On Sunday the majority of the Houston Texans football team took a knee to prove to the entire country that they were complete and total idiots.
That’s the only possible opinion that anyone who has ever read a book for fun can have.
Why were the Texans protesting? Because the owner of the team, Bob McNair, in a private NFL owner’s meeting said that protesting NFL players were bad for NFL business because you couldn’t have the “inmates run the prison.” McNair’s phrasing was an alteration of a common idiom, that you can’t allow the “inmates to run the asylum.” McNair, who is nearly 80, either misspoke in his use of the idiom or he, quite logically, thought the phrase made more sense if the inmates were put in a prison instead of an asylum since mental patients would be unlikely to be referred to as inmates.
Regardless of his intent the phrase is commonly used in situations exactly like this one — when the people least capable or running an organization or business threaten the entity with calamity or chaos. I, in fact, regularly use this phrase when my three boys, ages 9, 7, and 3, threaten to derail the plans in our house.
Chances are many of you have used the phrase as well, either in your work or private life.
The important thing to note here is that it is an idiom and NOT A DIRECT ANALOGY OF PLAYERS TO INMATES OR TEAMS TO PRISONS.
An idiom, for those of you who need a refresher course in elementary school English, is per the dictionary “a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual word.”
The easiest possible example? When someone says “it’s raining cats and dogs,” it is not literally raining cats and dogs. It’s just raining hard.
If you had never heard the idiom McNair used you could have pulled out your phone and googled the phrase, rapidly understanding its common usage. That way your response wouldn’t be ignorant, illogical and prove the exact point the owner of your team was making — that protests are bad for business.
But instead of doing this Houston Texans players skipped practice and later decided to STAGE A PROTEST AGAINST THE USE OF AN IDIOM.
I swear to God, every time I think sports stories can’t get any dumber, they do.
Ten different Houston Texans players even refused to show up for work. Seriously. THEY REFUSED TO SHOW UP FOR WORK!
And no one in the sports media but me is even going to point out how insanely stupid these players and their protest was. Think about how wild that is, there are thousands of members of the sports media and I bet this is the only column you will read online about how dumb these players are.
And that’s despite the fact that these same players use sports idioms all the time.
Here are some popular sports idioms: the ball is in your court, that’s par for the course, he or she hit a home run, he or she is out of her league, we’re coming down the home stretch, down for the count, full court press, move the goal post, keep your eye on the ball, lightweight, saved by the bell, and even the name of this website, outkick the coverage.
And that’s just idoms derived from sports.
Our regular day speech is peppered with idioms, words that don’t literally translate to how they’re used. Such as piece of cake, that costs an arm and a leg, hit the nail on the head, you can’t judge a book by its cover, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, when pigs fly, a penny for your thoughts, you can see the entire list here of popular idioms here.
The point of these is that NONE OF THESE ARE LITERAL STATEMENTS.
If I said, curiosity killed the cat, would any of you wonder why curiosity wasn’t being charged with animal cruelty? I mean any of you who don’t play football for the Houston Texans.
The Houston Texans owner should actually be thanking his lucky stars he didn’t say “we can’t let the monkeys run the zoo,” because if he’d said that he would have been led before a firing squad and publicly executed immediately before the national anthem in Seattle. IDIOMS ARE HATE CRIMES, Y’ALL!
It’s impossible for the country to get any dumber.
Until next week, that is, when the Houston Texans will probably take a knee to protest the pot calling the kettle black, which is a clear example of culinary racism.
Of course, player stupidity is one thing — it’s probably even too much to expect your average athlete to know idioms exist, much less use them correctly. That’s especially the case when we’re in an era when Draymond Green, asked to comment on what the Texans owner said, confidently opined “you can’t use figures of speech in 2017.” (FUCK. It’s going to be awfully hard not to use similes, metaphors, puns, personifications, hyperbole, understatements, paradoxes and oxymorons in modern day language any more. Fun fact for athletes out there, an oxymoron isn’t related to a moron.)
But shouldn’t we at least expect for sports media members, who are theoretically better educated than athletes and have actually read a book, to point out what Bob McNair said in a private meeting was actually a common idiomatic phrase? And that he wasn’t, in any way, comparing players to inmates or his team to a prison? You might expect that, but you’d be wrong, there was money to be made turning this into racism.
So the left wing sports media — led by the usual suspects at MSESPN — went right to work, turning this into a modern day civil rights issue, laced with racism and inappropriate commentary. The sports media commentary reached laughably absurd heights of stupidity when Charles Woodson, appearing on ESPN’s pregame show, actually said he refused to use the O word.
Which O word?
And then Randy Moss felt compelled to point out that NFL team owners didn’t actually own the players.
Seriously, this happened on MSESPN.
In real life.
And I’m the only person in sports media pointing out how fucking absurd it is.
Plus, didn’t it require racism to actually consider this statement racist?
If Bob McNair was actually racist, wouldn’t he have made the connection between a majority black team and inmates and avoided using the phrase? I actually think that instead of being evidence McNair is racist, this is actually evidence he isn’t racist.
After all, the Texans are not an entirely black team, there are white players as well. So didn’t it require the listener be racist to infer the Texans owner was calling his black team inmates? And then to equate the black players with inmates because black people are in jail in substantial numbers? Especially since the majority of prison inmates in this country are white, meaning this racist connection isn’t even accurate. Shouldn’t the white players have been even more outraged since they make up the majority of prison inmates? (According to the most recent bureau of prisons data white people make up 58.4% of prisoners and black people make up 37.9% of prisoners.)
While McNair apologized for the comments, both immediately upon saying them in the private meeting and later publicly when his quote came out, he shouldn’t have. He should have said, “I apologize for using a popular idiom which most people in America today are too dumb to understand. What I should have said was this so everyone, even the idiots, would understand me perfectly, “I believe NFL players kneeling for the national anthem is incredibly bad for the NFL and I think it’s a perfect example of employees ruining a business. So from this point forward let me be abundantly clear, if you have an issue with the way I run this team you are welcome to seek employment elsewhere. Because I will not allow the actions of a few idiots to ruin my business in the great state of Texas.”
He might have gotten elected governor on the spot.
Instead he curled up in the fetal position and apologized even though he’d done nothing wrong.
Leaving us with the most ironic possible outcome.
THE HOUSTON TEXANS PROTESTED THE NATIONAL ANTHEM BY KNEELING BECAUSE THEIR OWNER USED AN IDIOM THEY DIDN’T RECOGNIZE!
And in so doing the players actually proved McNair’s exact point by executing this protest — that the inmates were running the asylum.
What the fuck did the national anthem have to do with this at all? All the players did was alienate the people who pay their salaries by demonstrating their own stupidity. Apologies to Colin Kaepernick, I didn’t think it was possible for players to protest in a dumber way than you did, but I was wrong. The Houston Texans idiotic idiom protest takes the cake.
On Sunday the Houston Texans players executed the dumbest protest in sports history by barking up the wrong tree. They need to go back to the drawing board before they add even more insult to injury. Because unless they want to give up their day jobs they are crying over spilt milk by jumping on the protest bandwagon.