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Are all Flag Code violations equally disrespectful?

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On Saturday, a Twitter thread went viral after citing portions of U.S. Flag Code which, the writer asserts, are regularly violated by the average American.

Leftist media sources like Huffington Post and Quartz leaped at the opportunity to mock flyover Americans for their alleged hypocrisy, and a quick topical search of “Colin Kaepernick” on HuffPo shows that they’ve supported him and other kneelers over and over and over again, not simply in their right to protest but the overarching claim that an unjust America doesn’t deserve such reverence.

Quick digression: no one (intelligent) has made the argument that the Kaepernick crowd has no constitutional right to sit or kneel or otherwise peacefully protest the national anthem. However, I’ve heard several of my Leftist friends who are incapable of making a legitimate argument set this up as a strawman in order to pick apart an easy target. Of course he has a right to kneel, just as I have a right to call him an ungrateful moron for doing so. We have the right to do a great many stupid things in America, but that doesn’t mean that the proper response is to do every stupid thing at our disposal. The right to burn the American flag should not be celebrated by burning the American flag, just as the right to drink alcohol shouldn’t result in a constant state of inebriation. But back to the thread.

The Left may never understand this, but there is a massive difference between politics and patriotism.

The intent of this thread is clear: to equate touting a t-shirt with the image of an American flag with actively protesting America’s honor and virtue by kneeling during the national anthem and claiming that the country systematically “oppresses black people and people of color,” as Kaepernick has.

Many Leftists are branding this an epic “gotcha!” moment, but it operates on two flawed premises: 1) that all violations of Flag Code are inherently equal, and 2) that the tweeter’s interpretation of Flag Code is factually accurate.

When discussing apparent violations of U.S. Flag Code, there are three things that absolutely must be considered, assuming the intent is to have a reasoned, intelligent conversation.

As much as possible, I want to limit this discussion to the legal question at hand, shelving the broader debate concerning how the NFL, Colin Kaepernick, ESPN, Donald Trump, and the average American should respond. The NFL has already been clear that this is a political issue for them, not one of free speech. Their bias in selective enforcement of uniform policy, for instance, is obvious. So I’ll try to shy away from the politics of the debate and stick to the facts.

Here are the three steps to use in evaluating Flag Code:

1: U.S. Flag Code Is Empty Law

By this, I mean that it is unenforceable. As such, you might say that the provisions are more guidelines than actual rules. The Supreme Court decided in United States v. Eichman (1990) that the criminalization of flag burning was unconstitutional, making anything less (and almost anything else is less) unquestionably justified from a First Amendment standpoint. This also means that, should you and I disagree on how to interpret existing Flag Code, which is certainly plausible, there is no jurisprudence to back up either of our claims. If we can’t convince each other, we’ll have to agree to disagree; there’s not much clear-cut right or wrong here.

Additionally, as we’ll see in a moment, since Flag Code bears no legal weight, its adherence has traditionally become more of attitude than of action.

2: What Does the Code Actually Say?

Interpretations aside, several of the claims made in the Twitter thread are factually bunk. Some are true, and we’ll identify those as well. But it’s essential that we approach this topic truthfully.

One of the tweets includes this misleading statement: “Not covered in the ‘Respect for Flag’ section; standing/kneeling/sitting. That’s considered a conduct violation, not disrespectful.” The flawed premise here is that only violations of the “Respect for Flag” section are considered disrespectful, which is simply untrue; all violations of flag code are considered such. The tweeter assumes that because one item falls under Title 36, Chapter 10, §171. Conduct During Playing, and the other Title 36, Chapter 10, §176. Respect for Flag, that the two categories should not be measured equally.

But let’s address each claim individually, each from subsections of Title 36, Chapter 10, §176. Respect for Flag:

The first claim cites, “(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free” and features images of the popular spreading of a large flag across a sporting field. This is accurate, but it will be discussed in my third section. Factually, it is valid.

Next, “(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery,” with images of flag-stamped clothing, such as shirts, socks, swimwear, etc. I take issue with his interpretation here, as I see a legal distinction between “the flag” and “the image of the flag.” A pair of pants made from a retired flag, for instance, would be inappropriate. A pair of pants bearing the image of the flag, I disagree. A more legitimate grievance for this section could have been the practice of Olympic champions to drape the flag around their shoulders following victory, though even this might not qualify as “wearing apparel” or “drapery.” This claim is murky at best.

The following excerpt is separated into three tweets: “(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.”

On advertising, I would again cite “the flag” vs. “the image of the flag,” although “any manner whatsoever” could arguably include both. The embroidery and printing/impression of the flag undoubtedly refer to the image, as these designs are inherently artistic reproductions of the flag, not the flag itself. Thus, for the three tweets in subsection (i), the first is arguable, and the other two are valid.

Lastly, “(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.” Again, there is a legitimate distinction between “the flag” and “the image of the flag.”

3: What Is the Intent?

If you see no distinction between burning a flag and putting its image on a throw pillow, you’re an idiot. I don’t know how to tell you more subtly that your brain cells are likely on the brink of extinction.

Flag Code states that the flag should be hung “union left,” meaning that the stars should be in the upper left corner, vertically or horizontally. So if a woman hangs her flag vertically but (mistakenly) simply rotates it 90 degrees, making it union right, is she disrespecting the flag? Legally, yes. But in her heart, not remotely. This is not the ideal, and it is technically inappropriate, but her intent is clearly to honor her country.

What if a man posts his flag just before leaving for work, rather than at sunrise as suggested? Again, this is not the ideal, but his intent is to honor the flag and display American pride.

Spreading the flag across the outfield at a baseball game, though technically inappropriate, is intended to declare the same message as the playing of the anthem itself: reverence, loyalty, and unity.

These infractions are in no way comparable to outright protest against the flag and the republic for which it stands. I would love to see the Left characterize kneeling, sitting, or stretching during the national anthem as a manifestation of love and reverence for America, or even a desire to unify the public around its ideals.

As a black, liberal, retired Marine expresses in Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing,” it is undeniably your right to protest the flag and the anthem, but don’t pretend for a second that it makes you equally patriotic with those who stand at attention with hand over heart.

The Left may never understand this, but there is a massive difference between politics and patriotism.

Unlike the writer of this viral thread, I won’t conclude by suggesting that Leftists look in the mirror, as I support their Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. But I will say this: if you want America to be Europe, go to Europe; if you want to show your love for America, display the flag proudly and don’t mislabel its mistreatment as heroism; and if you want to sound intelligent, read a book.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards, Co-Host of The New Guards Podcast, lifelong fan of the Anaheim Ducks, and proud Hufflepuff. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in English from Brigham Young University in 2017. One day later, his wife gave birth to a beautiful daughter. Richie is a constitutional conservative and doesn't see any compassion in violating other people's rights.

Entertainment and Sports

LeSean McCoy domestic violence accusation: the “Hold My Beer” of recent NFL player scandals

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Players getting into trouble off the field is nothing new for the NFL, but the accusations levied against LeSean McCoy on Instagram tops the accusations made and found true against the likes of Ray Rice, Michael Vick, Adrian Peterson, and countless others. This follows a recent arrest of former Seattle Seahawk, Brandon Browner, being charged with attempted murder. 

Shady McCoy is publicly accused of illegal drugs, PED, animal abuse, domestic abuse, and child abuse. The seriousness of the accusations alone could endanger his career. Like any person guilty or innocent, McCoy took to denying the accusations, claiming to have had no direct contact with them in months.

But the evidence is being gathered. Police say they are investigating a home invasion of the victim’s residence. So far, McCoy has not been named a person of interest.

Furthermore TMZ reports that the victim has lawyered up and named LeSean McCoy as the orchestrater of the attack. This changes the narrative from the original IG post, but in no way lessens the severity. As of now, McCoy stands accused of sending people to do this attack.

TMZ Report:

Delicia Cordon has hired attorney Tanya Mitchell Graham — who issued a statement saying Delicia was sleeping early Tuesday morning when a man entered her Georgia home and pistol whipped her.

Graham says the assailant demanded specific items of jewelry that had been given to her by McCoy — jewelry that McCoy had previously demanded she return to him. She claims the victim also sustained injuries to her wrist when the assailant tried to rip off her bracelet.

Graham claims before the incident, McCoy “would often suggest to Ms. Cordon that she could be robbed because the jewelry was expensive.”

Graham — who’s joined by associate attorneys Demetrius Price and Kiarra Brown — never straight-up accuses McCoy of criminal activity, but strongly implies it.

For example, Graham claims the assailant entered the house with NO signs of forced entry. She also claims McCoy changed the security system at the house and did not give Cordon access to the new one.

She also claims McCoy has a documented history of having other people do his dirty work for him — and references the time he allegedly ordered other people to evict her from his home in June and remove her furniture from the house.

Graham says despite the fact Cordon and McCoy have had a relationship since 2016, he has NOT called to check in on her since the details of the violent attack went public.

Final Thoughts

LeSean McCoy doesn’t have a reputation for being a model citizen. As Smitty of Barstool Sports notes:

The odds of Shady McCoy being guilty are high. That being said, the NFL doesn’t wait for due process. Otherwise Ezekiel Elliott wouldn’t have undergone a 6 game suspension. They will have to act as this scandal is prime to escalate and disrupt the storyline of the upcoming season.

Originally published on Startup Christ.

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Entertainment and Sports

NBA players choose collusion over competition

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In every other sports league, there is competition among the franchises. The NFL has new teams rising and falling every year. Baseball is a whole new season, come October. The NHL playoffs are perhaps the most exciting competition in all of sports. In college basketball, a 16 beat a 1. Yet in opposition to its fellow sports leagues, the NBA is entirely predictable.

The offseason has brought excitement with the long-anticipated relocation of LeBron James. But him landing in Los Angeles was the guess of most pundits amateur and professional. The Lakers are now a playoff contender barring injury. But even away from the Cavs, LeBron is still no match for Golden State.

Superteams are bad for sports

Having the best players fall on one team is fine and dandy when it is natural and done over time. The New York Yankees are among the top contenders in baseball. Contrary to stereotype, they are talented because they established an excellent farm system. It is completely fair for them to end up being the best (again). If Derek Jeter’s strategy works, the Marlins will turn themselves around.

The Warriors are a different story. Yes, they drafted well and traded well. But then they sign Kevin Durant, a top player. Then they sign DaMarcus Cousins, another top player. Cousins. Both of these players shamelessly sold out for the privilege of being on a winning team. Durant joining the Warrior is the equivalent of Ovechkin joining the Penguins. But he didn’t because he cares about his legacy and not his rings. Cousins was perhaps just as bad seeing as he took a deal well below his market value even if injured.

One cannot blame the Warriors for preserving their dynasty which increased the team value 19% in the last year according to Forbes. It’s good for their business, in a league where several teams can’t break past $20 million in operating income. But the league will suffer. The NBA has largely benefited from people enjoying the ride, but it’s inescapable how anticlimactic the end is. The Warriors win. The 2019 NBA finals is already similarly boring, in that, everyone who isn’t a hopeless dreamer already knows the outcome.

The NBA needs to save the competitiveness of its league. A handful of teams now compose the NBA, whilst the others are relegated to being developmental feeding grounds. Top players aren’t interested in rivalry with each other. Rather, they prefer to join forces even to the point of destroying the competition the league was known for. An NBA ring is depreciated in its value, at least if you are a Warrior. Yet players aren’t against colluding for a piece of jewelry at the expense of their honor. This fundamental cultural flaw won’t go away on its own. The NBA should strongly consider curbing this trend either through stricter salary caps or some other creative means.

So far they’ve been content to let ESPN dictate their trajectory and competitive strategy. It seems worth it to leave the elephant unaddressed so long as there’s a raging debate between Team Jordan and the Bronsexuals. Such contentment now has James in the same conference as the Warriors making 2019 a much less exciting finals.

Originally published on StartupChrist.com

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Entertainment and Sports

The AAF is the NFL’s newest worry

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Two months ago, the NFL’s long-term demise may have been spelled by the revival of the XFL. The XFL was initially a football league in 2001, but now Vince McMahon wants to revive it. While announcements about the XFL have been dormant since January, a new player is emerging and faster. The Alliance of American Football or the AAF has been formed and will play a 2019 season the week after the Superbowl.

The AAF, in contrast, Vince McMahon and the XFL have given more concise answers to the many questions asked. Make no mistake, the AAF is a substantially more potent threat than the XFL. The AAF not only is going to begin a year earlier but also has TV contracts ready with CBS. The AAF will also stream games and incorporate fantasy football.

The biggest reason the AAF is a threat is management. The AAF is founded by Charlie Ebersol, who has worked for the NFL and sports media. He even made a documentary as to why the 2001 XFL failed. The AAF also has a number of credible football players serving as executives and advisers. Among them are Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu, Jared Allen, and Justin Tuck. The AAF also has the legendary team builder and executive Bill Polian. A B-List idea with A-Team management is a recipe for success in business. This is why the AAF has garnered the backing of venture capitalist firms such Founders Fund featuring the country’s top VC, Peter Thiel ad Cherning Group.

The AAF during its announcement stated that it would fill a void where the NFL ends in February. In this void, many sports fans stop watching sports and stop participating in fantasy sports. The AAF also wants to reach the large pool of college football players who don’t wind up in the NFL. Other sports have multiple professional leagues in the NFL.

The AAF will have 8 teams, 10 games, and a two-week playoff. In eliminating injuries and maintaining excitement, the AAF is eliminating the kickoff, and will instead start the 25-yard line. For teams seeking an onside kick, will have 4th and 10 on their 35. The extra point is eliminated; teams have to go for 2. Teams will have two replays a game. To speed the game, the play clock will be 30 seconds, matching the increasing pace of the game. The AAF will also change the way players are compensated with win bonuses, stat bonuses, and fan engagement bonuses. On top of these bonuses, the league will also provide scholarships for their future off the field.

For fans, the tickets and concessions will be cheap. This is in sharp contrast to the NFL where tickets prices are rising even for mediocre teams. TV timeouts will also be done away with. Commercials will only take place during natural breaks. In April the cities will be announced. Note: they’ve already been decided, but they want us talking about it later, something that isn’t happening with the XFL.

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Takeaway

Unlike the XFL, the Alliance of American Football announced its existence with far more questions answered. While the Alliance didn’t touch on the National Anthem or criminal records, they also answered far more questions about their gameplay than Vince McMahon’s vague announcement. While the NFL has a complement in the Alliance of American Football, this alliance may in years to come be a fierce competitor. In the meantime, rather than being disruptive, Charlie Ebersol and his staff are focusing on being useful. This strategy is far more conducive to long-term success.

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