Bad Balls and Mutiny: News for the Week of Sept. 6
This has been a week of sports ball controversy and straight-up political mutiny. We sum up some of the bigger stories for you here and then we should all head out and do some day drinking. Let’s go…
Screw you guys: Raiders threaten to take their toys and run
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Oakland City Council is about to go all-in on an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL that could result in $500 million in awarded damages caused by the team’s impending move to Las Vegas. The NFL and the Raiders have responded with a threat to leave Oakland earlier than originally planned. The latest lease extension for use of the Coliseum is now in limbo unless Oakland City Council backs off. The Coliseum Executive Director Scott McKibben told the Chronicle that team executives told him he “might as well take the contract and rip it up,” referring to the lease agreement McKibben has been negotiating.
If the Raiders and the league make good on their threat, this could be the last season the black and silver will play in Oakland, and the city would be forfeiting potential millions in revenue if the team extended their time in the East Bay. Not everyone is a fan of the lawsuit approach, but then again, not everyone is a fan of the NFL or the Raiders anymore. Who wins? Who knows? And how much does it really matter if they tuck their tails and leave with all their toys? It’s not like it hasn’t happened before.
Kaepernick just did it
What did the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback do? Colin Kaepernick emerged this week as a the new face of a Nike campaign. The message in the ads is aimed at inspiring people to “Dream Crazy,” despite and because of adversity, and to stand (or kneel) for yourself and what you believe
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“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Is Nike exploiting the National Anthem controversy? Duh! But they did give Kaepernick a job and a little validation to go with it, which is more than we can say for the NFL. They gave him a platform to remind people of why he started kneeling in the first place: he believed in something, namely that police officers should stop killing black men at will.
And on queue, hate toward Nike and Kaepernick took shape in the form of burning sneaker videos and Twitter tirades. The president and his big game-hunting spawn even got in on the public shit talking spectacle, because of course they did. But on the flip side, I saw an awful lot of people sporting Nike gear out at the mall last night.
The NFL issued an official statement Tuesday, which read, “The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.” That sounds woke and all, but until they officially change their policy about the National Anthem and embrace the players’ right to kneel for the basic right to live, they may just want to shut their mouths. They have better things to do, like defend themselves in court, than to pay empty lip service on the back-end of a controversy they exasperated.
Fire and Brimstone: Kavanaugh under interrogation
By the end of this month, it is more than probable that Brett Kavanaugh will be firmly confirmed to the Supreme Court bench, where he will fill the ninth seat vacated by Anthony Kennedy’s retirement. If you’re just tuning in, this may seem normal. But even by standards of a deteriorating legislative branch, this particular process has been highly unusual, beginning with the 73 protesters arrested in chambers by the end of just the second day.
The nominee has not only been a practicing federal court judge since 2006, he served President Bush for five years prior to his federal bench appointment. It’s those five years and policies he helped guide in that time that Senate Democrats are taking a particular interest in. The problem (okay, one of the problems) is that documents from that period were arbitrarily deemed “committee confidential” and withheld from inclusion in the hearings. Additionally, nearly 40,000 documents were dumped on the committee for review in the wee hours before the first day of the hearing, leaving members little-to-no time to scrub the material for pertinent information.
Tuesday started with Democrats repeatedly asking that the hearing be delayed until all the documents were released. They urged the committee chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley, to not “rush” what could be the most important confirmation in modern times, considering that Kavanaugh could be seated in time to rule on the subject of presidential indictment – the judge has suggested publicly that a sitting president should not be subject to investigation, let alone indictment. The Dems were shut down Tuesday, but you have to give them an A for effort.
Wednesday was intense with more protesters and more accusations that Kavanaugh may have lied under oath to the same committee when he was confirmed for the federal bench in 2006. The day was also spiked with extensive questioning about his stance on Roe v. Wade as “settled” versus “correct.” He evaded giving a full answer to most lines of questioning, but happily shared his commitment to law and family, and he sure does love coaching.
Thursday marked the third day of Senate confirmation hearings for Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment to the highest court, and it began with a small-scale mutiny. Senator Cory Booker was joined by several of his peers in challenging the Senate Republicans – he basically threatened to read into record some of what was deemed “committee confidential” (with a focus on Kavanaugh’s racial profiling opinions) and welcomed the threat of being charged for expulsion from the body. Yes, Booker will push himself into any limelight fight he can find, but he’s not alone on this with one and if you’re a fan of judicial integrity, you might even appreciate his willingness to lay on that sword. We may not be able to turn back this clock on Kavanaugh, but there’s more mutiny brewing that could make his controversial confirmation pale in comparison.
The 25th Amendment?
There’s Mueller and all that Russia investigation stuff out there, but that will likely stay quiet until the November midterms. You’d think Trump would be able to take a breath in the respite. But no, hell no. There ain’t no rest for the wicked, and the wicked is now being played by those closest to him.
Bob Woodward is a credible journalist who has taken on the task of highlighting presidential administrations over decades. He’s detailed life inside the White House under all sorts of leaders on both sides of the political spectrum and although most don’t appreciate the scrutiny, he’s regarded widely as fair and accurate, even if you don’t like what he has to say. But his dive into the Trump White House has produced an upcoming book that has the president shaking with rage at the edge of his Twitter-typing fingertips. Woodward has quotes from some of the most senior officials in the administration who question his intellect, mental stability and basically everything about his ability to function as a human being, let alone a president. The snippets released tell the story of a staff desperate to protect the country from Trump’s bad impulses by keeping information hidden from him. Trump and company went to the immediate defense to discredit what Woodward reports and it’s clear they thought they could slide away from the narrative pretty quickly.
Again, nope. Hell no.
Wednesday’s news proved him wrong when the New York Times made a very rare decision to publish an Op-Ed written by a senior White House official who asked to remain anonymous, although the Times knows exactly who this person is. The scathing admission of a chaotic life in the White House ruled by an unstable man plagued by “amorality” can be read here. And if you haven’t already, you should definitely take a minute to read it now.
Taken in isolation, any one person bitching about their boss or office climate would be brushed under the rug, but this Op-Ed supports Woodward’s book, which (oddly) supports Omarosa’s book, which supports Michael Wolf’s book, which supports what most of us already knew: the United States is being held hostage by a raving, childish, intellectually-challenged narcissist with little regard to the business of the country or respect for the office.
The anonymous writer claimed they and others discussed enacting the 25th Amendment but were hesitant to start a constitutional crisis. Now that we’re basically in the midst of a crisis, this person has chosen to speak out and tell the world they are doing their best to derail Trump’s worst ideas from within. When will they also have the balls to put their name to it? When will the future of the country matter more than the damn party? And what the hell difference will it make when there’s no party or country left to protect?
Things are brewing and we may not know what will come of it, but we will never be quite the same. Let’s throw the tourniquet on the wound before the point of no return, shall we?
Correction: A previous version of this article inadvertently referred to the confirmation of Kavanaugh being decided by the end of the “day.” It has been corrected to reflect the decision would be made at the end of the month.