The Flag And Our Sports

By Desi Cortez
Updated: November 29, 2007
DENVER — Permit me to play mind-reader; Over the next few days, a number of flag-waving paranoid Right-Wing nuts are going to have their panties all-in-a-bunch. Why?

The United States Flag, “Ol Glory” wasn’t honored at the onset of the already rain-delayed 25 minutes Monday Night Football contest in the steel town, between the Steelers and Finn-less Miami Dolphins.

People, both fans and folks outside the wide-world of sports will go ’round and ’round, arguing the “whys”. Many will claim its about priorities, or the lack of….

Paying respect to the symbol of the very nation which allows the NFL, it’s sponsors and the media industry to make a ka-zillion dollars, by maintaining a free and open market place.

As opposed to, in the name of revenue and profit, ignoring an honored tradition of respect — out of necessity and practicality….

The show must go on, as fast as possible.

Let me tell you what it does attest to; in America, money is God, and God is money….

Most American citizens understand this nation maintains the values and morals most conducive to the corporate America’s bottom line; this is what Christmas, the holiest day has regressed into. A story about money…

But this is not where this flag incident starts nor stops. This is about more then putting financial profit above tradition and patriotism. One nation, under God? How about three or four nations — under greed and materialism?

It comes down to — what are we standing for? Why are we putting our hand over our hearts? What is the United States flag truly representative of?

As a man of color, I’m both insulted and irritated because those amongst us who’ll be loudly mandating respect for the United States flag, Ol’ Glory — will be angry white males , those who not only occupy the position of most privileged — but also represent those who’ve, in the shadow of the Stars and Stripes -oppressed, raped, murdered, pillaged, enslaved and exploited all who questioned, dared oppose their divine right to expand the American Empire, by any means necessary.

These patriots, who hide behind the flag, also scream the loudest, hoping to incite the resident Rednecks — who’ll be demanding conquered second-class residents, the USA’s historical minorities, dismiss the facts behind the story of America’s rise to global domination.

Love it, praise it, or leave it.

Ol’ Glory flew over this nation as explorers, conquerors, pioneers and settlers – in a Jolly Roger/Skull and Crossbones style – snatched the physical resources from American Natives and Mexicans, then extracted the wealth with the blood, sweat and tears of America’s only forced immigrants, African slaves.

Never-mind the Stars’ and Bars’ sanctioned the Trail of Tears and “No Dogs or Mexicans signs.” The same flag condoned Indian reservations and Japanese interment camps. Betsy Ross’s needlework justified real estate redlining and broken treaties. Hell, this flag condoned and enforced segregation with-in the nation’s major pastimes, sports.

The Star Spangled Banner, still today rationalizes racial profiling and police brutality. “Indivisible with liberty and justice for all” – gimme-a-blinking break! Who buys into such authentic frontier gibberish but … white males?

There’ll be no more force-feeding of Columbus the explorer. The Fourth of July – independence for whom? Today try telling black kids Jesus was a blond haired/blue-eyed Nordic Viking, come on man. Elvis as the King, get real, James Brown baby, Little Richard.

The party of Archie Bunker, the Republicans – demands we all forgive and forget the manner in which this nation has reached world-wide prominence, and simply pledge our blind allegiance to its global dominance.

How can white guys, this nation’s nobility, the self-anointed privileged class, ask, well no, actually demand of people an acknowledgment, even an praising of a symbol, which represents a segregated and unequal nation? A country where the “American Dream” is attainable for most folks of color and women – only if they can navigate their way through a white-male-made/strategically -laid-out mine field of racist, sexist, elitist obstacles.

Horatio Alger would have one hell-of-a-time going from rags to riches here and now, but it’s the only path from the ghettos and burros for the average child of a darker persuasion.

Most Americans-of-color understand the complexity of our being an American; our sons and daughters can done the military uniforms of this country and defend your flag – while the current administration in the oval office works overtime to turn back the clock to Strom Thurmond’s “Good ol’ days” by erasing still much needed affirmative-action laws.

But we really aren’t wanted at Country Clubs like Augusta, the Masters… Token representation is done in a half-ass style, because diversity and inclusion are concepts which contradict the American way of life.

As a Black man, I’m able to break-the-code, dissect the underlining meaning behind the act; Few Afro-Americans, but a dwarfs handful, are capable of playing Quarterback in the NFL, even fewer are qualified to be a Head Coach in the league;

We, Blacks, as a people are simply not as advanced as white men…..we lack the mental skills, that’s what a 11 year old Black boy can’t help but see. He may not believe it, but that is the depiction of gridiron reality he has to wrestle with in his mind.

We grasp the duplicity of — you don’t want our kids to socialize in shopping malls, but you do want them to serve as sacrificial pawns in Baghdad. They can die for Wall Street’s desire to monopolize all the world’s Black-Gold and Texas Tea, but they can’t buy a beer in trendy downtowns .

Suburbia balks and bitches about putting money into urban education, but residents want to invest in the stock of private-for profit prisons . . . please!

So, before guys in sports bars and basements across this country can discuss “if money plays too big a role in our collective decision making process” , and this passing over of the National anthem is an example of just that, it goes a little deeper.

There is a fear, maybe even a righteous paranoia on the behalf of white men. I believe they’re having to accept – they no longer have the societal clout and influence to demand that people adhere to their cultural wishes, whims, customs and heroes.

When the vast majority of black, brown, red and yellow folks stand to recite the pledge of allegiance, we wonder, can’t help but….. what the Tuskegee Airman wondered during World war II, as they risked their lives for a nation that might lynch them in their uniforms when they got back home …’ How does my country feel about me, and deeper still, how do I feel about my country?”

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