Remember the days when you anxiously awaited the start of football season and all of the possibilities that came with a new season, when every team was starting off with the same record? Remember when all of that excitement came with the only drama being centered around what players would stay, go or get injured during preseason? I miss that. I fully support every individual’s First Amendment rights and even encourage standing up for what you believe whether I agree with your position or not. However, there is an appropriate time and place to exercise these rights, and at work is not generally considered one of them. How many of you would be allowed to stage protests in your work place during work hours? These football players that have begun following Kaepernick’s lead in refusing to stand for the National Anthem are at work, playing football is their job, and while on that field they are on their employer’s time, not their own.
Some fans are angry, some think it’s okay and some have no opinion either way. This fan is angry. When I turn the game on I want to watch football, not someone disrespecting this nation and those who fought, and continue to fight for it, trying to make a point simply because their position offers them a global audience. Yes, global. They are saying to the world, not just Americans, that they have no respect for our country. They need to be reminded that in many countries they would be executed for that behavior and be thankful they live in a country that offers them freedom. Offers them not only freedom, but the kind of opportunities that allowed them to go to college, get a job making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, if not millions, because they are good at playing a game. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those that begrudge athletes their salaries, the way I see it, their career, or worse, could be ended every time they take the field.
Many of you are likely familiar with the television show “Last Man Standing”, and although the network denies that its decision to cancel the show had nothing to do with the conservative leanings of the show, many find that difficult to believe based upon the show’s ratings and an online petition that garnered nearly 300,000 signatures in attempt to save the show. The reason I bring this up is that the difference between political statements or bias in a television show and during sporting events is huge. If you do not like the show, then simply change the channel. Yes, I understand that one could also change the channel and not watch their football team that they may have been cheering on since they were children, but you are talking about a whole different ball game (no pun intended).
Professional football, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has been part of American life for more than 100 years. It has certainly become an American pastime, a time that family and friends gather in sports bars and homes across the country on Sunday afternoons (and sometimes Monday and Thursday nights) to cheer their teams on together. For five months out of the year, every year, there has been no question about what we were doing on Sunday afternoon, my boys and I were watching football. While the NFL did see a drop in ratings when this nonsense began, the idea of abandoning a team you have supported your entire life, along with family traditions that have served to create and strengthen bonds between families and friends for decades, goes far beyond simply not watching a television show that you dislike.
The bottom line here, leave your politics out of my football, if you want to protest or take a stand on an issue you feel strongly about, go for it, but do it on your own time. The fans are the ones creating the revenue that pays your salary and we should not have to be forced to watch or be subjected to your protests in order to watch our teams play. When you are on that field, that time belongs to the fans, if you cannot respect or appreciate this nation, at least show some respect and appreciation for the fans.