Are you having a hard time empathizing with the protesting NFL football players? You know, the ones who became rich and famous by we, the fans – loyally watching them weekly and spending our hard-earned money buying expensive tickets to their games. Is it any wonder why NFL ratings are at record lows, and why America is angered by such behavior? And to what end do these “kneeling” players seek?
This all started last year when Colin Kaepernick, the washed-up, back-up quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, sat during the national anthem. At all major sporting events in America, players and fans have traditionally stood during the singing of our national anthem – the Star-Spangled Banner, as a sign of respect and tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It’s because of their sacrifice that America can enjoy its relative peacetime and sporting events such as these.
The story resurfaced last Friday during a political rally in Alabama when President Donald Trump emphatically suggested that the NFL football players kneeling during the National Anthem were “sons of bitches” and should be “fired.” Normally, I would rather not have the President of the United States weigh in on the hiring and firing decisions of a private corporation, such as the NFL, and believe he shouldn’t have done so.
Having said that, it is completely hypocritical for those to scream foul at President Trump when President Obama began this trend himself when he weighed in on the Washington Redskins team name controversy in 2013. As supposedly the representative of all American people, I thought it was out of bounds for the president then to inject himself into a controversy that should be decided by the owners, players, and fans.
While most Americans find this controversy appalling, or even insulting, many are wondering why these entitled players are disrespecting our national anthem, and to what end? The American people are rightfully upset as sports have traditionally been politically neutral occasions where one can enjoy a reprieve from the strife of day-to-day hardships and politics.
In the last couple of generations, sports have become the great unifier and was celebrated for bringing together people of all color, races and ethnicities. There are more African-American and Hispanic-American men and women in major league sports than ever before.
On the whole, athletes today are not judged by the color of their skin, but whether or not they can win. When compared to the days of Jackie Robinson, we have made tremendous racial progress. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but no one can deny the meritorious nature of America’s major league sports today. For example, 68% of all NFL players are African-American (white players make up 28%).
Why do we sing the national anthem in the first place? The Star-Spangled Banner has traditionally been sung before the beginning of major sport events since the mid-1800s, but it really became a tradition during baseball’s 1918 World Series – almost 100 years ago.
Since then, our national anthem has become a beautiful tradition, bringing all fans, players, and owners together to celebrate the brave men and women serving in the military and for those who died for our freedom. I still get goosebumps listening to Whitney Houston’s beautiful rendition of the anthem before Super Bowl XXV in 1991.
Let me say that I believe every player (and American) has the right to sit or kneel during the national anthem, but believe it is disrespectful and in poor taste. If NFL players want to protest the anthem on their own time outside of their employment, just like all the rest of us have to do, they should be allowed to do so, but on their own time.
Many of the players claim they are protesting due to perceived injustices, citing the cases of Michael Brown (Ferguson, MO) and Freddie Gray (Baltimore, MD) – even though the courts cleared the police officers of wrongdoing. The narrative that there was racial injustice seems to be promulgated by groups like Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and other race-baiters, who are enabling or funding false narratives.
I wonder if these NFL players know they are being used as pawns by these groups to promote the end-agenda of said groups – to destroy our constitution, erase American history, ignore our racial progress, getting rid of the Star-Spangled Banner as our national anthem, and for some, the destruction of football as America’s pastime sport (but that’s for another article!).
Anyone who dares question the “racial injustice” line of thinking is automatically labeled a racist, and all logical and thoughtful exchanges about important racial issues are shut down. This does no good in bringing Americans together to better understand each other.
And to what end are they “kneeling” for? Has anything happened since Colin Kaepernick began sitting last year? Has anything changed positively in the African-American community that can directly be attributed to this “courageous” kneeling from these football players?
America’s history is surely not color-blind and its original sin of slavery is a great stain. But surely when there are opportunities to come together, such as sporting events, can’t we put aside our differences and celebrate the athleticism, meritocracy, and competitive spirit that makes America an exceptional nation?
In the end, insulting the fans – the people that made you celebrated athletes, will backfire and cause dwindling ratings for the NFL and ESPN, who allow and even promote this disunity. And the feckless and spineless team owners, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, are just as guilty for enabling such behavior.
The NFL is not a “safe space” for anyone’s political grievances. If the NFL continues to insult its viewers and destroy one of the last remaining bastions of unity in our country, we’ll rediscover our Sunday Sabbath free-time, and football will be relegated to America’s former pastime.
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