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  • 10:58 pm This Day in History for June 17
  • 8:22 am Thoughts While Shaving for June 16

By Jefferson Weaver

I really couldn’t care less about professional football.

I admire anyone whose physical prowess is such that they can, at least for a few years, make a living off of it. I find it ridiculous that guys playing a game have a starting salary higher than the budgets of some small towns, but I’m also a fan of the free market. If people are willing to pay someone that much money to play a game, then by all means, they should have the right to do so. I won’t be attending a game, or even watching more than a few minutes of one on television. Nor will I be purchasing any licensed products, since I really have no particular affection for any of the teams. I have no antipathy for them either. I truly don’t care.

Now, I love high school ball, where the players still have dreams – but that’s different.

But Sunday’s anti-American display by more than a handful of NFL players has turned me into something different.

I am sure most of you have heard by now about all the players who “took a knee” during the National Anthem. Some did it out of a confessed hatred of the president, while others are protesting racism, either perceived or real, by police. Some are just doing so because they have a herd mentality, and want to do what they think is cool. If a player wants to speak out about a political or social issue, they have the right do so. That’s the beauty of living in a free country where people who play games can make more in a year than I have or will in my entire career.

They don’t even have to sing the song, or say the pledge of allegiance, if they feel that strongly. They should be ashamed of themselves for protesting and trying to shame those who do.

The National Anthem is something that should bring us all together, regardless of race, religion, or political persuasion. I have stood beside a fellow who takes pride in being a bleeding heart liberal (his words) while we both sang that song at the tops of our lungs. We don’t agree on anything, even the sanctity of motherhood, but we can and do debate our different opinions without being ugly, and agree on the greatness that is America. The anthem doesn’t belong the current president, the immediate preceding holder of that office, or any other president. It’s a song of our country, not a commentary on current events.

I find it fascinating that these ballplayers and much of the media had a problem with players who openly express their faith in Christ. We have debates and lawsuits raging across the country because high school and college coaches and their players want to pray before sporting events. No one is forcing non-believers to pray – at least, in the testimony in those cases that have gone to trial so far, no one has said they were forced to pray, or even asked to simply stand still for a moment.

Yet the heroes are those who have no problem showing their own disgust, if not hatred, for a country that allows them the ability to earn enough money to buy an island or two simply for being a good ballplayer.

Remember the whole “pig sock” scandal during NFL training camp? The player who wore those socks lives in a gated property, and has bodyguards and a driver – yet he fears police, and made some comments that demonstrated, in my opinion, why the NFL needs better helmet designs. Yet when other teams wanted to put decals showing their support of police officers on their helmets, the bosses with the National Football League quickly said no – it might offend someone.

Yet it is perfectly acceptable to the crowd that has adopted the Hate America First attitude to insult the flag and the National Anthem. I don’t care if they want to insult the president, conservatives, liberals, moderates, RINOs, DINOs, aardvarks or polar bears. I might disagree with their tactics and language, but they have the right to do so.

Insulting the country that gives you the freedom to express yourself however, is a different story – especially in a venue where people have voluntarily paid their money to watch you play ball.

If someone doesn’t like a candidate or a political platform – especially someone with the resources of, say, a $1.627 million a year linebacker – then they have every right to use all their blood and treasure to oppose that candidate. I just think they should put all that money where their mouths are; you see, there’s a reason why football players who give back get so much publicity. It’s because they are becoming a rare breed. It’s much easier to come to the gates of your walled mansion, denounce social ills, then go back behind your gates to a party than it is to actually engage in meaningful dialogue or actually do something.

I don’t think the players should be using an entertainment venue like a football game to insult the country that has made them rich for playing a game. Nor do I think the owners of these teams – who are exponentially more wealthy because of their people who play a game – should have to tolerate anti-American behavior.

I didn’t particular agree with the president’s language the other day, although I did agree with his sentiment. And before you go off on Trump’s use of a cuss word, remember that we all hear much worse on the street and on television on daily basis. You can find plenty of times where every president back to Garfield said worse, in public. Indeed, you even hear such words and worse from NFL players, like the one who was videoed cursing and beating his girlfriend a few years ago.

But then again – I guess it’s okay to remain entrenched in that double standard, where the ones who recognize the meaning of America are silenced, those who
protect us are vilified, and those who make millions of dollars can suddenly make people smarter and their opinions more valuable — simply by playing a game. Seriously, people?

Is this why the defenders of Fort McHenry kept the flag flying even in the face of certain death? Is this why millions of American men and women out their lives on hold to defeat Hitler and the Axis? Is this why people are willing to risk their lives and imprisonment to come here?

I repeat – I think it’s fine and dandy for anyone to express their opinion, no matter how much I disagree with it.

But it’s not fine and dandy when someone thinks they can slap America in the face simply because they happen to be really good at playing a game. I reckon this proves the double standard is alive and well – well-paid, that is.



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