“Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush?” – Hunter S. Thompson
“The kings of the mines, of the coalfields, and of gold would be wrong to worry. Their serfs’ resignation consecrates their authority. They no longer need to claim that their power is be based on divine right, that decorative joke: their sovereignty is legitimated by popular consent….
Teach the people! What else is needed? His poverty has taught him nothing…The worker’s neck is used to the harness.” – Zo d’Axa
“Less than one year has passed since I first stood at this podium, in this majestic chamber, to speak on behalf of the American People—and to address their concerns, their hopes, and their dreams. That night, our new Administration had already taken swift action. A new tide of optimism was already sweeping across our land.”- President Donald Trump, First State of the Union Address
I knew this place would end up being in an article the minute I walked in.
It was a sports bar masquerading as a barbecue joint, a sterilized and clean franchise playing country music and pretending to be “old timey.” Around me were trucker hats, gruff laughs, and a FPL crew that didn’t know what to make of my Hawaiian shirt and combat boots. Above the almost exclusively white patrons twelve different television screens were buzzing, black athlete after black athlete running, jumping, and scoring. The commentators analyze them like champion horses, comparing stats and debating abilities. The patrons nod in approval, as if they too have a stake in this collective property.
When these same football players began to protest the state-sanctioned slaughter of black folks, some thought perhaps America had reached a precipice, that perhaps the “salt-of the earth” might be moved towards a greater consciousness. After all, these athletes were the ones Americans cheered for every week, the same soldiers of sport whose uniforms they wore for good luck during every game. Here, surely here, in a silent protest that screamed for the murder of innocents to end, the American people could be reached, forced to stare at something they denied every chance they could.
Instead the American people, the revolutionary subject held so holy by leftist theorists, simply changed the channel and created a new league where black players were denied the freedom to speak.
Grabbing a seat, my wife and grandfather in tow, I went over the details in my head. The WWE CEO and chairman Vince McMahon had announced that the XFL (short for “Xtreme Football League”) would be returning in 2020, nearly two decades after the NFL alternative went out of business after just one miserable season. This rebooted version of the league will feature eight teams, each with 40-man rosters, and some very interesting rules.
For one McMahon has promised a “faster” and “easier to understand” game, assuring his slack-jawed and troglodyte audience it will be a game adapted for their mental fortitude. Of peculiar interest was one league rule that was in place before any teams had been announced or players even hired:
All athletes, in a sport where 68% of the players were black, will be forced to stand for the national anthem, taking from them one of the most effective ways they’ve been able to have their voices heard.
McMahon’s reasoning is that the XFL revival “will have nothing to do with politics or social issues,” that he doesn’t think fans want to deal with things of a political nature while watching football. “They just want good football.” Of course forcing someone to do something, to silence their ability to draw attention to the literal murder of human beings by state-sanctioned killers, is absolutely political in nature. It’s the ruling politics, the capitalist and racist ethos we revere as distinctly American.
When you have all the power and all the money it’s very easy to forget all these things exist due to a very real political order, one you alone benefit from. To the average football fan a cop brutally beating a teenager isn’t “political” because the kid is probably guilty and shouldn’t have resisted. Ghettos are just “magically” poor for no apparent reason, and crack certainly wasn’t sold to inner city youths to fund illegal wars. Layer upon layer of racism, of capitalist exploitation, has been transferred to the idea of how the world works; each finely tuned piece appears as natural as hurricanes in fall or gators fucking in the summer.
But while McMahon can pretend his league is “free” from politics, his fans aren’t even bothering with the camouflage…