Note to Colin Kaepernick: get off your butt

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So I’ve heard NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick doesn’t want to get off his a–.  Apparently the San Francisco 49ers signal caller thinks that by refusing to stand for the National Anthem, he’s somehow taking a stand. Or making a stand. Or something.

Old Glory. American Flag. Photo taken at Memorial Day Ceremony by Alexandra Bogdanovic
American Flag. As seen at Memorial Day ceremony in Warrenton, Virginia. May 2011. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

To hear him tell it, his refusal to get off his butt during the National Anthem is rooted in his belief that the United States “oppresses African-Americans and other minorities.”

As an American — and a patriotic one at that — I respect Kaepernick’s right to protest whatever he wants in any fashion he chooses. Yes, refusing to stand for the National Anthem is offensive. But at least this idiot hasn’t started burning the flag — yet. Not that I’d put it past him, though. He’s that misguided — and calling him misguided is putting it nicely.

For some strange reason, Colin Kaepernick believes his own press. For some strange reason, he actually believes that his ability to throw a football makes him special. That it makes him important. That it somehow makes him relevant.

Well it’s time for a reality check, Mr. Kaepernick.

The reality is, you are lucky. You are incredibly lucky — because you live in the United States of America — a country where you can make millions of dollars per year for playing a game. You are incredibly fortunate — because you live in the United States of America — a country where the media and the masses put you on a pedestal — simply because you are good at a game.

The reality is you are incredibly blessed — because you live in the United States of America — a country where you are free to engage in civil disobedience and voice your opinion without fear of government reprisal. Sure, you’ll face a public backlash. Sure, you’ll catch hell on social media. You may even get a few death threats — but for your sake I hope it never comes to that.

The reality is you are spoiled. The reality is you are an ingrate. The reality is you are incapable of critical, independent thought. The reality is you are emotionally and intellectually stunted. The reality is that you speak about oppression as if you know it all — as if you are the ultimate authority on the subject. The reality is you know nothing.

So let me tell you a few things about oppression, Mr. Kaepernick.

Let me tell you about my father — a man who opposed Communism in the former Yugoslavia. When Tito’s Secret Police learned what my father was doing, they framed him for a crime he did not commit. He had to flee from his country as a political refugee. That meant leaving his family and everything he ever knew in order to keep from being thrown in prison or killed. He never went back. He was not alone.

You might want to read about life in Yugoslavia under Tito’s brand of “kinder, gentler Communism.”

Then you can talk to me about oppression.

While you’re at it, you might want to read about life in the former Soviet Union under Stalin.

Then you can talk to me about oppression.

You might want to watch a recent heartbreaking, gut wrenching clip from the BBC World News that showed two young Syrian brothers screaming, crying, clutching each other as they mourned the loss of another sibling in a bomb blast.

Then you can talk to me about oppression.

You might want to do some research on what’s been going on in South Sudan.

Then you can talk to me about oppression…

Dallas Cowboys support for cops gets mad props from this NY Giants fan

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In the interest of full disclosure, I am a New York Giants fan. A die-hard New York Giants fan. As such, I hate the Dallas Cowboys. Passionately.

I mean, come on. It shouldn’t come as a big shock. I’ve do have a cat named Eli, whom I adopted after Big Blue won the Super Bowl in 2008. Of course, he already had that name when I adopted him, but that’s beside the point.

In Brief Legal Writing Services owner Alexandra Bogdanovic's cat, Eli.
Eli under the Christmas Tree. Christmas 2013.

The point, as I initially said, is that I hate, cannot stand, and passionately dislike the Dallas Cowboys. And their fans.

But this week, the Dallas Cowboys did something really cool. It took guts. It showed class. And as far as I’m concerned, the Dallas Cowboys organization deserves mad props.

As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. And as they opened training camp, the Dallas Cowboys showed their support for the Dallas police. According to  Yahoo’s account (which frequently cited the Associated Press), here’s what happened:

“The team came out in waves. The first wave was led out by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and some of his players, and Brown. Families of four of the five officers who were killed were represented at the practice, the Associated Press said.”

In addition to showing its support for the Dallas Police Department and the families of the law enforcement officers slain last month, the team wanted to send another message.

“Our players felt that there is no better example of what unity is — and can be about — than a sports team,” the Cowboys reportedly said in a statement. “And they felt they had the opportunity — for the first time they were together this year — to send this very important message.”

To reinforce that message, the Cowboys are sporting “arm-in-arm” decals on their helmets, according to Yahoo.

It is a timely and important message — and under the circumstances, I really shouldn’t make light of it. But I just can’t help it. So I’ll end by saying that as a New York Giants fan, I have no doubt that we will remain united in our universal dislike of the Dallas Cowboys and our hopes that we knock the snot out of them this season. In that, I am sure we are not alone.

The Peyton Manning case: Will another idol fall?

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Peyton Manning sure has been getting a lot of “exposure” lately.

First, allegations surfaced about some HGH being sent to his wife back in 2011. Then Manning defied the odds and led the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl title. Now some disturbing information about an incident that occurred when he was a student-athlete at the University of Tennessee has come to light — again.

By now I’m sure you’ve heard all the sordid details, so I’ll keep this brief. According to numerous media reports, Manning’s name came up in a recent lawsuit filed against the university claiming that it mishandled sexual assault complaints involving student-athletes. Although the suit brought by five women pertains mainly to incidents that occurred between 2013 and 2015, it also alludes to prior episodes, presumably to show a pattern of behavior or conduct.

As a student athlete at the university in the late 1990s, Manning reportedly exposed his backside to a female trainer who was treating him at the time. That resulted in the trainer filing a sexual assault complaint against him.

The matter was settled fairly quickly — but the trainer sued the quarterback after information about the event appeared in a book called Manning. That suit was also settled.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

Now renewed publicity brings new questions. There has been much talk about if or how this will affect Manning’s legacy. Will one of the NFL’s superstars — who also happens to be a stellar salesman,  weather the storm? Will he retain his credibility? Or will another idol fall?

To me there is a far more important question. Why do we put these athletes on pedestals in the first place? Think about it. From the second a little boy or girl shows that they may be athletically gifted, their parents, teachers, coaches, and peers treat them differently.  The older they get, the more special attention they receive. Why?  What is it about someone who can throw a football, kick a soccer ball, hit a baseball, shoot a basketball or a hockey puck that makes them so special? Why do we care?

And why are we so surprised when they act out? Or when they think they deserve special treatment? Or when they develop entitlement issues? Or when they think they can get away with anything? Or when they do get away with so much reprehensible behavior on and off the field? Or when they refuse to be held accountable for their actions?

Sure the athletes who reach the top of their respective games put in a tremendous amount of hard work and sacrifice a lot to get there. Sure they put themselves at risk in order to entertain the masses. Sure they provide a welcome distraction from the daily grind. And for all of that, they should be admired — but not idolized.

As Charles Barkley once said, “I am not a role model.”

Neither is Peyton Manning.