Ostrom: NFL has created its own ‘swamp’ with player protests
A potpourri of political issues has captured media attention. Controversial and contentious issues and multiple perspectives about the events and personalities has stirred up interpretative storms.
Our analysis of issues related to protests by Colin Kaepernick and his NFL colleagues, and on the political scene, the issues connected to alleged Russian collusion by Donald Trump and his colleagues, and now Hillary Clinton and her cohorts, deserves attention.
First: Colin Kaepernick. The former San Francisco 49er quarterback started a National Football League trend when he initiated “taking a knee” to protest police brutality against minorities. Other self-described oppressed multimillionaire athletes joined in.
Admittedly, most of us haven’t walked in their shoes, and likewise, they haven’t worn police uniforms.
Kaepernick’s anti-police rhetoric has included the statistically unsubstantiated assertion of deliberate police shootings of minorities. Kaepernick claimed, “There are bodies in the streets. People of color have been targeted by police.” His stockings pictured law enforcement officers as pigs. That insult to male, female and ethnic minority law enforcement officers who risk their lives on patrol caused Louisiana Sheriff Julian Whittington to cease buying vehicles from car dealerships that support NFL games. Other police agencies may follow.
USA Today published a September 2017 report that revealed a significant number of NFL players have had serious contacts with the criminal justice system. Those experiences influence player attitudes toward law enforcement personnel and help explain the negative stereotypes. Law enforcement officers acquire their own stereotypes. Kaepernick and his gridiron colleagues claim free speech rights. So do his critics.
Allegations of police brutality are sometimes true and must be investigated. Minority perspectives must be considered. But a mid-October FBI report indicated that brutal and lethal assaults on police are increasing. The report says, “118 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2016,” and more than “57,000 were assaulted.” FBI agents and local police have been warned about the hostility generated by anti-police rhetoric and the “war on police.”
Most NFL players are upstanding, talented people. Some might consider using their role model status to counsel young people and help police protect the majority of law-abiding residents in high crime areas.
Now, onto the coverage of investigations into corruption and collusion in the political arena requires consideration.
Political scandals are being unearthed in congressional investigations. Revelations include Deep State leaks and cover-ups and FBI refusal to release documents and allow agents to testify about what they know. Russian collusion charges have connected not just Trump associates, but the Obama administration. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the “pay for play” Clinton Foundation, “Uranium One Deal” with Russia, a $500,000 payment to Bill Clinton from a Russian bank, Russians, and the fake “Steele dossier” are all said to be factors in this complex scenario that may involve an influential anti-Trump Republican, the Democratic National Committee, and Clinton money.
The Obama-Holder Justice Department imposed a gag order on an FBI investigator that was recently rescinded at Trump’s request by the DOJ on Oct. 25. The intrepid Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, a former prosecutor, are pursuing these cases.
The cover-up allegations include the Fusion GPS Trump “smear’ campaign that Clinton money may be involved in, Democrat opposition research, Russian payoffs, a British spy, and Democratic contacts with the Ukrainian embassy. Fusion GPS employees pleaded the Fifth in committee testimony, and Democrat staffers ran interference for them. Hillary (“I wiped my server, with what? A cloth?”) has said these allegations are “baloney.”
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been forced to look at Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, his brother Tony, and Podesta Group-Russia connections.
If Congress and Mueller are diligent and objective, interesting revelations may emerge from the D.C. “swamp.”