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The NFL Can Kiss My Grits

It’s that time again.  Kids are heading off to school. The stay at home moms enjoy a little quiet time during the day and parents are busy crossing off items from the never-ending list of school supplies. In the background, many young hopeful athletes are beefing up on practices for upcoming sports competitions this fall.

Playing a sport can help teach children discipline, it puts them in a team working environment, and helps introduce the art of healthy competition.   In high school football, the star player may find himself soon recruited for collegiate football teams, and if given a chance to score big during college football, they could even land a meeting with an NFL drafting agent.

To be known as an NFL star is a young football player’s dream, something they can work and aspire towards. But the dream of being the next Terry Bradshaw comes with the price of playing by the rules — which includes standing with your hand over your heart during the National Anthem.

Over the past couple of seasons (since Donald Trump took office) NFL players across America are kneeling, holding fists up and sitting in the locker rooms to “show America they stand for something.” What exactly that “something” is, seems to be quite debatable. This has left hard-working Americans, who pay astronomical ticket prices to watch them play, confused.

Our national anthem represents what’s best about America. It was written from a ship on September 14, 1814, by a then 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key. He wrote its powerful lines after witnessing the bombardment of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry by British ships during the War of 1812.

Even with warnings of game suspensions, the season started out with players protesting, yielding tweets from supporting fans and fed-up-fans alike.  Some fans are sick and disgusted at the players kneeling or standing but raising their fists, pledging it goes against the American tradition and shows disrespect to those who have served in the military and to the many brave men and women who lost their lives in battle.

There is a lot of confusion over the issue of what these protests are about. When they began in 2016, players said they were protesting racial injustice and police brutality, but it seems to me it’s just a game of peer pressure. By protesting during the playing of our anthem and then failing to tell us precisely what they believe needs to change, these players aren’t helping us define the problems so we can help solve them.

A check of social media accounts of the NFL players who opted to protest during the anthem and why they are protesting or what they specifically want to change did not produce fruitful results. Perhaps they are being careful and fear being suspended for a tweet.

The Miami Dolphins team submitted a new policy to the NFL stating players who protest on the field during the national anthem could be suspended up to four games. Most recently the South Florida police union urged their members not to buy Dolphins tickets or to request a refund because a pre-season game was protested against during the national anthem.

What is disappointing, though, is that this entire debate has split along lines of patriotism versus the right to protest. That’s a false narrative many in the media have fomented and allowed to grow because they are reluctant to do honest reporting on this important issue.

The players can go on TV and radio, give speeches and take other actions to point out the flaws they see still existing in America. If they did that they might help all of us continue to make America all we hope it can be, again.  Others have responded by saying they want to support brave players for taking a stand to point out systemic racism and other issues.

As money is also speech, why don’t these players get together to donate some of their millions to charities targeting the problems they are concerned about? This way we could at least define what they want by closely looking at what they are doing with their money.

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About Katherine Rez

For many years Katherine spent her much of her time journaling for fun, reading books, and writing several short stories for adults, and children. She eventually found herself in a career writing high-level processes and procedures for corporate and startup businesses. Combined with her love of health, American values, and family, she now writes for a variety of websites from health and entertainment, to news and politically driven websites.

20 comments

  1. Ms. Rez-

    RE: your last paragraph. Do you have the vaguest idea what players are doing regarding their charity work?
    Take a few minutes out of your busy schedule and go to SBNation or any number of websites or simply Google “NFL players charity” and see what they do and how much they give of their time and money.

    I do not know your age, but 50 years ago, Tommy Smith and John Carlos stood on the podium at the Mexico Olympics and gave up their careers to make a statement about blacks in America. They, too, were scorned and they, too, were brave and they, too, were RIGHT.

    • Omg, you just don’t get it do you…. this country was steaming along, getting it right, the older it got… then “bam!” The freakin far left just went bat s*** crazy!! Nothing was good enough unless it was them that thought of it!! They just wanted attention, no matter what it was for!! Gay right parades that were disgusting, to say the least, vagina hat parades, let anybody across the border just to be against the “other side” (and I mean ANYBODY), trash all white men, even if they were good men (are there any white males ok to that crazy bunch?!) It has become the Salem witch hunts all over again, only this time it’s againt anyone that doesn’t believe/side with, that bunch of crazy AF people!!! If you want to stand up for the rights of minority’s, how about don’t do it at the expense of the hardest working, most honorable people in this country!!! My father faught in WW11, my uncle faught in Vietnam, my brother served in the Army, and my daughter served in the Air Force, and was deployed to the middle east, leaving two young daughters of her own to be there!!! Every time those Jacka$$e$ takes a knee, they spit right in the face of these people who would lay down their lives for those attention whores!! You will never get me to believe that any of the above people are anything but that!! It seems that Democrats are just the most miserable bunch of whiners out there!! They want to do nothing, but get everything!! What happens when this country turns into what they want? Who will do all of the work?????? Not them, they will be out there demonstrating againt someone who inadvertently stepped on an ant on the sidewalk!!!!! FYI, fifty years ago was a looooooooong time ago, and like I said, we were getting better here in the USA with each passing year…now look at the rift…. are you all happy with your work??? Great job, Dems

      • In August 2016 A NFL player: “We were talking to NFL player [Boyer] about how can we get the message back on track and not take away from the military, not take away from fighting for our country, but keep the focus on what the issues really are,” Kaepernick said. “And as we talked about it, we came up with taking a knee” rather than sitting on the bench. (The issues were 1. Perception of insufficient medical care for war veterans. 2. Perception of minority’s being targeted by police with unnecessary violence during arrests and some unwarranted arrests)

        After meeting with former Green Beret and brief NFL long snapper Nate Boyer to discuss his thoughts on the manner of the protest, Kaepernick adjusted his method by kneeling during the national anthem instead of sitting. He was joined by 49ers safety Eric Reid, who also took a knee. Many NFL teams as well as scores of other teams (men,women,girls and boys teams) across the USA began to join the silent respectful demonstration.

        • The protests may (or may not) be well-justified. The time to protest is not while others are expressing their respect for the flag or the country.

          If the protest is well-justified, there is a good chance that many who are standing would gladly participate in righting the problem.

          The protestors recognize that they are disrespecting the flag as well as the people who are standing. If they want support for their protests – if they want to right the wrongs they protest – the way to do that does not include disrespecting the flag.

    • You are missing the point! Using sports to make political statement is Wrong!!!! What is that saying to kids? SO, they have to be political majors (and take a political stance) to play sports? Note: PLAY sports. It’s a freakin’ GAME!!!! I don’t give a rat’s ass if they give ALL their money to charity, THAT’S NOT THE POINT!!! THAT does NOT give them the pleasure to disrespect the US Flag and the USA and all who gave their all for it!!! THAT is the point!!!!

    • John you are so wrong. Any other job and these players would be fired. Protest on your own time. I, at one time watched sports for the entertainment and the action. Make it political and I am gone. I stopped reading sports magazines for the same reason. These are over paid, ignorant cry babies, who complain but do nothing to fix the problems. What are they doing about the shootings and killings in Chicago every weekend NOTHING. Why do you think it is okay to disrespect the flag and those who served and gave their lives for this great country. Why do you think it is okay to disrespect the police. What the police should do is not respond to calls for help from liberals, call the football players for help or better yet move to another country. Good bye professional basketball and football and any other sport that joins the band wagon.

    • William H. Jackson, Jr.

      I am an African American. I am a retired Software Engineer.

      This is America. We, African Americanshave the right of freedom of speech; just as you do. Silence, kneeling and non-violent protest is, speeech, too. . We, as African-Americans have that right, too.

      Just as you have the right to voice your opinion, we African Americans have that right. We also have the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; just as you do.

      I did not give my email address to you.

      Would you kindly remove me from this discussion group.

      Thank you and have a nice rest of your life.

      • Boo, hoo, these women beating, drug ingesting, tattooed overpaid thugs have six other days of the week to get their so-called protest out to sheeple like you! It is really hard to take a knee, that’s really a sacrifice – my ass – their grandstanding is all that they are doing and dividing the country, that is their objective and if the sheep[le had any kind of sacrifice and fortitude then the stadiums would be COMPLETELY EMPTY but they are lazy and gullible, just as you are! They could support their local high school or even college football at a fraction of the cost and for a better cause! Sheeple need their sports fix just like the drug addicts do thinking their cool but they are only fools! Take up a participant sport and spend the money on yourselves instead of sitting on your fat-asses thinking your really into sports, what a joke!

      • WHAT gives you the right to call yourself ANYTHING other than American ? ?
        Do Italians call themselves Italian-Americans ?
        DO Germans call themselves German-Americans ?
        Do Chinese call themselves Chinese-Americans ?
        French, French-Americans ?

        The answer is simply NO,……… WHY ? ? Because they are AMERICANS ! !
        They do NOT look for special treatment or special privileges of any kind.
        They do NOT cry about everything that doesn’t go their way.
        They don’t make trouble for childish reasons, but they DO spend the
        necessary time needed with their children, to make sure they UNDERSTAND
        the LAWS of this Country, and NOT to deliberately break them.
        They teach their children, when a police officer tells you to STOP and raise your hands, then THAT is exactly what you will do. NOT reach behind your back, or into your pockets.
        You bunch of crybaby liberals that back such actions, are NO better than those that are foolish enough to commit such crimes.

        Make America GREAT again, begins with EDUCATION.
        LEARN the difference of what is RIGHT and NOT right.
        Grow up, and become BETTER Americans ! !
        Don’t be DUMB your entire existence on Earth.

    • they need to leave the country if they dont respect our flag WE WONT WATCH THEY FOOTBALL TEAM WHO DOSNT RESPECT OUR FLAG

    • I would like to see all African Americans protest by doing something meaningful.
      High paid athletes should refuse to even show up to games, just stay home, or at the strip joint.
      African American actors should refuse to act in Movies or television, even commercials, until matters improve.
      African American politicians should refuse to run for office until the situation improves.
      Since the pandering, agitation, incitement and provocation have done nothing, except make those who are angry, outraged, why not do the opposite and just refuse to participate.
      Renounce your high paying jobs because of the generosity of the society you are protesting (assuming protestors know what they are protesting, or an just compliant sheep) and just withdraw. Take a long trip, somewhere, and reflect. I expect such reflection to understand the problem (make a point of looming the mirror frequently) would make it efficient to just buy a one way ticket.

      Actually, thee protestors could just save a lot of time and spend their free time looking in the mirror at the real problem.

    • Very well stated!

  2. While I feel people do have the right to protest, I feel that a protest without a stated reason isn’t a protest, it is just disrespect!

    I am protesting! I cancelled my season tickets; cancelled all the football channels and special packages I had gotten for over 20 years. If all the fans did that, it would hit these protesters where it hurts the most – in their paychecks! I didn’t even watch the superbowl this year!

    Congratulations NFL protesters if your intent was to lose fans and income for the team you represent then you have accomplished that!

    I am retired military and proud of my service! And I USED to be an avid football fan – but NO MORE!

  3. Donating money IS besides the point!What happened 50 years ago is besides the point! It is NOW that matters! Whether you are Rich or Poor everybody have a beef a complaint, somebody did you wrong! But you do NOT stand in the middle of the street to shout and complain OR go to busy Restaurant to shout and complain! AND I CAN GIVE MANY MORE EXAMPLES!! You don’t want to Slam on the brakes because some IDIOT has a problem! You want to have a Nice Peaceful time eating your dinner without somebody shouting that he IS unhappy! Do your complaining on your Own Time & do NOT Disrupt other people! I am Sick and Tired of those ASSHOLES AND UNTHANKFUL BASTARDS to Involve millions of with Problems! DO IT ON YOUR OWN TIME! As a Note: the NFL is Passes Tense to ME and I am sure as to many who would just enjoy a game and FORGET their troubles and worries! I called them ASSHOLES & BASTARDS BECAUSE I AM DONE WITH THESE IDIOTS!!

  4. Ms Rez,
    I agree with Mr Miller! If you can’t understand why the NFL players are kneeling you clearly have never been driving while black, shopping while black, or living in America as a black man. Just put your feet into the shoes of a black man and wear them for awhile. You must believe Don the Con who demeans anyone who criticizes him and truly cares for only his own adulation. He is the unpatriotic American not the kneeling NFL player who kneels out of courage and that’s true patriotism!

  5. Politics -> Do not belong in Sports = Everyone gets Cheated

  6. The Boston Tea Party was a protest. Were they patriots? What about that complainer Thomas Paine?

  7. Stand up for you put in quotations “ something “ that we’re your ignorance started and I stopped reading. Clearly if your are going to write an “article” it would be well advised to research the subject you chose. The players know exactly what they are kneeling for quote “ for the land of the free” The freedom to come out and protest when ever you want where ever you want about the injustice that is happening towards people of color.. That’s it and nothing else.

  8. Amazing the number of people disgusted by the protesting instead of the reason its being done. Angry over a flag that they themselves (or someone they know) have probably disrespected with a flag bandana, or shirt, or any article made with the flag image, which is clearly stated as inappropriate honor of the flag. This shows the real concern is not about the flag at all. Basic human love and respect should make a person want to inquire more on why people would go through such ridicule, hatred, disrespect for a cause; and possibly inspire them to go, not try, to have a conversation on the matter to truly bring resolution. It should not make them spew hatred and anger of a legitimate concern. If these men were protesting the lack of fair and equality research and treatment for prostate cancer in comparison to breast cancer efforts…Would they be degraded and disrespected, or would there be greater attention and focus put towards a resolution to the matter? Its easy to close your eyes to realities that don’t impact you. Just because it doesn’t effect you, doesn’t make them false realities, nor less important.

    • L. Martin, get your facts straight. WHO said it’s inappropriate to wear an article of clothing with a flag image? Please cite your source! The ONLY stipulation is you can NOT take an actual American flag and make an article of clothing out of it. There is NOTHING wrong wearing a pair of shorts or a shirt with stars and stripes. I personally find it patriotic!

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