Floyd, Kaepernick, Fromm, & Brees

What do these four men have in common and what is uncommon between them?

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All four of them live(d) in the United States of America as legal citizens. That is one common denominator, but that is essentially where any similarities end other than genetics. What are the contrasts of these four men?

Three of the men play or have played in the NFL, one is no longer allowed to play in the NFL, and another was a fan of the NFL. Two are black men and two are white men, all from very different backgrounds inside the U.S. Three of the men are still living. Two of the men enjoy an extremely lavish lifestyle provided to them by their zip code births and family, the NFL, their respective team-owners, and brand-endorsements. One no longer has a career in the NFL and those rewards for simply going down to one knee during the imposed National Anthem before games to peacefully protest “police violence” on African-Americans and non-whites—a right provided by and protected by our U.S. Constitution and First Amendment for ALL U.S. citizens. One man was restrained by police officers and then suffocated to death by one officer, confirmed by two separate autopsies. The victim was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a nearby market. Finally, two of these four men enjoy very different American lifestyles, legal protections and privileges under our laws and Constitution DESPITE the fact that all four men are/were legal U.S. citizens.

There must be another fact remembered here. According to our federal and state laws, all of us deserve equally certain and specific protections by these laws, even when “suspected” of a crime, before and during legal “Due Process” by our justice system. A popular catch-phrase for this is “innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.” Every single American citizen is provided these inalienable rights regardless of race, religion, color, creed, and sexual-orientation by the laws of the land, that is in theory. Economic or financial status SHOULD also be included and defined in these rights, but that’s another debate for another time and likely for a balanced, equitable U.S. Supreme Court.

Here is why I have gathered these four American men into a group. They currently represent citizens of the United States and the laws that are supposed to protect them. Perhaps I should have included Officer Derek Chauvin as well, but I chose not to in order to keep this post and topic somewhat brief and time-considerate. I will assume that most of my readers understand the purpose of American law-enforcement leading to arrests and probable cause (not sentencing!) for any police detainments and arrests, and followed by “due process” within our civil and criminal justice code and our U.S. Constitution.

  • George Floyd was suspected of passing counterfeit money. Did he deserve to die for this BEFORE getting legal representation in a court of law (due process)?
  • Colin Kaepernick was a star quarterback in the NFL who chose to peacefully protest police violence, a right provided to him by our U.S. Constitution. Yet, after his 2016 season and still incredibly talented, but released by the 49’ers, and then no other NFL team (31 other teams!) wanted to sign him, not even as a backup quarterback.
  • Jake Fromm is extremely outspoken about his personal religious beliefs giving him privileged success in football: I want to represent Christ the best I can, Fromm said. He later reemphasized his personal mission of proselytizing saying I hope I can reach and influence as many people as possible. Let’s try to go and influence others, lead people to Jesus, and hopefully do the best we can with influencing them and hopefully shed a little light in their lives.” In 2019 during a Twitter conversation with a friend about gun-ownership Fromm tweeted But no guns are good. They need to let me get suppressors, then he added, Just make them very expensive so only elite white people can get them haha. Fromm has never experienced any trials or tribulations his entire life.
  • Drew Brees made comments during a June 3rd, 2020 Yahoo Finance interview about American symbols in the wake of protests over George Floyd’s murder and Kaepernick’s PEACEFUL protest against police violence. He said I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country. […] I think what you do by standing there [upright on your feet] and showing respect for the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. Brees is also recorded as stating his top four priorities in life in order of most importance. They are 4) philanthropy via Christian organizations, 3) football, 2) family, and 1) faith in Jesus Christ as he interprets it. The only trials and tribulations Brees has ever faced in his entire life are football injuries or team adversities.

What are your thoughts about my grouping and their bullet-points? I am curious to know, from any perspective. If possible, include your thoughts about social-media or freedom of expression today on social-media and how it is properly or improperly used by celebrities.

Late addition:
An interview by ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter June 4th, 2020 is quite telling from a celebrity white-man’s perspective. Watch the entire 6-minute interview. It is very revealing what Dale Earnhardt, Jr., a popular American NASCAR driver—a sport dominated by the Old South or Confederate States, white culture, and most popular in the South—says about the murder of George Floyd, racism and police violence today in the U.S.

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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It’s Over, We’re Free!

I’d rather be posting about the joint SpaceX-NASA launch today at 4:33pm EST. It will be the United States first launch of two astronauts into space since 2011 atop the new Falcon 9 rocket. It will be big news for many reasons. I do hope everything goes well, goes perfectly and hopefully the weather is going to cooperate. Unfortunately, we are still in the middle of a much bigger, unprecedented pandemic story dealing with just as much risk of life and death as space exploration ever has, actually more so for the mere fact that COVID-19 has taken hundreds of thousands of American lives and 350,000+ around the world. Controlling then stopping this pandemic is more important than the distraction and excitement of a SpaceX launch.

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This past Memorial Day weekend saw record crowds outside at beaches, parks, resorts, and Memorial-Veteran celebration events not seen since mid-March or before. As all 50 states began lifting and easing coronavirus restrictions this past week under pressure from pro-business, pro-economy, pro-danger-n-risk GOP groups, many Americans blatantly disregarded social-distancing and wearing protective masks. From Al Jazeera news:

In the Tampa area, along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the crowds were so big that authorities took the extraordinary step of closing parking lots. The county’s sheriff, Bob Gualtieri, said about 300 deputies were patrolling the beaches to ensure people did not get too close.

In the state of Missouri, people packed bars and restaurants at the Lake of the Ozarks, a vacation hot spot popular with Chicagoans, over the weekend.

One video showed a crammed pool where vacationers lounged close together without masks, St Louis station KMOV-TV reported.

In West Virginia, ATV riders jammed the vast, 700-mile Hatfield-McCoy network of all-terrain vehicle trails on the first weekend it was allowed to reopen since the outbreak took hold. Campgrounds and cabins were opened, as well.

Patrick T. Fallon-Reuters

Florida beach front Memorial weekend – Patrick Fallon/Reuters

Many authorities and law-enforcement have been confronted with disdain and hostility by Americans when trying to enforce or promote safety measures during the entire pandemic restrictions. This is perhaps the saddest testimony of a Dis-United States of America during this crisis. Park authorities, municipalities, and law-enforcement all agree that they cannot possibly monitor and make all Americans stay at least 6-feet apart. They do not have the staff to accomplish such a ridiculous order. However, they do remind all Americans that it is 90% self-governance and kind regard for neighbors, friends, and strangers alike. It is safety and health for everyone first as well as yourself. Common sense, right?

Port Aransas, Texas [Eric Gay-The Associated Press]

Gulf beach at Port Aransas, TX, Memorial weekend – Eric Gay/Associated Press

In a May 2020 study by the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Department of Mathematics, Imperial College London, the W.H.O. Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling, the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analytics, the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics, Imperial College London, and the Department of Statistics, University of Oxford, there are 24 states in the U.S. that still have not contained their COVID-19 outbreaks. Here are the 10 worst, most at risk states for a June 2020 resurgence of the deadly virus, from worst to less worse:

  1. Texas
  2. Arizona
  3. Illinois
  4. Colorado
  5. Ohio
  6. Minnesota
  7. Indiana
  8. Iowa
  9. Alabama
  10. Wisconsin

I am not the least bit surprised that Texas leads the pack in being #1 in NOT controlling our coronavirus outbreaks and most likely to suffer the worst with another June outbreak. For well over two weeks here in Dallas there are noticeably less and less people applying social-distancing or wearing masks. That most likely means they are not washing their hands regularly either. Texans see our nation’s leader never wearing a mask and taking doses of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that has no clinical tests proving it works against COVID-19. This is a remarkably sad testimony for how Americans and Texans do not care for each other—unless of course it is their own family or a dear financially beneficial friend or Good Ole Boy—and care less about medical-scientific facts on pandemics and what the true experts warn and recommend. It’s a new era of illiteracy and unenlightenment.

Despite the increase of rebels and protesters throughout late April and all of May here in Texas and an uptick in the number of deaths, in Dallas County the number of ICU patients and emergency room visits for COVID-19 has flattened out. This is encouraging, yes. But the real indicator of whether this reopening happened too soon and many blowing off safety measures in public will be the final numbers around June 10th through the 14th when the incubation period expires for Memorial weekend infections and hospitalizations trend upward again. Whatever happens, the fact remains that in February and early March all of this should have been seriously addressed nationwide by our federal leadership. It wasn’t. American death-toll:  100,000+ and counting.

Three cheers for COVID-19. The winner! It is going to be around and a menace for a long, LONG time with this kind of unity and lack of virtues for others. I hope a tested, FDA-approved, effective vaccine is found and distributed very soon.

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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That All Men Are Created Equal

I want to change tacks (a sailing term by the way) diverging from my recent COVID-19 posts, and share some other news I found peculiar and enlightening yesterday, Friday, May 15. My readers who are sports fans, particularly football/futebol fans (Ark, John Z), should find this interesting, I hope.

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Some of you know that I am an avid football/soccer fan. I played The World’s Most Beautiful Game all my life, had a very successful collegiate career, and a rather short, average pro career then semi-pro career. All that to say, that along with the Canarinha, or Little Canaries of Brazil, I enjoy keeping up with our U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Soccer Teams, their schedule, who is coming up through the ranks as Wonder Kids and how our Youth Development is progressing compared to the Juggernauts of world football’s Pantheon. So off we go!

US Constitution and 3 Branches

From our Declaration of Independence, 1776:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That all men are created equal.” What does that mean exactly? How does it translate to 21st century America? Does it mean equality for all Americans? Does it mean a nation without prejudice, without discrimination and racism, and tolerance for same-sex marriage? If your honest about all of American history, in all aspects of American life, then the answer is no. Some Americans are not equal and do not have equal opportunity as others.

And even 244-years later Americans are still confused and fighting each other as to how those famous opening words translate. So in our Declaration of Independence, later spelled out in much more detail in the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and all her Articles and Amendments it was further defined and explicitly and implicitly explained, protected, and enforced by our Three Branches of Government. And yet many of us are still confused, sometimes fighting each other, and still practicing and supporting modern forms of discrimination, prejudice, and inequality in too many areas of American life. Case and point, from the U.S. Soccer Federation website May 15, 2020…

JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE U.S. SOCCER FEDERATION AND THE U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION

Today the U.S. Soccer Federation and the U.S. Soccer Foundation released the following joint statement: 

We have come to an agreement that we believe is in the best interest for the sport in the United States. As we move forward, the U.S. Soccer Federation and the U.S. Soccer Foundation will work together to provide access and opportunities for all soccer players across the country, particularly those in low-income communities and others in need.

USWNT WC celebration

Celebration of the U.S. Women’s National Team World Cup win.

That is all they said. Just 74-words long short.

Though the statement isn’t specifically spelled out in detail, barely at all, I believe what the USSF and the USSother-F are indirectly stating has to do with our now decades old Youth Academies and Development Programs across the nation. I find that highly intriguing and worth a bit of discussion should anyone be interested! Yes?

One reason why I find this highly intriguing for the men’s team is that since the late 1990’s and the FIFA 2002 World Cup in S. Korea & Japan—when our USMNT did phenomenally well with many highly accomplished players playing their club ball in Europe at good-to-great, elite, world class clubs with and against the world’s other elite, world-class players and coaches—the USMNT performances since 2002 have been a roller-coaster and shockingly unpredictable qualifying for the World Cups every four years and worse still, out of one of the easiest Confederations to WC-Qualify from:  CONCACAF.

Why is it easy, or should be so easy, for the men’s U.S. National Team to qualify for the World Cup every four years? Mexico does it pretty much every single time. Costa Rica and maybe Panama or Honduras qualify every so often. Three nations qualify out of a total of maybe FOUR traditionally power-house nations; three is perhaps more accurate. Yet, with all the financial clout, resources, and sporting athletes the United States possesses now and has possessed since 1994—when the World Cup was here last and President Reagan promised FIFA and CONCACAF we would have a premier football league by 1996 or 1998. From a 1988 New York Times article:

U.S. Awarded ’94 World Cup Tourney in Soccer

Fricker said the U.S.S.F. will begin developing plans for a national soccer league, one that will encompass in some way teams from existing semiprofessional indoor and outdoor leagues. The league, he said, would operate at three levels, based on ability, to create ”the ideal environment for America to develop highly skilled players.” Presumably, as the 1994 tournament approaches, the best players will win positions on the American team.
by Michael Janofsky, NY Times, accessed 5/15/2020

Unfortunately, none of this has really happened. Not for the boys and men. Why not? One of the USMNT’s most tragic performances since Reagan’s promise to FIFA and Americans in 1988 was not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. We were beaten by Trinidad-Tobago and thus eliminated, and after a very good showing four years earlier in Brazil (see below ESPN video).

Yes, I do believe! I believed in our USMNT not only during the run-up to the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan, but for our national men’s teams from 1994-1998 because we had several talented boys playing for clubs in Europe and South America! Some of them came through the mediocre NCAA-D1 programs, yes. But many of them did not waist those four irreplaceable years, went to play with outstanding foreigners in other divisions and leagues, then went abroad to improve. That is, improve European or South American style. Yes indeed, we had the talent then, we still have it now! What has been going wrong?

Another case and point. Ever since the incredible tournament play in the Group Stage then Round of 16, continuing into the Quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup, our absolute pinnacle to-date for soccer history and our boys, and we are still struggling! Something has not been jiving in U.S. men’s national team football, in our professional leagues like the defunct NASL, the old MLPS, the USFL, and now MLS as well as in the Youth Development programs the last 26-years or more? Twenty-six years is a time-span of at least one or two American generations! Do we now have a blurred answer, a sort of iffy cloudy answer now?

What are the USSF and the USSother-F saying, but not saying?

I would love to see your thoughts about this Joint Statement, its implied cause(s), and the implications and possible outcomes.

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USSF logos - breaker

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