Since President Trump made his comments about the NFL protests last weekend, we’ve heard some extraordinarily bizarre attempts by the left to connect opposition to these players and racism. But even though this message has been accompanied by some of the strangest, most intellectually dishonest arguments we’ve ever heard, Matthew Allen of The Root still takes the cake. In his blog post, he makes the outrageous claim that there is a direct line from the lynchings of the KKK in the South and the burning of NFL jerseys in the wake of the anthem protests.
“It is an alarming tradition of overt dedication to sports team(s) that is dangerous and unhealthy,” Allen said of the burnings, which have been popularized on YouTube and social media. “It is in fact the remnants of a more time honored ideal of carnivorous systemic erasure of black progress, whether to prevent the fiscal independence of other black athletes or to discourage the making of political statements on a globally observed platform. With the recent events involving Kaepernick, the U.S. President, the NFL at large and its fans, it’s time to have a real examination of how jersey burning is drawn from the same spirit that led whites to hunt, hang, burn and murder black people for centuries.
“The prejudiced entitlement practiced by the burning party is because the black player challenged their beliefs, be they political or simply in the context of diminishing the power of their former team,” he continued.
And although we’re pretty sure there’s a difference between burning a piece of NFL merchandise and BURNING A PERSON, Allen makes the leap with little effort.
“From slavery to reconstruction to Jim Crow, setting black men and women on fire was justified by seemingly virtuous ideals of spiritual and religious loyalty, preached through law and regulation,” he wrote. “As the country grew more civilized through the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, lynchings decreased. However, the mindset that legitimized burning men was only dormant, and manifested itself in other ways: the systemic disenfranchisement of black people in housing, education, employment and substance abuse.”
On the one hand, we know people like Allen write crap like this just to stir the hornet’s nest and get a bunch of undeserved clicks. Controversy creates cash and all that. But we can’t dismiss him as a troll or a mere financial opportunist, because his beliefs – to one degree or another – are widely shared by the grievance industry that gave us Kaepernick in the first place. It is the same basic premise used by academics who say that prison is modern-day slavery and that cops are the ideological heirs to the slave enforcement squads of the 1800s. It is the premise that pits whites against blacks – nay, AMERICA against blacks – in divisive terms that would have you believe that we’ve made no progress in this country. None at all. Burning a jersey is just the same as hanging an innocent black man. The differences are merely superficial.