An Open Letter To The NFL: Stand With Your Country

An Open Letter To The NFL: Stand With Your Country

#TakeAKnee? #GiveMeABreak
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You know what I really love? Living in America. I firmly believe that this country is the greatest one on the planet, and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else (call me old-fashioned or blind...I prefer patriotic). Do we have problems? Definitely. We fight over race relations and pay-gaps like the fact that they're still issues isn't a problem, and we also like to throw money at our problems when any decision in Congress is made at all. We've still got a ways to go. So, why do I love this country? Because I can write a sentence like that without fear of imprisonment or injury to my person. We can have debates about progress and what that actually means without some dictatorial regime silencing our thoughts. We have people willing to die to protect that, too. So, yeah, this country is kind of amazing.

And that's where my biggest annoyance comes in: not standing during the national anthem. And yes, NFL, I'm calling you out.

I get it: freedom of speech, good for you. I respect your right to say what you want. But, and who said it again, with great power comes great responsibility? Did you catch that last part? I'm not sure what statement you're trying to make, but I know it's aimed at President Trump. Kneeling during the anthem started as a protest against police brutality, not some tiff with the President. But did you notice no one is talking about police brutality? We're talking about the form of protest that you're using. If no one is talking about your issue, the protest isn't working. Let me boil that down for you: you're protesting, and you're protesting badly. We get it, you don't like President Trump. Not a lot of people do. And you have a right to your opinion. But let's make something clear: that flag does not represent the Trump administration. It doesn't represent the Republican or Democratic parties. It doesn't represent anything but the values the country was founded on and the men and women who died to protect and/or advance those values. So go ahead and kneel in defiance of the man you despise. Just realize your spitting in the faces of countless people who died to protect the ground your knee touches.

But the flag is printed on everything, they say. How respectful is an American flag print tie, or cigarette case, or insert-random-object's-name-here? This form of protest is obviously respectful. I mean, they're kneeling, right? Wrong. It's not respectful. The flag on whatever commercial item you want doesn't promote patriotism or loyalty. Your gaming console is just that: a gaming console, and I don't care if it has the American flag on it or the flag of Seychelles. Making a statement during a solemn moment when you're supposed to rise with your fellow Americans in respect of the thing that symbolizes everything good you stand for? That's disrespect.

So, plainly, you're a disgrace. Anyone affiliated with you who supports any of your affiliated teams' actions is a disgrace. You make the national pastime a disgrace. You're all for reaping in cash you wouldn't be able to make anywhere else in the world, but you won't stand for the anthem of the country that permits you to make it?

Feel free to continue. Your refusal to stand is your freedom of speech, one of the rights that you have living in this fantastic country. I know a lot of people agree with you. That's their right. I know a lot of people are going to hate this article. But I'd like to remind them: I'm exercising my freedom of speech. That's my right. And I'm going to use it to defend the sacred symbol of this country that you care so little for. We've already agreed that your protest isn't working; we aren't talking about the issue that started all of this (because apparently a crass comment made by the President usurps any issue worthy of discussion). So here's my question for you: are you protesting, or are you just being defiant because your feelings are hurt?


Cover Image Credit: Euclid Public Library

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