In his NBA playing days, the volatile Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (KAJ) was well known for his unstoppable skyhook shot and, dubiously, for sucker punching opponents and basket supports when he got angry. Now he verbally punches President Donald Trump and NFL owners, while launching "sky hooks" for social justice in hard-hitting commentaries for the Hollywood Reporter and The Guardian. In his most recent verbal knockout punch, for The Guardian, he asks if there is any room left for social conscience amidst the commercial giant known as the Super Bowl.
The leading scorer in NBA history calls the Super Bowl a "three-way bare-knuckle brawl between the perpetually dueling American values of competition, commerce and conscience." He concluded that commerce was the undisputed winner.
In 1977, Abdul-Jabbar drew a $5,000 fine for sucker-punching NBA rival Kent Benson. Now he sees Benson in the faces of the president and NFL owners, whom he aggressively lashes out against. Only now there is no fine involved. To the contrary, he's compensated for his aggression by the left-stream media:
"Given the increasing political divisiveness in the country, the game isn’t just a game, it’s a cultural symbol of what we stand for and what we turn our backs on. President Trump made football a much bigger political icon in 2017 when he told NFL owners they should fire or suspend any player who takes a knee because that’s disrespecting the flag."
Trump, Abdul-Jabbar screeches, sees no irony in wanting to punish people for the free speech guaranteed by America's Founder Fathers. He argued that Trump's 8,000 lies since taking office represents "an egregious disrespect of the flag, the Constitution, and the country. His daily crock of lies has slowed slightly since he got crock-blocked by Nancy Pelosi, but he is still the quarterback to the NFL’s anti-free speech blitz." It's no wonder the football-challenged Abdul-Jabbar played basketball: quarterbacks are the intended victims of blitzes.
As for pro football, one of the tallest lefties of them all insisted, "The NFL’s economic exploitation policies reflect Trump’s policies of tax-cutting for the rich, deregulating consumer and environmental safeguards, and taking the side of Saudi Crown Prince, who ordered the murder of American resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi ... ."
This is the same fiscal philosophy that the NFL has foolishly embraced, Abdul-Jabbar said. "They should just tweak the MasterCard slogan: 'There are some things money can’t buy. We’re just not one of them.'”
Continuing, he ranted that supporting commerce "doesn’t mean we should sell-out our moral principles along with every can of Pepsi. There needs to be an ethical line that we aren’t willing to cross, a dollar amount we aren’t willing to accept." He lauded Super Bowl halftime show boycotters Jay-Z, Rihanna and Cardi B for supporting the blackballed social justice warrior Colin Kaepernick. Abdul-Jabbar overlooked Cardi B for doing the very thing he criticized though. She boycotted the halftime show, but raked in the bucks for appearing in a Pepsi commercial. So much for little details.
It excites Abdul-Jabbar when someone stands for principle, at personal cost, but it angers him when they are marginalized for their message. Interfering with our entertainment, is exactly the right place for protest, he insists while ignoring the message kneeling sends to wounded warriors:
"How does taking a knee affect one’s enjoyment of their eleven minutes of game and one hundred commercials? Is that touchdown any less exciting because we were reminded that maybe we need to do more to bring about social equality?"
Abdul-Jabbar rates Kaepernick "a national hero" and urges us to aim our condemnation at "those out-of-step owners who muzzle their players’ consciences. And they accomplished this by not punishing them for kneeling or staying in the locker room? If we really wanted to force change, we’d try to convince businesses not to advertise during the Super Bowl. If that happened, imagine how quickly NFL policy would change." And they muzzled the players by not punishing them for kneeling or staying in the locker room?
Just as there is a Super Bowl commercial that advises us “to drink responsibly” Abdul-Jabbar suggests a message encouraging us to “think responsibly.” Think like a good social justice warrior perhaps?
After berating the president and NFL owners for violating free speech rights, it's fitting — and hypocritical — that Abdul-Jabbar emerges as the keeper of the Founders' freedom flame to tell Americans how to think.