If you ever need to find someone who doesn’t get it, you can generally consult Ohio State to come up with a candidate for you. That’s what we have currently with quarterback Justin Fields starting a petition, which currently has 200,000 signatures, to get the Big Ten to reverse its decision to not play football this fall due to the, y’know, virulent pandemic currently cutting a swath through the country six months after it first arrived. But hey, those dead people and possible future dead people don’t ball, right?
On some level, you understand where Fields is coming from. He’s got a lot on the line here. The Ohio State QB is almost always a direct line to being a high draft pick into the NFL. Fields might even be the No. 1 pick the next NFL draft, whenever that might be. He might be concerned that not playing, or playing during or after the next NFL draft, might hurt his chances at becoming that. Or having more than a full year off from competitive football might not see his skills be as sharp, and drop his stock.
The thing that Fields, or any of these other “MUH RIGHTS” morons don’t get is that it doesn’t matter if you want to play or not. We all want to do the things we can’t do right now. I want to scream at the asshat putting Dave Matthews on the jukebox over my Van Halen songs before I fall headfirst into my own vomit puddle at the bar. That’s what I want to be doing, that’s part and parcel of my life (Ladies?).
But I know that what I want can’t happen right now. It’s not safe. And for those who can’t separate what they want from what’s safe, they essentially have to be protected from themselves, and those of us who actually understand the world at the moment have to be protected from them.
Fields’ petition says that the players themselves can follow whatever protocols to keep them safe and healthy, but as we’ve extensively covered, any cross-section of either athletes or college students cannot. And given the extensive number of players on college football teams and the amount of teams in just the Power 5 conferences, there’s almost no chance every single player would follow protocols to the hilt and not put at least their entire team in danger. Things would have to go perfectly, as the NCAA’s own chief medical officer told CNN Sunday. Which we ain’t happening.
Understand that this is America, where people feel they should always get what they want, when they want, and if they don’t it’s a violation of everything we hold dear and they’re going to stamp their feet about it in the middle of a Walmart or while pouring their apple-tini over some poor server’s head, but that’s what Fields is doing here. And seeing as how he’s still a kid, even if he’s on the precipice of being a millionaire, someone needs to tell him how things really work. In fact, they already have in the form of the Big Ten’s decision to postpone its season, but someone has to get Fields and the rest of them to listen.
Speaking of other ways our country has clogged the drain of the world, FC Dallas and Nashville SC are still trying to make up for the games they couldn’t play in the MLS Is Back tournament. So they were scheduled to play a second time last night, but weather forced that kickoff back to 11 p.m. central time, giving Dallas just enough cover to be total chickenshits.
You may recall when these teams last got together to do their makeup tests, players took a knee during the anthem, which roused some of the live crowd -— oh right, they actually had a live crowd because Texas always leads with its balls — to boo with one jackwagon throwing a bottle onto the field.
So last night, Dallas decided it would play the anthem before players were even on the field, straight from the NFL playbook. Again, protest and spreading the message is most important when its directly in the face of those who need to hear it the most, and robbing players of that robs them of the teeth of their message. But what leagues don’t want is any confrontation or problems. So they’ll let players protest at the start of a movement because that’s where the energy is, but as soon as that energy is countered, they don’t want forces opposing because that would lead to bigger issues. Issues we need to confront and work through, but no league is interested in.
While there were certainly threats against the players — particularly Reggie Cannon, who is Black — no one wants to see something truly awful happen to anyone, and at some point we have to ask if kowtowing to those who are literally the obstacles to racial justice in this country with their Twitter rants isn’t missing the point entirely. There can be no entirely safe protests without losing its vibrancy. Beef up security, monitor fans, whatever you have to do, but taking away players’ ability to state their cause is not the answer.