A significant amount of ink has been spilled since the October 10th suspension of SportsCenter co-host Jemele Hill pillorying the lack of intestinal fortitude of the Disney Company (owners of ESPN) and the bullying tactics of President Trump. Much has been said about the First Amendment protections that are the right of all anthem-disrespecters (true) and how public officials and the NFL have been unfairly pressuring anthem-disrespecters to stand or be relieved of their jobs (not true). The NFL, for their part, has not taken a rigid position for or against anthem-disrespecting. President Trump has made disparaging tweets on the issue and suggested players be fired for anthem-disrespecting, but this certainly cannot be a surprise result of disrespecting the national anthem at professional and college sporting venues.
The likely rationale, however, for ESPN to suspend an erstwhile political commentator dressed up as sports anchor that is paid to make charged comments on-air, never mind in tweets, is quite different than many have suggested. It has nothing to do with social injustice against minorities in community policing, Colin Kaepernick’s right to make political statements during NFL contests, whether or not Donald Trump is a white supremacist or sympathizer, the merits of the First Amendment, or even whether or not the owner of the Dallas Cowboys has a right to demand his players to respect the anthem and make social justice statements in other venues. No, the reason is that Hill suggested that NFL fans stop patronizing the league, primarily through the boycotting of products advertised during NFL games. The practical impact of such a suggestion going viral would be the implosion of Disney’s multi-billion dollar investment in NFL broadcast rights, rights paid for with advertising dollars.
That’s right, Reverend Sharpton. Before you get all sanctimonious about Hill’s “suspension”, a suspension that is nothing more than an involuntary paid vacation, think first what is really going on before preening in front of the cameras and accusing Jerry Jones of harboring a “plantation mentality”. For if one bites the hand that feeds, it isn’t surprising to then get hit on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.