Three or four days ago, Yahoo News published a sports article by a man named Adam Waksman concerning the New York Jets’ newly picked player Oday Aboushi. The article was so outrageously ‘over-the-top’ that by the next day Yahoo had deleted it and the link no longer works.
Now I don’t keep up with sports in general, and football in particular. I know that NFL stands for National Football League, and the New York Jets are one of the teams in the NFL. 😀 I might possibly recognize the names of a few of the prominent players if someone mentioned them, but I can’t think of any right off hand. I knew nothing at all of Oday Aboushi prior to reading Adam Waksman’s article.
But the article had nothing at all to do with football itself, or Oday’s strengths and weaknesses as a player other than that he’s obviously good enough to be chosen to play for the NY Jets – having had an outstanding career in High School and College football. The article concerns the fact that Oday is a conscientious practicing Muslim whose parents came from Palestine, and Oday takes a stance supporting the Palestinians against their “Israeli” oppressors. Adam Waksman doesn’t believe that Oday should have the right to actively support the Palestinian cause. If he can’t be persuaded to be pro-”Israel”, then he should be compelled to keep silent about his beliefs if he wants to play for the NFL.
That position is so obviously absurd that one might wonder how in the world Adam could possibly defend it. Well, he rose to the occasion by presenting some very specious arguments. Those arguments boil down to: (1) as a player, Oday represents his team and the NFL in everything he does and says; and (2) for better or worse, Oday will be a role model for young people. In other words, by taking a position that Jewish and “Christian” Zionists don’t like, he is ‘obviously’ going to somehow discredit the NFL and the NY Jets, and be a bad role model for American youth. And he may also cause dissension, arguments, and fights in the locker room! 🙄 David Horowitz and Joe Kaufman of Front Page Magazine (which Adam used as his source for accusations against Oday) will no doubt agree, as well as (almost certainly) Robert Spencer and Pam Geller; but people with unclouded brains will only consider this to be nonsense.
Adam began his article by stating that “technically” Oday has freedom of speech; that is, he can’t be jailed for his political opinions and speech. But he doesn’t think that “technical” liberty protects Oday from censorship by his employers (the Jets and the NFL). I guess Adam has forgotten that for a long time the Supreme Court has insisted that First Amendment protection not only applies to what the Government and Law Enforcement can and can’t do, but also protects against discrimination by employers. Employers may not discriminate against a person based on religious and political persuasions and speech, as well as many other areas such as race, color, gender, etc. I suspect that if either the Jets or the NFL started giving Oday grief over his pro-Palestinian stance, they would be slapped with a discrimination lawsuit so fast it would make their heads spin! But I didn’t see any indication in Adam’s article, or others I read debunking Adam’s position, that either the Jets or the NFL have had any problems at all with Oday’s ‘political activism’; the only disgruntled people seem to be Adam, Joe Kaufman and no doubt other Jewish (and “Christian”) Zionists.
Churches and religious organizations are permitted a lot of leeway regarding ‘discrimination’ due to the ‘non-establishment’ clause of the First Amendment (“separation of Church and State”); but obviously the NFL is not a religious organization! The NFL is a sports entertainment organization, and has within it – and appeals to – people of all sorts of religious and political beliefs. It cannot adopt an ‘official’ position on any religious or political question. Among its players and fans you will find Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians; Protestant and Catholic Christians; no doubt some Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus; and atheists, agnostics, and Deists as well. You will certainly find many who are pro-”Israel”; but whether or not Adam Waksman likes it, you will no doubt find plenty of “anti-Zionists” also (whether they’re fully so in denying the legitimacy of “the Jewish State of Israel”, or partially so in condemning certain current policies and actions of “Israel” while recognizing it as a legitimate State). No player can be required to be pro-”Israel”, pretend to be so, or else keep silent.
The last I checked, the U. S. is still the United States of America, not the United States of “Israel” – despite the groveling, shoe-kissing statements and actions of U. S. Government officials and politicians toward “Israeli” leaders and their actions and demands. While one may expect U. S. citizens to show allegiance to the U. S. A., there can be no requirement or legitimate expectation that U. S. citizens pledge allegiance to any foreign State or Government, including “Israel” – no matter how much Adam Waksman and his fellow Jewish Zionists may dislike this fact. It is neither criminal nor immoral for anyone to call out “Israel” for its oppressive, immoral, and murderous practices; nor is it criminal or immoral to even deny the very legitimacy of the “Jewish State”.
Whenever any individual player advocates publicly any position, or does anything immoral or criminal, everyone understands that the individual represents only himself – not his team or league. Aaron Hernandez of the New England Patriots stands accused of murder – but if he is guilty, who will say that the Patriots share any blame in the murder?
Who will imagine that one player’s advocacy of a political position implicates his whole team or league in that advocacy – especially when it is so obvious that there is a very wide range of religious and political beliefs within a team and league? Of course, there is really no resemblance between advocating a pro-Palestinian position and a criminal activity like murder or rape. Religious and political activities have Constitutional protection, while murder and rape obviously do not have such protection.
Now so far as being a ‘role model” for American youth is concerned, it seems to me that so far Oday Aboushi has shown himself to be a very good one. Here is a young man (22, if I remember correctly) who has been a very shining example of moral and ethical living. He has not one blot on his record: no DWIs, no arrests for drug possession or sales, no carousing with prostitutes or charges of rape, etc. He conscientiously practices his Muslim faith, consistently performing the 5 daily prayers and fasting during Ramadan. The fasting creates great discomfort and hardship for him as a football player, since throughout his college career Ramadan has occurred during his training season. Imagine yourself in strenuous football practice in hot weather – very fatiguing even when you’re eating and drinking normally. But Oday could not even drink any water before, during, or after practice until around 8 PM. Yet he did not use this hardship as an excuse to forego the fasting. That shows great will power and moral/spiritual courage – surely a great role model for youth even if they don’t follow the Muslim religious beliefs and practices themselves.
Also, the very fact that he takes an unflinching stand against deception, oppression, and murder – despite the fact that he faces opposition in this stand – makes him a great role model for moral and ethical courage.
Finally, concerning the possibility of creating dissonance in the locker room: we might ask if such dissonance and fighting has been in evidence in his prior football history (High School and College). It’s not as if Oday has just suddenly started playing football, and the NY Jets are his first team! 😆 Is there any evidence that Oday has not been able to get along with his teammates in High School and College? Not that anyone (including Adam Waksman) has mentioned. If he doesn’t have a prior history of such antagonism, why should it be any different now? Are we really to believe that professional football players are noticeably less mature and tolerant than High School and College players? I somewhat doubt it.
Oday has obviously not been using the locker room as a “bully pulpit” to acrimoniously advocate his religious or political viewpoints. Perhaps he has engaged in some relatively friendly discussions, but it has not interfered with his ability to “play well with others”. 🙂 I don’t see any reason to believe it will be any different now that he will be playing professionally.
I guess it’s no wonder that Yahoo decided to remove the article by Adam Waksman from its site. The only real question is why they published it in the first place!