‘Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag, say ‘get that son-of-a-b—- off the field right now, he’s out, he’s fired.” – President Donald Trump in Friday’s Alabama Speech
“As a team, we have decided we will not participate in the national anthem. We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed to continuing work towards equality and justice for all.” – Seattle Seahawks Team Statement
“Because of the merger of entertainment and politics, we’ve basically said that those whose hearts are the fullest will basically be granted that their brains are the fullest, and I do not think that is necessarily true” – Ben Shapiro, Daily Wire
You have to hand it to President Trump. Right or wrong, he does not back down on a position, no matter how bluntly stated. That was evident again this week as he raised the Colin Kapernick issue where Kapernick refused to stand for the national anthem last year as an NFL player. Consequently, Kapernick is out of the league, likely for a combination of poor play and poor attitude. This, however, did not prevent Trump’s comments from igniting a firestorm of politically correct retribution.
The problem is, even though he is direct and unfiltered, Trump is right again on this one. Sport is entirely the inappropriate venue to air politically correct views and protests. The majority of NFL fans follow their home teams not for the political commentary, but for a winning performance on the field. Fans attending the games were forced to pay to view such irreverence regardless of their personal feelings. In addition, how many average daily employees of other companies would be censured or even fired if they attempted to raise such protest in the middle of working hours?
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell backed the league’s PC stance in speaking of Trump: “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all our players.” Except that the President’s comments are not the primary divisive catalyst here. People fomenting misdirected protest by disrespecting our flag and our country are. Trump merely responded to an issue most average Americans find repugnant. He spoke succinctly for “the average man”, as fan reaction and ratings confirmed as viewership plummeted Sunday.
The larger problem is that such protests are based on a false narrative perpetuated by popular media and popular culture. The misguided framing of this false narrative is entirely symptomatic of the culutral assaults on our country through leftist elites. It substitutes the narrative of the virtues of America for the vices (real and imagined) of America. The fact is that it is the opportunities provided under the freedoms of our flag that allow these overpaid athletes to safely air their grievances. As a famous political analyst once quipped “If Mohammed Ali had been born in Africa no one would have ever heard of him”. America is still the land where opportunity calls, regardless of race creed or color.
For professional athletes to champion the PC dialog of the left, a dialog that has no interest in the advancement of our country or culture, for players to “unite in solidarity’ in protesting our flag over the supposed racism that allegedly plagues our country, just demonstrates their collective ignorance. One is left to wonder who a bunch of millionaires on the Steelers is implicating when they say “we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms”. Seems like our basic freedoms have been working pretty well for them.
Ben Shapiro is spot on in his comments. If we give entertainers, sports figures or any other popular icon the benefit of assuming they understand the intricacies of a political position, we are likely to be disappointed. It is all emotion and little, if any, analysis. I doubt most of the players protesting Sunday are even aware of the real attacks on their freedoms through Cultural Marxism and the accompanying diatribes of political correctness. As Goodell calls Trump divisive, he and his players are forwarding the actual identity politics that is the true divider of unity within our country.
If these overpaid adolescents really want to gain perspective on the supposed foibles of America, let them spend a fair amount of time in the offseason touring some actual oppressive countries. Sixty days in North Korea, Somalia, Yemen, Myanmar or Bangladesh might mature the perspective on America’s virtues a bit. There has never been a country like America, despite any historic missteps. The opportunities afforded all peoples in this land have been unparalleled. One wonders if some of the minority players making more money in a single season than most Americans would make in an entire lifetime see the irony in their actions.
No one begrudges any professional player the right to express their opinion, but it behooves each one of them to have an opinion that is worth hearing. PC nonsense about a racist flag, a racist country or a racist President does not cut it with most sports fans. And it certainly falls on deaf ears with anyone with a clear sense of political and economic history.
Perhaps the league should regard a lone exception, Pittsburgh Steelers player and former Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan, Alejandro Villanueva who broke with team unity and came out on the field with hand over heart to stand for the national anthem. While his teammates stayed in the locker room to protest, Villanueva stood at attention with due respect. Consequently, Villanueva’s jersey sales soared Sunday and Monday. It is a pity his wisdom, gained through difficult experience, cannot rub off on more of his privileged teammates.