There's no crying in baseball and no more kneeling in football. Today's news that the NFL will disallow on-field player protests during the national anthem is drawing fiery responses from some in the media, none more so than USA Today's Dave Birkett. His comments that the league's decision smells of "a military state" rank No. 1 on our list of the most unhinged media reactions.
The unhinged Birkett must have seen the black helicopters coming as he unleashed a furious attack on the NFL:
"The league’s ambiguous declaration that players have to 'show respect' for the flag and anthem smells of a military state ordering its citizens to stand and salute its flag and leaders or risk being shipped off to some far-off corner of the land.
"It's good for everyone who wants their athletes to shut up and play ball and not worry about the real-life problems that impact this country.
"But for those of us not threatened by athletes who choose to use their platform for good, Wednesday’s vote was the equivalent of a sock in the mouth held tightly in place by a roll of duct tape."
Cementing his well-deserved perch at the top of our list of "objective reporters doing an honest day's work," Birkett wrote that rather than making real change and helping heal open wounds, all the NFL is doing is amplifying the divide in the nation between right and left, players and owners and between fans everywhere.
Coming in at a solid No. 2 on our hit parade of angry SJW football player cheerleaders is the unhinged Kevin Blackistone. On ESPN's talk show, Around the Horn, the former Politico writer called the new rule "a joke" and that "what this really is, is coercion against the players and I hope they can find unity in the disunity the NFL has tried to create today." He said it's not about patriotism, but about branding, marketing, advertising and politics. Yeah, successful businesses do those sorts of things!
No. 3: Also from the Around the Horn panel, the Dallas Morning News' Tim Cowlishaw is really upset about the ban on kneeling. "Why don't we just vilify all the players doing that? That's essentially what the league is doing. I think some teams will say, let's keep the whole team in there but there are players who would like to be part of the anthem. So it's going to divide teams regardless."
No. 4: Woody Paige, a legend among Colorado sports writers, says hey, pay no attention to those disgruntled athletes behind the curtain and the white billionaire racist NFL owners. It's those drunken, rowdy fans who don't pay attention during the Star Spangled Banner who are the problem:
"And I would add this, which bothers me more than all this talk, is thousands of fans disrespect the flag and the national anthem. They're drinking beer and talking. I've talked about this. They should stay back in the concourse, if they're going to disrespect the anthem and the flag and it has nothing to do with violence in the country, but people paying attention to the national anthem."
No. 5: Never-say die Mike Jones, of USA Today, isn't giving up on the league's SJW's and writes opponents of the protests "who are thinking 'we won' should dismiss such silly thoughts right now" (even though they got the W!). And ... "Players still have their voice, and for those who are passionate about drawing attention to the racial and social injustices, they should and will continue to make themselves heard."
Jones colleague at USA Today, Tom Schad did not make our dubious list of outrageous media because he wrote about one prominent opponent of the protests who is declaring victory. Vice-president Mike Pence tweeted "#Winning," and called the policy "a stunning victory for President Trump."