But righteousness does not automatically bring effectiveness. And as someone who cheers when Stephen Curry or Von Miller speaks out and makes the president look small, I’ve reluctantly become convinced that many athletes are making a tactical mistake.
Yes, the athletes and their allies can make nuanced, genuine arguments about why kneeling during the national anthem is not meant as a rebuke to the entire country. Liberals have rallied to their side, almost uniformly. I have the same instinct.
Winning over blue America, however, is a pretty modest goal. The kneeling argument needlessly alienates persuadable people, and it’s one the athletes don’t need. Almost 70 percent of Americans get that the protests are directed at police violence or Trump and not the flag, according to a YouGov/HuffPost poll. Yet only 36 percent consider the kneeling protest to be “appropriate.”