If there is one thing you will notice about me and my political commentary is that I try to be consistent. During the Colin Kaepernick-inspired kneeling controversy in the NFL, I emphatically stated that I had no problem with Mr. Kaepernick using his celebrity and influence to initiate societal change when it came to police encounters with African Americans. The problem that I had was the venue and the particular time he was choosing to express those political beliefs, which was during the playing of our national anthem.
My argument a few years ago to race provocateur Roland Martin was always that Mr. Kaepernick was at his place of employment (an NFL stadium) and because of that fact, it was inappropriate for him to express his controversial political beliefs on his employer’s time and on his employer’s premises. I also said that if Mr. Kaepernick wanted to protest or express his beliefs after the game — and not on his employer’s property — I was good with that also. I even suggested Kaepernick buy television ad time and run commercials during the Sunday, Monday, and Thursday games and during regular weekday programming.
All of these viable options were available to Mr. Kaepernick, but unfortunately, he wanted notoriety and fame off the football field instead of on it. That decision has cost him his career, but fortunately for him, Nike, Netflix, and others have now elevated him to a social justice warrior athlete on par with Muhammad Ali. Kaepernick losing his football career due to expressing his political beliefs while on the field, brings me to the subject of this piece: Should the Southwest Airlines pilot be reprimanded or terminated for (allegedly) saying “Let’s go, Brandon” last weekend while signing off to passengers on the plane’s intercom system? (Note: Since the initial story broke, questions have been raised as to when the comment was actually made and whether the pilot, in fact, said, “Let’s go, Brandon,” or “Let’s go, Braves.” Nevertheless, the question bears examination.)
NO. Unless the pilot has a history of disciplinary problems and this particular incident was the proverbial “last straw.” Should the pilot be reprimanded? Yes, they should. I know I’d be pretty unsettled if I heard the pilot on the intercom close his remarks with “Prepare for take-off and let’s Build Back Better!” In a divided 50/50 country, expressing a political belief is a sure-fire way to piss of at least half the country — or half your customers in Southwest’s case. Unlike the NFL, Southwest Airlines and other major businesses generally try to stay away from politics which can only lead to trouble and boycotts. After the incident, the airline released this statement:
“The Southwest team takes pride in providing a welcoming, comfortable, safe, and respectful environment for the millions of customers who fly with us each year. Southwest does not condone employees sharing their personal political opinions while on the job serving our customers, and one employee’s individual perspective should not be interpreted as the viewpoint of Southwest and its collective 54,000 employees.”
Some have called for the FAA to investigate this incident while others have stated they will never fly Southwest Airlines again — which, of course, is their choice. Like Colin Kaepernick, this pilot made a bad choice when he injected his politics into a very routine aspect of his job (if, indeed, he said “Brandon” and not “Braves”). Unlike Kaepernick, there won’t be any accolades and praises from the mainstream media, celebrities, and star athletes supporting him for stating his opinion which demonstrates how biased these liberal people and institutions really are. Keep politics where they belong, in the political arena and on talk radio.