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Why the NFL is Not a “Safe Space” for Political Grievances

by Christopher N. Malagisi

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.

 

If you liked this op-ed, make sure to also vote in our CBC poll if you will boycott the NFL or not HERE!

Comments


  1. Karen

    It’s s field.. not a forum. That stated what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. So if those ungrateful guys are allowed to express themselves, well then so can everyone. Carte Blanche for individual expression. Pray In the end zone, wear emblems honoring our military, 911 hero’s, cancer survivors… wear Sketchers.. Converse😒! Because a precedent has been set that contractual agreements may be violated if you ‘feel’ discriminated. They are idiots

    September 28, 2017,6:55 pm


  2. Bob Uda

    Professional Sports Disrespect the Flag

    Let us put this issue in perspective. When I were on active duty in the United States Air Force (USAF), if I were to pull such a stunt on the job as these athletes do, I would probably be slapped with an Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Sitting or kneeling when they play the National Anthem and the American flag goes by, I must salute it. I want to salute it. If I willfully disobey and show disrespect for the American flag, I would suffer the consequences. Additionally, when I worked in the Aerospace and Defense Industries, if I were to pull stunts that were disrespectful to the American flag, the management would probably reprimand and punish me in some way.

    Now, these athletes are on the job to perform before large audiences. Why do they have a different standard than most other Americans? When I go to a sporting event and they play the National Anthem, I stand and place my right hand over my heart. It is just showing simple respect for the flag and for our nation. Additionally, it is simply showing respect for all the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice or lost limbs during wars while protecting our rights, liberty, and freedom.

    What it all boils down to is that when the leaders, e.g., National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell, team owners, and coaches support such display of disrespect, it is no wonder the players will keep doing it! Now, even little league football players (little kids) sit down during the playing of the National Anthem and raising of the American flag. What a disgusting bunch of spoiled brats and irresponsible parents, coaches, and owners. This is why our society is so screwy these days. I just hope people will stop attending these jokes of sporting events—sort of like the Oscars, Emmys, etc. Everything has gone political and downhill.

    Professional athletes provide a poor example for our children and grandchildren. I say boycott all professional sports! I do not watch any sports any longer. I stopped watching and going to games three decades ago. I hope more people will wise up and stop the terrible sportsman examples they are to our posterity. Is it not ironic that when pro footballers kneel during the National Anthem, the liberal media praise them? However, when high school football players kneel to pray during a game to ask God to minimize injuries, the liberal media chastise them, and the school administration fires the coach. Do you remember when pro-Quarterback Tim Tibow went to his knee to pray and the blast he received from the dishonest press? Something is very wrong in America.

    Good! I say cancel all teams coming to the White House. It is just a waste of time, energy, and money anyway. The president of the United States (POTUS) has more important things to do than to deal with some of the losers who think they are champions. They are just a bunch of overpaid idiots.

    Cancel them all, President Trump. The NFL, National Basketball Association (NBA), team owners, coaches, teams, and players are un-American and anti-American. Cancel all White House visits. It is an honor and privilege to visit the White House. Do not let those ingrates come to the White House and tarnish that sacred place. They all disrespect our American flag, disrespect the White House, disrespect our military warfighters, disrespect our nation, and disrespect our POTUS. Screw them all! Invite only groups that show respect instead of just being a bunch of overpaid spoiled brats. The owners association should fire Roger Goodell for inflaming all of this disrespect! Keep out the scumbags!

    I call all good, honest, patriotic Americans to boycott all NFL and NBA games and anything related to putting our dollars into the pockets of all of those spoiled brats and anti-Americans. Do not buy tickets. Do not purchase any sporting wear, goods, or services. Do not watch their games on television. I have stopped watching all sports, everything that Holly-weirdos put forth, and all of these mentally deranged, evil people. Stop watching ESPN. Screw them all! I support President Donald J. Trump—the greatest POTUS in U.S. history!

    Ever since the Liberal-Democrats (Lib-Dems) injected politics into Hollywood, Holly-weird has gone off the deep end. Do not watch the Oscars, Emmys, etc. Ever since the Lib-Dems injected their politics into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), we have the greatest hoax of the century in Global Warming. Ever since the Lib-Dems took over our mainstream media (MSM) and press, we now have the lame-stream media (LSM) and errant press disseminating fake news and propaganda.

    Ever since the Lib-Dems took over our colleges and universities, we have student protests and vandalism that have destroyed our education system and generate dumb-down students. Ever since the Lib-Dems have taken over our professional sports, we have idiotic players disrespecting the flag and the military. Ever since the Lib-Dems have taken over our courts, judges make political decisions and legislate from the bench. We have suffered through a corrupt Department of Injustice (DOI) over the eight miserable years from 2009-2017.

    America and Americans, the Lib-Dems are destroying our society by injecting politics into everything good and decent and are infecting everyone. We have nothing but political correctness (PC) garbage, Black Lives Matter (BLM), police assassinations, Anti-fascist (Antifa), illegal aliens bankrupting our cities and states, increasing Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacks, and a destructive Democrat Party causing the Deep State to work at destroying our country.

    Wake up, fellow Americans, and fight back. Our country is at risk from these enemies within taking over control. We must not allow the Lib-Dems to destroy everything President Trump is doing to Make America Great Again (MAGA). These disloyal, un-Americans are working 24/7 to destroy our beloved country. Let us not allow that to happen!

    September 28, 2017,5:08 am


  3. Bob Uda

    Professional Football is a Joke

    I would like to see the NFL abolished or unfunded so they go bankrupt. The federal government subsidizes building all of those huge, expensive football stadiums and coliseums. Two senators are introducing a bill in Congress to withdraw all funding of building new stadiums. That is a good move to make the NFL go broke.

    Commissioner Roger Goodell is much overpaid making $50 million a year. What a rip-off! He is not worth $1 million a year! Goodell is incompetent; thus, the owners’ committee should fire him for inciting his spoiled, rich football brats to inject politics into sporting games. What a bunch of losers!

    Pro-sportsmen are a poor example for our children and grandchildren. I say boycott all of the professional sports! I do not watch any sports any longer. I stopped watching and going to games three decades ago. I hope more people will wise up and stop the terrible sportsman examples they are to our posterity.

    Get rid of football. It is a stupid sport where they run around with this stupid ball and beat up on each other. That is like terrorism. Kill the sport. Too many quarterbacks and running backs sustain brain injuries because of the constant pounding to their heads.

    You must be stupid to do that just for a few million bucks per year and end up the rest of your life like Muhammad Ali, OJ Simpson, and all of those young professional wrestlers dying from injuries, killing others, or committing suicide at a young age. It is not worth it. Congress should outlaw football and basketball!

    If those idiots keep it up, you are beginning to see the death of professional football and basketball. Get rid of the NFL and NBA unless they learn how to act right and fly straight like those in NASCAR (with the exception of dolt Dale Earnhardt, Jr.), AL/NL, PGA, NHL, WRA, et al. We have nothing but riffraff in the NFL and NBA. Get rid of those sports and force those spoiled brats to go get real jobs that require an education to think on their own instead of being dumb jocks who receive too much compensation for doing stupid things.

    The sad thing about all this is that the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers team and their lousy coach got on Alejandro Villanueva and made him feel so bad that he apologized on national TV for doing what he did. He said he made all the others look bad. I believe that they turned things around and have it backwards. The coach and rest of the team should apologize to Villanueva, who was the only patriotic, loyal one to the flag, the national anthem, and to the nation.

    The rest of them were cowards. They are trying to make the good person as the bad person. That’s what happens when you deal with a team and coaches of losers. If they all would have come out and did the same as Villanueva, the entire team and coaching staff would be heroes today, smelling like a rose, and praised by the media. It is very sad what they did to poor Villanueva. They are all a bunch of real cowards and losers. They will have a losing season for their awfulness.

    September 28, 2017,5:05 am


  4. Bob Uda

    Like the initial piece that I had seen by Jerry Jones (owner, president, general manager of the Dallas Cowboys), I was highly impressed with what Clark Hunt (CEO and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs) had said. I thought that it was about time someone had the guts to take a stand on this respect for the flag matter. I further thought, “Wow, I may have a new favorite NFL team! How is that for leadership? Here’s is what Clark Hunt said until I found out that it was also fake news.
    __________________________________________

    Mr. Hunt called a meeting with all of his coaches, players, and field staff and firmly told them:

    “You are all simply paid performers on a stage and that field is my stage! You will stand with your hand over your heart and with respect when our Country’s National Anthem is being played, or you will no longer be a Kansas City Chief, a coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, or have any association with the Chiefs organization! I will immediately fire you no matter who you are! You can make your political statements off the field, but when you’re employed by me, and I’m signing your check, I demand that you make our fans proud and not embarrass them.”
    ___________________________________________

    Then, I saw the photos about the Kansas City Chiefs and was disappointed and depressed as I was over the antics of the pseudo-America’s Football Team—the Dallas Cowboys. They all make me sick to my stomach!

    Now, for shame, I am totally upset with Clark Hunt, who I thought was a real patriot and man of conviction. No more! He is just like Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys. When are these rich owners and leaders going to show a bit more patriotic behavior? This issue is not about freedom of speech, and it is not about racism. It is about displaying respect for the flag, respect for our country, and respect for the national anthem when someone sings it at football games. It is about honoring and respecting our warfighters, our veterans, our fallen soldiers, and our military heroes who have come home with missing limbs.

    These rich, spoiled football brats are disrespectful of our nation and everything for which it stands. They play their stupid game and do not realize that they can do that and make big bucks only because of the sacrifices (some ultimate) by our military men and women who protect our liberty, freedoms, safety, and security. Hence, I say, professional sports figures should either shape up or ship out. The fans will do it for you by boycotting your silly games. From a USAF Veteran

    September 28, 2017,4:50 am


  5. Bob Uda

    I was so impressed with Jerry Jones (Owner, President, and General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys) when I saw the below piece. However, then, I found it was fake news. When I saw Jerry Jones on television kneeling with linked arms with his bratty, high-paid kids, I knew for sure that it was fake news. However, it sounded good. To wit,
    _________________________________________

    Jerry Jones went into the locker room before the Cowboys Giants game Sunday. He looked around at all the young men and addressed them as a group. “Regardless of your personal opinions, this is a sacred day that we recognize the sacrifice and pain that so many have endured. When the National Anthem is played by a lone trumpet player in a few minutes you WILL stand and you WILL put your hand over your hearts.”

    Jerry waited a second and made eye contact with several players to make sure his words had sunk in. He knew he had their undivided attention and proceeded. “You gentlemen are world class athletes, but you are also actors. You perform on a stage that is 100 yards long.

    Today, you play the role of a patriotic super hero. You will play this role well because you know that millions of children will be watching and looking at your example.” Then his inner fire started to shine through as he said quietly “but most of all I want you to remember, you are the actors, but this is MY stage and you will play the role I tell you to.”
    __________________________________________

    When I first read that, I was so impressed with Jerry Jones. However, now that I found out that Jerry is just another rich football team owner, I am disgusted with him. I hope he has a losing season and go broke for disrespecting all of our fallen warfighters and those who came home with missing limbs. They also disrespected the American Flag, the National Anthem, and our Nation. He and all his people should apologize for not acting like the above fake piece. He needs to restore our faith in him and the Dallas Cowboys. From a fellow Texan who is very disappointed in the supposed “America’s Football Team.”

    The latest report is that President Trump called Jerry Jones to find out why his good friend pulled the stunt that he and his team did. Jerry told Trump that they had done the kneeling prior to the national anthem and stood holding arms during the national anthem. What a cop out! President Trump bought the excuse, and so they are in good with each other. However, I do not buy it. They must do much more than that for me to regain my trust in the Dallas Cowboys. It goes that way in the Big City.

    September 28, 2017,4:45 am


  6. Hassenger

    Why can’t the NFL stand for their own fallen teammate #40 AZ Cardinal

    September 28, 2017,2:45 am


  7. Micah Key

    I believe players are employees and should be fired when they continue to use race as an excuse to disrespect America and exploit hard-working fans’ time and money. Freedom of speech does not guarantee freedom from consequences. There are approximately 6,000 homicide victims of black-on-black crime and over 500,000 black babies aborted annually, but let’s raise a fist and kneel during the national anthem to protest the injustice of 200 black Americans shot by police each year; or roughly half the number of whites killed annually by law enforcement – some justified, some not – without one hijacked sporting event, political march or race riot. Only in America can 13% of the population account for 50% of violent crime and still labor under the delusion white racism is 100 percent to blame for all the problems in the black community. Numbers, unlike unemployed quarterbacks and overpaid athletes, don’t lie and ignorant political stunts do nothing to change a single life for the better. Once you indoctrinate an entire generation with an insatiable hatred for their own country, its demise is inevitable. Respect for America should never be incumbent upon who’s president, but rather reaffirmed by a universal appreciation for a blessed way of life that transcends all races, struggles and ideologies.

    September 27, 2017,7:25 pm


  8. Sheila

    Sometimes people don’t know what they have till it’s all gone! I have a feeling the big cry babies are about to find that out
    when they have NO FANS LEFT!

    September 27, 2017,7:11 pm


  9. Tony Barreda

    America, in its totality, from sea to shining sea, is a save space to fight oppression, inequality discrimination against anyone, be they white, black, brown, yellow, gay, handicapped or diverse gender. The latest issue brought to light addresses exactly that and not politics as practiced by Trump.

    September 27, 2017,6:50 pm


  10. Floyd

    No room for politics in any sports. The real reason they kneeling because of the police abused black people in America. Has nothing to do with the national anthem. It free publicity and where they can get the most attention at one time and it works someone turn it around on the national anthem.

    September 27, 2017,6:50 pm


  11. Jo

    The Public will decide this one, the “Free Market”. We can use our money to show our displeasure with this totally dishonorable behavior. Don’t go, turn them off–tune them out, then notify their Sponsors.

    September 27, 2017,5:59 pm


  12. Lee Carter

    The question on this post should be; “Should the office of the President of the United States be a place for political grievances?” I believe the NFL, NBA, NHL and other sports organizations should end visiting the White House in celebration of their victories under this administration. Sports teams’ visiting the WH is a “TRADITION” that dates back to circa, 1865 – 69, ITS NOT A LAW. Visit a museum or read a book, artists, writers and leaders across the board have always used the American flag as a symbolic tool for freedom speech to express or bring attention to issues relating to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – in this country, “America” where all people are created equal. It’s an honor to live in a country where our flag serves as a functional symbol of FREEDOM. Take away The United States of America humanity, identity and freedom of speech – we become Russia and North Korea.

    September 27, 2017,5:35 pm


  13. Laura G. Holmes

    Personally, I have always been baffled by the concept of a person making millions of dollars for throwing, kicking, and catching a ball. Placing a ball in a hoop and driving a car in a circle are two other examples. However, this is a free-market society and consumers drive this particular market. This is the blessing of these people for living in the United States of America. I would respect a person finding a cure for cancer making this type of salary. They would earn it!

    I am disturbed by the fact that no one is protesting the murders in Chicago and the black-on-black crime that is so prevalent in our society. Who will stand up for these victims or become mentors so that these kids don’t go down the wrong track in life? Who will help these children get a good education so they may go far in life? Who will protest the innocent, precious children that are being aborted at a disproportionate rate in this community? Planned Parenthood purposely places their clinics in these neighborhoods to target this particular demographic group. If you are going to protest all social injustice, stand up for ALL innocent victims. There may be a very small percentage of police officers who make mistakes, however, they are the line between civilization and a crime-infested community. I am so disgusted with the false narrative that the Main Stream Media, Democrats, the Hollywood elites, and now the elitist athletes are perpetuating on the country. This is a calculated move on their part. They want to keep this demographic group down so they will always depend on them and vote for them. Communism is their ultimate goal on America.

    I pray for the beautiful mothers of these innocent children that are being gunned down in the streets everyday. Go to a funeral of one of the victims and witness the mother’s heartache and mourning process. We need to promote a family unit with two parents and children being educated properly so they may be contributing members of society. This is my prayer and I’m pretty sure that it was Martin Luther King, Jr.’s prayer as well. God be with these children.

    September 27, 2017,5:29 pm


  14. Carla

    Brilliantly stated! I certainly will not be attending any NFL games or buying their paraphernalia!

    September 27, 2017,5:02 pm


  15. michael zitterman

    Mr. Kaepernick was not and is not the real cause of our current situation.
    The problem appears to be due to the irresponsibility of the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers.

    A football stadium is a place of work for football players and staff. As such, management establishes rules and protocols.

    When Mr. Kaepernick first sat, the general manager should have established that all will show respect for the flag and the national anthem.

    The 1st Amendment does not apply to the workplace.

    The blame, for this ridiculousness, stupidity, and divisiveness, must be shared by the ownership of the 49ers and by Mr. Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL,

    The media, especially CNN, with MSNBC a close second, has exacerbated this insanity by promoting racism as the major factor. Don Lemon of CNN said that “taking a knee is constitutionally protected”. The producers and the legal department should have known that is an incorrect statement and apparently meant to inflame this phenomenon.

    An extremely serious question should be asked; why did CNN’s legal department allow that statement?

    The media is demonstrating that yellow journalism is an ugly tool that they will not hesitate to use.

    Fair minded people of all ilks must be demonstrably outraged.

    A rational solution to mitigate the damage done would be that Mr. Goodell and the ownership of the 49ers issue a joint statement apologizing to the nation for massively mishandling this matter.

    This mishandling by the 49ers and the NFL leadership appears to be caused by a combination of ignorance and stupidity which can be reversed by a sincere mea culpa, whereas certain media cannot utilize that path due to their apparent agenda, bias, and vicious premeditated intentions.

    One should be empathetic and understand why some have expressed their disdain for our flag. They have suffered from a confluence of factors, including the media massively misleading them.

    The FCC should be admonished to review this matter with great urgency, diligence, and sincerity.

    mz
    mikiesmoky@aol.com
    Sep. 26, 2017

    September 27, 2017,4:57 pm

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