Super Bowl LIV: Reflections at game's outset

Super Bowl LIV: Reflections at game's outset

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It is with a good deal of pain for me to see one of my two beloved football teams get set at this moment on Feb. 2 to play in the Super Bowl. The San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders have afforded us many years of fabulous entertainment, and now the 49ers have returned to the championship game again.

It is with sadness, however, that I will have to forgo involving myself with the game, as to do so will compromise my dharma and moral integrity. Since the NFL and their ownership have engaged in collusion to blackball Colin Kaepernick, former 49ers quarterback, each of us have been forced to make a choice as to whether or not we can align ourselves with an organization that has by their action toward Colin stood for the police killings of Blacks, mostly young male blacks, and for suppression of freedom of speech.

To practice dharma, that is, to do the right thing, and to maintain integrity, I have chosen to forgo this Super Bowl. I have taken to striking the NFL ownership and to remain in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick for two complete seasons now, awaiting some level of justice for him and the cause of these victims of police abuse.

As a longtime psychologist serving people in North Bay communities with an investment in writing sport psychology articles in local newspapers, I would invite all to take inventory on the implications of taking pleasure in the products of the NFL in terms of fan collusion with these owner values. Our choice does make a difference in uplifting the planet.

Interestingly, as you may already know, Fox, the NFL Super Bowl channel refused to air for the Super Bowl an ad by PETA, the animal rights organization, that in cartoon and Kaepernesque medium portrayed animals “taking the knee” to protest speciesism or violence to animals. This refusal has given us another validation of the NFL and their corporate partners, outing them further on their immoral values, their racism and discrimination.

Sadly, justice may not come to Colin in the form of employment on an NFL team although there is still time for that. His case seems to fall in the same category as the St Louis Cardinals center fielder, Curt Flood, who was the sacrificial lamb to Major League Baseball owners when they ostracized him for his strike over baseball slavery, which eventuated into free agency to the benefit of all future baseball players.

Colin’s place in history as a civil rights leader through sports is likely already sealed along side Muhammad Ali. His dharmic behavior in confronting racism and police brutality is likely already a work in progress in effecting attitudinal changes about freedom of expression and police work.

Let us hope that is the case, and that a result might also be the re-integrating police forces back into the family of American communities, reducing the Us-Them current culture. Perhaps this greater cause will be his life’s justice.

Robert Heying

Napa

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