Jerry Jones Brings Down Papa John Pizza Man This Time

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, left, Papa John’s founder John Schnatter, center. (Brandon Wade/AP for Papa John’s)

Gulfport  Jerry Jones, bully-boy owner of the Dallas Cowboys team in the National Football League has not had a good year, though he is likely too oblivious to know it, and, as bad as his year has been, it’s been an even worse year for everyone and everything he touches.

On his own account, he has become one of the only members of the American superrich to have perfected the art of the Trump Two-Step. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. The Trump Two-Step is where he puts his foot firmly in the wrong direction, either down his own mouth or in some outrageous lie, claim, or endorsement, and then when the rest of the world catches up to his con, claims it was a win, he was right, and the whole world is wrong.

When Jones was just beating his chest and boasting about the Cowboys, his billion dollar stadium, and his little patch of ground in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, who cared? That kind of behavior was just part of the package. Then Trump gets elected, Jones makes the mistake of thinking the whole world has changed, and all bets are are off. He thinks the Trump election means that the first amendment is now last, freedom of speech is history, he owns the plantation, and all protests are outlawed. Wrong, and Local 100 is part of the slapdown there along with almost all of the other NFL owners who look the other way. His players are so mortified they have to call him into the clubhouse and school him on race and the police. He tries to hold up the NFL Commissioner’s contract and gets humiliated. The then doubles down and makes it clear in the time of #MeToo that his real beef with the Commish is the fact that he thinks his star running back should just get a hand slap for domestic abuse rather than a multi-game suspension. Once again, Jones is living in the 50’s and even the retrograde NFL knows you can’t sanction women beating anymore. Of course, Jones doing the Trump Two-Step claims he still won somehow, while the Commissioner gets $40 million per year for the next five or so.

You hear what I’m saying, everything Jones touches now goes south.

His lawyer in threatening the NFL contract is big name litigator, David Boies. He gets crossways on ethics because he was representing the NFL on some matters and is now part of the Jones mess threatening to sue them. Awkward! Now one newspaper after another has written about the constant conflicts that Boies finds himself in and his reputation has dropped like a rock as someone who’ll do anything for another buck, and represent both sides against the middle.

And, now the Papa John Pizza man, John Schnatter, is taking a fall for Jones. Remember Schnatter seemed to be pimping for Jones when they were playing flag football, claiming after Jones stirred up the controversy that all of the mess was hurting his pizza sales and faulting the NFL’s leadership for not toeing the Trump line. Jones turns out to own or co-own 120 Papa John’s franchises. Jones claims Schnatter is a great American and “when he talks, I listen.” Most of the sporting pages around the country placed their bets on the fact that when Jones talked, Schnatter also listened. Now it turns out that Schnatter’s likely listening meant that he gets to walk the plank for Jones. Turns out the rest of Papa John’s people didn’t like being touted as the go-to-place for white supremacists or having politics become their special pizza topping. The stock price has fallen even more than pizza sales. Schnatter gets booted upstairs.

Jones knows the Trump Two-Step, so he’ll claim he had nothing to do with any of this. He’ll probably throw Mr. Papa John under his golf cart, and claim he hopes the stock and sales in his stores will go up now.

Take a hint and learn from the last year. If you are a friend, associate, or employee of Jerry Jones, recent history says, buy a clue, and make a new year’s resolution to stay clear of him as much as you can. Until he figures out how out of step he is with the rest of America, he’s toxic, and he’ll bring you down.


Colin Kaepernick and the Myth of the Good Protest

New Orleans  Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore is a professor of history at Yale. Her op-ed on protest was published in the New York Times and warrants sharing in full because its message of how protest develops from organization and organizing is an essential historical reminder. What follows are Professor Gilmore’s remarks:

Credit Matt Rota

LAST week, the editors of GQ named the quarterback Colin Kaepernick its Citizen of the Year for his work protesting racial injustice. Kaepernick has been heavily criticized by people like President Trump, who claims that an N.F.L. player who kneels during the playing of the national anthem “disrespects our flag” and should be fired; others argue that he is out of bounds as an activist who mixes sports with politics.

The problem is that Kaepernick’s critics, and most of America, don’t really understand how protests work. Our textbooks and national mythology celebrate moments when single acts of civil disobedience, untainted by political organizations, seemed to change the course of history. But the ideal of the “good” protest — one that materialized from an individual’s epiphany — is a fantasy. More often, effective protest is like Mr. Kaepernick’s: it’s collective and contingent and all about long and difficult struggles.

Consider what most Americans would agree were two “good” protests: Rosa Parks’s refusal to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Ala., and the student sit-ins at a Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. Parks, the story goes, was exhausted from a day’s work and took a seat in the “whites only” section. To the astonishment of onlookers, she refused to give up her seat when asked. In Greensboro, black college students decided to eat at the local five-and-dime and initiated the first sit-in at a segregated Southern restaurant. They were idealistic and perhaps naïve.

These stories follow a set narrative. They are “firsts”: the first time a black woman refused to give up her seat or the first time students staged a sit-in. They seemed to arise spontaneously when someone fed up with unfair treatment couldn’t take it anymore. Good protesters act as individual citizens, untainted by associations with suspect political organizations.

The trouble is that these stories are historically inaccurate and obscure just how protest in the 20th century forged a more democratic country. A narrative with greater accuracy would allow us to better evaluate protests against racial discrimination. Earlier protests, similar to the one that Kaepernick started, sprang from protesters’ associations with activist organizations, were deeply political rather than individual, and played out in unfamiliar venues in new forms.

Protests that change history have their own long histories. They are almost never the first of their kind. Successful protesters plan campaigns, rather than respond to oppression in a single, spontaneous act. Protesters often belong to organizations that lend theoretical, moral and logistical support. Protests don’t reveal previously hidden wrongs to an unaware public. Instead, they cast those wrongs in a new light. They fail, time and time again. When they succeed, they win only partial victories.

Rosa Parks, for example, was a trained civil rights activist. She built on efforts that started in the 19th century to desegregate transportation and gained speed in the 1930s. In 1940, for example, Pauli Murray, a black woman, refused to give up her seat on a bus in Petersburg, Va.

Though most Americans today look back on the desegregation of public transportation with pride, most white Southerners opposed it vehemently, and many did so violently. During World War II, white passengers and bus drivers beat uniformed black soldiers who tried to integrate buses.

A. Philip Randolph knew that the emergency of war meant that these instances of discrimination ran counter to the nation’s interests. Randolph drew on his long experience as a labor leader to found the March on Washington Movement in 1941. The movement threatened to bring millions of African-Americans to Washington to protest; when President Franklin Roosevelt promised reforms, Randolph called off the march.

Throughout the war, the movement continued to train people who became civil rights protesters in the 1950s, including Pauli Murray. This pressure influenced the Supreme Court in 1946, which ordered desegregation on interstate buses in Morgan v. Virginia. That case set a precedent that Parks strategically worked to extend to local and state laws in Montgomery.

Just as Parks had done, the students sitting-in at the Woolworth counter drew from a long history of struggle. African-Americans had been “stool sitting” since the early 1940s. Howard University students in Washington staged some of the first sit-ins, which involved movement-trained protesters led by Murray. Those sit-ins aimed at national chain stores that operated outside the South, just as the Greensboro sit-ins purposefully did later. The Greensboro students knew all of this, because they were advised by the legendary organizer Ella Baker.

White Americans’ deep investment in the myth that the civil rights movement quickly succeeded based on individual protests has left the impression that organizations such as Black Lives Matter are counterproductive, even sinister. The same things were said of the N.A.A.C.P.

Just as football players kneeling during the national anthem today must repeatedly insist that they are not protesting the flag, Parks and the Greensboro students had to fight against efforts to play down the stakes of their protests. Parks’s action was not about a seat in the front of the bus. It was about Jim Crow, a legal and social system of degradation. And as Baker argued in her speech “Bigger Than a Hamburger,” the Greensboro sit-ins marked the beginning of a fight for education, voting rights and economic opportunity.

Rosa Parks was a hero. So were the students who sat in at the Woolworth lunch counters. But they knew that their heroism was possible only because of decades of what Baker called “spade work.” They knew that organizations to which they belonged and that gave them strength were the most recent manifestations of decades of struggle.