FanGraphs Audio: A Deeply Flawed Conversation About Bruce Maxwell

Episode 772
When Monday arrived this week, managing editor Dave Cameron found it difficult to write about anything other than Bruce Maxwell’s decision to take a knee during the national anthem. When it was time to record the podcast on Wednesday, he felt similarly. The result? Hopefully, a responsible and nuanced conversation. In reality, though, probably something less than that.

Don’t hesitate to direct pod-related correspondence to @cistulli on Twitter.

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Audio after the jump. (Approximately 39 min play time.)

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Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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SoxWatcher
Member
SoxWatcher

Dave – I’m sitting here palm-facing after listening to your audio. There’s SO many things I’d like to comment on, but I’d like to keep it short.

You say you want to encourage conversation – but then you openly say that people who claim to dislike the FORM of protest are being dishonest with themselves and what they REALLY don’t like is what the protest professes to be about. Why not just call us racist pigs and be done with it?

In theory, all this SHOULD be easy – almost EVERYONE dislikes racism, and wants fairness for everyone. Yet, people of otherwise-good-will are managing to be on opposite sides of the fence. If you HAD to, could you fathom a reason other than “people are racist”?

Along with the presumption-of-guilt you seem to hold above, I see very little attempt by people like you to understand why Kaepernick’s protest – which started as sitting and not kneeling – raises so much offense from people like me. If you really were interested in WHY it does – your podcast would have been more about asking why, and not suggesting people are closet-racists.

JimmieFoXX
Member
JimmieFoXX

Haven’t seen one player out in the street marching with protesters.

That tells you everything about their so-called courage and what they think of those who are in the streets.

DookieHowserMD
Member
DookieHowserMD

Just finished listening to this. I appreciate that for some people, the national anthem is not a time to protest. I would even disagree with what Dave said this podcast that if those taking a knee stood up and explained they were doing it in support of the troops (for better VA benefits, etc), nobody would complain – I am 100% certain many, many veterans would say thanks, but no thanks to that gesture.

I do think, however, that you may have misinterpreted Dave when he was saying that only thing people are upset about is the form that the protests are taking. He did not say that ALL of those opposed to the protests are just hiding their racism behind faux-patriotism. I believe what he was saying is that there is a very real and not insignificant portion of the population, who are doing just that however, and some unwittingly. What Dave was asking was for a little introspection rather than knee jerk reaction to the display (something it sounds like from Passan’s article we can all take a lesson from Maxwell).

From the start, many people were upset when athletes were sitting on bench and not acknowledging the flag/anthem, so they moved to take a knee. Not good enough for some people. Some athletes (such as Maxwell), then took it upon themselves to take a knee while holding their hand over their heart and looking at the flag respectfully. Still not good enough for some people. Then some athletes and teams started standing and locking arms (which even the president suggested was OK), but that still upsets some people.

Now, I am sure a fair amount of that is just people having different sensibilities – what offends one person, is just fine and respectful to another (an odd example of this, last night during the anthem of the football game, the camera showed a man wearing a baseball cap while simultaneously saluting), but there is also a subset of people who are acting all indignant because all the brown people are starting to get uppity. The sad part is this subset of people is not small enough, and seems to only be growing as of late, which is exactly what this larger movement is about about – equal treatment and rights regardless of skin color.

tnt9357
Member
tnt9357

I think Dave was making the same argument that Martin Luther King, Jr. was making about “White moderates” in his *Letters From A Birmingham Jail*: Placing comfort and order ahead of justice is just as wrong, or even worse, than opposing justice outright.

What I don’t believe King mentions outright is that a White moderate is still more likely to use honest introspection to potentially change their mind, which is what Dave was explicitly proposing, and contains a moral component that doesn’t get discussed much these days, when everything is put in terms of power relationships: Being allowed to change your mind implies being allowed to hold *either* (or even a multiplicity) of opinions, so getting a critical mass of people to agree to change our society requires changing people’s minds, not casting out those who disagree (at least until enough of a majority is accumulated).

JimmieFoXX
Member
JimmieFoXX

YOUTUBE

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. – April 4, 1967 – Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence Full and unabridged

That’s who he was and that’s why he was shot.

Craig
Member
Member
Craig

Re the MLK quote: During times of political polarization such as now, divisive protests are more inflammatory than influential. Inflammatory demonstrations are not a form of justice. They are a form of escalation with the hope that justice will follow as a result.

The relevant question becomes ‘is it ever better to value order over escalation which is intended to bring about justice?’ Too many on the left naively or ignorantly answer ‘no’ to that question through their actions and speech.

SoxWatcher
Member
SoxWatcher

I replayed the podcast, and took some notes to see if laying out the offensive parts in print might help. They start out saying they want to ’embark upon a conversation’ and ‘to ask questions out of a sense of genuine curiosity’. Now come on – buzzword bingo aside, haven’t we heard those phrases enough to predict that such a convo will be one sided, and no questions of the other side will actually be asked; instead answers will be provided without that other side, painting them badly?

After that intro and before questioning the inner motives of the other side, we get the inevitable ‘white southern guys…’ thrown in – ’cause we all know how bad THEY are – and then they get down to brass tacks:

‘how quickly it shifts from the thing being protested to the method of protest. To those who are really upset by the method of protest, I would suggest or ask consider reflecting internally and saying “if they were protesting this issue in a different way, would I REALLY have different feelings about it”. If instead of kneeling for the anthem, they were choosing to do it in some other way that you felt wasn’t disrespectful to the flag, but they were still kind of…in..they were forcing you to confront the issues they were trying to bring to your attention…would you always find fault with the method of the protest just because you just don’t actually like the thing they’re protesting?…so when people say I’m fine with what they’re protesting but I don’t like how they’re protesting, I’d just ask, “be honest with yourself, are you really upset with how they’re protesting, or do you just not like the issue that they’re bringing up?”.

And I’ll note again – nowhere does he show the slightest interest in asking why people are offended – he must already know the answer to the “question” he’s (not) asking – but he’s willing to suggest people introspect, because it may be due to them being racist and don’t like the topic.

SoxWatcher
Member
SoxWatcher

Dookie — question for you and for Dave – you said: ” He did not say that ALL of those opposed to the protests are just hiding their racism behind faux-patriotism. I believe what he was saying is that there is a very real and not insignificant portion of the population, who are doing just that however, and some unwittingly.”

Can you and Dave put some numbers on that? Best effort, doesn’t need to be perfect. How many do you think are hiding their racism, and how many of those are doing it unwittingly? (and how does one unwittingly hide behind racism?) Vs how many do you think are legitimately offended by the protest for non-racial reasons?