Harvey Weinstein and Colin Kaepernick…

…represent two slightly different outcomes of the same underlying pathology.
The pathology that is on display here is the excessive tolerance of assholes simply because they are perceived to be successful.
Weinstein had been, by all accounts, behaving like an asshole for decades, and not just towards women. As this article explains, he really should have been fired a long time ago, not necessarily for abuse and harrassment of women, but simply because he was, most of the time, a weapons-grade jerk.
Bob Sutton has documented the many reasons why corporations should not tolerate jerks and assholes in the past. They poison the entire corporation in which they operate, and create other little monsters who emulate their behavior, on the grounds that, gee, it sure seemed to work for the guy at the top.
At the same time, a long and dishonorable tendency for the NFL and most of its teams has been unfolding, with the teams seemingly doing their best to turn a blind eye to misbehavior by players off the field, as long as those players are perceived as important performers for the team. Beginning with the Ray Lewis affair, where Lewis ended up being arrested on suspicion of being an accessory to a murder, and was defended by his team until and after he accepted a plea bargain conviction, through the Michael Vick dog-fighting conviction, the deeply unsettling Ray Rice domestic abuse incident, and numerous other examples of players engaging in domestic violence, the NFL has shown itself to be astonishingly willing to ignore or minimize player misbehavior. And yes, Michael Vick, post-retirement, is now a television commentator.
But…then Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel for the National Anthem. Suddenly, he was the Devil Incarnate, the personification of un-American-ness, the lightning rod for every faux-patriot ranter in the USA. He terminated his contract with the 49ers after being informed that he would be released anyway, and has now been passed over by just about every NFL team. He remains a free agent in a league that has a severe deficit of capable quarterbacks, and where almost every week, at least one starting quarterback leaves a game with a significant injury. (Two more starters suffered injuries on Sunday that will probably end their seasons).
Kaepernick’s example is a polar opposite one, of how the NFL treated a player who started a structured, peaceful protest against racial injustice by engaging in an unofficial boycott of that player, while tolerating and sometimes willingly embracing numerous other players who behaved like assholes, in many cases committing felonies. The double standard is glaring.
The examples of Weinstein and Kaepernick show just how far we really are from a mode of operation where being an asshole is derided instead of venerated.


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