If those kneeling NFL players were serious about making a difference...

What can you say about pampered millionaires who behave like spoiled children?  Well, you can call them celebrities, and you won't be wrong.  But what you can't say about them is that they're committed.  Because they're not committed – not to a cause, not to improving the world.  The only thing they're committed to is the cause of themselves, and they'll be damned if they'll pass up a chance at advancing their own "cause" through some futile but offensive gesture that will do nothing at all to solve the problem they claim to care about.

What would those pampered millionaires do if they really were committed to the cause of social justice as it applies to young, mostly black criminals and somewhat older, mostly white police officers?  Well, for a start, they might put their money where their mouths are.  But beyond using their money for something other than what used to be called bling, if they were really serious, they'd also use their celebrity for something other than grandstanding.

Here's what that might look like.  Instead of taking a knee, Colin Kaepernick and those few hundred other fabulously rich men who've followed in his knee-step might have instead created a non-profit foundation dedicated to bridging the gap between the mostly black community they claim to represent and those mostly white police officers who are supposed to be at the heart of their concern.  Then, each of those fabulously wealthy celebrity sports figures who really cared could donate a million tax-deductible dollars to that foundation, to be used to create programs that will humanize the mostly petty black criminals who feel they're being abused by the police, and to help educate and motivate police to be more even-handed in their dealing with those mostly young, mostly minor-league black criminals. 

Then, if the NFL owners and the league were smart (and I'm not suggesting, based on how they've responded so far, that they're any smarter than their players – because clearly they're not), they'd very publicly match each of their team members' donations, dollar for dollar (keeping in mind that all such donations are tax-deductible).

I'm not suggesting that those take-a-knee-ers are right (I'm not, because I don't think they are), but this social justice "cause" is the cause these millionaires claim to espouse, and to the extent they're serious, they should use some of their spare change to help that cause.

If these pampered celebs were really committed, they'd then trade on a bit of their celebrity to organize face-to-face meetings, first with senior police officials and later with front-line cops and their supposed front-line targets – those mostly young, mostly petty-crime black criminals who cry foul when they get caught in the act and who, by their swift refusal to surrender to police, take actions that can get them killed.  What big-city chief of police – or big-city juvenile trouble-maker – would refuse to meet with a celeb whose autograph is worth more than a Saturday Night Special and a box of cop-killer ammo?  Especially when the TV lights are glaring.

Again looking at what the team owners could do (but haven't, and probably won't), they should offer to host those meetings.  Between the players and owners, they could offer political pressure no big-city chief of police could ignore and no street-cop or street-tough would want to pass up.

Am I suggesting that such face-to-faces would stop poor dumb kids of any race from acting tough and getting shot for their troubles?  They probably wouldn't.  The systemic solution to keeping those kids from getting cop-shot goes far beyond face-to-face meetings.  However, if such meetings saved just one kid's life (and, in the process, saved one cop from the lifetime of guilt from having taken a life, no matter how not-innocent his victim was), then those meetings would be worth it.

More to the point, those committed NFL social justice warriors could actually (and proudly) proclaim that, finally, they are doing something beyond grandstanding to help address an endemic societal problem – the problem of what happens when hot-headed young men of any race catch the attention of scared but determined cops, also of any race.

Will that happen?  Not until some of those pampered, self-important athletes decide to put their money – and their fame – where their mouths are.  Sadly, I'm not holding my breath.

What can you say about pampered millionaires who behave like spoiled children?  Well, you can call them celebrities, and you won't be wrong.  But what you can't say about them is that they're committed.  Because they're not committed – not to a cause, not to improving the world.  The only thing they're committed to is the cause of themselves, and they'll be damned if they'll pass up a chance at advancing their own "cause" through some futile but offensive gesture that will do nothing at all to solve the problem they claim to care about.

What would those pampered millionaires do if they really were committed to the cause of social justice as it applies to young, mostly black criminals and somewhat older, mostly white police officers?  Well, for a start, they might put their money where their mouths are.  But beyond using their money for something other than what used to be called bling, if they were really serious, they'd also use their celebrity for something other than grandstanding.

Here's what that might look like.  Instead of taking a knee, Colin Kaepernick and those few hundred other fabulously rich men who've followed in his knee-step might have instead created a non-profit foundation dedicated to bridging the gap between the mostly black community they claim to represent and those mostly white police officers who are supposed to be at the heart of their concern.  Then, each of those fabulously wealthy celebrity sports figures who really cared could donate a million tax-deductible dollars to that foundation, to be used to create programs that will humanize the mostly petty black criminals who feel they're being abused by the police, and to help educate and motivate police to be more even-handed in their dealing with those mostly young, mostly minor-league black criminals. 

Then, if the NFL owners and the league were smart (and I'm not suggesting, based on how they've responded so far, that they're any smarter than their players – because clearly they're not), they'd very publicly match each of their team members' donations, dollar for dollar (keeping in mind that all such donations are tax-deductible).

I'm not suggesting that those take-a-knee-ers are right (I'm not, because I don't think they are), but this social justice "cause" is the cause these millionaires claim to espouse, and to the extent they're serious, they should use some of their spare change to help that cause.

If these pampered celebs were really committed, they'd then trade on a bit of their celebrity to organize face-to-face meetings, first with senior police officials and later with front-line cops and their supposed front-line targets – those mostly young, mostly petty-crime black criminals who cry foul when they get caught in the act and who, by their swift refusal to surrender to police, take actions that can get them killed.  What big-city chief of police – or big-city juvenile trouble-maker – would refuse to meet with a celeb whose autograph is worth more than a Saturday Night Special and a box of cop-killer ammo?  Especially when the TV lights are glaring.

Again looking at what the team owners could do (but haven't, and probably won't), they should offer to host those meetings.  Between the players and owners, they could offer political pressure no big-city chief of police could ignore and no street-cop or street-tough would want to pass up.

Am I suggesting that such face-to-faces would stop poor dumb kids of any race from acting tough and getting shot for their troubles?  They probably wouldn't.  The systemic solution to keeping those kids from getting cop-shot goes far beyond face-to-face meetings.  However, if such meetings saved just one kid's life (and, in the process, saved one cop from the lifetime of guilt from having taken a life, no matter how not-innocent his victim was), then those meetings would be worth it.

More to the point, those committed NFL social justice warriors could actually (and proudly) proclaim that, finally, they are doing something beyond grandstanding to help address an endemic societal problem – the problem of what happens when hot-headed young men of any race catch the attention of scared but determined cops, also of any race.

Will that happen?  Not until some of those pampered, self-important athletes decide to put their money – and their fame – where their mouths are.  Sadly, I'm not holding my breath.