CLIVE: [Nodding towards a TV playing a news item about the NFL] What’s make o’ that, then?
C: They American footb’llers, kneelin in the anthem?
D: Why, they tired? Game a’n’t even strted yet, ‘av’m?
C: No, mate, it’s a protest. They started it a while back, one of ‘em got right in trouble, then Trump says somat about it an’ now they’re all at it, look.
D: Why they even playin the anthem, is it the final or somat?
C: Dunno, they just doos that, Americans, dunnum? Not just it the final, mind – every bleddy game.
D: Still, ‘f’they don’t like it, they can move somewhere else, innum
C: Yeah, but that en’t no good, is it? You could say that about anyone – if you don’t like the weather ‘ere, move to Spain, or whatever. ‘S your country, you can live ‘ere an’ make it better innum.
D: Yeah, or live ‘ere an’ moan about it, same as everyone else!
C: Exactly! Steve’a’ know, mind – Steve – mate, whassall this all about then [waving a thumb at the TV]?
STEVE: Alright chaps, ow bist? Woah, the 49ers quarterback done it last year an ‘e ended up getting sacked. If you’ll ‘scuse the pun, eh!
D: What pun?
S: Never mind.
C: Yeah, but why though? Why did ‘e do it, mind, not why did ‘e get sacked.
S: Well, ‘e’s protestin’.
D: What about?
S: In general, America’s problem wiv treatin black people so bad, ‘n’ the endemic racism that’s outlived the end of slavery by a hundred in fifty years. An’ specifitly, the Police shootin’ young lads in the street in all that. Police brutality, innum.
C: Oh ah.
D: Yeah, but why the footb’llers?
S: Well, why not? They’re famous, people’s watchin’ ‘em, they got a platform. ‘Sup to they what they wanna do wiv it.
D: Yeah, but why they kneelin’?
S: Dunno, really – just not standin’ with the rest, makin’ a point innum.
D: Point bein’, it’s mixin’ politics ‘n’ sport again, right – like all that with the poppiz on the football shirts in the England ‘n’ Scotland game. They can’t be makin’ political statements it the football, nobody goes there for that, ‘n’ oo cares whay they thinks? I likes Rovers, but I cou’n’t give a monkiz what Dean Gaffney thinks of Brexit.
C: Rory Gaffney, mind
D: Oh ah, Rory Gaffney. Oo did I say?
C: Dean Gaffney.
D: Oo’s ‘e?
C: No ideal mate!
S: The other thing is right, the 49ers feller, ‘e done it an’ only a few of ‘is mates joined in, that was last year. Now, Trump’s ‘avin’ a pop about it, sayin the team owners should sack ‘em, ‘n’ they all come out ‘n’ do it.
C: Well, fair play to um.
D: Right, yeah, fair play, they’re sayin “don’t tell us what to do” – now it’s a sportin’ issue, innit! ‘Cos they got the President givin’ ‘em grief in tellin’ ‘em ‘ow to run their teams. When ‘e wuz talkin about Mexicans this ‘n’ Muslims that, they didn’t say nuffin, ‘cos it’s not their business. They runs their team, right? When ‘e starts talkin’ about “the team owners should do this ‘n’ that”, they stands up in says “No mate.” ‘N’ they get a load of players to join in wiv ‘em to prove the point. So, it is sport an’ it is political, see? They’re sayin’, “we’re rich, you can’t order us around”. They ain’t talkin’ about injustice, like the first bloke wuz, they’re just saying “No. Fuck off.”
C: The players, mind, they just plays football though, or the American version, whassit gotta do wiv they?
S: Well…whassit it gotta do with anyone then? It’s like they fellers back in the sixdiz, with the old Black Power thing innum – they done the salute in the anthem when they won the medals it the Olympics, dinnum?
D: That’s it, in sixty-eight. An’ all the Americans wuz goin mental. All the Vietnam war stuff, they wuz against the draft – fair play to um, I reckon! I wun’t’a’ gone fightin’ in bloody Vietnam, oo’d watta do that?
S: ‘Member Muhammad Ali? “I en’t got no quarrel wiv the Viet Cong!”
C: Oh ah, Muhammad Alley, ‘e wuz The Greatest.
S: See, everyone liked ‘im, but some people ‘ated ‘in in America – absolutely ‘ated ‘im. Thing is, mind, it is a racist country, you gotta see that. When Obama wuz President, some people went mental and now there’s a batlash – it’s people who couldn’t ‘andle ‘avin a black President, so it swings back the other way an’ now you got a racist President.
C: Well, I dunno, I don’t know if ‘e is a racist ‘is self, even if some of ‘em are.
S: ‘E bleddy is, Clive, straight up. Knows one when I sees one. ‘E’s got elected off all the racism ‘e wuz talkin’, so ‘e’s either racist or stupid or a liar or all of ‘em. Tell you what in all – they ‘ad a black President, ‘n’ ‘e proved the point, dinn’ ‘e? If you’re black in America you gotta be et-septional to get anywhere. You know, like Chris Rock said, if you’re a average black student you can’t even be manager of a Burger King, meanwhile a white average student is the President. Well, now it’s like, if you’re black, to be president, you gotta be highly educated, smoove, a good speaker, very gentle with white people’s feelin’s, all that. Meanwhile, to be a white President you gotta be rich. And also bein a total gobshite racist nause en’t no problem. ‘S’ a joke, reely.
D: Stupid, I’ll give you, whatever else ‘e may be.
S: Yeah, we can all agree on that one.
D: I tells you what, we take the piss out the Americans, Steve, but if we en’t careful, we’a end ut just like ‘em, mind.
S: Yeah, I reckon you got a point there, Deano.
C: Your round, Deano – and we’ll all agree on that one in all!
D: Alright then, same again? Steve, you ‘avin’ one?
S: [Waving his empty glass] Too right.