【雙語】「無差別冒犯者」川普,為何讓 NFL、NBA 都「跪了」?──「拒向國歌致敬運動」不敵川普的三個啟示

【雙語】「無差別冒犯者」川普,為何讓 NFL、NBA 都「跪了」?──「拒向國歌致敬運動」不敵川普的三個啟示

【本文以中英雙語刊出/中文編譯:換日線編輯部】

近日,美國總統川普一次槓上了美國國家美式足球聯盟(NFL)、美國國家籃球協會(NBA)球隊和媒體。而且,還贏得了一場小小的勝利。

川普在阿拉巴馬州的共和黨選舉造勢活動中,以「狗娘養的」等言語,攻擊前 NFL 四分衛科林.卡佩尼克(Colin Kaepernick)和他的追隨者,在演奏國歌時選擇單膝跪下的抗議行為。卡佩尼克是 NFL 舊金山 49 人隊的四分衛,在上個賽季時,他以在賽場演奏國歌時單膝下跪,抗議美國的種族不公而聞名,他說:

「我不願為一個壓迫黑人和有色人種國家的旗幟,起身致敬。對我來說,這(表達抗議)比美式足球還要重要,若我不這麼做,是自私的──人們依舊橫屍街頭,而殺人犯卻能免於法律制裁,甚至繼續領薪水。」(指美國發生的警察槍殺黑人事件)

在此補充一下背景資料:過去幾年來,美國發生了一系列致命的警察槍擊事件,受害者多是黑人。這導致美國爆發了一連串反對「執法過當」和「種族歧視」的抗議行動。然而,卡佩尼克「拒絕站立向國家致敬」的抗議行動引發爭議,且在 2017 賽季結束之前,他未獲原球隊的續約,也未得到任何球隊的合約。

對此他的支持者再次將其歸咎於種族主義──儘管他在球場的表現,從 2012 年新秀賽季結束後便穩步下滑。

Colin Kaepernick 的支持者為其聲援。圖/Colin Kaepernick FB


川普挑釁下,球團老闆倒戈挺抗議球員

川普選擇卡佩尼克作為箭靶,並且挑釁 NFL 的球員們──他公開表示,在演奏國歌時下跪表達抗議的 NFL 球員是「狗娘養的」,並且都該被球團老闆們解僱。

當然,他的評論用語不要說總統了,連從一個政府官員口中說出都不恰當。但它背後卻有一個關鍵目的:除了將自己和「國旗與國歌」進一步連結在一起外,也迫使他的對手加碼上述的抗議行動。

川普的批評者們──即使先前也認為演奏國歌下跪,是造成反效果的錯誤手段──紛紛因川普沒有總統高度的言論,支持下跪抗議行動,以抨擊他的行為。例如 NFL 的許多球團老闆們,過去曾是川普的支持者,如今也改為選擇支持抗議的球員:有「美國之隊」之稱的知名球隊「達拉斯牛仔隊」(Dallas Cowboy)球團老闆傑瑞.瓊斯(Jerry Jones),就與球員們共同單膝跪地表態(儘管是在演奏國歌之前);整個「匹茲堡鋼人隊」(Pittsburgh Steelers)也共同抵制國歌儀式──只有一位身為退伍軍人的球員維拉紐瓦(Alejandro Villanueva)例外。

結果,由於這些激化的抗議行動,「反對這些抗議行動的抗議行動」也應運而生──因為仍有一半(或以上)的 NFL 粉絲,將演奏國歌時下跪,視為一種不愛國的舉動。福斯新聞網調查顯示,55% 的美國人認為,在演奏國歌時跪下是不合適的。而根據 CNN 民調:43%的美國人認為,球員跪下抗議是正確的事情;49% 的美國人則認為他們做錯了。

(有趣的是,當卡佩尼克開始其抗議行動的 2016 年 8 月底到 9 月(歐巴馬時任美國總統),根據路透社民調,有 72% 的美國人認為其舉動是「不愛國的」;61%的美國人認為其抗議舉動不恰當──在川普要求球團老闆開除抗議球員後,這個數字則明顯下降。)

兩週之內,NFL 品牌形象狂跌──聯盟不敵算計,被迫妥協

結果,歷經兩週以來的抗議行動與反抗議行動之後,球團們顯然軟化了自己的立場,包括前述的「達拉斯牛仔隊」在內,眾多球隊宣布,他們將停止在演奏國歌時的抗議行動──NFL 聯盟的品牌喜好度,從今年的高點 55% 大幅下降至 9 月份的 17%,創下最低歷史紀錄。

同樣地,NBA 主席亞當.席佛(Adam Silver)也宣布,聯盟規則將繼續要求球員在演奏國歌儀式中站立致敬。

所以,關於這一系列蔓延美國體壇的抗議行動,最簡白而淺顯的敘述如下:球員下跪抗議;川普撕裂球團與球員並威脅抵制;球團加入抗議;觀眾對聯盟反感;球團與球員停止跪下抗議行動。

川普獲得勝利,而這裡的大輸家則是 NFL、NBA 和媒體──他們認為川普挑起的「文化大戰」,將只會傷害到他自己,但這是錯估了情勢──以 NBA 為例,在賽前演奏國歌,球員站立致敬的規則,是數十年的傳統。(1996年,Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf 就因在演奏國歌時坐著,而被聯盟停賽)。

然而,川普的勝利,並不等於美國保守主義(或愛國主義)的勝利──正如過去一個月許多專家不斷討論的,他是一個不斷挑起「文化戰爭」的總統。而《紐約時報》的保守派專欄作家,同時也是川普激烈批評者的布魯克斯(David Brooks)這段文字,堪為代表:

「川普會的事情不多,但他卻極其惡劣地擅於挑釁和打臉知識菁英(wickedly good at sticking his thumb in the eye of the educated elites)──他不必建立新的文化,甚至不必討好主流。他只需要拆毀固有的價值。」

這正是他所做的事──唐納.川普走進不同文化的分野之間,並加倍撕裂每一道縫隙。他的鼻子能嗅出政治實體中的每一個傷口,然後日復一日地,把燒紅的火鉗貼在那一個個傷疤上,並且扯開它。」

「無差別冒犯者」川普不斷發動「文化戰爭」,繼續攫取政治利益

我們應該早已警覺,川普成為一個「無差別冒犯者」(equal opportunity offender)的傾向:無論會造成多大的反撲,他也完全不怕說出自己的想法──他羞辱所有人,甚至包括自己的內閣成員。

簡單來說,他總是挑起戰鬥──無論那是否必要。

然而,關於這場川普與 NFL 之間的戰爭,儘管在「呼籲」球隊老闆開除抗議球員時,他的手段已經超乎常規,我們也必須考量到川普背後的算計:他是在阿拉巴馬這個保守州的共和黨初選造勢場合期間,提出前述的挑釁言論。

正如我先前所寫的,美式足球在美國鄉村地區的藍領階級心中,有著非常重要的地位──星期五,他們會去當地的高中看比賽;星期六,他們追隨 NCAA 的賽程;到了星期天,先是教堂,然後還是美式足球。

正如調查統計中指出的,美式足球的觀眾,大部分都是白人。路透社的報導甚至暗示:美式足球是白人、男性、保守主義者的「最後堡壘」──因為它是一場強調男子氣概,紀律和暴力衝突的運動。

所以我認為,川普選擇在這個場域挑起戰鬥並不是巧合──他知道此次(球員)抗議是不受歡迎的,也知道在這個對他相對友善的環境,最終還是會支持他。

以史為鏡──「拒向國歌致敬運動」的三個啟示

在這場「文化戰爭」中,除了川普乖張的言論之外,關於政治抗議的價值,以及它該如何進行才得以彰顯,仍有一些重要的啟示值得參考──這些啟示不僅可以使 NFL 球員正在做的事(以及各種反對種族歧視的抗議活動)更有效,也有助於國家的凝聚。

首先,讓我們回顧一下美國的黑人民權運動,以及其倡議者如何努力地傳遞其理念──特別是積極正面的訊息:

1963 年,在黑人民權運動歷經長期抗爭,達到高峰時,其實不同的民權團體派系,已經連結成廣泛的聯盟,並就彼此想要推動的目標進行協商。因此到該年 8 月知名的「進軍華盛頓」(March on Washington)時,任何跟隨活動的人,都可以清楚地辨識兩個主要訴求──為非裔美國人提供更好的工作,以及編纂保障民權的法律。

而在該運動之後不到一年,歷史性的《民權法案》(Civil Rights Act)便於國會立法通過,落實成為法律。

啟示一:必須召喚「集體價值」,取代「分化對立」

從馬丁.路德.金恩博士以「我有一個夢想」(I have a dream)為名的演講開始,我們看到的是一個致力於凝聚、而非譴責美國的理想性召喚:「當我們共和國的建造者們寫下《憲法》和《獨立宣言》的宏偉言辭時,也是在向每個後世的美國人許下承諾,」金恩博士說:「這個承諾是屬於所有人的──是的,黑人和白人皆然──保障每個人不可剝奪的生命,自由和追求幸福的權利。」

換言之,金恩召喚的,是全體美國人的愛國主義:

他明確地指出,如果你相信美國《獨立宣言》和《憲法》所揭示的原則,那麼你便不能容忍種族歧視的現象──而這個訊息,直到今日仍和當時一樣清晰真實。

民權運動的啟示之一,便是召喚「愛國主義」和「美國價值」,是影響輿論的有效途徑──反觀匹茲堡鋼人隊用「全體不參加國歌儀式」表達抗議時,不但沒有號召愛國主義,讓人看起來更糟糕的是,一名退伍軍人球員站出來向國歌致敬,然後在比賽結束之後,為他「因為沒有遵循教練命令不唱國歌」的行為道歉。

啟示二:不增加不必要的「敵人」

其次,開啟這場抗議行動的卡佩尼克(Kaepernick)在一場於佛州舉行,討論他抗議訴求的記者會上,卻穿著一件印著麥爾坎X(Malcom X)與卡斯楚(Fidel Castro)會面著名照片的T恤──而佛州居住著大量的古巴流亡人士。卡佩尼克因此受到當地記者的質疑,他的「時尚選擇」不利於其訴求。而事件發生後不久,他又被看到在練習中穿著「將警察描繪為豬」的襪子。

大多數的美國人,對討論警察執法是否「野蠻過當」和「種族不公」都持開放態度,但多數人傾向認同「警察有好有壞」也是事實,更有一部分民眾,高度尊重執法單位──正如我們在紐約常看到街頭小販販賣 NYPD 的帽子,或在電視上播放的「CSI」、「法網遊龍」(Law and Order)等影集。

然而,NFL 主席到後來甚至拒絕「達拉斯牛仔隊」向去年在 #黑人的命也是命(#BlackLivesMatter)抗議活動中喪命的五名警察致敬。

事件發展至此,無可避免的,由卡佩尼克所開啟的 NFL 抗議活動,如今也被迫必須捍衛卡佩尼克本人對美國的「願景」──而此願景至今看來,與其說像金恩,不如說更接近 Macolm X。  

啟示三:「拉高格局」

最後,在美國(或其他地方)若要讓任何真正的改革與進步成真,需要一個目標明確、有組織的公民運動,同時必須尊重「美國(或當地主流)價值」──別忘了,60 年代的民權運動後,《民權法案》仍是在兩黨的合作下才成功通過(民主黨總統林登.約翰遜主動接觸共和黨,以反制支持種族隔離的南方民主黨人士)。

因此,對社會運動者、抗議者而言,最重要的任務,是「拉高格局」(go high)──就如蜜雪兒.歐巴馬(Michelle Obama)所說的那樣。

反觀如今這樣無效的抗議行動,看來反而使得美國總統川普,再次透過攻擊 NFL,成功攫取了一次文化上和政治上的勝利。

卡佩尼克是NFL舊金山49人隊的四分衛,在上個賽季時,他在賽場演奏國歌時單膝下跪,抗議美國的種族不公。圖/Colin Kaepernick FB

 

【以下為作者侯智元撰寫之原文】

President Trump picked a fight with the NFL, the NBA and the media. He won a petty victory. Trump picked his fight by attacking former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Kaepernick’s followers who chose to kneel for the national anthem while he was on the campaign trail in Alabama. Kaepernick was a former NFL quarterback who was famously known to kneel during the national anthem last season in order to protest the perceived injustice in America, to which he said:“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

To provide some context, there has been a series of incidents of fatal police shootings over the past years in which the victims were black. This resulted in a series of protest against excessive use of force and the undertone of racism. However, Kaepernick's protest caused controversy and by the end of the 2017 season, he was not signed by any team, to which his supporters again attribute it to racism, though his performance has steadily declined after his breakout rookie season in 2012.

By picking Kaepernick as his target, Trump claimed ownership of the flag and the national anthem. Trump went on to suggest that players who knelt should be fired by the NFL owners, though the comment was inappropriate coming out of the mouth of a government official, needless to say President, it did serve one crucial purpose of making his opponent double down on the aforementioned gesture. His critics, instead of agreeing that kneeling was counterproductive and wrong, but also stating that Trump’s commentary wasn’t worthy of the presidency, they chose to double down, chastising the President. NFL owners, many who were Trump supporters chose to support the protesting players, the flamboyant owner of "America's team" the Dallas Cowboy Jerry Jones kneeled together with the players (though before the anthem) and the entire Pittsburgh Steelers boycotted the anthem ceremony with the exception of one former service member.   

As a result of these protest, there is a movement of counter protest as more than half of the fans viewed the kneeling as an unpatriotic gesture. polls show that 55 percent of Americans think kneeling during the anthem is inappropriate, according to a Fox News poll; 43 percent of Americans say the players did the right thing by kneeling, according to a CNN poll. That’s a massive drop from September 2016: that month, a Reuters poll showed that 72 percent of Americans saw Kaepernick’s protest as unpatriotic,” and 61 percent said they did not “support the stance Colin Kaepernick is taking and his decision not to stand during the national anthem.” The interesting point here is that the number that were against kneeling actually dropped after Trump went too far by asking owners of these football teams to fire the protesting players.

After a weekend of protests, teams have moderated their stance, numerous teams have announced that they will cease to protest during the national anthem ceremony, though the favorability rating of the league has dropped considerably. Similarly, Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, announced that league rules would continue to mandate that players stand during the anthem. So, here’s the most simplistic and obvious version of the last week’s events: players knelt; Trump ripped them and threatened boycotts; players stopped kneeling. Trump wins. The big losers here are the NFL and the NBA and the media who thought that Trump’s leap into the culture wars would somehow hurt him. It's not a complete account — the NBA, for example, has had a rule about standing for the anthem going back decades (in 1996, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf sat for the anthem and was suspended by the league).

However, there is a difference between Trump winning and conservatism winning. Trump is a “culture war” President, as many pundits have been discussing over the past month. As David Brooks, the conservative columnist at NYT and a fierce critic of Trump has written:

Trump is not good at much, but he is wickedly good at sticking his thumb in the eye of the educated elites. He doesn’t have to build a new culture, or even attract a majority. He just has to tear down the old one.
That’s exactly what he’s doing. Donald Trump came into a segmenting culture and he is further tearing apart every fissure. He has a nose for every wound in the body politic and day after day he sticks a red-hot poker in one wound or another and rips it open.
We should now be aware of Trump’s tendency of being an “equal opportunity offender”, he is not afraid to speak his mind no matter how much backlash it will create, unafraid to insult even members of his own cabinet, simply put, he picks fight whether or not they are warranted. For this fight he picked with the NFL however, while he overplayed his hand in encouraging the owners to fire protesting players, we also need to take into account that he made these comments during a Republican  primary election event in Alabama, which is a very conservative state. As I have previously written, football has a very important place in the heart of blue collar, rural America, on Friday, they go to their local high school football games, Saturday, they tailgate for NCAA Football games and on Sunday it is church and then football. As pointed out in a poll, the audience of football is largely white, and reuters even suggested that its audience is largely conservative in their political belief as it is a sport that stresses masculinity, discipline and violent collision. Therefore, I do not think it is a coincidence that Trump used the venue of a stomp speech to pick this fight, he is aware of that the protest is unpopular and he knows he is at a friendly confine that will support him.

There are some important lessons to be learned being lost in the culture war besides Trump’s flamboyant rhetoric, and it is about the value of political protest and how it should be conducted. These could not only make what NFL players are doing (and related protests against racial injustice) more effective, but help the country come together. 
 
Firstly, lets look back to the civil rights movement and how they worked hard on messaging, specifically positive messaging. In 1963, they brought in broad coalitions and had negotiations for what goals they wanted to push for. By the time the March on Washington occurred that year, anyone following the event could clearly discern two messages: Better jobs for African-Americans, and laws codifying civil rights protections. The landmark Civil Rights Act was passed into law less than a year later in a bipartisan manner.
 
From the beginning of King’s “I have a dream” speech, we see it is a call to live up to, rather than denouncement, of the American ideals. “When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir,” MLK said. “This note was a promise that all men – yes, black men as well as white men – would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
King was appealing to patriotism. He is clearly saying if you believe in the principles laid out in the Declaration and the Constitution, you can’t tolerate racial injustice—a message as true today as it was then. One of the lessons of the civil rights movement is that appealing to patriotism and American values is an effective route to moving public opinion. When the Pittsburgh Steelers protested by not attending the national anthem ceremony, it not only failed to appeal to patriotism, the antic looked worse when a single veteran stepped out to honor the anthem, then apologized after the game for failing to follow the coach’s order to not sing the national anthem.
 
Secondly, Kaepernick, who started the protest, showed up at a press conference to discuss the rationale of his protest wearing a T-shirt depicting the famous photo of Malcom X meeting Fidel Castro at a game in Florida, where there is a large population of Cuban expats. Kaepernick got questioned by a reporter from the local paper, who is a Cuban exile, for his fashion choice, it did not really help his cause. Soon after this incident, he was then seen at practice wearing socks depicting cops as pigs.
 
Most Americans are open to discuss police brutality and racial injustice, but it’s also true that while there are bad cops there are good cops, and a sizable portion of the populace hold law enforcement in high regard, as we can see in New York, street vendors sell NYPD hats, and on TV we see TV shows such as CSI and Law and Order. Yet, the NFL even refused to allow the Cowboys to honor the five police  who were slain at a Black Lives Matter protest last year. Inevitably, the fact the NFL protests were started by Kaepernick means having to defend Kaepernick’s vision of America, which so far, more in line with Macolm X than MLK.

Lastly, for any other real progress to happen, you’d need an organized civil rights movement with clear goals that respects American values, lets remember, ultimately the Civil Rights Movement was passed in a bi-partisan manner, with Lyndon Johnson, a democrat, reaching out to the Republican to counter the Southern Democrats who were in support of racial segregation, which is something I will touch upon later. Therefore, the most important task for the protesting faction is to “go high”, as Michelle Obama said. In the face of such ineffective opposition, it sure looks like President Trump won a clear cultural and political victory attacking the NFL. 

執行編輯:HUI
核稿編輯:張翔一

Photo Credit: mark reinstein@Shutterstock

出發,改變人生的一次旅行