Seabass Thanks Vets and Bashes Kevin Blackistone To End Your Veterans Day

Featured, Sports and Bets — November 12, 2013 at 12:19 am by

First, I would like to thank all of this country’s vets. For many years you all have fought so valiantly for our safety and freedom, it is deeply appreciated by your fellow countrymen and women.  Personally, I come from a long line of military veterans.  One of my first traceable ancestors fought for the Vermont militia in the Revolutionary War.  My Grandfather fired artillery at the Nazis during World War II. Several Great Uncles of mine served in that same army fighting Nazis, including one who fought in the Big Red 1 (1st Infantry Division), one of the most decorated and victorious Army Divisions of the Second Great War.   He was wounded twice and has two Purple Hearts.  My Mother’s cousin was killed in Vietnam, The Wall in D.C. bears his name.  My Father was a military man himself, serving in Vietnam.  I never answered the call myself, but I have always held the military and its members in high esteem.  It is a tough job defending a nation, and those who defend ours should be honored and commended.

The Big Red 1

Which brings us to Kevin Blackistone’s comments last week on Around The Horn, ESPN’s daily sports roundtable.  Around The Horn is a show that I regularly watch, and I usually like hearing what Blackistone has to say, he teaches at the University of Maryland, my alma mater, and he usually has a decent perspective to offer.  But then there was last week.  While discussing the Under Armour designed North Western Veterans Day Uniforms, Blackistone went on a semi rant and said some remarks concerning the National Anthem and Pat Tillman, among other things.  Here are the comments:

[Y]ou should also be selling the rest of the military symbolism embrace of sports. Whether it’s the singing of a war anthem to open every game. Whether it’s going to get a hotdog and being able to sign up for the Army at the same time. Whether it’s the NFL’s embrace of the mythology of the Pat Tillman story. It has been going on in sports since the first National Anthem was played in the World Series back in 1917. And it’s time for people to back away….You are conflating a war anthem with a simple game. When you have military flyovers and the military symbolism that goes on in sports, I think you’ve got a problem.

Kevin had a problem with these unis.

Well, ol’ Kevin is certainly entitled to his opinion, that’s was this country is all about, but if these words aren’t some bullshit, I don’t know what is.  Maybe Mr’ Blackistone should step back and figure out where the hell he lives.  This is America, a country born of revolution and unfortunately, bloodshed.  It was not an easy separation from the British, who at the time of our National Anthem’s birth were one of the dominant nations of the world.  The British, after losing to us once, came back for more in the War of 1812.  Washington D.C., our new capital, was in ashes and the redcoats were coming to Baltimore with torches in hand.  Our anthem honors the defense of Baltimore, a defense that kept our fledgling nation alive.  Without this truly heroic event, we would all have accents and drive on the wrong side of the road, and Blackistone would be covering soccer and cricket all damn year.  What’s wrong with an anthem honoring this defining moment?  A moment of courage, and for some that day so long ago, a moment of ultimate sacrifice in defense of their homes against the world’s strongest power.  Nothing is wrong with remembering that as a nation, and nothing is wrong with singing our National Anthem at large sporting events.  This anthem is a tribute to our military veterans and to our history. It is right to remember our history and those who create it, no matter how volatile it is.

Instead of honoring vets publicly at major sporting events and thanking them on our country’s grandest stages, maybe Mr. Blackistone would prefer it if we treated vets like many were treated upon their return from the Vietnam War.  Vets were spat upon, made to feel unwelcome in their own land, and humiliated.  All while returning home from a politically charged and brutal conflict.  Sure, the motivations behind he war were suspect and politically motivated, but that should have never been taken out on those who served, and were drafted, by their country in a difficult time. Vets should be honored and appreciated like they are today, not humiliated.

We enjoy our life style because of the many soldiers who fight, and who have fought, for our nation.  We are a country born of bloody revolution, and a nation who couldn’t recognize its own true meaning  without a war to free it from the scourge of slavery.  Should these conflicts be forgotten?  Should today’s vets go un-thanked?  No, honoring and recognizing veterans on our biggest stages is not glorifying the horrors of these wars, it is thanking those people who protect and protected our beloved nation and it’s lofty ideals.

People like Pat Tillman.  Why Blackistone would call his story a myth is beyond me.  This man gave up a life many would dream of to join the military and fight for what he believed in.  Tillman felt the call after 9-11.  Many may have thought about joining and fighting the terrorist enemy, but only a few actually did it.  Pat Tillman was one of those few and he died in combat in Afghanistan. To disparage him or his memory in any way is cowardly.  Someone dies in combat in defense of the place you live and you downplay his actions by calling his story a myth?  Fuck that, and it makes me ashamed that the someone who called his story that so short-sightedly and disrespectfully is associated with my beloved University of Maryland.

War is an awful, terrible thing.  I can’t imagine serving in one.  If this world was different and the nature of men was all kindness and flowers, we wouldn’t need a military.  But that is not reality.  The reality is harsh, and the men and women who serve are essential to our existence as a culture and a nation.  Honoring them and remembering their deeds at our biggest entertainment venues is awesome.  So thank a vet and show some love today.  I’m glad the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL give our military the recognition they deserve.  Sports venues are a logical place to honor our vets.  Sports connect many vets to home while they are overseas, and sports bring our people together. Honoring vets at these places makes sense on so many levels.

It’s unfortunate that people like Kevin Blackistone don’t feel the same way.  I wonder if he would still feel that way if the blanket of freedom that the military provides him was suddenly yanked from him, or if he suddenly had to defend his own freedoms from a foreign threat.  Something tells me that he wouldn’t.

If something is wrong with these reunions, then I don’t want to be right…


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