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Unmasking Jerry’s Kids (er, Cowboys)

Jerry Lewis starred in his condescending telethon parade of children with disabilities in what came to be known as “Jerry’s Kids” (though he disinherited five of his own biological kids).  All this has now taken on a whole new meaning with “Jerry’s Kids,” Jerry’s (very-obedient-don’t-talk-back-or-bat-an-eye) Cowboys.

Owner Jerry Jones has now finally and unwittingly tripped himself up, unmasking the Dallas Cowboys in particular, and the NFL in general, for what they are.  He did so by embroiling himself in something that is revelatory now but will be discussed for years, and not for his benefit or that of the NFL.  The latter is openly desperate in admitting every day that their role in society is to unify everyone, when there is no basis for unity and cannot be, unless it is a contrived and ephemeral one for the NFL’s profit.

As the nationally syndicated, well-known (native Texan), and inimitable columnist Molly Ivins once observed, “it is possible to strike up a conversation with anyone at all—CEOs, shoeshine boys, or the barkeep—by inquiring, ‘How about those ‘Pokes?’” as a lingua franca in Texas.  Her point was keen.

In a similar vein, the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht stated that the invisible walls [such as those between the aforesaid CEOs, shoeshine boys, barkeeps, or other contrivances] should be made visible.  Pertinent to our situation, the walls of poverty, racism, police brutality, etc., need to be kept visible, hence the kneeling by football players.  Keep in mind as well that the anthem’s third stanza refers to the killing of slaves, and most were unaware of that before Kaepernick.

Trump wants to keep those and other walls invisible.  As former Bears coach Mike Ditka himself added recently, there has been “no oppression in the last 100 years.”  They coerce this on us by dint of their money and microphones.

Unsurprisingly, Trump called Jones four times before a game, obviously to make sure Jones got what Trump said.  It all came down to an awkward scene with the entire team and Jones kneeling before the anthem and then standing for the anthem. Jones is true to form now in saying anyone kneeling during the anthem will not play.  News accounts say that Trump again spoke with him.   That’s a lot of talk between the two.  Even the NFL Commissioner is caving in to Bush after all.  Trump wants them to be on the same page, his.

Parenthetically, both Jones and coach Garrett were directly or obliquely critical of Kaepernick months ago.  That is not new.

No doubt Trump reminded Jones of how (the media-concocted) “America’s Team” would fare during protests, and that the team is the most monetarily valued.  This is an oddity, given that the team so far has not even been to the Super Bowl in some 23 years.  It comes as no surprise that Jones does not wipe the smirk off his face except for one minute in any one of the past years, namely when he realizes that they’re not Super Bowl-bound.  It is easy to imagine, though, that come February Trump would be grinning ear to ear if the Pokes won that championship.

You see, the Cowboys and the NFL are in tandem with the violence in our society, making the Las Vegas killings rather unremarkable a week after they happened.  Vegas said keep on gambling; Bush said go shopping after 9-11.

The violent military also is used as a recruiting tool each game with the unfurling of the flag, the anthem, etc. Such practices were not the case before and are at our taxpayer expense.  Even VP Pence at our expense, $240,000 worth, in drama-queen fashion protested the protests.  Those who protest the protests chant the refrain “USA! USA!.”

Even in high schools they exalt the military as a recruitment tool, now that minority youth predominate in schools.  The ROTC strut their stuff during those games.

Similarly, in Texas where I am a lifelong resident, there is the Texas Rangers baseball team.  This is the namesake of the Texas Rangers whose bloodthirsty history victimized Hispanics for about 100 years, including the poverty-stricken farm workers.  Hispanics referred to them pejoratively as “los rinches.” That team has not won a World Series and is not even in the playoffs this year.  Yet Hispanic kids, and other folks unaware of their own history, root excitedly for them as well.

By the way, cowboy is derived from the Spanish “vaquero,” who contributed all things “cowboy” in time.  Hispanics and others again generally do not know that either.  The Cowboys are not going to give the vaquero any widespread credit, though in Mexico the team is referred to as los Vaqueros.

The purposeful societal distraction of the Cowboys is such that countless times I have witnessed fans undergo a meltdown when the team loses—obviously no thought at the time given to severe societal problems, particularly in Dallas and Texas.  This is not to mention that a person even killed his own brother over a Cowboys game last year, and other assaults occur.  Need anyone add about Elliott charged with domestic abuse?  Jerry tried to teach Cowboy world the mantra that there was nothing there in the case, just as he had previously likewise taught his world last year that there was nothing there to concussion injuries.

From now on, though, Jerry Jones will have to grapple with the monster he unwittingly created.   Specifically, there will be serious questioning about his banishment of free speech, his taking orders from Trump, the obedience of “Jerry’s Kids,” etc.

It is a possibility that the so-called “America’s Team” will lose some luster from the good-guy white hats (helmets) with stars on them.  Good riddance to the nonsense of symbolisms currently thrown at Jerry’s doorstep, and really the doorstep of the meltdown crowd in Texas.

As for Trump, his desperate effort to court his base through his anthem antics is backfiring after all.  The unmasking of the Cowboy symbolisms will lead to more discussions of police brutality, poverty, racism, etc., the very things the team and the NFL sought mightily to mask in society.  The team and the NFL had succeeded in the masking, at least mostly from July through February any given year, until now.

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Jose Martinez is a university professor.

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