In 1990, San Diego Padres owner Tom Werner (an ABC television executive) thought it would be a bright idea to bring Roseanne Barr in to sing the national anthem before the second game of a doubleheader. A local radio station promoted the event as ‘Working Women’s Night’.
What occurred was predictable. Knowing Barr’s role as a top comedian of the day, her performance met expectations – complete with a spit and crotch grab at the end.
I attended that game and for two innings myself and others around me talked about what we had witnessed, and wondered if it would be mentioned in the postgame radio coverage. Ultimately I concentrated on the game and forgot about Roseanne and wrote her off for what she is.
Then I turned on the car radio for the short drive home.
“The Padres swept a doubleheader, but I think that is not what we will be talking about.”
Made it home in time for the 11 p.m. news. One station started with an ongoing sensationalized local murder case. The other two opened with Roseanne Barr.
I scanned the radio to hear Barr being talked nationally and realized the instant media firestorm, long before the internet and social media. The next day President George Herbert Walker Bush chimed in and called out Roseanne.
Which leads us to Colin Kaepernick’s antics, when he sat the anthem to protest the recent social climate of racial unrest.
What will the San Francisco 49ers do – fire him? His $12.3 million salary for 2016 became vested in April just for being on the roster. That makes staging a protest a little easier, even if it overshadows his football exploits from 2012-13.
Kaepernick, who reportedly converted to Islam, has been debated plenty on social media. Former NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (Chris Jackson) also protested against the anthem during his career.
Yes, there is the First Amendment and freedom of speech, but sit the national anthem at your own peril.
Like his commercial where he faces angry faux-Seattle fans throwing bananas (just to get the racial angle in) and everything else as he sits on the team bus, I guess Kaepernick puts on the headphones and tunes everything out.
Most of us know the drill attending an event. Someone who keeps a hat on when the anthem hears about it. I attended a game last fall when bumped from behind during the anthem by someone holding his son trying to reach his seat.
He would hear about it immediately.
“Disrespectful!”, a fan said.
I saw both sides, it was bad timing. It was a parent concerned that his son remained safe.
Over the years I have tried to be careful with this etiquette. In a concourse most stop movement when the anthem is played. Activity also ceases at concession stands and ticket windows. Many do not know that when a color guard is involved they should remain standing after until they walk off the field and retire the colors.
When LeBron James wants to wear ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirts during warmups or a WNBA team refuses to answer basketball questions at a postgame press conference or if St. Louis Rams players emerge from the tunnel with hands up gestures to protest happenings in nearby Ferguson, they have made their point. Pro athletes can make a statement provided they don’t cross a line. How many people in other professions can keep their jobs by doing or saying something that disrupts the workplace.
Dissing the anthem is not worth the trouble.Many wondered if Kaepernick would dare repeat for the regular season opener, when most teams play on the 15th anniversary of something called 9/11. The 49ers happen to play at home on Monday night, Sept. 12.
Considering the distraction caused in his own locker room along with rapidly declining play on the field, there is a good chance Kaepernick will not be active that night.
But he just likes to hear what he wants to hear.