Stop NFL Players from Disrespecting America
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In a world in which politics now seeps into everything, the degrading state of the NFL has become a perfect example of how our national consensus has frayed.
Undoubtedly, the launch of this year’s NFL season came with some positive displays of patriotism.
The Cleveland Browns ran onto the field with first responders and military personnel to loud applause. Do so, shows the unity that this team is trying to promote between our football team and first responders, military, police, and hopefully show a positive effort to move forward and to try to make America a better place for everybody.
But the opening weekend also began with an increasing number of players sitting down or kneeling for the national anthem, a precedent set last season by the now, unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick as no NFL has picked him up this year. Kaepernick started this disgraceful trend last year, and deserves to sit on the sidelines now, waiting for an NFL team to pick him up, which hopefully doesn't happen.
Kaepernick stated that he was "not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color." That's ok to. He can keep the bench warm until he learns to respect America and the freedoms that countless heroes who died protecting him.
In the wake of the mass murder of thousands of our fellow Americans on 9/11, there was an enormous outpouring of patriotism at games around the country as players and fans created numerous gestures of solidarity in the face of barbaric attacks meant to destroy our civilization. And some of the most touching displays of that simple but potent message of unity came from the football field. Players, teams, and fans displayed wide-ranging and genuine support for their country.
Our divisions didn’t matter. White, Black, Gay, Straight... We were all under attack, and we knew it. Americans of almost every background had been targeted and killed in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Islamist's wanted us all dead.
From New York, to Alabama, to California, Americans were unified in support of their country and their flag. Americans stepped back from political squabbles and even Congress got together to demonstrate solidarity. Republican President George W. Bush was movingly greeted with chants of “USA! USA! USA!” in liberal New York City. The fissures of our society that certainly existed then as now, were smoothed over by the most obvious national threat. The motto of the time was: “United we stand.”
How things have changed 16 years later...
The players who didn’t stand for the anthem have cited numerous reasons, such as police brutality and racism, but the general, overarching message they are sending is: “United no more.”
Many NFL fans have responded to this message by simply tuning out NFL games this year. In fact, thousands of fans, myself included, have not gotten the NFL package this year with DIRECTV and will continue to turn off the games until the NFL step up and listen to America!
Maybe the moment of togetherness after 9/11 was a mirage, and maybe it can’t be duplicated unless we collectively see what threatens us in the most horrifying and graphic way.
However, one thing is for sure, recreating national unity can’t come from top-down economic solutions or policies. It can only come from a healthy, revitalized culture and leaders who know how to channel it in the right direction.
The NFL’s kneeling problem is getting worse, and that’s a bad sign for America. Tell the Roger Goodell, the NFL and it's owners to respect the very America that made them. Without the fans, the NFL is nothing! Without America, we are all nothing! If the players don't want to stand for a mere 30-seconds to pay respects to America then they can pack their bags and get the hell out!
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