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Michael Bennett, who last graced the pages of Outkick when he was proven to be a lying, race baiting fraud when he claimed racist police officers in Las Vegas targeted him because he was black only to proven wrong by over 190 videos of the incident, is back in the news because he compared himself to 19th century slave Dred Scott yesterday.
Bennett, who will make $15.4 million per 2017 salary cap analysis, took issue with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones saying he wanted all his players to stand for the national anthem before games. Somehow, in the most unintelligible and stupid analogy in the history of athletes, Bennett analogized his own situation with a 19th century slave who challenged America’s existing slave laws in a famous 1857 case.
If you aren’t familiar with Dred Scott, he was a slave whose master traveled with him to free states in the years before the Civil War. Scott challenged his enslavement, arguing that because he’d been taken to a free state and lived there for several years, he was still free.
The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that once you are a slave you are always a slave no matter where you are in the country. This result helped to bring about the Civil War and resulted in Dred Scott becoming the most famous slave in American history.
To analogize yourself with Dred Scott, as Michael Bennett did, is pure insanity. Especially when, as is the case here, Bennett is arguing he’s a slave because Jerry Jones wants players to stand for the national anthem at their job.
Here was Michael Bennett yesterday on video:
And here are Bennett’s excerpted words:
“I just thought it (Jerry Jones’ comments) reminded me of the Dred Scott case. You are property, so you don’t have the ability to be a person first. And I think in this generation I think that sends the wrong message to young kids and young people all across the world that your employer doesn’t see you as a human being, they see you as a piece of property. And if that’s the case, then I don’t get it. I just don’t get why you don’t see him as a human being, they don’t see us as human beings first.’’
This quote is so stupid I think we need to unpack its profound stupidity below.
But first I want to point something out, these statements by Michael Bennett were made in an open press conference in front of a bevy of reporters who cover the Seahawks and the NFL for a living. And not one reporter challenged Bennett’s analogy here. In fact, not one reporter or columnist that I’v seen has even written a single word about these comments since they were made yesterday.
Moreover, no member of the media in Seattle or any other city that Bennett has played in, has asked Bennett to justify the lies he told about the Las Vegas police or explain himself in any way since those 190+ videos were released by the Las Vegas police that proved he lied.
This is very troubling.
Because isn’t it the job of the sports media to actually question athletes, coaches, owners and administrators and not allow them to simply lie with no consequences? Shouldn’t we expect that the sports media isn’t going to only cover stories that reflect their own personal political beliefs? In other words, if a player lies or makes an incredibly dumb analogy with no historical cogency or applicability, how is that Outkick is the only media source actually pointing out how completely and totally full of shit Michael Bennett is?
Now let’s unpack how ridiculous Bennett’s comments in this case were.
1. THERE ARE NO SIMILARITIES BETWEEN MULTI-MILLIONAIRE ATHLETES AND SLAVES.
Slaves, and I can’t believe I am writing this, ARE NOT ALLOWED TO STOP BEING SLAVES.
If Bennett does not like what his boss tells him to do, he can quit and get another job.
Every single person who is not self-employed and is reading this right now has a boss who assigns job responsibilities for them. This is not slavery, this is called working.
2. If you are paid to do a job, you are not a slave.
Again, I can’t believe I have to write this.
That’s because YOU ARE BEING PAID FOR YOUR LABOR, which is the exact opposite of being a slave.
SLAVES WERE NOT PAID and they also did not have paid vacation, collective bargaining agreements, six months without work requirements every year, and the ability to strike if their work conditions were not appropriate.
Performing work in exchange for pay is not, and has never been, slavery. Any analogy comparing the two should be ridiculed by anyone with a functional brain.
3. You don’t have the right to make political statements in your uniform at work.
I can’t think of any other employee who can make a political statement while wearing a uniform at work.
Not a single one.
Hell, you can’t even do it in the NBA, which mandates that all players stand for the national anthem.
Imagine if a soldier in uniform, a police officer, a Fed Ex or a UPS driver, a McDonald’s or Wal Mart employee decided to share a political opinion with you when they interacted with you in their uniform at their job. If a police officer pulled you over and told you to vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, you’d think that person should be reprimanded or fired, right? If a soldier kneeled during the anthem, he’d be court martialed if he didn’t obey orders to stand. If a UPS or Fed Ex driver showed up at your house, delivered a package and then told you abortion was murder, would you think that was appropriate? If a Wal Mart employee told you the second amendment was crap when you bought a gun or bullets, would you think that person deserved to keep their job?
In every example I just gave you, you’d find it strange for an employee wearing the uniform of his employer to give you his or her political opinion while working.
So how have so many people just embraced the idea that NFL players should be able to endorse political stances while wearing the uniform at their job? Especially when those political stances directly reflect upon their employer, potentially in a highly negative manner. (NFL ratings are down 17.8% since Colin Kaepernick’s protest began. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the political stance of an individual player, many people in these highly charged times are not going to agree. That’s billions of dollars in potential lost revenue. Put simply, protests during games are bad for business.)
3. This type of protest has never happened before in sports.
Left wing sports media need to stop analogizing players to Muhammad Ali or the 1968 Olympics because these situations are entirely different. Muhammad Ali didn’t make political statements inside the ring and he wasn’t an employee, he was a sole practitioner, an independent contractor of boxing.
The two Olympians who raised their fists in 1968 were not being paid for their work by a boss either.
Somehow we’ve expanded the scope of political protests to include the idea that giving your political belief in a uniform on the job is acceptable.
Now if individual players want to make political statements on their social media accounts or attend rallies in their free time, more power to them. But the fact that I’m virtually the only person in sports media pointing out that these in uniform on the job protests have no parallel in the real world or in sports history is striking.
4. Most athletes have no idea what normal jobs are like.
That’s because most athletes have never had a real job before.
Being a pro athlete is not like most jobs. You are coddled, privileged, babied and insanely highly paid relative to your age and experience in a way that the vast, vast majority of Americans will never experience.
You work a limited schedule — NFL players receive months off of work — and are highly compensated for the labor you do perform.
While the games and training can be physically taxing, it isn’t particularly time consuming. The average lawyer, doctor, investment banker or other highly paid employee works way more hours a year than the average athlete does. Put it this way, do you think the average investment banker, if he had the talent to play in the NFL, would find his 100 hour a week job more difficult or being a pro athlete more difficult? Which do you think gets more free time, a young lawyer or doctor or a young athlete?
Expecting athletes to comprehend normal work environments is like asking a freshman in college majoring in biology to perform neurosurgery. They just don’t have the skills or life experience to transcend their own work experiences, which are nothing like just about everyone else’s in the country.
5. Athletes, like actors and actresses, are not very smart when it comes to sharing their political opinions.
Has there ever been an actor or actress who shared his or her political opinion and you thought, wow, that’s really smart?
That’s because most entertainers aren’t that plugged into the issues or particularly attuned to life outside their entertainment bubble. That’s fine, most Americans aren’t that smart when it comes to political issues either. But do you read the comments beneath an article and think those people should be given scads of attention either?
I don’t know why we believe that athletes, who spend most of their time trying to excel in sports, are going to be uniquely perceptive or eloquent when it comes to addressing political issues in our country. But this seems to be the general consensus in the left wing sports media.
I haven’t heard a single athlete speak out yet who has impressed me as being more thoughtful than an average voter. Just like I haven’t heard a single actor or actress do so either. Most athletes end up sounding like Michael Bennett, totally out of touch with reality and not very intelligent with their analogies.
The longer they talk the more frequently they end up sounding like Colin Kaepernick, who endorsed Fidel Castro’s treatment of Cuban residents while preparing to play a game in Miami.
They’re just tone deaf and not very well informed.
Because their job is to play sports, not expound upon the issues of the day.
6. Bennett says asking players to stand for the national anthem “sends the wrong message to young kids and young people all across the world that your employer doesn’t see you as a human being.”
Are you kidding me?
Every young kid in the country who goes into the work force is, at some point in time, going to be given a work assignment he or she doesn’t like. That’s why it is called work and not play.
In exchange for doing things that you otherwise would not do, you are paid money.
That’s the very nature of a job in a capitalistic society.
Bennett is effectively arguing that if you don’t like what your employer asks you to do then “your employer doesn’t see you as a human being.”
Your employer is paying you to complete tasks that make them more money.
Having a job for most people is not about attaining self actualization or nirvana, it’s about making money to pay your bills. In the real world the better of a job you do, the more money you make.
What Bennett is arguing is that you should be paid, but only have to do the things you agree with at your job. For 99% of Americans this is an impossible goal and actually hinders their opportunities for advancement. Contrary to what he argues, Bennett is actually setting forth false expectations for young people in the country and setting them up to fail.
Your employer probably won’t care about your feelings.
Deal with it.
7. There is nothing in modern American life today that in any way should be analogized to slavery.
What do you think Dred Scott would think if we put him in Doc McFly’s Delorean from “Back to the Future” and brought him from 1857 to the present day? Do you think he would see Michael Bennett’s $15.4 million dollar salary to play a three hour game 16 times a year, his $4.35 million dollar second home in Hawaii, and the sundry insane accoutrements that wealth affords today and think to himself, “Man, this reminds me of when I was a slave in St. Louis in 1857.”
Do you think he would consider Michael Bennett’s six month a year job or his freedom to retire from work forever in a couple of years to be in any way analogous to his lifetime of forced servitude?
Of course not.
To argue otherwise is insanely stupid.
The fact that Outkick is the only place in sports media this week pointing out how ridiculous Michael Bennett’s comments are should give you pause.
Is it the goal of the sports media to be liked and maintain access to boring press conferences to produce what is said verbatim without commentary, or is it to challenge people in positions of power?
Because contrary to what he might believe, Michael Bennett’s not a powerless slave, he’s a powerful multi-millionaire with a voice that carries great weight.
When he falsely accuses three minority police officers of being racist or analogizes his own life as a wealthy pro athlete to the most famous slave in American history, he isn’t making the world a better place or advancing the cause of equality and justice which he claims to be motivated by, he’s making American life less honest, more polarized and increasing the partisan divide between all citizens.
If Michael Bennett’s goal is to make America better, he’s failing horribly.
And so is the sports media reproducing Bennett’s lies and false analogies without a single word of criticism.
Dred Scott died penniless in St. Louis in 1858, a year after his case for freedom was rejected by the Supreme Court. He did not live to see slavery end, but his great-grandson would become an attorney and speak at the endowment of a courthouse in his name. His struggles and 59 years as a slave indisputably paved the way for Michael Bennett to become a multi-millionaire playing a game for a living.
So there is a connection in Scott’s life’s work and Bennett’s present labors, but it isn’t that modern day pro athletes are slaves too. It’s that modern day pro athletes, black or otherwise, are now so wealthy and disconnected from real life that they have the audacity and idiocy to compare their own lives to his and that they can get away with it because the media is so neutered most are afraid to speak truth to power.
Modern day athletes struggles are so minimal in the present day that they equate the right to stand or sit for the national anthem in uniform at work as the equivalent of a 19th century slaves fight for freedom. Michael Bennett should be ashamed of himself and so should anyone else in the media who shared his comments without ridiculing them in the process.
Because no athlete has ever shared a dumber analogy than Michael Bennett did yesterday. He should be shamed and ridiculed by all who heard it; the fact that he is neither being shamed nor ridiculed by anyone other than me tells us much more about modern media and society than his analogy ever could.
Michael Bennett’s not a slave, in fact he’s actually something much more powerful — the master of the liberal sports media. Because no matter how many lies Bennett tells or how many bad historical analogies he makes, the sports media’s there to do his bidding, covering up his lies as artfully as they possibly can, whitewashing the statements of an ignorant athlete and embossing it with the patina of legitimacy.
Bennett’s an idiot when he makes this analogy, but he might not actually know how idiotic he sounds. The sports media does and they don’t say anything about it. In the end, isn’t that ultimately worst of all?