Littlefield: An Unemployed Quarterback And An Angry President

Members of the Dallas Cowboys link arms and kneel during the National Anthem before the start of their game against the Arizona Cardinals (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Members of the Dallas Cowboys link arms and kneel during the national anthem last Monday night. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Fans normally tune into football games to see how well their favorite team will fare on a given Sunday. Last weekend, as Bill Littlefield notes, the biggest stories in stadiums across the country took place before the kickoffs.

Once there was a football player … he played quarterback.
Once he had a job, but now he doesn’t, because back
In 2016 he sat down – his way of standing tall.
When folks sang “Can you see?” He said he couldn’t see at all
Why being black should put a man at risk of being shot
Or bounced around within a van, or strangled. And a lot
Of people didn’t listen when the man tried to explain
That he respected soldiers and the sacrifice and pain
That they endured on our behalf, but felt he must speak out
Because police brutality had filled his heart with doubt
That celebrating in a song a land as brave and free
Was hypocritical at best, as hollow as could be.

This quarterback might well have been forgotten over time.
He’d done what he felt he should do. Perhaps he’d passed his prime …
And in the long run who would care if he was not employed?
For football had returned again! The fans were overjoyed!
They partied in the parking lots! They cheered each fearsome hit!
The quarterback is unemployed? Hey, who could give a darn?
And there it might have stayed, I guess, throughout the football season,
Had not the Chief Executive decided for some reason
To say of those knee-takers, whether unemployed or hired,
That they’d been born to female dogs, and that they should be fired.
Was anyone surprised? Not me, I guess, but never mind.
The point is that the president would very shortly find
That lots of players were inclined to feel that he was wrong,
And so they also took a knee when listening to the song
About the flag, and how it waved, and how it always would.
And then some owners, coaches, even fans said that was good.

Oh, maybe it was all a trick, a stunt so we’d forget
The great long list of crises, all still unaddressed as yet:
I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel “He’s fired! He's fired!”
Was merely to distract us from a fellow clearly mired
In more than he can handle. That would certainly be lame,
Though now who’d not anticipate a lot more of the same?


Bill Littlefield Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.



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