Rocky Bleier And The Protests
The guy I thought most about yesterday was Rocky Bleier, the former Running Back for the Pittsburgh Steelers who has Super Bowl rings to prove his excellence as a player. We all witnessed the protests yesterday in the NFL by players, coaches and execs. This, a direct result of Trump's vulgar attack on their character. Trump's racist remarks turned what was a scattered protest into a league-wide (and beyond the NFL) statement against Trump and his Nazi-led base.
I don't know where Rocky Bleier stands on the protests (which started under Obama and were aimed at police brutality against minorities) or politics, so why did I think about him often during this football weekend? Character. He exemplifies all the drive and honor that Trump does not.
Bleier went to serve in Vietnam because he got drafted by the Army at the same time he got drafted by the NFL. Donald Trump used a fake bone spur to arrange for FIVE deferments so he wouldn't have to join the armed forces. Bleier was wounded in an ambush by gunfire and grenade fragments and told he might never walk again let alone play football.
Instead of giving in to what seemed a certain fate, Bleier worked for two years to literally get on his feet again. The result was that he was signed by the Steelers and went on to help make that dynasty. He and Franco Harris were a rare example in league history where TWO running backs on the same team both rushed for over 1000 yards. Bleier earned every yard and Super Bowl ring the hard way.
Now you take that example and you compare it to Trump who makes racist attacks on a weekend when over 3 million Americans are without food and water in Puerto Rico, in large part because Trump has yet to send ANY aid to the island which is totally without power in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
I actually understand Trump and the deferments. I have never belittled anyone for not wanting to fight in Vietnam. If you had the means to avoid the draft, why not? It was a terrible war. But don't stand there and act like you did anything else but avoid the draft while guys like Bleier, men without means or who felt it was their duty, went and bled. But Trump time and time again disparages Vets. Take McCain whom he ridiculed for being a P.O.W. or the Vet organizations he pledges money to but never pays. If you took the deferment, you are in the back of the line buddy.
For the record, if you think that there isn't a difference in how police treat whites versus minorities in this country then you need to get out of the house once in a while. It is two very different reactions. This country has a serious race problem and only someone dwelling in denial would not acknowledge that.
So before anyone else calls athletes "sons of bitches" and unpatriotic because they think free speech is their right, consider the case of Rocky Bleier, what he fought for both in Vietnam and in the States. And the Steelers yesterday? They lost to Chicago (HOW???) but their best moment was when the team as a whole stayed in the tunnel to boycott the National Anthem. Except for one guy. An ex-Ranger and West Point graduate who came out for the song. Free speech. Take a knee when you feel the need.