate says:

                To Rangers Rock, my pinheaded opponent in this dispute:

                I am a friend to all races, all religions, all kinds of people, all professions. I do this because I’m an American. You do realize that being racist means that a person disagrees with the above statement? Youre the one defending a man who defends nazis and white supremacists.

                You and the rest of the frightened cattle that voted for the Orange Con Man are a disgrace to America. Your racism, your willingness to lick the boots of your oppressors, your ignorance of your valiant ancestors who crushed fascism in WWII–it all proves that you are nothing more than antisocial, ahistorical morons.

            • HARLEMBLUES says:

              What. Kaepernick kneeled because of the shooting people of color unarmed by police in this Country. Not about race your just a racist asshole in denial. It’s ok because you surely not alone.

            • HARLEMBLUES says:

              If it’s a freedom issue it’s simple we the people have the right to protest by kneeling.

  16. supermaz says:

    They didn’t pass up an opportunity, they took the opportunity to show respect for the office of the presidency.

    • Eugene says:

      They took the opportunity to disrespect this country….

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      Something the President should do show respect. He call Women BItches that what Son of a Birch means. Respect isn’t given it’s earned.

  17. Pas44 says:

    People have always voice their opinions, feelings, needs and views. Always have always will.

    These days it seems people are listening and using these voices for political ends.

    I go to work and the company has rules. The NFL does what it does, the fans do what they do.

    Thats a great part of America, the people do have the power to make things happen.

    I worry that the anthem will be removed next from sports to avoid these issues between owners, fans and politics… who wins from this in the end.

    what happened to the days of calling a spade a spade and everyone knowing who they were…

    LGR!

    • Al Dugan says:

      I’m really exhausted by the commercial aspects of people’s “service”. The simple fact that the DoD PAID sports organizations for military ceremonies is disgusting. I went to a concert the other night where a serviceman was given a house and the companies who gave the house had more people on stage then the serviceman. How about the companies give him the house and don’t say a word to anyone about it? Wal-Mart, I’m looking at you with your 10 dollar wage and your mom and pop crushing largeness.

      I look forward to the day a kid who was born AFTER 9/11 knows something else besides war. They are 16 years old now, and we have been warring since they were born.

      I look forward to the day we don’t have to thank a soldier for his service because he doesn’t have to serve anywhere harmful.

      And Can we please retire “God Bless America”? Have them sing “This land is Your Land” This Land was made for YOU and ME. Not just you, and not just me. Both of us, all of us.

      • Mancunian Candidate says:

        Well said, Al Dugan. I also wish that the US government would stop using sports as a platform for supporting their endless wars. The USA has been at war for 75% of my lifetime, killing people in the name of freedom. what’s really being accomplished by all this killing? Vietnam is still communist, Cambodia was abandoned and subsequently ruined, Iraq has been destroyed and replaced by a psychotic and violent group of religious fundamentalists that endangers the region, Afghanistan repels all attempts to conquer it, etc etc.

        And its all for a few extra dollars in the pockets of the plutocrats, whose industries are destroying the planet that we share. It’s about time athletes protest these things publicly. Though they may be wealthy now, in most cases athletes grow up experiencing a very different economic reality. I’d argue that athletics allows a type of social mobility that’s rare in American society, and that mobility gives a thoughtful athlete ample evidence to examine our society critically.

        • Matt R says:

          You were somehow downvoted for this comment. Amazing. All you are saying is that hey, maybe these guys who grew up in tough economical and political conditions might have some useful feedback in what that is like.. and you were downvoted lol.

      • ken in sarasota says:

        Amen!

    • Chris A says:

      What does a sporting event need the national anthem for? The anthem should be removed from professional sports in America.

      The anthem is a nationalist statement. We don’t need to be playing love songs to our country at an event that spectators have paid their hard earned money to watch. Not every American is completely enthralled with the way our country conducts itself and to insist that every attendee, regardless of their personal feelings, be forced to listen to a love song to America of dubious quality is not right.

      Let’s join the rest of the modern world and only play the anthem when a national team is playing.

  18. InvalidBeard says:

    You mentioned how this was a distraction from larger issues, and I agree. The national conversation occurring is also the lowest-common-denominator bs typical in most political discourse. So, specifically, what should the NHL do, and why? Is there really a discrimination issue in the NHL in 2017? Perhaps their inaction is reflective of their position. Also, what was your reaction when Tim Thomas followed his political conscience? Seems relevant. If the difference is that you feel this protest is against a clearer injustice, then that should be where the conversation goes, but obviously that’s not happening. It’s “bad guys there, good guys here, anyone who opposes us must be monsters”.

    • SalMerc says:

      Amen

    • Chris A says:

      Ah no … you completely missed the point.

      The NHL and NHLPA just made a big deal about their Declaration of Principles. The current WH basically opposes most, if not all, of that declaration. To give the time of day to that WH shows that the NHL/NHLPA are either hypocrites or liars.

      That was Justin’s point.

      • InvalidBeard says:

        If that was his point, he should have been more explicit, because there’s much more to say about that. I think this is your own bias leaking in. How is the WH in opposition to that declaration? And anyway, the take a knee movement started under the last administration, and is about bringing awareness to social discrimination, police brutality, and a biased justice system. The Declaration of Principles was about social inclusion, from what I can tell. Also, the take a knee thing is being interpreted as a slight to the military and the country, rather than what I just stated, which the president exploited. All great things to talk about, but again: how was this a missed opportunity for the NHL? Maybe they don’t wish to inject themselves into the middle of a vicious and hysterical culture war playing out very publicly – you know, be divisive. The impression I got from the article is that Justin is disappointed the NHL didn’t choose a side.

        • Grananimal says:

          No Justin is disappointed that the Pussquins didn’t choose his side! See liberals think they are always right and to hell with everybody else’s point of view. You know if the article was written with a different slant like: The Penguins decide not to get bogged down in the political quagmire”. Dave would’ve said it was divisive and we don’t write about politics on the board and the article would never have seen the light of day. It’s call media bias and everyone is biased because of their point of view!

          • Justin says:

            That is your problem, Grananimal. I am not a liberal. I am not a conservative. I have my own moral compass as to what is right and wrong.

            Of course everyone is biased by their own point of view. That’s humanity. You are biased in your reaction to my point of view because of your own.

            Part of the reason I took the position that I did was that the NHL was tone-deaf to the political climate out there. They wanted to garner the positive press of their inclusive initiatives but did not want to get “bogged down in the politics”, as you say.

            People naturally want to protect their way of life and their level of comfort, both intellectually and physically. We are being forced to confront of a portion of the population that feels targeted and opposed. If we continue to ignore them, it will only get worse. That is not political bias, that is the historical reality when you ignore the plight of the marginalized.

  19. Johnny Red says:

    I think you where wrong for even posting this in the first place. In this day and age where news is covered 24/7 on many channels I hear and see enough. the last thing I want is to go to a sports site to get more of it. I come to the site to get away from it!

    You already know who I am and my values. I’m proud of being a Viet Nam vet. I love my country and that flag has special meaning for me. However I put my life on the line for people to say whatever they feel like! This is what democracy is all about. My anger comes when other groups try and take that away when you disagree with them. What happened to the right to disagree with someone and still shake their hand and still be friendly. Just because we may disagree doesn’t mean we need to be enemies. Lets get back to Ranger hockey and keep politics out of it PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Grananimal says:

      Amen Johnny!!!! Start a board and I will follow :oP They just can’t keep politics out of it.

  20. sherrane says:

    I’ll make the least controversial statement (at least I hope) regarding this blog post. Your title is wrong. This is NOT a missed opportunity by hockey / NHL. Unlike football, hockey IS an international sport. Because of that, politics always surround the sport. When you watch a game between Team USA and the Czech Republic, realize that game is WAS determined by politics. Without politics, the Czech Republic would still be Czechoslovakia and still united with Slovakia. Politics are the reason that international games are officiated by the letter of the rulebook with no loose interpretations as games tend to be in the NHL.

    I am thankful political statements have not infiltrated the league at this point. I hope this remains. I watch sports to get away from the fertilizer of everyday life. I’ll listen to Hannity, Limbaugh, Matthews, Maddow, or some other shill who want to influence my thinking when I want political messages. If I want political amusement, I’ll tune into a Presidential speech or turn on C-SPAN and take a drink every time someone says something moronic to generate a soundbite with the intention of getting reelected.

  21. Hatrick Swayze says:

    To me, it’s a shame that all of this has leaked into the sports world. Sports, specifically hockey, are a place I come to get away from all of the grandstanding, arguing and agenda driven narratives. You said it very well, Justin- “Hockey’s culture has traditionally been one of humility, team first, hard work and don’t make waves. I grew up in this culture and much of that experience has shaped me into who I am today.”

    To that point, I’ve got a million things to say about my viewpoint around the whole issue, but the problem is no one these days listens, so I try to abstain. It’s all about who can yell the loudest. My response is to remove myself from the fray. The stronger someone feels about standing or kneeling, generally the less likely their either willing or able to hear (aka understand) the other side, and thus the tension increases.

    While I agree that the NHL missed an opportunity to project/engrain a culture of inclusion here, I do not find any fault in Sidney Crosby’s stance. Just as some athletes have the right to choose to use the sport as a political platform, Sid has the right to choose not to. He seems excited to go (good for him) and wouldn’t bat an eye if a teammate chose not to join (also good for him). Apathetic, perhaps, but also devoid of totalitarianism, which is all too common these days in our culture.

    • SalMerc says:

      Wow! Beautifully said.

    • Egelstein says:

      I personally have no issue with the team deciding to go. I understand the notion that the timing on their announcement could have been a little better so as not to provide an avenue for including the NHL in this discussion, however. The players that do go to the White House, I will not personally assume are big Trump fans. That would be an inappropriate inference, in my opinion. It is the White House. It is a traditional honor to be given a tour in it as a world-class champion athlete, and is a unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many athletes. Many, many more never even get the chance. That is a building steeped in history and has been the birthplace of many great American achievements. There are plenty of reasons for Penguins players to go that have nothing to do with politics.

      That said, I likely wouldn’t go if I was a Penguin. Or, maybe I’d have the big brass balls to go, but refuse to shake Trump’s hand. That is because of my beliefs about that man and my opinion of what he is trying to do to this country. If my teammates had a problem with me for that, that’s their prerogative. I would not judge them any differently for going, however. That’s also their prerogative. I don’t need them to align with my political belief system. I just need them to hit me on the tape when I’m wide open in front of the net.

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Leave it Hatrick to summarize beautifully the current landscape.

      I, too, have refrained from interjecting my viewpoints into what has become a partisan sinkhole. Because what had once started as a gesture to bring awareness to a perceived injustice has become a holier than thou “my side vs. yours” spectacle which leaves no room for discourse or honest conversation.

      I also do not judge the NHL or Sidney Crosby for their stances. At the end of the day it would be deemed a reactionary measure by cynics (myself included) to join what has become a growing crowd of self-servers with ulterior agendas. (And frankly, the NHL can’t afford to alienate even a portion of its fans. Again, apathetic, yes, but also self-preserving).

    • Andy says:

      you really nailed it here…well said…

    • Hatrick Swayze says:

      Thanks guys, appreciate the feedback! After my summer hibernation, hope all are well and ready for a great season!

    • Ray says:

      Sorry Hatrick, but you have it all wrong — but I guess the fact that everyone has given you the thumbs up should tell you that anyway.

      The beauty of the American system is that we let people protest by inconveniencing us. We could do as they did in Syria and make it clear that the only way to protest was to rebel. Or we can allow people to voice their opinions. And it isn’t enough to allow people to voice their opinions and not be heard.

      There is a real issue at the heart of this. It is a very complex problem and I for one don’t have any easy answers. Police brutality is a real thing. No, the police are not wrong in every cited incident. There is too much polarization on both sides. But this is a problem that has existed for many decades and society is resistant to dealing with it.

      What do you want to deal with? The guy who shot five police officers in Dallas – or people who have allowed this to infect your refuge?

      • Hatrick Swayze says:

        Ray, I am not against people or players protesting peacefully; they can stand, sit, kneel, what have you. I generally support thoughtful demonstrations, as they can effectively combat sub-optimal realities. I agree that there is a sincere problem with the state of the nation that desperately needs proper attention. Unfortunately, this isn’t a novel concept. This spinning rock has been engulfed in chaos ever since it came to be, however that was, and will continue to be until the spinning stops.

        I do not appreciate you telling me I have it wrong. I am not blind to the issue, I just choose to involve myself differently than you. Keep in mind the slope between attention to an issue and exacerbation of one can be quite slippery.

  22. Dave says:

    Sorry, pal, hockey got it right. The people most responsible for the economic circumstances of the underclass are the inner city governments, especially mayors of cities like Detroit, who have relegated Blacks for decades to relying on government handouts in return for their vote instead of doing anything of substance to improve the lives and economic potential of their Black constituents.

    If you think hockey shouldn’t stick its neck out to defend law and order and the values that made this country the greatest in the world, you’re part of the problem and you’re also bought and paid for by Soros and the corrupt Democrat Party.

    • SalMerc says:

      2 for 2 Dave!!!!!!!

    • PAL says:

      Hi Dave, I have in my comments avoided personal attacks, sorry you did not. Also, you have completely mistaken my personal viewpoint. I agree 100 % with your first paragraph. Actually, I can’t even believe you wrote “corrupt Democratic Party!” on this blog! Couldn’t agree more.

      Those like Manchurian Candidate who for some strange reason think that limiting immigration in any way violates our “tradition” of immigration, you may be directed to several times in our history (1920’s, even through the 1960’s to a large extent) in which immigration was limited to give time for those who are here to assimilate.

      There is no tradition of unlimited, unrestricted immigration.

      Can we all agree that all of the parties involved (excluding the President) have the “right” to do as they please on this issue?

      And I will now make the best argument for Justin’s side, regarding the President’s comments: as President, his words carry a “chilling” effect on speech, and I would be happy to agree that this is unacceptable.

      Will you and other posters like Sherane agree with me that the Obama administration sending the IRS out to target conservative organizations had an equivalent chilling effect on the freedom of assembly, and is therefore as abominable?

      And that antifa rioters who beat up those who march in favor of the first amendment (not talking about white supremacists here), as occurred in Boston, and occurs regularly at Berkeley, is shameful, reprehensible, and even criminal?

      Thank you.

      • Mancunian Candidate says:

        Limiting immigration is based on racism under Trump, the same way it was based in racism when Asian immigration was restricted in the late 19th century. It’s shamefully un-American and hypocritical for a man like Trump–from a German immigrant family himself–to make this such an obsession for his administration. The US has depended upon immigrant labor (voluntary & compulsory, thru slavery) to build its infrastructure throughout its history.

        And since you’re so worried about antifa, and brought them into the discussion unnecessarily, what’s your opinion on Fatboy’s lack of criticism for the murderous white supremacists of Virginia? Why are football players singled out by Trump for vitriolic, vulgar criticism when they’re obeying the law in their protest? I think it’s because Trump is an insane, racist pig who is desperately trying to mask his incompetence with a swirling cloud of dramatic chaos.

      • Dave says:

        The fundamental difference between Trump & Obama is that Trump loves this country and its tradition of greatness, while Obama is a Marxist. What is a Marxist? Someone who tries to quash opportunity for the masses to improve their lives and takes their money, using it to enrich themselves and live a lifestyle best suited for a despotic king. Trump has his flaws. But his heart is in the right place.

        • Al Dugan says:

          You have not a clue what Marxism is. And if you know anything of Trump’s history in NYC you would know that the only thing that matters is DJT.

          And Sal, the majority of the country voted democratic. House, Senate and For President. Count the votes.

          • Dave says:

            Wrong. Check any political map of the country. Only the coasts are “blue”, while the great majority of the land mass is”red.”

            Please “educate” me on what you think Marxism is. And, more importantly, when it ever succeeded. I wait your wisdom.

            • Mancunian Candidate says:

              Learn how to count and read–Trump lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes. And Vietnam and People’s Republic of China certainly count as communist success stories. Here’s a few other countries off the top of my head that had communism in place for at least a few decades:

              the USSR
              East Germany
              Poland
              Albania
              Cuba
              Czechoslovakia

              • AWDS says:

                “And Vietnam and People’s Republic of China certainly count as communist success stories.”
                ___________

                …. You’re kidding, right?

                China’s “success” has come at the heels of the widespread adoption of capitalist principles. Private factories making things they see a demand for…. how is that communist?

                ‘Communist Success Stories’…. ROFL. Go to Cuba or Venezuela.

                In all seriousness, I’m kind of shocked that you’d say something so …. ignorant.

                I thought you were far more clever than that.

              • Mancunian Candidate says:

                Last time I checked the Communists had held power in China since 1949, and since 1975 in Vietnam. Seems like a pretty good run of holding power, asshat.

              • AWDS says:

                There’s a ‘t’ missing in the first word of your name btw. I’m sure you can figure out where it goes.

                “in China since 1949, and since 1975 in Vietnam”
                _____

                It’s painfully obvious that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

                Note how they were an irrelevant third world country with Russian nukes until Nixon went in there to wheel & deal.

                And wow, within 3 decades or so of adopting FREE MARKET policies, they’re suddenly almost more important than us.

                What’s scary is that you actually think you’re right….. And people like you will deserve what they get.

              • Mancunian Candidate says:

                68 years of one-party rule in a massive country like China is a success. If you knew anything about Chinese history you’d know they had a massive peasantry that had an illiteracy rate of 80-90%; within ten years of taking power Mao’s government reduced that rate by half. It’s kept improving with each generation of communism that has come after Mao. Before communism there China hadn’t been a true nation (let alone a world power) in centuries. There’s no other way to describe what’s happened in China under communism except to call it a success–unless you’re a dolt with a steady diet of rightist propaganda.

                As someone who deals with history on a daily basis, allow me to inform you that your view of it is completely colored by your experience of living in a capitalist society. To argue that a regime like Vietnam’s–around for 42 years now, after chasing one of the world’s two biggest militaries out of their country after nearly 22 years of intense warfare under two different colonial landlords–is not a success shows staggering ignorance on your part. I already knew you were an asshole, AWDS–now I know you’re flat-out propagandized and dumb as well. Careful on the stairs, you probably don’t know how they work…and that goes double for your driving.

              • AWDS says:

                Rofl, you forgot to mention how many MILLIONS of people starved to death [because ‘the good chairman’ Mao said so]. Or what the Chinese government does on a daily basis to ‘dissenters who cause trouble’. I guess I’ll stand on a ledge here a bit & assume the location ‘Tiananmen Square’ has no meaning to you whatsoever? Ever hear about the Koreans they fire upon for attempting to flee North Korea? And don’t even get me started on ‘rights’….

                … Ever hear the phrase ‘the ends don’t always justify the means’?

                And I surely don’t expect you to acknowledge the ONLY reason aforementioned donut shacks have ceased to be just that is the fact they’ve assumed ‘Free Market’ policies…

                I can’t believe I’m reading this on a Rangers blog… people defending Communist China….. it’s actually kind of depressing.

                In all seriousness, like I’ve said, people like you will get what they deserve.

                And for the record, since apparently you need this spelled out for you, I didn’t vote for the ‘P*ssy Grabbing President’. The guy I wanted just died recently, if you must know.

              • Mancunian Candidate says:

                And how many people have been killed by capitalism’s wars in the last 100 years? How many people are incarcerated–in some cases losing their lives–in US prisons? How many innocent Iraqis were killed by US bombs? How many innocent Vietnamese? How many innocent Cambodians?

                Communist China has raised the standard of living for Chinese people in a way that capitalism never did. Not excusing any torture/state murder at all in this statement. Whatever communism’s sins are (and they are legion), it has still performed the basic function of government in China–which is to do the greater good for the greater number of people.

                You sound just like Trump, saying I’ll get what I deserve, impotently shaking your Internet fist. I guess you’re right–I must deserve to be financially comfortable, a business owner who travels around 30 days a year, doing what they want, when they want. Because I’m a free person living in a free society. When I look around in America today, I see a lot of morons like yourself, slavishly kissing the feet of those who wish for you to die quickly so you can’t collect social security, after wasting your life doing work and earning money for someone else. Living a sucker’s life ain’t for me. Keep coming at me, dog, I’ve got plenty of kicks left for you.

              • AWDS says:

                Lol you sure do love your baseless insults, I’ll give you that.

                There’s nothing to argue about.

                If you genuinely believe what you say, then as I’ve said, I hope you live long enough to see just how wrong you were.

                Ditto for the people agreeing with you.

                You guys can take your chances with the comrades.

                “Because I’m a free person living in a free society. ”
                ________

                Err….. you do realize how real Socialism works, right?

              • Mancunian Candidate says:

                Look at you, playing with rightist rhetoric and racist code words in posts below with Harlem Blues. Aren’t you just so daring? Revenge politics is the politics of the pathetic, the people among us who’ve lost their humanity. Not surprising in the least that you subscribe to them. You talk about a culture war? Well….troll culture is no culture at all, you fake poser.

              • AWDS says:

                Lol one of these days you’ll post something without the baseless insults. I have faith in ye.

                I think it’s funny you continue to assume my pololotics.

                If you must know, I think the majority of NYers (well, people in general) are so enamored with themselves that they’ve become blind.

                Since I must again spell it out for you, what is the only thing democrats & republicans have in common today?

                Simple – They’re both interested in stealing your rights… albeit from different angles.

                And they’re doing it simultaneously.

                And what a wonderful job they’ve done. A generation begging to be oppressed.

              • Mancunian Candidate says:

                You haven’t spelled anything out, you’ve just changed the subject each time you cannot answer what I’ve asked you. You’re a racist piece of garbage, your behavior in your exchanges with Harlem Blues has let your hate face show behind your little internet troll mask. Go find another way to entertain yourself besides self-gratification….if you can. I have my doubts.

              • AWDS says:

                Like I’ve said, you have no idea what the word ‘racist’ means.

                Only an ardent leftist (who is utterly incapable of criticizing black people in any way) would defend the hateful crap Harlem has been spewing.

                See, I actually feel sorry for you.

                You really don’t see what is coming, do you?

                Do me a favor. Read back the last four words of North Korea’s foreign minister at his UN speech. And post them back here.

              • Mancunian Candidate says:

                You’re as credulous as you are pathetic. I don’t lose sleep over the words of pathetic tyrants, whether the tyrant in question is North Korean or American. I don’t live in fear, it’s a terrible way to live.

              • AWDS says:

                Neither do I, but in your quest to ceaselessly insult me at every turn, you failed to answer my question.

                What were the last four words?

                They’re terribly interesting if you were raised Catholic.

        • Mancunian Candidate says:

          I’ve always understood a Marxist to be someone who follows the political philosophy of Karl Marx. I’ve read a fair amount of his stuff, and would have to say that Marxism is the exact opposite of what you claim it to be. It’s a philosophy that supports the destruction of capitalism, the destruction of property rights, equality between all people, and the placing of labor-generated profits back into the hands of the workers.

          To call Obama a Marxist–like you did–means that you misunderstand politics to such a degree that you probably shouldn’t vote anymore. Just let other people do it for you next time, that way there’ll be less dire consequences to your own self-interest.

          • Dave says:

            Did Obama call for destruction of capitalism? Pretty much. Equality between people? Uh, no. He hated people of “non-color” unless they were tools of his. Also tried to destroy the White middle class, like a good Marxist.

            • SalMerc says:

              Dave they didn’t run that story on CNN, so Mancunian didn’t get the info.

              • Mancunian Candidate says:

                I don’t watch tv news, it’s for idiots. Like yourself, Salvatore. There’s an interesting news-gathering device called a newspaper, and you might be surprised to find that they’re easily accessible on the internet. I recommend checking some of them out, newspapers have been around for hundreds of years.

            • ken in sarasota says:

              Dave, you are so wrong and so full of hate based on false information that I feel powerless to confront you with facts about Marxism, Obama and all else you misrepresent. Makes me sad that there doesn’t seem to be any common ground at all that we can cling to.
              So as for me, I’m gonna watch the game tonight and look forward to seeing who’s left standing for us when the smoke clears. 3rd D pair? 3rd and 4th line centers? Where Stahl and Holden fit in – Stahl actually looked pretty good to my untrained eye. LGR

            • pas44 says:

              WAIT A SECOND

              did some moron really bring up the popular vote angle?

              Holy Crap! 3 major cites filled with massive amounts of people, mostly due to migration patterns, that make up like 140 electoral votes and you are really trying to say that counts?

              popular vote is total BS, thank the good lord for the electoral college, or we would all be listening to JAY-Z or J-LO talk at the UN as our president!

              Why are we so quick to hate rich people, successful people who are not stupid?

              Morons!

              STAND UP, REMOVE YOUR HATS AND HONOR OUR GREAT FLAG!

              idiots!

        • Egelstein says:

          “Someone who tries to quash opportunity for the masses to improve their lives and takes their money, using it to enrich themselves and live a lifestyle best suited for a despotic king.”

          That is one of the most succinct descriptions of Donald Trump that I have ever read. He was doing that shit before he even took office, for example, using bankruptcy claims to protect himself from the many, many failed businesses he has launched over the years. Fine, fine work describing exactly who he is, there.

        • Andrei Petrovitch says:

          I don’t think you quite understand what Marxism is…

    • Dave says:

      Yikes. This isn’t me folks – that’s a different Dave.

      • ken in sarasota says:

        I knew that Dave. I was responding to different Dave!

      • Egelstein says:

        The key is yours is blue.

        I did have a slight moment of panic earlier, though. I was like…crap. Another blog bites the dust. LOL. Glad it wasn’t you.

  23. Mark says:

    TOTALLY TOTALLY STUPID IDEA TO PUT POLITICS ON THIS BLOG!

    WHY IS THERE A PICTURE OF OBAMA?
    I’M PROUD OF THE PENQUINS FOR REPRESENTING HOCKEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE (I WISH THEY WOULD STOP WINNING CUPS THOUGH)

    GET OFF YOUR KNEE. HONOR YOUR FLAG.

    I STOPPED WATCHING THE NFL. I DONT WANT TO HAVE TO STOP FOLLOWING THIS BLOG.

    PLEASE DONT WRITE HERE ANYMORE.

    • Mancunian Candidate says:

      YOUR CAPS LOCK IS STUCK. BETTER HAVE IT LOOKED AT.

    • Justin says:

      Thank you for making my point. 1. There is a photo of Obama because it was the last Stanley Cup ceremony at the White House. Feel free not to like the man or agree with his policies. But, the notion that his very imagine is that offensive to you, you may need to examine why. 2. You are just yelling without a willingness to discuss the difference in our view point. 3. Just instructing me to do what you say isn’t remotely persuasive. 4. How tolerant or patriotic is it to just avoid view points that you don’t agree with?

      These types of protests and demonstrations would stay out of sports if people like you would entertain a conversation about other people’s problems. Saying “suck it up” or “it’s not my problem” is why the voiceless choose to invade your living room on a Sunday afternoon. They can’t get your attention any other way.

      • Mark says:

        Agreed. (sincerley)
        I let my emotions get the better of me. I dont like politics in my football (my 3rd fav sport behind hockey and baseball) and I certainly dont like politics in my Rangers hockey.
        American to American, Ranger fan to Ranger fan I’m sorry for “just yelling” (sincere again).
        Looking forward to your next piece (on hockey) 🙂

        • Justin says:

          Thank you for understanding my perspective, Mark. I honestly do not want politics in my sports, either. However, we as a nation (together) allowed things to come to a point where these types of demonstrations were necessary to get people engaged.

          I sincerely hope I never write another article like this again. I hope we can be fair and respectful to one another and end this horrific political divide that we have. Both sides believe what they do for a reason. There are meritorious lessons to learn from both side’s perspectives, and until we understand that, we will never see the benefits.

    • Dave says:

      What’s a penquin?

  24. WayneG says:

    Dave. Very well articulated. I am in total agreement with all points. Those who have a problem either didn’t read it or couldn’t understand your words. Or perhaps they feel it’s OK for the continued brutality by the police on people of color. Freedom of speech and non-violent protest are freedoms all who served fought for and people don’t get to support only those which they agree.
    Thank you for your post.

  25. Tom says:

    I also was a lawyer once upon a time. I do not believe that the First Amencment pertains to expressions made while on the clock working for others. You can be fired for this. I also believe those same expressions may be properly uttered on a person’s own time. To put it differently, a player has no right to expropriate the goodwill of the team franchise to promote his private beliefs.

    I am not a leftie but I am also not a fan of Trump. It is time to be honest about where the “divisivenes” arose and I submit it was Obama, not Trump who started all. It started when the POUS stated from his office that a jury verdict reached in the Martin case with no evidence of impropriety should be considered “racist” and not respected. This from a lawyer?? Did he hear all of the facts? Did he read the transcript if there was one?

    As a child, I was very active in sports and lived in an integrated neighborhood. Many of my teammates were black and we never had an issue based upon race. What is see now is some prominent politicians some of whom are black attempting to create the illusion that all law enforecment is inherently predjudiced against them, this because blacks are only 11% of the population while arrests and confinements are about 8 times that. I may be a minority of one, but I consider this “divisive” and I am sick and tired of it. As far as I am concerned, these black athletes should either put their money where their mouthes are or go eat cake.

    I also think Dave is completely wrong. One of the attractive features of hockey is that it is played with a much higher moral standard than NFL football where dancing on the opponent’s grave is common.

    Amen.

    • AWDS says:

      ” I do not believe that the First Amencment pertains to expressions made while on the clock working for others. You can be fired for this. I also believe those same expressions may be properly uttered on a person’s own time. To put it differently, a player has no right to expropriate the goodwill of the team franchise to promote his private beliefs”
      ________

      Thank you…. finally, someone who gets it.

      They have the right to protest & ‘take a knee’. No one is disputing their ‘right’ to do that. Not even Donny, if you actually listen to what he’s saying.

      However, their employers, the NFL, also have the right to unconditionally release them. To say that they don’t is A) insane & B) ignorant.

      Can you ‘take a knee’ during a meeting because you think the Johnson contract will be your undoing? Not acknowledge Japanese businessmen at another meeting because they killed your Grandfather?

      You can do things like this & more…. just not without the expectation of losing your job.

      This stuff was decided decades ago in court cases. I don’t see what is so difficult to grasp here…..

      “I submit it was Obama, not Trump who started all. It started when the POUS stated from his office that a jury verdict reached in the Martin case with no evidence of impropriety should be considered “racist” and not respected. This from a lawyer?? Did he hear all of the facts? Did he read the transcript if there was one?”
      ______

      Nonono, you dun git it. It’s only [racist sexist whateverist] when Trump / a white guy does it.

      • HARLEMBLUES says:

        Are you that fucking stupid? People of color have been shedding blood for this Country for hundreds of years. Years before most if not all you johnny come lately COWARDS from Europe got here. What amazes me is you believe his BS.

        • AWDS says:

          ” People of color have been shedding blood for this Country for hundreds of years. Years before most if not all you johnny come lately COWARDS from Europe got here”
          _________

          Did you even read what I said? Obviously not, as your response is borderline non-sequitur.

          What amazes me is how if I said something along the lines of what you said, I’d be called a racist.

          BTW, this may shock you, but I’m not a ‘Trump supporter’.

          I just see that you people are a bunch of ignorant lunatics hellbent on blaming anyone & everyone for any problem you have, now or in the past.

          In the words of Mark Twain, “The world owes you nothing. It was here long before you.”

        • RichS says:

          HBs…
          1. ???? People of color have been shedding blood for this Country for hundreds of years. ????Are you talking about the indians???
          And can you state the study/statistical reference where you got this …Fact..???? from???? if its not the french or the british….

          2. Years before most if not all you johnny come lately COWARDS from Europe got here…..you mean the 200,000 irish who served in the civil war because they were too poor to buy their way out???

          3. Or do you mean the italians who despite being a minority in this country made up 40 PERCENT of the entire american military in WW2…..

          Facts are what counts…..opinions are like armpits , everyone has them and they all stink!!!!!!

          • Mancunian Candidate says:

            How many millions of African slaves died here before the Irish & Italian immigrant waves of the 19th century? That’s the blood HarlemBlues is talking about, too bad you can’t see through your own selfish prism to notice it. This in a nutshell is what white privilege is–putting your own ethnicity’s sufferings on a pedestal while ignoring the suffering of others.

            • Tom says:

              This is getting a bit protracted if we are now getting into historical injustice. Two points:

              1. The inventory for the slave trade was provided by other blacks who sold their prisoners taken in tribal warfare.

              2. Going back further, most whites in Europe were also “slaves” although the term applied to them was “serf”. They were bound to the land and to the lord who owned it, required to work and fight for him on demand.

              I believe this proves that neither slavery nor injustice is historically limited to blacks. It really is past time to move forward and stop creating rival camps. Recognize that there is black trash out there just as there is white trash out there. Neither should be defended or protected by reason of race. Trash is trash whatever color it might be.

              • HARLEMBLUES says:

                All inventory was not provided by other African tribes. Also just like whites did here with the Native America’s deals were broken. The same tribes ended on the boat to. What was going to happen to the they didn’t know or care until the European’s came for their asses. Stop with the half truths Europeans went in and captured Africans big time.

              • Tom says:

                HB:

                The facts are there to be found if you will onlty look. You must decide whether you really want to learn the truth or would rather be protected from it.

          • HARLEMBLUES says:

            One over two hundred years would put us at 1816. Since Blacks fought and died in the 1800’s in this Country. Now about the Irish and Italians who came here. I said they where Cowards because they ran from their home lands. While other BRAVE Irish and Italian men and women fought for freedom at home. Your relatives ran got on a boat to America. COWARDS. While Black Slaves didn’t run we fought here right here for your freedom. It wasn’t handed to us because of skin color. We were beaten,women and girls raped and hung. Here not in Europe.

            • AWDS says:

              Yeah, you can go to hell.

              If you think everyone who left Europe etc at some point must be a ‘coward’, then why haven’t you moved to somewhere nice like Nairobi?

              I hear it’s a decent place nowadays.

              • Mancunian Candidate says:

                Way to be racist, AWDS, you damnable twerp.

              • AWDS says:

                You have no idea what that word means.

              • HARLEMBLUES says:

                See that the problem we don’t run we didn’t run we took it head on here in America. We made it here. Your relatives ran COWARDS shit got tough in Europe off to America. The STRONG stayed and fought to be free. But your family ran here and thought they were superior to former slaves but they were just COWARDS. That’s what gets me.

              • AWDS says:

                “See that the problem we don’t run we didn’t run we took it head on here in America. We made it here. Your relatives ran COWARDS shit got tough in Europe off to America”
                ____________

                Oh please. My relatives fought so evil people like you could say such things on the internet. Are you the relative of WW2 veterans, or former submarine captains?

                I thought not.

                You are probably the most evil person I have ever had a conversation with on the internet. So much hatred…. so much contempt… so little knowledge….

                Enjoy it while it lasts, because if people like Mancunian have their way (which I strongly suspect they will), free speech will be dead long before you.

  26. Egelstein says:

    Anyone who has a major problem with athletes kneeling during the anthem should check out the American flag code of conduct from 1923 – Title 36 Chapter 10 of the United States Code; Patriotic Customs (which, by the way, is not a “law” – it is recommended proper conduct).

    Yes, the athletes do violate section 171 by kneeling during the anthem.
    The NFL violates section 176(c) when they carry the flag out flat and horizontally over the field.
    The NFL violates section 176(i) every time they use the American flag in an advertisement, on merchandise, etc. (More on 176(i) in a bit.)
    The NFL violates section 176(j) when any part of the flag is used on an athletic uniform.
    A whoooooooole lot of citizens violate section 176(d) by owning apparel and/or bedding featuring the American flag. Have a flag bandanna or t-shirt or boxers? You’ve violated the code.
    Ever been to an overly festive 4th of July BBQ that had disposable American flag themed paper items such as plates and napkins? Did you use them? If so, you have violated 176(i) which clearly stipulates that nothing of the sort is to be produced for temporary use and discard. Flag-themed cushions (presumably because one’s ass touches them) and handkerchiefs (presumably because one deposits snot into them) are also prohibited from production in this section. Did they take all the little table flags after the party and dispose of them in the garbage? If so, they violated 176(k) which specifies that the appropriate way to dispose of a flag no longer fit for display is to preferably burn it.

    If you aren’t pissed off about any other section of the code outside 171, you are probably a hypocrite. Sorry to say. You should have been boycotting the NFL a looooooong time ago. Many other sports, too. You should be all sorts of pissed off about all sorts of uses of the flag, if you feel that athletes kneeling during the anthem is unpatriotic, frankly.

    If you’re mad about all these violations and have never participated in any said violations or endorsed such actions via purchasing products from companies who do…well, then by all means! Please do carry on.

    • AWDS says:

      “Anyone who has a major problem with athletes kneeling during the anthem should check out the American flag code of conduct from 1923 – Title 36 Chapter 10 of the United States Code; Patriotic Customs (which, by the way, is not a “law” – it is recommended proper conduct)”
      ______________

      The difference is the intent.

      People aren’t mad about technicalities, they’re angry about the utter betrayal the NFL has wrought upon military families & people who died / fought for the right to do what you jackasses are.

      On a related note, do you know why that guy on PIT froze? Because when I grew up (mind you, I’m not even 30) we were taught to freeze & raise our right arms to our hearts while the anthem played.

      The flag was one of the few things which transcended racial horsesh!t & the other nonsense which plagues this country. It’s one of the few things which represents our ability to come together & fight against common enemies. The Germans shot just as quickly at white GI’s as they did black ones.

      Guess that’s gone too now.

      • HARLEMBLUES says:

        Not the flag it’s the CONSTITUTION stupid. God such idiots. The same people that fly the flag also fly the Confederate flag and Nazi flag .Each flag has been a symbol of racism but the CONSTITUTION no its those documents not the flag. A bunch racists MFKERS on this blog. Wow.

        • AWDS says:

          So, if I understand you correctly, you’re suggesting that the flag is meaningless & it’s all about the constitution?

          if that’s what you’re saying, I’d say you have no idea what you’re talking about.

          You may not see value in respecting the flag, but where I come from, the flag is a representation of the US. To disrespect the flag is the disrespect the country. That’s why so many of us are pissed off.

          • HARLEMBLUES says:

            The problem is you don’t hear or respect that the FLAG was a symbol of a SLAVE owning Country. It’s the Constitution. That is colored blind. Ask a Native America what that flag is a symbol of. You’re not hearing the evil that was done with that flag flying over head. Because it wasn’t done to you or yours or you make just be a white supremacist.

            • AWDS says:

              I never ever said ‘evil’ things haven’t been done in the name of the country.

              Conversely, can you show me one where such a thing hasn’t occurred?

              Like I’ve said, what you suggest is downright ridiculous.

              Black people, had they discovered gun powder etc, would have done EXACTLY the same crap which white & asian people have done for millennia. Ditto for ‘the natives’.

              Shame on you if that still eludes your understanding, as it just proves that you’re the racist here. People are people.

      • Egelstein says:

        If I’m at a sporting event when the anthem plays, I stand and take my hat off, to note. I could care less if the guy/gal beside me doesn’t. That’s his/her prerogative. He’s/she’s probably got his/her reasons.

        I know people who have served and who will be the first to tell you that NFL players absolutely have a right to protest non-violently in this manner, and that rights such as that are part of what they served for.

        My post made no mention of race. My post did, however, shed light on how the flag has been misused in various ways according to the code, and that doesn’t mean that anyone who has ever violated one or more of these codes is blatantly “unpatriotic”. It most certainly does not mean they are protesting the military. To me, in the case of the kneeling by athletes, it means that they feel their country or government has let them down, and they are using the stage they have to voice that and, they hope, create an impact on what they see to be the problems.

        I don’t care why Villanueva was out there, or that the rest of his team wasn’t. Did he know the anthem was about to start? Did he intentionally “on accident” find himself out there when it did? I don’t know. I don’t care. His prerogative. I don’t think any more or less of him, or his teammates. It was a thing that happened.

        My point is, to the very loud contingency of people who say that these protests are disrespectful to the military because being disrespectful to the flag/anthem is disrespectful to the military…okay. If you feel that way, you’ve got a whoooooole other bunch of shit you should be pissed off at, too.

        The first football player who kneels for the anthem and says, “I did this because I have no respect for the military” will be the first one to do it in a manner that is disrespectful to the military.

        • AWDS says:

          Lol where did I say they don’t have ‘the right’ to protest?

          No, they just have no reasonable expectation for such protests to be protected from employer retribution.

          You’re missing the point. People don’t care about section 77b.c.3 of the Flag Code…. they care about a bunch of people basically telling them to go f*ck themselves because ‘cops are attacking black people’ or whatever.

          The flag represents EVERYONE & the sacrifices they made, not just (but obviously including) the military.

          You’re not ‘taking a stand’, you’re saying “I don’t like how something in this country is, so F*** ALL OF YOU [& consequently, the sacrifices you make/made on a daily basis to make my BS possible!]”.

          That’s how we see it.

          • Egelstein says:

            It sounds like YOU haven’t made it about the fact that it’s a violation of flag/anthem conduct protocols. Cool. An awful lot of folks have. My original statement did not start off with “Dear Angry Wiener Dog Stampede,”.

            • AWDS says:

              The real problem here is that this isn’t about politics.

              It’s a culture war.

              You leftists have no respect for the past of this country. The Judeo-Christian foundation upon which is was built, to be more precise. To you, it’s all a bunch of racist sexist white guys who made everyone’s life worse.

              And I’m not implying that nothing wrong happened in the past, or anything like that. But to ‘disrespect’ the flag because you don’t agree with something, even if you are right to disagree with it, is nothing short of a disgrace.

              It’s not a coincidence that the average IQ has plummeted almost 18 points since the year 1900.

              Quite frankly, there’s really not much left to say.

              Shame on Justin for posting this, as I doubt civility will ever truly return to this blog.

              • HARLEMBLUES says:

                See this is the shit I’m talking about. J/C foundation. That brutally wiped out the Native Americas and enslaved and killed who knows how many Africans. While your relative did what? This Country was built on murder.

              • AWDS says:

                See this is the shit I’m talking about. J/C foundation. That brutally wiped out the Native Americas and enslaved and killed who knows how many Africans. While your relative did what? This Country was built on murder”
                _____________

                Oh right, because Africans never did/do anything bad ever. They wouldn’t have [done precisely what “white people” collectively did had they also discovered gun powder]…. Have you heard of Asians before (fascinating history there)?

                Perhaps you’re familiar with the sorts of ‘music’ published today by black people (which directly belie your ridiculous argument that only us ‘evil white people’ are ‘violent’)?

                Just wondering.

                How dare you assume my relatives did nothing for this country. My grandfather (among others) jumped out of planes (which were getting shot at, mind you) so people such as yourself could sit here & exhibit your wanton contempt for basic logic and reasoning.

                You really are an entitled jerk….

                As I’ve said, it’s abundantly clear the US educational system has utterly failed you.

              • Egelstein says:

                “Shame on Justin”? GTFOH with that crap! That’s just dramatic.

                You’re complaining about agendas…while pushing an agenda super-duper hard and showing no tolerance for anyone else’s stance but your own. “Judeo-Christian foundation”? Really? What in the hell does religion have to do with anything here?

                IQ? Are you shitting me? You have not a modicum of an idea of what my IQ is, or anyone else’s here. Are you…are you really trying to say that people were smarter back in 1900? Hell, I’m 35 and kids now are taking math classes in fourth grade that I took in ninth grade. What sort of dark corner of the internet did you rustle that shit out of? You’re really asking me to believe that in 1900, they kept track of every single IQ test taken, and are doing so now as well?

                I’m sorry that people taking a stand against what they feel are injustices and inequalities makes you uncomfortable and angry. Maybe someone will invent time travel soon and you can ship yourself back to 1900 and enjoy all of it’s glory. I’m sure everything was honky-dory back then. Hope you’re not attached to running water and electricity being widely available.

                If there’s a post about the game tonight here tomorrow, and I have anything to say about it, I’m going to behave just the same way as I did prior to this piece. If you feel you can’t do that, well, that sucks. Don’t know what to tell you.

              • AWDS says:

                ““Shame on Justin”? GTFOH with that crap! That’s just dramatic.

                You’re complaining about agendas…while pushing an agenda super-duper hard and showing no tolerance for anyone else’s stance but your own. “Judeo-Christian foundation”? Really? What in the hell does religion have to do with anything here?”
                ______

                It’s also true. SHAME, SHAME *cue GoT GiF here*.

                I’m sort of surprised you’d say that about the Judeo-Christian foundation part. Figured you were more familiar with the term. It describes the basis of values which the country was founded upon. IE, why things like drinking & prostitution are considered bad.

                And these values are rapidly vanishing.

                “IQ? Are you shitting me? You have not a modicum of an idea of what my IQ is, or anyone else’s here. Are you…are you really trying to say that people were smarter back in 1900? Hell, I’m 35 and kids now are taking math classes in fourth grade that I took in ninth grade. What sort of dark corner of the internet did you rustle that shit out of? You’re really asking me to believe that in 1900, they kept track of every single IQ test taken, and are doing so now as well?”
                ______

                Lol….. I shouldn’t have said that.

                I was being dramatic, you know, not entirely serious?

                What I should have said is, as a whole, people are not as intelligent as they were in 1900. Go google what a high school entry exam from that time period looks like.

                Per polling done today, 19% of people think they have the right to inflict violence upon those whom they disagree with. 44% of people think ‘hate speech’ should be banned. And that’s just civics; I could keep going….

                You shouldn’t need me to tell you how stupid & ridiculous the average person has become.

                “I’m sorry that people taking a stand against what they feel are injustices and inequalities makes you uncomfortable and angry. Maybe someone will invent time travel soon and you can ship yourself back to 1900 and enjoy all of it’s glory. I’m sure everything was honky-dory back then. Hope you’re not attached to running water and electricity being widely available.”
                ________

                I posted something before about crime statistics. Surely you saw it.

                The real problem is you lefties are hijacking a non-partisan issue (the rapid & dangerous expansion of the “Police State”) into a ridiculous one which ignores the fundamental issues at hand.

                Did I mention that the reason why most blacks are unfairly incarcerated has to do with the nazish gun laws in Chicago, and the selling of drugs (most of which should be legal anyways)? IE, your beloved democrats & their asinine ‘public safety’ laws are the ones putting them away.

                You know, I’m sorry that Cook county has a higher murder rate than places like Fallujah, Iraq.

                Maybe we should glorify some more Gangsta rap. Tupac was a great guy, right? Yeah, that’ll help.

              • Egelstein says:

                Wow.

                Addressing your points as best I can:

                1. RE: “Christian”. LITERALLY means: relating to or professing Christianity or its teachings.

                You do know “Christianity” is explicitly a specific religion, right? And that most words involving/containing “christ” refer to such…right?

                2. “What I should have said is, as a whole, people are not as intelligent as they were in 1900.”

                You do understand that (presuming you aren’t 117 years old) you’re probably significantly more intelligent than 98% of the population in 1900, right? (if you are 117 years old, you are the smartest person of your generation…not saying much, but still – congrats!) You do understand that literacy rates in 1900…LITERACY RATES…were far lower than they are today…right?

                3. Ahhh. polling. Beautiful. Yeah, so, Hillary Clinton was projected to win the election handily in the hours leading up to it. Polls are always accurate, aren’t they?

                4. Exams in the early 1900s…well, fuck me. I probably can’t quite describe the Battle of Quebec adequately. If it weren’t for my concentration on skills that actually apply in life, I’d be able to remember such things, I’ll bet. I must be dumb, and I must just really suck at life in 2017, since I never learned these super-relevant-to-today topics from 1900.

                In any case, I’ve about run out of time, here. I’ve got to report to the Gangsta Rap Glorification Factory, soon. Luckily, my dumb ass found that job, at least.

                You stay classy, AWDS. Tell Steve Bannon that I say “Hi”.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      Seriously you pull out some shit from JIM CROW 1923?

      • Egelstein says:

        You may have realized by now…but I wasn’t arguing for those codes, haha. I was saying that I think people who are treating athletes kneeling during the anthem as disrespect to the flag because it’s in the code should also be considering all of those other (some, ridiculous) things. But they aren’t. Because this isn’t REALLY about the flag/anthem, for many.

  27. Pas44 says:

    Hold on … how many people are shot in chicago a day, week, last month, the last 10 years?

    we are now taking a knee… now after a few (maybe not all) criminals got in the way of a bullet from unfortunate, in the wrong place, white policemen?

    now we take a knee.

    we don’t give that much as a thought to speak up the past 10 years?

    crime, gun violence, murders?

    I get it… its all Trump’s fault cuz he is trying to call out wrong doers?

    and the stock markets not killing it? we are finally fixing completely ruined international threats…

    people WAKE UP, this guy is trying to fix things, make us safe and get things back… remember when people didn’t think race at every turn…

    BEFORE IDENTITY POLITICS ALL OVER THE PLACE…

    for 40 years everyone wanted to control the immigration problems, now its no good to do so? morons!

    Wake Up, whats next if our elites don’t respect the flag and honor the coming together for the playing of our country’s song!

    what do the little people do when the elites don’t care?

    WAKE UP – STAND UP AND REMOVE YOUR HATS!

    IDIOTS!

    who wrote this crap on a HOCKEY BLOG!@

    • Justin says:

      That’s the problem, Pas. For the past ten years, people were speaking up, the problem is no one was listening.

      No one is saying that the problems in this country are Trump’s fault. They are saying his rhetoric isn’t doing anything to help the situation. You cannot treat people of color like they aren’t Americans. They will not go quietly into the good night because you don’t care about them. There needs to be a dialog.

      Additionally, no one is saying we should not acknowledge problems with immigration. People have spoken out about the cruel and arbitrary targeting of his policies. I don’t think you would find a person who doesn’t exist on the political fringes that would not be perfectly willing to accept an organized, fair and legal immigration system as the best thing for this country.

      The problem of race relations and Trump’s conduct is not going away. Until we, as a nation are capable of having an adult conversation about it without name calling and yelling, things are just going to get worse. We need to understand that half the country feels one way and half the country feels another. Without bothering to understand where the other side is coming from, we can never work through any of these issues.

      This is on a hockey blog because of the NHL’s response to the situation.

      • Pas44 says:

        I appreciate your opinion, I don’t feel its the place on the hockey blog though…

        Trump is saying things the way America’s working class feels.

        Washington and both sides are against him for their reasons…

        We shouldn’t let one side decide how our honorable traditions are being followed, nor should we rip down our national monuments and our history because one side wants the votes of the other.

        anyway

        Im done with it, in 2020 he will be behind 30 points in the polls and win again, unless these BS tactics to take him down win somehow

        middle class, working class and people with class have had enough

        Stand Up, Remove your caps for the playing of our National Anthem fellas!

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      A WHITE Point of view

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      Every group kills their own say OKC bombing or a number of WHITE SERIAL killers. It’s the CONSTITUTION stupid not the flag.

      • AWDS says:

        “A WHITE Point of view”
        _____

        You know, I took criminology back in college.

        Per the FBI’s own statistics, more than half (>50%) of the violent crimes in this country are committed by black people.

        …. but it’s actually worse than that. You see, most violent crimes are committed by males aged 15-30. In fact, men of those ages are responsible for about 90% of the violent crimes (let’s face it, old ladies aren’t out there cracking skulls).

        So, through some simple math, you can say that approximately 2% (1 in 50) of the US population (black men ages 15-30) are responsible for a little less than half (1 in 2) of the violent crimes committed here.

        Check out their website if you’d like to learn more. FBI dot gov.

        • RichS says:

          Hello AWDS……..
          Thank you for FACTUAL comments which is what I present below, rather than brainwashed racist propanga that was presented in this ‘article’
          Being a retired teacher, dean etc, and somewhat older individual I enjoy this blog immensely. That being said I echo sal/merc sentiments above.
          I and others been ‘censored’ for our opinions , hockey and otherwise [free speech], but this article is entirely political!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
          Justin and you, Dave if you ok’d this are way off base……
          1. I played/coached/refed hockey and was low-middle income-as were all my friends —-certainly not rich white, which I take offense to!!!
          2. Having taught in high poverty/high crime neighborhoods for the better part of 35 years……Justins take on the problem is totally uninformed.
          3.Approx 9 unarmed blacks were shot by police this past year while the other 5,000 or so were armed!!!!!!!!! [ all FBI Stats}
          A greater percentage of unarmed whites were shot!
          4. Black on white violent crime has reached epidemic proportions in this country……there are over 95 crimes perpetrated against whites by blacks for every ONE by a white against a black!!!!!
          Time for Justin to educate himself before spewing out racist ,brainwashed propaganda!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • AWDS says:

            Shhh Rich, we have no use for plainly obvious truth & the facts here.

            AGENDAS ONLY!

            • Mancunian Candidate says:

              Why why don’t you block quote some Mein Kampf, Aryan Wanker? You racist piece of garbage.

  28. Chris. C says:

    This really has no place on a Hockey Blog. Frankly I could careless about the NFL or the NBA haven’t watched either since the late 80″s when everyone started playing for themselves all $$$. And Frankly the kneeling during the Nation Anthem IMHO is there right to do what ever they choose to – And its my right to choose not to watch. I was born and raise to respect our flag, our country, our fellow brothers and sisters, and Ive bleed for this country. I will always stand – And its also my Opinion to think your a total Asshat for not. Soon as one NHLer Knees for the National Anthem I will discontinue supporting it. And that again is my opinion.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      A WHITE point of view.

      • JoeS. says:

        it’s just a point of view!

      • Chris.C says:

        Sorry Harlem
        It’s called Values something you and this Generation haven’t a clue of. And also thanks for bringing the race issue into it also never mentioned race. Soon as Everyone treats each other as AMERICANS and not as Individual races we can move on.

        • HARLEMBLUES says:

          One you don’t know how old I am. Two I was born in the 50’s. In Harlem east side by Patsy’s which was still Italian. The fact that some reason you’re talking Crime don’t get it.

          • Chris.C says:

            From Staten Island and Far Rockaway. Values are all the same where you are. Grow up. Once again you and this Generation take and Twist things to fit your needs. Crime was mentioned.
            End of discussion no sense in debating this anymore.

            • HARLEMBLUES says:

              No, that’s what Colin was protesting disrespect by law enforcement. The killing of unarmed citizens.

      • Pas44 says:

        Is there any point of view apart from the BLM group that isn’t wrong.

        Can a view be AMERICAN? or is this now code word for White?

        Please, a colleague of mine was all bent when Trump was elected our president because of the obvious BS about him being racial, they asked me all concerned “how they are supposed to explain what the word N word meant to their small child”

        My response was to let their kids listen to some of the Rap artists music!

        Start with the poster boy for equality, Hillary’s own Pal and stage mate, JAY-Z

        Please! this pathetic whining has to stop!

        • HARLEMBLUES says:

          Whining. White America is whining oh no jobs in rural America. My son or daughter are hooked on heroin they’re junkies. If the Brothers weren’t in prison upstate New York would fall apart. No Black CEO took jobs overseas your own White Brothers did that. Than you election a man how doesn’t make a damn thing here. All he has to do is say the word. White racist America wake up.

          • AWDS says:

            “Whining. White America is whining oh no jobs in rural America. My son or daughter are hooked on heroin they’re junkies. If the Brothers weren’t in prison upstate New York would fall apart. No Black CEO took jobs overseas your own White Brothers did that.”
            _______

            So I guess shipping out just about every manufacturing / rural job to COMMUNIST China etc is a nonissue to you, because it affects white people far more so than black ones?

            And important ‘black CEOs’ (of which there are almost none) didn’t, so that must mean they care more about the country?

            The only racist here, quite frankly, is you.

            And shame on you spineless people who actually approve of people like this spewing their ignorance & hatred.

            • HARLEMBLUES says:

              The point is your White Brothers took the jobs overseas. Brothers like Trump. But your not mad at them because? The truth really hurts it’s does doesn’t it. See Black America will always be good. We were property in this Country, Slaves. From the bottom to the top as Drake said. White America is now whining because your own the rich have let you go turned on you. Cut the coed. We were Slaves right here not over seas. We took the beatings the rape hangings we didn’t whine we fought for freedom right here.

              • AWDS says:

                “The point is your White Brothers took the jobs overseas. Brothers like Trump. But your not mad at them because?”
                _____________________

                Lol, I’m a Trump voter now? Good to know.

                White people don’t look at each other like ‘brothers’. We see people as… wait for it… people. At least most of us do, anyways. And you’re right, they’re a bunch of rotten bastards. Traitors who betrayed you just as much as I. You do know how taxes work, yes?

                …. We’re part of the same country, right…?

                The sick part of this entire argument is, despite the utterly evil things you’ve said to me & about my family (and, quite frankly, most people’s families here by logical extension)…… I don’t actually disagree with much of what you’re saying, just the message as a whole.

                I agree that black people are systematically abused by ‘the system’ today. The court system, and the gun/drug laws are incredibly ridiculous today, to say the least. Hell… It’s not even a well kept secret that having a black name makes you much less likely to get called for a job. The whole thing has become a self-perpetuating cycle of never ending violence.

                However, as I said before, that doesn’t change the facts of what actually happens today. No one here enslaved anyone (at least, no one alive), nor is anyone here actually responsible for that, and we sure as hell don’t appreciate it when you apparently suggest otherwise.

                Furthermore… the glorification of violence & indecency by both young & black people as a whole is utterly indefensible, and you’d be a fool to think many of the crimes committed today are not a direct result of that festering culture which has consumed this country (and honestly, much of the world).

                You’re not ‘all good’… if you were, as I’ve said, 50% of the violent crimes in the US wouldn’t be committed by just ~2% of the population (15-30 year old black males).
                That is utterly indefensible, even if the system as a whole in this country is incredibly flawed.

          • RichS says:

            HB…
            I noticed you DID NOT answer my questions……Why???Here they are again….or are you too cowardly to respond….maybe….’you cant handle the truth!!!
            1. How can you IGNORE the blatant fact that there is approximately a 95 to 1 ratio of black to white VIOLENT crime, and believe that white people are more racist than blacks, which I think you do???
            2. How can you IGNORE the blatant fact that there were only 9 unarmed black shot last year by cops out of close to 5000 violent armed criminals apprehended????
            3. How can you IGNORE the blatant fact that a GREATER percentage of unarmed white criminals were shot by cops last year that blacks???????
            4. Tell me how you can still have the opinion that blacks face racism from whites after now knowing these truths/facts?????

            • HARLEMBLUES says:

              Don’t know where you get your stats from

              • pas44 says:

                Obviously there are WHITE stats right HB?

                someone mentioned above how they want to wake up in a time when people are post 9/11 and do not have to know war…

                wait a minute… why am I even trying to talk to you?

              • RichS says:

                The Federal Bureau of investigation as well as other federal, state and local agencies keep theses statistics……….Check them out for yourself…..and THEN have the courage to answer my questions!!!!!!!
                AND if you hate it here so much GO BACK to where ever you came from!!!!!!!

            • Mancunian Candidate says:

              RichS, you are one seriously delusional & hate-filled man. You and Aryan Wanker Delusion Spreader should get a room together, and see if you can’t produce a manifesto. You’re a disgrace.

  29. Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

    So much for seeing a breakdown or analysis of last night’s game. I guess I’ll have to look elsewhere. It won’t be as good but at least it’ll be about what what I come here for.

    • AWDS says:

      Yeah, it’s a sad day when you can’t even discuss HOCKEY in a HOCKEY forum….

      … doesn’t reddit have a section for crap like this?

    • Pas44 says:

      You are correct. When good things are happening no one spreads them to this blog, I wonder why?

      • Rod Seiling's Twilight Zone says:

        We Rangers fans are used to watching a bevy of kids with tremendous potential during the pre-season. We’re spoiled by years of spending this time speculating about what we might see from kids like Buchnevich, DeAngelo, Littieri, Andersson, Pionk, & Chytil. We’re obviously bored by such an embarrassment of riches.

        Why talk about having two first round picks make the club. I have t-shirts older than these kids. One, Andersson, may just be 2C or 3C for the next 12 years. The other, Chytil may be the steal of the draft.

        We’ve waited years to be able to talk about such kids like this. Have we ever had someone like Chytil to talk about? Ever?

        But who cares about the kind of pedestrian, superficial stuff that we live for, that we’ve waited years to appreciate when we can spend time talking about how politics have infected sports like a cancer and the First Amendment and respect for the flag?

  30. Ray says:

    Justin, I commend you for this well thought out post and Dave for allowing it. I certainly hope that no one who disagrees with me on this is reading my comment as it would be wrong to read the comments to an inappropriate post.

    You have enlightened us greatly over the years and a single un-emphatic post giving us your perspective on an important topic is appreciated.

    On the Penguins, as one other commenter noted, accepting the offer shows respect for the presidency as well as for this president. I would not go personally, but I can see the opposing argument.

    • Justin says:

      Thank you, Ray. I appreciate your sentiment. I was hoping to see a group of people with common interest (in this case the Rangers and hockey, in general), use this opportunity to have a civil discussion about this issue. That has been the true in some case and not so much in others.

      The biggest thing I want to convey is that we are all Americans. We are all in this together whether we like it or not. I think for that reason, we need to put aside our own inherent biases, defense mechanisms and sense of purism.

      I think the questions we have to ask is what kind of human beings do we want to be. Do we want to be the bullies of the world and marginalize people don’t believe are strong enough? Isn’t the point of our military to fight for people who cannot fight for themselves? There are always people gaming the system, on both sides of the aisle, but if we let that poison our basic sense of right and wrong, that is something we cannot come back from.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        “I was hoping to see a group of people with common interest…use this opportunity to have a civil discussion about this issue.”

        C’mon Justin. You’ve been around long enough to know that was never going to happen. It’s pretty laughable if you really did think anything civil was going to occur the moment this article was posted.

  31. PAL says:

    If one wants to be amused and yet made a little sad at the same time, one can read the unhinged posts by Mancucian Candidate, who left us a list of Paradises such as Albania, Poland, and the USSR (did MC forget the Ukranian famines that left 10s of millions dead, all thanks to collectivization?), as examples the superiority of Communism.

    Also humorously, MC accuses me of “unnecessarily” bringing up antifa – yet he himself can be said to have brought immigration into the conversation “unnecessarily”. When I point out to him that there has never been a tradition of unlimited immigration, his response is that all previous restrictions on immigration were based on racism, and that the president is a racist. Typical extremist knee-jerk response, everything can be blamed on racism!!

    MC, can I take it then that you do NOT disapprove of beating up people who march in favor of the Constitution?

    • Mancunian Candidate says:

      Or you could read about the Irish famine of 1846-48, the effects of which were greatly magnified by adherence to laissez-faire (hands-off) free-market capitalism. The Irish were left to die under a variety of insufficient and halfhearted attempts at governmental relief, while the British absentee landlord class used famine to clear their lands for them.

      Don’t put words in my mouth either. Just because I’ve said 68 years of single-party government in China makes them a success doesn’t mean I believe Stalin/Beria/Kruschev/Brezhnev etc were successful as well. All those guys were good at was holding onto power.

      Lastly, I’m not excusing violence by anyone against anybody, except violence against nazis. Nazis have declared intentions to physically exterminate various races, and as such are threatening people directly when they gather to speak. Any method of self protection is justified against nazis. It’s so sad that I have to type this in 2017, merely 72 years after fascism’s madness was crushed by the American and Russian and British armies.

  32. Andy says:

    It’s unfortunate our society has degraded to this level of polarization and candidly the level of disrespect we show to others who we don’t agree with is really a disgrace. I don’t care for this post. Not because of what was written. Justin was thoughtful and that is all fine. But I want to talk about who’s making the team, the strengths and weakness of the organization and how us armchairs GM’s can fix those things. This protest issue has blown up, for the worse. All this stuff is divisive. I have always viewed sports as a place where fans with different viewpoints or backgrounds can actually get together, for a period of time, and check their differences at the door and enjoy ourselves in a good-hearted manner for a common cause.
    I am not a real fan of these protests for a simple reason. If you are an athlete playing on a sports team; it’s your job. This is NOT YOUR TIME this is the teams time. If people want to protest in their own time. Great. But here, you’re not solely an individual you’re a member of a team. And you have a responsibility to yourself and every other member of this team. I think of the term Locker Room Poison can and will apply here.
    Is there a real issue here? Probably on both sides. But taking a knee and complaining is the easy part. How about doing Volunteer work? How about your actions being consistent with your values? I do wonder out loud how many people who knelt on Sunday actually donate to charity or do volunteer work to help those they claim to want to support and are far less fortunate than they are? Not judging, but wondering.
    The NFL has a bad reputation for a reason. They have done a horrible job dealing with disciplining poor player conduct and they are completely inconsistent in passing out discipline.(Ray Lewis, Pacman Jones, etc, etc, etc.) Look at some of the things these players have done and the leagues response and it’s mind boggling. Combine that with the league refusing to let the Cowboys put the Dallas police logo on their helmets to honor the Dallas police officers who were assassinated protecting protesters right at a BLM protest and you have a real perception problem here. These kneeling protests whether right or wrong are not helping the perception of the NFL for a wide portion of the audience. And this is a business. The ratings are way down over the past 2 seasons. And people are not going to the games. At least not here in the LA area. That means lower revenues.
    This league and players can do as they wish. And they will decide what they feel is best for them self. Liberals and conservatives overlap in all aspects of business from buying goods and services to watching sports to going out to eat and drink. I feel businesses should remember that and consider staying neutral.
    On the Penguins going to the White House. Fine by me. And it kills me to agree with Sid, but I do, because he is right. Players have protested other Presidents or not gone for whatever reason. It’s a tradition for championship teams to go to the White House and I believe the players can and should uphold it, no matter who is in office. But if they choose not to go that is their right.

    • Ray says:

      There are two kinds of people in the world – milquetoasts and hypocrites. Either you have no views or you do not always follow them. The world becomes a better place because imperfect people strive to make it better in a way of their own choosing. And each of us gets to choose which problem we care to fix.

      And, BTW, what you are saying is that these players are only Americans when they are off the clock. How odd that you can’t be an American when the national anthem is playing.

      • Andy says:

        I am saying when you are on the clock you have to honor and respect your role as a team member and the rules..off the clock..it’s your life and you choose.

        • Ray says:

          Nobody really believes that. I’ll bet even today at least one office worker has called his/her spouse and discussed tonight’s dinner plans. One does not give every minute to one’s employer.

          And these people are professionals. They are not paid by the hour. If I own a team and you are my left defensive tackle, I want you to spend some time when you are off the clock thinking about how you are going to beat next week’s offensive line, but I don’t want to claim every second of your time on game day.

          If I hire you as a lifeguard, I want you watching the pool for 8 hours. If I hire you as a quarterback, I want you to get me some touchdowns and not turn the ball over.

          • Andy says:

            Exempt employees have rights too. Beyond ethics clauses and conduct clauses that are determined in a personnel contract or collective bargaining agreements an employer does not have much say over an employees personal time.
            You have me wondering how many sports figures are calling their spouses at half time to see what’s for dinner…

  33. JoeS. says:

    What do you call 1000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

    A good Start!

    Every time someone agrees with Trump they are labeled a racist! That is bullshit!
    The reason he was elected is because people are tired of all the lawyers in Washington taking care of themselves and not the country! They suck and haven’t done a single thing in years to help this country!

    I couldn’t disagree more with your bullshit stance Justin! Being a lawyer doesn’t make you smarter than everyone else!
    Fuck the NFL! they make millions because of the game and the only way they know how to protest is to kneel during the anthem of the greatest country on earth. I pity them fools!

  34. Chris F says:

    Looks like I’m late to the party, but definitely have some thoughts to share on this topic.

    First, let me just state that I am currently an active duty officer in the United States Air Force. I love my profession, but it has not come without sacrifice, hardship, and morally painful decisions that I am tasked with making. I accept these burdens not out of respect for flags and anthems, but out of love of country and the values it purportedly stands for, sacrosanct among them the right to individuality and expression of political thought. I cannot, in good conscience, do my duty on the one hand, and on the other hand support the suppression of NFL players’ right to make statements and expressions as they see fit.

    Further, I am in no way conflicted about the statements and expressions they have put forth, as their stated intentions have never, not once, been directed at the men and women who serve our nation. This issue has always been about addressing an imperfection (real or imagined) in our society, and anyone striving for a more perfect union within their constitutional rights should be something we servicemembers are proud of, for they are realizing and actualizing the freedoms we swore an oath to protect. It takes a special kind of arrogance and insecurity for any military member or vet to demand fielty to the flag or anthem from the civilian populace in acknowledgment of our service. For what purpose does our sacrifice mean if we claim to stand for freedoms that we would ultimately object to when exercised?

    This is not about us. This is not about the military. Listen to the grievances being stated. Listen to the wholly unnecessary, but nevertheless appreciated, comments from players time and time again saying they mean no disrespect to the military, they mean no insult to the legacy of those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice. They see a problem in our society, and are choosing to take a knee to raise awareness about that problem (in addition to great many charitable endeavors many of them are actually involved in). They’re putting their money where their mouth is. You can disagree with their underlying assessment of what’s going on in this country, but do not drag the United States military into this debate. Secretary of Defense Mattis probably said it best when asked for his thoughts on the matter, stating “I’m the Secretary of Defense. We defend the country.” In other words, this doesn’t have anything to do with us. I’d implore civilians, military members, and vets alike to take heed of those words, and stop creating a division that isn’t there.

    None of which is to say that individuals don’t have a right to find the players’ actions to be controversial, or to boo them from the stands, or to even boycott the NFL (as silly as I find those reactions to be). But let’s debate their actual grievances instead of concocting hysterical claims about respect for the military.

    And as a final thought, for those who claim this is not a First Amendment issue, and have made the argument that any other non-governmental place of employment is free to place restrictions on political speech from its employees, I’d counter that you’re overlooking the fact that theirs is in reality a passive act of political speech, rather than an active expression. No other place of employment (aside from the military, law enforcement, etc) actively requires participation in what is ultimately a political gesture. Where you see players making actively political expressions by kneeling, I see them passively refusing to be coerced into political participation. And legally, I see no firm ground for the NFL to enforce participation in standing for the National Anthem. I’ve yet to see anyone really make that distinction, but I believe it’s an important one.

    Anyway, this is my take on the matter.

    • Mancunian Candidate says:

      Great post, Chris. Especially like your take on the nature of this protest and how it should be defined under labor law.

    • Matt R says:

      Wow, awesome. Well thought out, thank you for your service.

    • JoeS. says:

      Thanks for your service, Chris. It truly humbles me. However this is not about politics to me, you can have a voice in politics in so many different ways. The problem I have is doing it during the national anthem to the greatest country in the world. If you don’t agree, please help me out and name another one better. The point is that the very inequalities they speak out against (albeit silently), would be far worse in any other country. This country is not perfect, by any means, and there are serious divisions within the races and yes this is wrong, but to use the anthem to the greatest country in the world to make your point is disrespectful to the great land we live in, not the brave service people who defend it! That is why I loathe the stuff!!! Nothing at all to do with race!

      • Chris F says:

        I’m an American, this is my country, and I can think of none other that I’d personally prefer to have grown up in. I’ve spent alot of time abroad, and when I did, I missed so many of the little things here I normally take for granted, things which do make us a really unique, exceptional nation. So, please don’t misunderstand me in thinking I’m suggesting this country isn’t one of the finest in history. However, that’s my opinion based on my experiences.

        It doesn’t mean this country is perfect (it likely never will be), however, and it certainly doesn’t mean that is everyone’s experience. We, as a society, still have a long way to go, and I can respect and appreciate that for many people, their experiences as individuals and as communities have been far more bitter than mine.

        I’d argue that in the arena of law enforcement and the justice system as a whole, there are in fact alot of other nations that are doing it much better than us. So, to say that the inequalities faced by some here would be worse in any other country is a little bit of a fantastical statement. You can unflinchingly believe that this country is the best in history, without confusing that with being the best at everything in history.

        Police abuse, wrongful convictions, disproportionate sentencing, the entire bail system, the war on drugs, the bureaucratic war on the poor, corporatism, legislative corruption, defense contractor budget waste, pharmaceutical and other industry monopolization, campaign financing, white collar fraud, etc. This country has an exorbitant number of issues, and it’s no wonder that many people are very upset about a number of issues.

        One of those problems is undoubtedly race, and not so much race relations, but rather how the system as a whole operates with imbalance toward race. There are just too many accounts out there of police misconduct involving the use of force, followed by little if any accountability, that are disproportionately affecting minorities. Likewise with policies like Stop and Frisk, traffic law enforcement, and criminal sentencing. The data is overwhelming in this area. And so people are frustrated. It’s led to riots, and anger, and boiling frustration. And that was criticized as being an inappropriate, even criminal at times, means by which to express discontent and demand change. And so, Colin Kaepernick, who donates a tremendous amount of time and money to a number of causes, such as inner city youth programs, child incarceration prevention, homelessness, etc decided he’d take a more peaceful, less disruptive, but just as visible stance to highlight these issues.

        In a professional sports League which has legally questionable by-laws written to enforce participation in National Anthem pregame ceremonies, Kaepernick decided he would not be coerced into pledging respect and admiration to a government that has largely failed to live up to many of its stated values, and so he took a knee. And he said he’d continue to do so until he began to see change in a couple of specific areas that are important to him. He harmed no one. He violated no one’s rights. It was peaceful, quiet, and non-disruptive. The very aspects of civil disobedience that are so often called for in reaction to more violent, chaotic forms of protest. It could have been a non-story, a brief, fleeting headline, with perhaps an occasional on-air mention the following few Sundays as the cameras panned over to Kaepernick quietly kneeling on the sideline.

        Instead, a staggering contingent of people who have cut their teeth in the culture wars incessantly mocking the overly sensitive, too-easily-offended snowflakes of the left, suddenly lost their collective minds, clutched their pearls, and made this is a flash-point issue in their never ending narrative of the War on American Values. It was an absurd reaction, full of hypocrisy, philosophical contortions, and divisiveness. And it was that demagoguery, and all those demands to silence Kaepernick and remove him from the League that made this the widespread issue that it now is, with players all across the League joining in defense of Kaepernick, the right he is exercising, and the issues he is highlighting.

        Those who belligerently go on and on about how offended they are by this, and how disrespectful it is, have only made it more of an issue, spreading the awareness of the controversy, and rallying people to what Kaepernick started.

        I have no issue with anyone who on a personal level doesn’t like what Kaepernick did, or would never choose that medium themselves to highlight a perceived injustice, but I do believe the viciousness in which he’s been called out, and the punishment that is being clamored for undermines the very American values that Kaepernick’s many critics so often claim are under attack.

        • Chris F says:

          Oh, I forgot. Players lining up for the National Anthem in the NFL only began in 2009, after the Defense Department gave the League millions of dollars to include this in their pregame ceremonies. It was part of a recruitment initiative centered on drumming up patriotic pomp and circumstance.

          So, would you rather have someone kneel for something they believe in, or would you rather see the government paying to have people stand for the National Anthem?

          Seems like a no-brainer to me.

  35. Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

    Well, I wasn’t sure if I should get involved in this or not. But since I have managed TV stations that have strong local news operations in both red, blue and purple states, I feel I have at least surrounded myself with people with varying viewpoints. So I couldn’t completely abstain on this debate.

    I have a few general observations–

    First, I want to applaud Justin for writing this article as well as Dave for having the courage to green light this “off-topic” opinion and allow Justin to do so. It takes guts to take a stand, regardless of whether one agrees with said stand or not. Bravo!

    Second, I have to say I largely agree with Justin’s take here. And also very much agree with Chris F. To me, the whole idea that kneeling during the anthem is somehow disrespectful, specifically to the military, is suspect at best. In totalitarian governments, allegiance is demanded and required. Do anything less in such countries and it means you will be shunned, or more likely permanently eliminated. That is not the American Way. Look at the Declaration of Independence. “That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it….”. Now, that is obviously an extreme course of action that set the groundwork in motion for our eventual separation from Great Britain. But the basic principle remains. I doubt seriously that our Founding Fathers would want us to pledge blind loyalty to a piece of cloth–which is nothing more than a symbol of our freedom. It is not, in and of itself, freedom. Or some deity to be worshipped. Indeed, I believe our Founding Fathers would encourage us to think for ourselves, to question everything, and to NOT be afraid to take a stand when we disagree with the government that our flag represents.

    For the President of the United States to DEMAND loyalty to the flag and the anthem is inappropriate and arguably dangerous to the very core of our democratic beliefs. We have the right to dissent. We have the right NOT to participate. And it is inappropriate for the President to call anyone who dissents a “Son of a B—-” that should lose his livelihood for his or her beliefs.

    Now personally, I have never failed to honor the flag, and at games I probably sing the anthem louder than anyone else in the building other than John Amirante. But does that make me more patriotic than the next guy? Of course not. That’s just me. And if the guy next to me is eating his hot dog while the Anthem is playing, I respect his right to do so. Because that’s what freedom is.

    The tradition of playing the National Anthem at games started during World War I at baseball games. It was a totally appropriate way to honor our soldiers who were fighting for our freedom abroad. But no American was ever required to participate and that should not be the case now. This is simply another unneeded distraction by the White House to feed some red meat to the President’s rapidly shrinking base and turn attention away from other more pressing issues.

    Reading these comments on this blog were both amusing and disturbing. But yet sadly, not surprising. Just today, I had a conference call with my team of news directors and we discussed the terrific piece that Oprah did on 60 Minutes on Sunday (anyone see that?). She attempted to get Trump supporters and Trump critics to sit down with each other and discuss their differences. It was terrific TV IMO. I want to see if we can do something similar in the markets we serve. But it won’t be easy. Because there are just too many people out there (and also out here on this blog) who have no interest whatsoever in listening to each other, or attempting to find a middle ground, or trying to appreciate another’s perspective. I may be a dreamer, but that is something I’d like to see changed.

    Folks, we are a deeply divided nation. The responses to Justin’s post clearly reinforces that. I expected there to be strong opinions, and sadly, I was not surprised to see the vitriol come out of the keyboards of people I generally respect as debate partners or foes when we discuss Rangers hockey. What does that accomplish? Nothing.

    Whichever side of the debate you are on, you need to realize that the other side is NOT going away. Name calling and insults just make people dig in their heels that much more. We need to find ways to bridge the gaps on our differences. Otherwise, this country is in deep, deep trouble. The President is the person best capable of bringing the country together. But so far, he has shown zero interest in doing so. I suspect even his most ardent supporters would agree with that.

    Ok, enough politics. Back to Rangers hockey (I hope)!

  36. Richter1994 says:

    I am white and I feel very fortunate for what I have, meaning a good job and a family that I would do anything for.

    I have friends of all color and love them all because they are my friends.

    I do not leave the house every morning at 5AM with the intent of hurting anyone of any color.

    I volunteer in nonprofit organizations to help others less fortunate to give appreciation for my own good fortune.

    I would never, ever try to put myself in the shoes of others that experience injustice, no matter what the injustice relates to, and tell others how they should feel.

    We are not a perfect country and hopefully we can do better in many aspects.

    I pray that athletes that use their fame to “speak out” then follow it up with community service, working with their local police to make things better. Michael Bennett is an example of this. He speaks, he does. That’s the American way.

    For all our issues, there is no country I would rather live in and believe in. For those who think the grass is greener in other countries would be very wrong. So let’s work together to make the best country in the world even better. For all people. It’s in everyone’s best interest to do so.

    We can start by rooting for the Rangers as a community. And using blind eyes as to who we are rooting with.

    God Bless America, help us to be better as individuals and a country, and Let’s Go Rangers!!

    • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

      And that, my friends, is the perfect response to all of us. Well done Richter! I couldn’t agree more!

      • Richter1994 says:

        Hope you’re feeling well bro. Can’t wait for the season to start!!

        • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

          Feel fantastic. 100%! Let the games begin!!!!

          • Richter1994 says:

            How fantastic are you going to feel when Staal and Holden play instead of Pionk and DeAngelo? 🙂

            Glad to hear it my friend.

            • Eddie!Eddie!Eddie! says:

              The doctor has cleared me for even the most stressful of defensive pairings, so no worries there! 🙂

              Some very, very interesting decisions ahead, and I suspect they will be made largely based on the things we DON’T see in practice as opposed to what we have seen in the games themselves. Also, have to consider so many things. Does playing Holden increase his trade value? Is Pionk REALLY ready NOW? Same question for DeAngelo. Or would one or both benefit from a little time down in Hartford while Gorton assesses what he has and tries to engineer a trade.

              TBD

              • Richter1994 says:

                your coach will weasel his way to have Staal play, some how some way.

                It is sad what’s happened to Marc but he should be no where near a starting line up for the Rangers.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      We are greater together today and hopefully better tomorrow. I’m with you 94 let’s be better Human Beings.

      • Richter1994 says:

        That’s the key HB. If we all work individually to be better then collectively we all will see the difference.

        Even every day politeness has disappeared. Sad.

  37. Tom says:

    As an attorney, watching people twist and contort the first amendment to suit their personal political beliefs was difficult, as well

    Its funny that you start your article with that statement and then proceed to go off on your own personal political beliefs. This is a site about hockey particularly rangers hockey that I’ve enjoyed coming to and getting the information on the rangers. Trumps an idiot. Hillary was an idiot. Stop turning everything into politics. I have followed Dave on twitter and saw his political beliefs and I unfollowed him because i found myself dissgreeing with him on most of those beliefs, but continued to come to the site because I enjoyed his writing on the rangers. Not everyone has to agree on everything and not everything has to become the biggest deal in the world. Sports are an outlet lets keep it that way

  38. AD says:

    You are a true coward. you put out your liberal pontifications on sociopolitical events along with a warning which invariably means “if you don’t agree with me, I will block you or prevent your view from being expressed.”

    get a grip on reality

      • Chris F says:

        Say what? The disclaimer was to let all of the commenters know that since comments would be unmoderated, things could get nasty.

        It was a disclaimer simply to let us know what sort of environment we might be entering.

        How in the world do you interpret a disclaimer that comments WON’T be moderated as a threat of censorship?

        Holy hell, that’s dense.

  39. Creature Feature says:

    When I read these comment, most are civil and provide insight on the topic, while expressing their views. About 3 people resorted to name calling and insults – you can find them easily by scrolling thru the comments.

    It is a real shame that those 3, even in an unmoderated page allow themselves to sink so low, embarrassing to the rest of the bloggers.

  40. Andrei Petrovitch says:

    I know I’m late to the party, but here goes.

    1) A few things to know about me, if anyone cares: I’m a diehard, lifelong liberal Democrat. I despise Trump and look forward to the day he leaves office.

    2) My dad was a veteran – granted, he only served in the army during the waning days, weeks, and months of the Korean war, but still. My brother and 3 cousins also served in the Marines.

    3) I completely stand by the right for anyone to do what he/she she’s fit. The right to free expression > “patriotic correctness,” i.e., forced respect for the flag.

    4) Yet I always, and will always stand. I feel the American’s good outweighs its many, many flaws. Granted, I’m not black (I’m Puerto Rican, with Slavic ancestry on my father’s side), so maybe if I were in Kapernick’s, et al’s shoes, I might feel differently.

    5) I think that’s the real problem here: neither side wants to take a moment to walk a mile in the other’s shoes (that’s the problem with America, period).

    6) As for the Penguins – eh, whatever. Personally, I think it’s stupid that, outside of the olympics, we mix nationalism and sports. If it were up to me, I’d eliminate the White House visits, regardless of party, and drop the anthems. We don’t sing it before theater productions, movie screenings, concerts, etc.