Though I don’t think the problem is systemic racism or pervasive brutality.
The real problem is that politicians have enacted far too many laws, many of which don’t make senseor don’t have any victims, and then they expect the police to use those laws to generate more revenue.
This is a recipe for more Eric Garner tragedies.
That being said, NFL players are not going to win the hearts of middle America by actions that can be portrayed as being anti-flag, anti-police, anti-military, and/or anti-country. Heck, they’re playing into Trump’s hands with that approach.
The players would have much more success (both in terms of the issue and with respect to their own popularity) if they portrayed their cause as one that affirms and extends American ideals.
NFL players should come up with some inclusive pro-America slogan about “The Constitution Protects Everyone” or “The Principles of the Founding Fathers Apply to All Americans.” And then they should be ostentatiously patriotic (in the proper sense), standing for the national anthem, with one hand over their hearts and one hand holding both an American flag and some sort or symbol of their campaign.
Trump would have a hard time attacking that kind of approach.
More important, I’m guessing a lot of Americans who heretofore have been rejecting the message of Kaepernick, et al, may start paying attention. And that would be the ideal outcome. After all, the goal should be to change policy, not generate noise and controversy.
For all intents and purposes, I’m suggesting the football players adopt the strategy Martin Luther King used when fighting Jim Crow laws. Dr. King explained that equality of law was an American principle. He embraced the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, even though slavery and other sins meant America was grossly imperfect at that point.
But he wanted an inclusive message. I hope that today’s NFL players copy that approach. Assuming, of course, they actually want better policing and a better America.
P.S. Until and unless there’s a better strategy, Nike will probably suffer the same adverse consequences as Dick’s, which lost customers after kowtowing to the anti-gun crowd. Irritating a big chunk of the buying public is not a wise idea.
P.P.S. I believe in a tough-on-crime approach, but only if laws are just.