Monday, April 18, 2022

Not Fighting Fair?

One of my clues as to figuring out who is fighting fair in an argument is to check who is changing the subject. It is often a motte-and-bailey fallacy, sometimes applied intentionally and deceptively. Or it might be a hobby horse, as noted in my previous post - a topic that someone just keeps wanting to get back to. They see the world though a particular prism and don't really want to listen to what you have to say. Let me tell you about the aspect of this topic that I think everyone should pay more attention to.  

I don't often credit the idea that perhaps more people are just fuzzier in their thinking than I expect. Maybe they are doing the best they can, but that just isn't very good.

As Colin Kaepernick came back into the sports spotlight briefly, he is a good example. Discussions about Kaep were not as bad as the Tim Tebow Effect, but close, and similar. To my mind there were only a limited number of logical discussions that might be had, which we avoided and had the illogical ones instead. Does he have the right to protest?  On his own time, absolutely. On his employer's time, only with permission. (Is the team or the NFL his employer?) Does the current practice of other athletes using their employer's time to make public statements change this?  Probably, though it shouldn't. 

My temptation would always be to point out that what he was protesting, that the police are targeting young black men, is not accurate, and also rather convenient for a young black man who has many young black friends. But that is seldom relevant to the actual discussion of whether young Colin is being blackballed and treated unfairly. Others would want to stress how very, very insulting the protest was, which is irrelevant, or how very, very important the topic is, also irrelevant.

Some would try to declare the question moot because he's not good enough to be an NFL quarterback anyway. That gets tricky, because it is a change of subject from the pure rights issue, but it does have a legitimate practical aspect. The whole debate likely came up because he did occupy that middle ground.  If he were much better, he would just get away with it.  If he were much worse, no one would listen to him. My non-expert evaluation that he was good enough to at least be a credible backup, but only for a limited number of teams, and he hurt himself by being a jerk who teams might hesitate over anyway, puts him squarely in the "maybe" category. There were less-talented QBs who still had jobs. However, many of them brought less-obvious advantages that he did not, such as being similar in style to the guy they were backing up, or being very good analysts in the film room, or being encouragers and teachers of teammates.

Yet the discussion would not just stand still and be examined one point at a time. I have focused on the unfairness of the disputations, but perhaps that comes from expecting more logic out of people than they can manage. They may be reciting cliches because cliches are all they've got. Or maybe it's just no fun to slow down and think about things precisely.


Mike Guenther said...

Colin Kaepernick's problem is not that he's not good enough, (which he's maybe a back up QB at best.), but that he kept doubling down. He is now just about too long in the tooth for any team to consider picking him up. His best bet would have been to try out for and play for the new USFL league and show what he's got.

Another NFL hopeful who didn't make the cut was the gay lineman, Sam's,IIRC. He came out of the closet and made a real big deal about his sexual preference and it didn't do him any favors. No one cares, except that is he a good football player...and he wasn't. I'm sure there are more than a few gay players in the NFL. But no one hears about them because they are smart enough to know that no one cares.

HMS Defiant said...

He made every single thing boil down to black and made it clear that he meant to continue on as he started. I can't think of anyone stupid enough to hire anyone, however talented they are if they mean to spend the fire in which we all burn consumed with a noxious divisive and hateful single minded focus on attacking the color of others.

He made it all about race. That's the real argument in his mind and to pretend it doesn't matter or is somehow changing topics is wrong.

Christine said...

I would add that, not only is it "just no fun to slow down and think about things precisely," but it is also really hard. Even your two commenters here are not addressing the issue you have raised. There is too much noise that distracts from the central question, and we apparently have too much invested in adding our 2 cents to that noise to even hear, let alone consider, your question.