The NFL’s New Anthem Policy Is Bullshit

So let me get this straight…. if a player takes a knee during the national anthem his team is assessed a 15 yard penalty before the game even starts?? That is easily the dumbest rule ever passed in the NFL and the owners should be ashamed of themselves.

A sport that has been nearly 70% black since the 1970 merger doesn’t care of the plight of it’s players or what they see in their communities. Nor what they experience. What started out with Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality is growing into a watershed moment that hasn’t come to a head yet. He and his teammate S Eric Reid are both unsigned and taking the NFL to court on collusion charges.

Everyday on social media is another post of law enforcement beating, tasing, killing and outright harassing my people at an alarming rate. These racist gestapo tactics have been known in the black community for years, it’s just being recorded for all of America to see. Yet many in white America want to turn a blind eye and make (the protest) seem disrespectful to our military or to our country and defend law enforcement while hiding behind a veil of white privilege.

Why do they kneel?? Go ask a black friend of their experiences with law enforcement.

When it comes to the law enforcement community it has been overtly racist for years in the difference between how blacks are treated vs white. Ironically every one of the altercations you see daily on Facebook and Twitter are unarmed black men being assaulted by 4 or 5 cops every time. Over a tail light… or leaves on their car window or golfing too slow. Yet not one white armed mass shooter has been taken into custody roughed up. Why not?? You’re judge jury and executioner whenever someone black has a tail light out.

When the officer who shot and killed Philando Castille was acquitted Kaepernick was in the spotlight again on police reform when he tweeted:

harkening back to a not to distant past how law enforcement tactics in the U.S. and their treatment of blacks was borne of the old slave patrols. Yet through the years many law enforcement agents were in the KKK. How do we know this?? Fifty years ago J.B. Stoner, Grand Wizard of the KKK, told Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad cryptically ““In the future we would not wear the white robe, or the white hooded sheets, but we will be in the police department, we will be in politics, we will be in the courts”

In the documentary “OJ Made In America” during the 1st part they offered:

 

In 2006 PBS had a special on the FBI as they warned white supremacists had infiltrated all of local law enforcement. Its purpose is to disrupt investigations against their members and to recruit new members. With all of this going on people still want to turn a blind eye to all these racist tactics that go against the freedom we profess to have in the United States. Well unless if you’re black and want to exercise your 1st amendment right and peacefully protest at the beginning of a football game.

In the future when we look back at these tumultuous times we will remember Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid as heroes. They are having to sacrifice the same as Tommie Smith and John Carlos did after their 1968 Olympic protests. In 1964 when the AFL’s black all stars decided to boycott the game in New Orleans and caused the game to be moved to Jeppeson Stadium in Houston. Forgotten is the fact KC Chief RB Abner Haynes & RB Cookie Gilchrist were blackballed after being traded from their teams in the aftermath. In 50 years….nothing has changed.

Malcolm X once opined “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” Not here at Taylor Blitz Times… never in a million years. All these owners took a weak way out and got Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins to sell out his brothers to try to quell the protest. Its why Reid and several prominent players walked away from the coalition.

The owners decided to offer money to several charities black players cared about as more hush money than anything else. Now they should have stood by their players causes and they didn’t. Just as nefarious as the concussion settlement of $865 million dollars, its a p.r. move as families of former players have had to fight tooth and nail with their claims. Where the owners could have shed their privilege and used their power to influence societal change. They chose to uphold the status quo.

The best thing all black NFL players should do is all protest and take a knee together at the beginning of this next season. To be forced to stand at the National Anthem seems patriotic until you look up and vendors are still selling concessions while it’s being played. Fans are still walking around the mezzanine so it’s never been about patriotism. Its just a white privilege pivot to not pay attention to these racial atrocities taking place on American streets. If this is the land of the free we’ll find that out when Reid and Kaepernick have their day in court.

Until then lets all take a knee in solidarity.

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The History of The AFL: Making Amends

As The Chancellor of Football, it’s imperative the history of the NFL and AFL is preserved and showcased for future generations. One of my favorite friends to Taylor Blitz Times is Chris Burford. Not only was he the starting wideout for the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl I, he was the first player signed in the history of the American Football League. He also suggested a great book to me last year. The Ten Gallon War which covered the days when the Chiefs / Dallas Texans battled the Cowboys for the heart of Dallas.

chris burfordAt the end of the highlight for Super Bowl I, he’s the one who puts on the Cowboy hat and heads out as John Facenda’s voice offers “In another year it will be the turn of the AFL. But this first spectacle of a sport belonged to Green Bay.”

These words echoed in my mind when Chris commented on an article which was the earlier incarnation of one I did on the ’66 Chiefs here.

“The major press were all in the NFL’s corner and denigrated our teams throughout the 60′s…however, when all was said and done after 10 years and 4 Super Bowls, the score was AFL 2 NFL 2…..(Chiefs 1-1), and the football world knew we could play with or against anybody….was a great time in pro football and a joy to have played in the AFL, from the beginning and through the emergence of the league….John Facenda, the Sabol’s, Pete Rozelle, Sports Illustrated, and the NFL propaganda machine notwithstanding.”

Full comment and original article here.

I thought it would be fitting to share with Chris one of my older archives where the late Steve Sabol had the late John Facenda narrate The History of The AFL. It’s told in a very respectful vain. The importance of this is even in the highlight for Super Bowl III, NFL Films narrated it with an NFL slant. Steve Sabol some time around 2000, later apologized for it. Going over the top about “One more moment for the master”- John Unitas trying to bring the Colts from behind instead of focusing on Joe Namath, the AFL, and the Jets victory. Which further validates Chris’ point.

So without further adieu lets take you back to this gem recorded in 1987 yet was produced in 1982.

Unfortunately I started two a day practice and didn’t get the other two shows recorded. What most folks don’t understand is there is still a battle between the AFL and NFL. For those that were there, some like Al Davis, didn’t want a merger. Others went on yet have their memories intact of the 10 year war and are fighting to be remembered and recognized. How the late DE Jerry Mays and FS Johnny Robinson were on the All Time AFL team, yet not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, are glaring omissions.

Websites like mine and Todd Tobias’ Tales From The American Football League do what we can to recognize these players. I know this doesn’t totally make amends Chris but something I wanted to share this Memorial weekend.

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1964 AFL Champion Buffalo Bills

1964 AFL Champion Buffalo Bills Ring

To the casual football fan, the legacy of the Buffalo Bills is that of a four time Super Bowl participant that lost them consecutively, or OJ Simpson and what later became of his life with a double murder trial.  Yet a further look into the legacy of MY beloved Buffalo Bills and you’ll find out about Robert Kalsu: The only professional football player to give his life serving his country in the Vietnam War.  You will also find that in the AFL, the Buffalo Bills came within a game of becoming a THREE-PEAT champion…and one of the most powerful champions in history.

Well when you think of the AFL you think of wide open offenses and high scoring football games.  It was the wild west up until this defensive mountain rose up to stop the onslaught of points.  It happened in Buffalo. Joe Collier developed a 4-3 defense that took advantage of cocking defensive end Tom Day #88 in the gap between the center and guard.  This was later made famous by Joe Greene and the Pittsburgh Steelers a decade later….yet I digress

A  solid front four that stopped the run with big Tom Sestak #70 that could get after the quarterback.  This team believed in roughing up the quarterback with safety blitzes the first to do so, George Saimes was the AFL pioneer with this tactic. Furthermore this was the first team to employ the bump and run tactics at cornerback, not the Oakland Raiders, in Booker Edgerson and Butch Byrd.

Byrd was arguably the best cornerback in Bills history and maybe the best in AFL history. He was 6-1 215 lbs, or 1 inch shorter and same weight as Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Ham a decade later. He punished receivers at the line of scrimmage yet could swoop in and pick off quarterbacks, leading the league with 7 interceptions.  Along with Mike Stratton, this defense sent 3 to the Pro Bowl and MLB Harry Jacobs should have gone.

On offense, the late Jack Kemp was quarterback yet the fuel to this team was Cookie Gilchrist.  Cookie ran for 948 yards and was the game closer when they needed to run the ball at the end of games.  He was the AFL version of Jim Brown with his power and speed.  Kemp had arrived a season before when he was placed on injured reserve by the San Diego Chargers.

There was some technicality that kept him from returning to the San Diego Chargers and the Bills were off and running.  Gilchrist and Daryle Lamonica (yes Oakland “The Mad Bomber”) each ran for 6 TDs in the regular season while Elbert “Wheels” Dubenion was the deep threat catching passes for 1,139 yards and 10TDs. Jack Kemp led a steady ball control offense and was a Pro Bowl performer in 1964 with Gilchrist, Dubenion, and TE Ernie Warlick.  They went 12-2 in the regular season and the two games they lost were by a combined 9 points.  Going into the 1964 AFL Championship they would have to take on the defending Champion Chargers.  How strong were they??

Buffalo AFL Championship Trophies

If you take a look back to 1963, the Chargers nearly became the first team in pro football to have two 1,000 yard rushers in Paul Lowe (1,010 yds) and Keith Lincoln (826 yds).  They teamed with Hall of Fame WR Lance Alworth and ancient Tobin Rote, who was Jack Kemp’s backup, to roar to the AFL Title with a 51-10 pasting of the Boston Patriots. The widest margin of victory during the 10 years of the AFL for a championship game.  The following year the team transitioned into John Hadl as the starting QB and with a bullseye on their back returned to the ’64 championship game. Only this time they had to travel to Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium.

The Bills were the only team that could defense the Chargers of that era and did so to win the title 20-7.  In fact the most famous play in AFL history took place in this game when early on when Keith Lincoln was leveled by Linebacker Mike Stratton on a swing pass breaking several ribs.  The Chargers fighting spirit dissipated as they watched their star running back writhe in the mud in obvious pain.  A rubber match took place in ’65 out in San Diego and the Chargers didn’t come close to scoring in a 23-0 defeat. Buffalo was back to back AFL Champions.

Yet a look back at the 1964 Buffalo Bills and our fans would tell you “we could have beaten the Packers”.  To the casual fan who only knows football through the lens of ESPN, they know Lombardi and the Packers as Gods when they were just men. A closer look at the statistical analysis and it was Buffalo who had the better offense and defense:

1964 Buffalo Bills: 400 pts for 242 against or a 158 point differential: All #1 rankings

1964 G.B. Packers: 342 pts for 245 against or a 97 point differential: Which rank 5th, 2nd, and 3rd

Coach Lou Saban, Pete Gogolak, and Jack Kemp

Alas this team doesn’t get its due yet many firsts started with this team.  Another issue that took place a year before was the fact that the Oakland Raiders had run out of money and were on the verge of folding.  Knowing the league couldn’t operate with only 7 teams, it was Ralph Wilson that stepped in lending the Raiders $425,000 for a stake in the team.  Which is illegal but it had to be done to save the league.

Each team lives on in the present NFL for having done so. Another full circle situation with Lou Saban’s defense is defensive co-ordinator Joe Collier who built the AFL’s first superior 4-3 defense.  He would move on to become the Denver Broncos defensive co-ordinator in the post merger NFL and was the second team to make it to the Super Bowl playing the 3-4 defense in Super Bowl XII.  Take a wild guess as to who was his assistant at that time he taught the 3-4 defense to?? Bill Belichick who would take it with him and Bill Parcells to New York and the Giants and Lawrence Taylor with Harry Carson was born.

Another notable is longtime NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer was a linebacker on this team. Then you have Pete Gogolak who was the first soccer style kicker.  How important was he? It was the New York Giants signing him to a contract with the rival NFL that touched off the bidding war that forced the AFL / NFL merger.  Which goes to show that the legacy of the 1964 Buffalo Bills is a lasting one and they were one of the best teams ever.

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