If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Now there’s a novel concept!
As the outrage over the civil disobedience of top paid athletes continues, we again find ourselves – as a society – muddling through the murk and sludge of perceptions and individual beliefs. What will we tolerate, and what will we not – as individuals, and as a society.
The issue du jour appears simple initially: privileged players in most sports leagues are choosing to not stand for the National Anthem. In civil disobedience, they are kneeling to show their disdain for our country.
Undoubtedly, the National Anthem is a powerful part of the “Americana” on which our country has historically been based. Its lyrics represent war and division, yet it was ensconced into the sports arena as an iconic beginning to every game from the early 1900s.
It is a ritual that everyone expects.
- The person who will sing the anthem is introduced at the opening of the game
- Everyone stands
- Military personnel and service are praised
- Hats come off
- Hands go to the breast
- Anthem begins
- Tears flow
Afterward, we are complete, we are united – as a society, as sports lovers, as patriots of our country. We are ready for football.
Of late, many highly paid athletes across many professional leagues, cloaked in the growing pallor of the First Amendment, have thrown us all into the grip of yet another cultural quagmire.
Here is what you might be seeing and hearing in the media and from people you know:
- President Trump is causing this to spiral
- President Trump broke the law and caused further division by voicing his opinion
- The players have the right to express their beliefs in the public arena
- The National Anthem doesn’t matter anymore
- Civil disobedience, for its own sake, is acceptable
- Anyone who doesn’t agree is a white supremacist
- Anyone who doesn’t agree is not American
- The owners of the teams have no influence over what the players do
Here are the facts:
- In other parts of the world, as well as in the US, people are still suffering and dying from the onslaught of Mother Nature
- Millions of Americans have died and continue to suffer as a direct result of their service to our country. They deserve our respect.
- The National Anthem is irrefutably a symbolic form of respect and appreciation for the service of millions of military and law enforcement men and women who contribute to making our country free and safe.
- A NFL standard contract looks like this: “A player who doesn’t ‘conduct himself on and off the field with appropriate recognition of the fact that the success of professional football depends largely on public respect for and approval of those associated with the game,’ or who ‘has engaged in personal conduct reasonably judged by Club to adversely affect or reflect on Club,’ is subject to being fired.”
- Other leagues have different guidelines
- While this debate rages, and is argued in the arena of public opinion, these privileged players are still earning millions of dollars every game, every day
- Politics has been brought into one of the last standing bastions of our lives, where it should not tread
My opinion, based on the facts and my gut, is that these players who are choosing to not stand during the National Anthem are invoking their right.
Do they have the right to their non-violent free speech? Absolutely.
Should they be allowed to do it on my dime, on yours? I don’t believe they should – but that is a judgement call.
They, just like Hollywood actors and actresses who also spout their political opinion from the pedestal of their privilege, are paid to entertain us. Their opinion when they are doing their job is irrelevant.
Bottom line: if you don’t like that the players do not stand for the National Anthem, don’t spend your money on them.
Don’t go to games.
Don’t watch games on TV.
Don’t buy their stuff.
Money talks way louder than words, or tears, or stamping of feet, or ranting.
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