“Sam Coonrod stepped into the sightlines of America on Thursday night, when he alone stood during an intended unified peaceful protest.” So begins an article by NBC Sports’s Monte Poole.”
The author’s apparent defense of the San Francisco Giants pitcher for refusing to “join his kneeling manager and teammates during a pregame moment of unity” hits a slight speed bump when he adds the parenthetical “at least theoretically” to his affirmation that all Americans are endowed with freedom of choice. But he quickly returns to full throttle, acknowledging that Coonrod’s decision not to kneel in obeissance to Black Lives Matter “should be above criticism.”
That’s when the wheels come off Poole’s op-ed. Coonrod, he writes, “did nothing wrong” before adding “but said plenty wrong.” And what did Poole say that was so wrong? This: “I’m a Christian.”
Poole goes ballistic:
When did real Christianity opt out of humanity? Give a pass to injustice and inequality? Decide that it’s disrespectful to offer support, if not shelter, to those in need? Does Coonrod not realize that pastors of all faiths are joining crowds around the world fighting for these very ideals?
When did Black Lives Matter become the arbiter of what’s Christian and what’s human? Poole’s perspective, delivered from the warm safety of his cocoon, is that it’s his way or the highway. You’re either for Black Lives Matter or you’re against humanity. It’s that simple.
Only it’s not. A second NBC Sports op-ed, this one by Alex Pavlovic, offers a fuller version of Coonrod’s comments. As it turns out, he does have issues with BLM, but they are neither unique to him or unreasonable. “I just can’t get on board with a couple of things that I have read about Black Lives Matter,” he is quoted as saying. “How they lean toward Marxism and they’ve said some negative things about the nuclear family.”
Bu there’s more to Coonrod’s explanation, and I suspect this is what really raises Poole’s and Pavlovic’s hackles:
I meant no ill will by it. I don’t think I’m better than anyone. I’m a Christian. I just believe I can’t kneel before anything besides God — Jesus Christ. I chose not to kneel. I feel that if I did kneel, I would be being a hypocrite. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. Like I said, I didn’t mean any ill will toward anyone.
Other than his use of like as a conjunction, I can’t find a blessed thing wrong with what Coonrod said.