About a week before Donald Trump started goofing off during the National Anthem at a Super Bowl-watching party at his Florida resort, because of course he did, an employee at a newish West 7th hangout was acting the goof.
For his shift at Your Mom’s House, the employee, a young white man, had chosen to wear a Colin Kaepernick jersey with an Afro wig and the former NFL quarterback’s name on the back partially blacked out to leave only the letters “P-R-I-C-K.” On the front of the jersey was a sign that read, “Will stand to play.”
Kelly Middleton and Kyev Tatum weren’t having any of it. Tatum, a popular local activist, led a small protest march in front of the club on Super Bowl Sunday, demanding an apology. As of this writing, none has come. Middleton, a bartender at nearby Magnolia Motor Lounge, took video of Tatum and his group and added her stance on social media: “I’m sharing to spread the word and make my opinion clear that this kind of shit is not accepted by area service industry workers. People need to know who and which places in Fort Worth perpetuate this trash.”
She later wrote us that “by continuing to expose racism, bigotry, prejudice, etc., as unacceptable, archaic, and gross, we’re strengthening the framework for this garbage to die out.”
Middleton went on to write that while many people probably laughed and continue to laugh at the joke, there is “a slew of Fort Worth patrons, employees, and artists that are purely disgusted by it. We have a strong presence, and we’re going to call them out on it.”
The employee’s identity is unimportant. The bigger problem is a culture that allows people like him to crack borderline racist jokes without material repercussion. We say “borderline” because anyone of any ethnicity or nationality can be labeled a “P-R-I-C-K,” not just African-Americans.
Kaepernick started kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police violence and other racial issues. Though he can still perform at a high level –– and though most NFL teams are sorely lacking at the QB position –– he hasn’t had an NFL job in years. Apparently, he’s box office kryptonite, and if there’s one thing a billionaire NFL owner hates more than losing money, it’s, well, nothing. There’s nothing those guys hate more than losing money.
Kaep is disrespecting the flag, but disrespecting the flag has to be the point. What once was a shining symbol of hope, unity, and equality has now become a crude tool of far-right-forced patriotism. And there’s nothing more ’Murican than the NFL.
Probably the only reason there is a kneeling controversy is that the taxpayer-owned Department of Defense began paying millions of dollars to the NFL in return for displays of patriotism and that since 2011, the league has raised more than $26 million for military causes through the sale of military-themed apparel. National Anthem extravaganzas before games, honoring veterans at halftime, awarding “free” tickets to veterans, player visits to troops –– surely, the most lucrative sports organization in all of North America ate those costs, right? No. No, they didn’t. You and I paid for all that. The NFL eventually … eventually … gave back around $700,000 –– or an infintisimal fraction of league commissioner Roger Goodell’s annual $30 million salary. Where’s his medal?
If only all these Kaep haters knew that the NFL had fleeced the U.S. military –– and us taxpayers –– then maybe they’d take a knee alongside Kaep on Sundays. Oh, that’s right. They can’t because he still doesn’t have an NFL job. And the dude at Your Mom’s House still does.
Editor’s Note: We will not be allowing comments whose authors attempt to identify the man in question until we are able to independently confirm his identity. Thanks for your patience.