The 2017-2018 NFL season is underway. Like previous years, this season promises to feature plenty of interesting story lines and points of discussion. However, there is one story line that looks to dominate league discussions for the second year in a row:
The controversial national anthem protests.
In case you've been living under a rock for the past year, former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines when he was spotted not standing for the national anthem before a preseason game. When asked about his actions, Kaepernick stated that his actions were a form of protest against police brutality and racial inequity (in terms of treatment in society) in America. The combination of the form of protest, the mention of such delicate subjects, as well as the whole thing taking place near the tail end of an intensely divisive Presidential Election gave way to a social/political fire storm.
Though other players joined Kaepernick's protest last year, this year has seen the protests come back in full force. With the added motivation of the recent events in Charlottesville, and the perception that Kaepernick is being blackballed from the league because of his protest, more and more players have joined the protest. The protest has grown to the point where even white players are actively showing support (or even participating in the protest) for their teammates' views, something that was not seen last season. However, much like last season, this protest has drew a considerable amount of outrage from the more conservative segments of the NFL's fan base; with many people threatening to boycott the NFL until the owners find a way to force their players to stand for the anthem.
You know, for a country that loves to throw shade at North Korea, we do seem to desire to enforce the same "patriotic obedience" that they do (though to be fair, pro-Kaepernick fans also plan to boycott the NFL).
I'm bring all this up because this is not the first time in recent memory a vast amount of people have threatened to boycott an entertainment product over political disagreements. Since Donald Trump's rise to the presidency, more and more celebrities have spoken out against his more controversial policies and quotes. Most of this years awards shows in movies, TV and music were practically dedicated the mocking the living hell out of him. Much like the anthem protesters, these celebrities are usually meet with fierce criticism and outright dismissal by many conservatives (who also threaten to boycott the actors/actress' work). These reactions have helped build the conservative narrative that celebrities should not voice their opinions in politics or social topics.
The biggest question that comes from this ordeal: Should we boycott entertainers because of their political stances?
First off, I need to admit that I have a few problems with this "celebrities shouldn't talk politics narrative". The first one is, most of these people are American citizens, so they have every right to talk about politics (duh). Second, this crusade against celebrities talking about politics isn't that credible when we just elected the exact said thing to be our President. Third, like most political outrages, this "narrative" is not really about what the action is, but rather who did. The same people who chastise Meryl Streep and George Clooney for their liberal political opinions are more than ready to praise conservative celebrities like Ted Nugent and James Woods for their political opinions.
But perhaps my biggest takeaway in all of this is: why should we care?
I personally don't care about a performer's political preferences, but I do care about the quality of their work. For example, I am not a huge fan of Client Eastwood's political opinions, but I still enjoy his movies. I also don't agree with Rob Schneider's anti-vaccination views, but I don't need to use that as an excuse to not watch his crappy work. You're more than free to boycott someone's work over political disagreements, I am not gonna stop. But, while you're doing that, I will just simply say that I agree to disagree.