Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

December 2017

Years before Google, my Aunt Miriam had a stack of New Yorker magazines with bits of paper-marking keys to information she could call on to fit many, if not all, situations calling for a distinction.

William F. Buckley said that the role of an intellectual in society was to make distinctions. He demonstrated his point by recalling that when he referred to President Truman as the country’s foremost vulgarian, his professor remarked that that’s how many referred to President Abraham Lincoln.

Now, regarding the situation of people boycotting NFL games because some players are disrespecting the flag and anthem, I wonder, Why now? I must confess I don’t like Colin Kaepernick, and was always happy when he got picked or sacked, or his team lost. I’m not a huge fan of tats. As to the whole protest thing he started, well, it’s continuing without him, so if the right thing to do is to counter-protest the NFL with a boycott, it’s too late.

NFL players belong to a union, and if there’s a question about work rules, that’s a labor deal. Team owners needed to address the work rules with union representatives. That should have happened long ago, because it is very hard to demonstrate that something is intolerable now that was tolerated for two previous seasons.

Assume for the moment that everyone agrees the flag and the national anthem have to be respected. The place to start is to call out all flag and anthem protests, especially those predating Colin K’s genuflections. I’ve got a golf shirt made to represent the flag. I should burn it even though I bought it to wear to the Warren parade. Aunt Miriam, no doubt, could cite other examples of acts disrespectful to the flag — bikinis, beach towels, saddle blankets, little flags on toothpicks stuck in pigs-in-a-blanket ...

I wouldn’t be surprised if she reprised all the protests centered in New England about the War of 1812. Madison’s War, it was derided and the reference to slaves in the third stanza of the anthem is pretty creepy.

From the third stanza:

“No refuge could save the hireling and slave
/From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave/And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
/O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Hey, what the heck, the Colonial Marines, made up of runaway slaves fighting for the Brits, are given credit for marching on D.C. and burning the White House. Can’t blame them for wanting to be free. In the end, the War of 1812 ended pretty much as a no-decision: Borders didn’t change, we didn’t get Canada (or parts thereof), the Brits didn’t get New Orleans. Napoleon sold us Louisiana in 1803, pretty much lost his war in 1814, and then met his Waterloo in 1815.

What’s all this have to do with the NFL? Truce, okay? I’ll rethink my aversion to excess tats. Everyone else, feel free to do whatever, but can we get the Super Bowl out of the way before the start of spring baseball?