NFL Week 4: Liars and Swearers Edition

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Words fail me. There was a time when taking a knee meant taking a knee (see featured image)

I’d like to think I’m not easily taken off guard. At this point I am fully aware that the President of the United States possesses the same temper and capacity for restraint as Poison Idea. I’ve regarded the rallies as a something of an unavoidable embarrassment, but there have been liars and swearers enough to beat the honest men and hang up them for a long time. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he drowned a sheep like Rabelais Panurge or punched a baby like Will Farrell’s Cam Brady. But I confess, I did not foresee him casting the entire NFL as his adversary.

Let me be clear, here. Logistically, I understand why he would position himself opposite Kaepernick; its the same reason he would mention Kaepernick at all at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama. Its overtly racist, deplorable and evil, but it does make sense? We are beyond red meat or dog whistles at this point, this is someone promising racists that he will continue to be racist and try to be more racist, pure and simple. Remember that he is above all else a greedy narcissist, and yet he is so dumb, or so averse to learning, that he hasn’t even bothered to figure out how the government works so that he can maximize his own gains while he holds the highest office in the nation. Bearing that in mind, imagine how stupid the people that show up and clap for him are.

What I did not expect was for him to essentially go all in on every player in the league. Regarding the owners of the teams, I get it, even if it is – unsurprisingly – colossally stupid. Its no secret that he is prom queen runner-up-jealous of the owners, as made clear by his prior attempts to buy and sue his way into the NFL, as far back as 1981. Met with laughter and disdain at every turn, he holds what he perceives to be a legitimate grudge against the people who would not let him into their club. So he publicly rebukes these people, even though they are either Republicans or overlapping donors who paid to grease him during election year. Thus showing the same business sense that led to six bankruptcies despite the idiot-proof ease of selling gambling, steak, liquor, and football to Americans. Never forget, his legendary financial acumen has actually cost him money over the the years, and he would be richer if he’d have left his inheritance alone and put it all in index funds.

Trying to make football players the enemy of his base, however, is so myopic and misguided that I am genuinely confused. I know his kids – his gutless, jock-sniffing, approval-seeking kids – have never seen the inside of a real locker room, but is there not one person in his circle that ever played any organized sports? Did he really think that Aaron Rodgers was going to call Martellus Bennett and try and school him over the phone based on what Donald Trump thought he should do? Actually, yes, he probably thought that would happen. That’s the problem.

Football teams are teams. We can debate the nature of group-think or how sports has a tendency to indoctrinate certain mindsets another time. However, at present, we have a world leader who thinks he can manipulate the concept of camaraderie by name calling. A 71-year-old man thought that name calling would result in him getting his way. Obviously this went as well as every intelligent American thought it would. In week three, eight players exhibited some sort of protest during the National Anthem. In week four, over 250 players did so.

And about this base I keep hearing about; is this the new great silent majority? Because I don’t know a single person who feels like drowning out their favorite teams first drive with discussions about North Korea, email servers, or Hawaiian birth certificates. Rather, I think its extremely likely that the same guy giving power back to the people is extremely ignorant as to both the price of milk and how that base feels about the players on their team. Does he know how many mouth-breathers in MAGA hats still beat it to Von Miller and Brandin Cooks when the lights are off? It was rhetorical, of course he doesn’t.

One other point needs to be made. Bob Costas appearance on CNN got a lot of positive attention, and while I generally agree with his points, the comparison of Colin Kaepernick and Muhammad Ali was straight out of the pages of DUH Magazine. During all of this I implore you to keep in mind that Colin Kaepernick is 29 years old. While I’m obviously not inside of his head, I do know that a lot of us find certain ideologies that pique our interests in our teens and twenties that might not reflect who we are once were settled into adulthood.

Obviously most every literate adult is anti-police brutality. Police shootings of unarmed citizens is front page news in our country for good reason. The issue is important to him, and while I personally agree with his viewpoints it wouldn’t matter if I didn’t since the right to peacefully protest is as about as American as it gets. Initially thought that since he consulted with military friends of his that even right-leaning people would be more understanding of his kneeling, but I was wrong. Of course, I was wrong about Beck Bubbles last Sunday, too. Nothing is ever easy.

So when I read all of the hit pieces about Kaepernick and Cuba and not voting and so-forth, I keep his age in mind, and consider that he seems to have tried his best to clarify that he liked some elements of Castro’s Cuba while not supporting repression. As for the home to Ghana and July 4th stuff, it seems more like youthful idealism and curiosity than a deeply ingrained political belief to me. Everyone I know has been there. I used to argue for the anarch-pacifism of CRASS as a workable solution in the fucking 1990s. I boycotted milk. I regularly listened to a terrible Professor Griff album that he now admits to having no intention of making or releasing! By the way, I was hardly the only one. If I banned all former vegetarians and straight edgers from my summer beer BBQ, attendance would drop by a minimum of 50%.


So maybe while were sizing up Colin Kaepernick lets also keep in mind that hes a young, intelligent and curious man whose every word is reprinted ad nauseum for consumption by the likes of Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith, and at this point every media outlet everywhere. And that preventing him from making a living because of that is ludicrous, especially if its indirectly done in our names as football fans.

If you dont want to read this, rest assured that I don’t want to write it. The mill needs no grist. When the window cleaning company negligently used a bucket to prop a door open and I tiptoed (to the extent that any 265-pound man can tiptoe) into the Ruthless Megaplex – much to Goats chagrin – I figured I would write about gambling and make jokes! Check it out: Daniel McCullers is so fat, I had to take an Uber to get on his good side! I even remember some idiot once saying that [f]ootball and greed are two of the few remaining things most of us still agree on.

Well, the point stands. That goon is still going on about anthem protests and trying to conflate them with patriotism, respect for the military, and his woefully misguided agenda. Literally as I type this. It doesn’t matter. Laugh in his chemically-tanned face. Enjoy that which he is too dumb to understand. And by all means take a knee if you feel like you should do so.

Steelers -3 at Ravens

Alright, fair play on last weekends games, I’ll eat the 1-2. Now, hands up, how many of you called Bulb Bagels 44-7 annihilation of the Ravens in London? Keep them high in the air, because after class I want to ask you what Dionne Warwick is like in real life and count the money you made off of Buster Douglas.

Sweet Lord. that Flacco performance. 8 of 18 for 28 yards, no touchdowns, and 2 picks. It doesn’t get any uglier than that. We were obviously betting against the Jags, as opposed to on the Ravens, but that one still stung something fierce. And those stats are too ugly to blame on the travel.

The Steelers, meanwhile, slipped on a banana peel and dropped one to the Bears in overtime. The sleazier folks are hyping the Ravens 10-1 ATS record against divisional rivals and Roethlisbergers dismal record in Baltimore, but I don’t care. Despite the loss on Sunday, Football Outsiders currently has Pittsburgh at the top of their board to win the Super Bowl with a 19.2% chance, and while I wouldn’t go that far this early, they need this game bad. Coming off of a heart-breaker like that against a rival that just lost by 37 has me considering selling teaser points, but for our purposes just count on Pittsburgh covering.

Saints -3 at Dolphins

And back to London we go. One might think that based upon recent performances, New Orleans would be the home team here in terms of fan support, but in my experience, Europeans can name three American states: New York, California, and Florida. Whether or not Miami is likely to being motivated by goofy singalongs and fans smashing pint glasses onto the skulls of people rooting for their rivals is yet to be seen.

The Dolphins were essentially shut out by the Jets last week, as their only score took place in the garbage time of garbage time on the last play of the game. Meanwhile, New Orleans has hardly looked great, but Drew Brees still has his ways and seemed to find something in their win over the Panthers. I know that the defense is suspect but who is going to score on them? Cutler, who had a 1:1 split counting the double-garbage touchdown? Jay Ajayi, who was continually pancaked by Muhammad Wilkerson last week and has run for 138 total yards in his two games this year? I’m not saying it will be fun to watch, I’m just saying that the outcome seems predictable.

Titans -1.5 at Texans

DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry, and the rest of the Titans have combined for a whopping one turnover so far this season. I know Ive run hot and cold on Marcus Mariota but he was 20 of 32 last week for 225 yards, 2 TD’s, and not a pick in sight when they beat the Seahawks last Sunday.

Deshaun Watson, not so much. He probably is the rookie QB of the future in Houston, and God knows that’s always worked out before. Hes thrown three interceptions in 80 attempts and totaled 528 passing yards in three games. His time will come, but it wont come Sunday. Titans to cover.

Raiders +2.5 at Broncos

Finally, the Raiders destroyed us last Sunday night, and for that I apologize. The question is whether or not this is a sign of the league figuring Carr out, or a misstep attributable to the rest of his team. That line of his, mentioned repeatedly throughout the day because of the Idiot Joy Sideshow, functioned like a sieve. Washington had their way with both Carr and Marshawn Lynch, whose Beast Mode gimmick seemed all of the sudden sad once he carried the ball six times for 18 yards. This is not a typo, those are all night stats.

The thing is, the Broncos do not have a Chris Thompson ready and willing to carve up the Raiders secondary. They do have a Chris Harris and an Aqib Talib, but Crabtree and Amari Cooper have Khalil Mack on the other side of the ball making sure they see more of the field and thus more chances to score. Mack had nine tackles, one of which was a sack, and led the way for LB Cory James to make 12 more along with a forced fumble. The Raiders also have the advantage of going full bore this game, as they get to coast through the Ravens and the Chargers for the next two weeks. Be it revenge or divisional rivalry, the Raiders will come hungry on Saturday and may not even need the points, but I love them here.

That’s four games so I won’t include Kansas City again, but I’m still on that wagon as well, and will remain there until they lose, at least ATS. Never mind the blowhards, were gonna be just fine. When we win on Sunday, lets all remember to point and laugh at the clown who could never buy his way into the NFL, and who, try as he might, cant even ruin it for the rest of us as some sort of demented consolation prize.

Good luck!

About J.J. Duquesne

J.J. is an attorney in New York City. He loves NFL Football...a LOT.