Lou Holtz, the former college football coach, appeared with Jason Whitlock on Tucker Carlson's Fox News program Tuesday night, and the seven-minute clip is a pretty solid encapsulation of how the movement that Colin Kaepernick started last year has been completely hijacked. A protest specifically designed to highlight systemic police brutality against minorities has mutated into a disingenuous debate about patriotism, the proper forums for protest, and, most recently, unity in football.
Holtz, whose Hall of Fame career included stints at Notre Dame and South Carolina, was presumably on the program to provide insight into how he would handle the protests as a coach. He started off saying something about working at Walmart (???) and then launched into the single most insane thing I've heard in the year we've been talking about this:
I think there's an awful lot of things that happen in this country, but I want you to know, I've been unfairly ticketed. I was given a ticket when I didn't exceed the speed limit because I was coaching at one school and the patrol officer graduated from the other and he let me know he was bitter about this fact—that happens in life.
Just so we are absolutely crystal clear on this: Lou Holtz, an old white dude, compared one routine traffic stop that did not end in his murder to the numerous encounters that unarmed black men and women have had with law enforcement that do end in their murder—murders that have gone largely unpunished. Which, of course, is the whole point of the protest in the first place.
Nevertheless, America in 2017 is a place where being a white person, and not being murdered after getting pulled over, and in turn not protesting your failure to have been murdered at the hands of the state, is an opportunity to lodge your EXTREME DISPLEASURE with a subject you clearly do not understand in the slightest.
To that end, Holtz continued about how he doesn't see or hear players talking about why they are protesting, which is nonsense. The two most prominent voices in this movement, Kaepernick and Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett, have specifically said that they protest to call attention to racial injustice and police brutality that still exist. Safety Eric Reid, who started kneeling alongside Kaepernick early on in the movement last year and still has a job with the San Francisco 49ers, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times earlier this week with the headline "Why Colin Kaepernick and I Decided to Take a Knee":
We spoke at length about many of the issues that face our community, including systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system. We also discussed how we could use our platform, provided to us by being professional athletes in the N.F.L., to speak for those who are voiceless.
So why does Lou Holtz, and others like him, refuse to listen to what they have to say?