“Taking a knee” stands for the specter of beefy, pampered athletes—they’re not sportsmen—wealthy beyond belief, striking a political pose on the football field, during the playing of the national anthem.
First to kneel when he was meant to stand was Colin Kaepernick. The reason the San Francisco 49er knelt, in 2016: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
Like Kaepernick, current kneelers are not Copernicus. It’s hard to fathom what they actually want. A non-player activist has since narrowed the kneeling to “ending the killing of black men and black women by the police.”
To question the debasing of the English language, in this context, is probably considered racist, but I’ll take one for Team English. At first, I knew not what on earth “take a knee” meant. Commentators and anchors discussed this god-awful expression without explaining it. And my connection to American football is as weak as the connection Americans have to one another.
I grew up on a sports diet of basketball and real football—the kind Pelé played without a dog muzzle and with dazzling footwork. South African rugby, too, was faster and more fun than American football. Nevertheless, I root for my home team, the Seattle Seahawks.
Why so? We all inhabit this busy mart called America, but are united by nothing meaningful at all. The football fetish in America has intensified in the context of a country whose inhabitants agree on little else than the importance of The Game. Consequently, come playoff time, we come together fleetingly and superficially, to make a religion out of our respective professional football teams.
“Take a knee” must have originated in some linguistic botching, a lazy collapsing of alliteratively related words and phrases. I mean, you can “kneel,” “kneel down,” or “get down on your knees.” You most certainly can “bow down” or “take a bow.” But, “Take a knee”? It sounds like an adaptation from “take a p-e.” Actually, I’m not far off. The Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. “had been flagged … for unsportsmanlike conduct when he celebrated a touchdown by impersonating a dog urinating.” …
You can find the Mercer Column weekly on the Unz Review, Daily Caller, WND.com, frequently at American Thinker, occasionally on Townhall.com, and on other fine outlets, where The Column is a feature. It’s always posted, eventually, on IlanaMercer.com, under Articles. Please share.
UPDATE I (10/1/017): Introducing Cedric Ingram Lewis & Larry McCullough:
— Ilana Mercer (@IlanaMercer) October 1, 2017
UPDATE II (10/23): The Snake:
— Ilana Mercer (@IlanaMercer) October 18, 2017