On being done with NFL (for now at least)…

Everything is stupid.” – Ben Shapiro

… and that is a true fact.foreverythingthereisaseason

Preface
Tonight is Thursday Night Football and my Chicago Bears are taking on the Green Bay Packers…  And I just don’t care anymore.   Thanks guys. 

The Flag and the National Anthem
The flag and the national anthem are (supposed to be) signs of national unity.  They are something that should be nationally treasured and respected.  They are something we should all be able to come around – despite all the other craziness going on in the world – and say for the two minutes it takes to complete The Star Spangled Banner, “We are one people, one nation; we are united”.  And then we can go back to apparently hating each other for all the wrong reasons (politics) instead of the right ones (being Packers fans).
How do we do that?  How we’ve always done it.  You stand.  You doff your cap.  You put your hand over your heart.  And you’re quiet.
That. Is. Respect.
This is the flag over 360,000 men fought and died under to preserve the Union and end slavery; it is the flag the world saw lead the charge against fascism in Europe during WWII and rebuild that continent after; it is the flag the world saw defeat communism and tear down the Berlin Wall; it is the flag the world sees time and time again in times of global crisis rising to the occasion in no small part thanks to the tears, sweat, and blood of the men fighting and operating under it.

Standing at attention has been, is, and always will be a sign of respect for that flag and our National Anthem.
Kneeling is not.  Never has been.  It’s been a sign of subservience, subordination to a higher power.  You bend the knee to kings and queens because you have to – not because you respect them.  You rise and stand when the President walks in the room because it is a sign of respect.  You rise and stand to give a standing ovation when someone has done something exceptional because it is a sign of respect.  You stand at the table when an elder or a woman enters the room (or we used to – we’re kind of uncultured savages now) and wait for them to be seated because it is a sign of respect.
Standing = respect.  Period.  Kneeling = disrespect in regards to this whole situation.  The player who started it said as much at the beginning (see below).
Men and women have died to protect your right to do and say as you will – and that includes disrespecting the flag/National Anthem…  But having the Right to do something doesn’t mean you should do it.
All that to say – historically it is a sign of respect to the flag, our nation, and those that have served in defense of what we stand for as a people.  It is disrespectful to kneel; to say otherwise is to attempt to change definitions because you don’t like them – and that is at its very core dishonest and wrong in the extreme.

The Protest
You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts – and the fact that this protest was founded on disrespect for our nation, our flag, and our national anthem means something.  You can choose to disregard that if it makes you uncomfortable, but that doesn’t change the facts.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.”
~ Colin Kaepernick

This protest was initially a sign of disrespect for the US Flag and anthem – from the instigator’s own mouth.  Not only was it an emotionally charged protest – it was one based on a factually inaccurate narrative, one that has been proven to be statistically incorrect time after time.   Are there bad actors in any system?  Undoubtedly.  Does that mean the system is inherently wrong and/or racist?  No.

But since the time of the initial incident – a preseason game a year ago – the protests have grown in size with many of the reasons varying, but with the underlying premise that the US and police are inherently racist always being present.

And now, no one is sure what the protest is about…  apparently by disrespecting the flag you are somehow respecting the first amendment and insulting a President you disagree with?

The Players
You get paid millions of dollars to play a game…  To entertain us…  To take our minds off all the crap that goes on in the world for 3 hours a week, 16-20 weeks a year…  You are overpaid entertainers who I want to enjoy watching perform.  You get paid to do that.  You do not get paid to make political statements…  in fact, as pointed out below, the rules prohibit you from doing that.  But whatever.
You have chosen to take a game that people across the spectrum enjoy immensely, and have made it divisive.
In the beginning one, then a handful of players, made a decision to disrespect the flag/National Anthem to being attention to an issue that was emotionally charged and based for them (despite years of research, facts, and analysis pointing to an opposite conclusion).  And then, when someone (the President) pointed that out and escalated it (which was going to happen – you don’t get to make political points and then complain when politicians latch on to them), players on every team in the league decided that instead of trying to show unity through respect – they were going to disrespect the flag en masse in order to voice political displeasure with a man…  Disappointing.
Bottom line – you made football political and now you are reaping the consequences of your actions.  You’re completely entitled to freedom of speech and of expression, and if your bosses are cool with you violating the rules of the game and disrespecting the flag and National Anthem to do it – go for it!  But don’t think there aren’t going to be consequences, and don’t think that if your boss tells you to check your politics at the door you have the right to ignore them – you don’t.
Maybe you should remember that we want to watch football and leave politics at the door for a few hours every weekend.  Maybe you should appreciate the fact that you make millions of dollars to play a game.  Maybe you should take the platform you have OUTSIDE the game itself to go and make your political points like the rest of us who don’t bring politics to work because IT’S NOT THE PLACE FOR IT.  And maybe you should use reason and facts to determine what points you want to make…  and maybe you should find respectful ways to do it.  Just maybe.

The President
Hey…  Donald Trump was… Well, Donald Trump again!  And the left lost its mind…  again.  He saw something he thought he could win on, and by God, he grabbed it by the horns.  Giving a speech in Alabama he went after those football players who have decided to protest whatever it is they’re protesting by calling for their owners to fire them over what he perceives as disrespect for America, its veterans, its flag, and its national anthem; as well as advocating boycotting until the NFL or owners did something about it.  Receiving the ultimately predictable blowback from the Left, the Donald doubled down on Twitter as he is apt to do.
Now…  Do I agree with the general sentiment expressed by the President?  Yes.  Do I think the President of the United States should call for the firing of anybody?  Yes – those public officials in the service of the Federal Government that refuse to implement legally issued orders, etc.  Outside of that – no.  He shouldn’t.  It’s in bad form, and he could have been perfectly fine just saying he disagreed with their actions – most of us do.  But he didn’t, and it is what it is now.
The President will have his defenders who say he was completely justified – I don’t think he was in the firing and boycott comments, but he will have them.  And there will be his detractors who say he shouldn’t have said anything and protests should be all about him now…  this is how stupid things have gotten.
Maybe the President of the US should stick to governing…  maybe he should work more on trying to get tax reform passed, etc.  Just maybe.

The Owners
Couldn’t for once you guys just do your job and tell your players to follow the rules?  You guys have a mess on your hands – the NFL has a ton of problems, and you guys aren’t helping.  I would suggest you start by getting a new Commish, and establishing a uniform code of conduct where you guys actually don’t have to spend so much time in court fighting suspensions and dealing with fallout because of the actions of your players on and off the field.  And maybe instead of buying into the idea that you need to join in the fight with the President and the players – you try to be the bigger men (clearly those two parties aren’t going to) and leave the politics at the door?  I don’t need to see you on the field, I don’t need to hear your statements – I need you to put a product on the field and on my television I want to watch again.

The NFL
The NFL sucks – bottom line.  This is an organization that just fails all over the place when it comes to its rules and the enforcement thereof.  Roger Gooddell shouldn’t be getting an extension, they should be finding somebody competent to lead the organization that is suffering mightily from issue after issue.

This is the organization that doesn’t have a uniform way of dealing with players that have legal issues.

The organization that has terrible processes in place for disciplining (or not disciplining) players who’s conduct off the field is detrimental to the game.

The organization that has done a terrible job dealing with the CTE/concussion issue.

The organization that allowed – in violation of its own rules (Rule 5, Section 4, Article 8) – Colin is a crappyquarterback-nick and subsequent players to make political statements during game-day without punishment.

The organization that refused to allow the Dallas Cowboys to wear decals honouring the slain police officers last year.

The organization that refused to allow – and threatened to fine – players who wanted to commemorate 9-11 with apparel, etc.

This…  this is a craptastic organization that needs to get its stuff together.

Instead of allowing itself to be drawn into the political arena – it should enforce its rules and maintain a strict apolitical policy: it should stick to football.  The game we all want to enjoy without all the outside stuff.
Go get a new commissioner and get stuff straightened out – you’ve got a long way to go before fans view you the same again (check your ratings the last few years, you might learn something).

The Commentators / ESPN / et al.
Hey, guess what guys?  President Trump didn’t make this an issue.  He didn’t polarize the sport.  He wasn’t the one to turn football into a politically divisive issue.  The players and you were.

Did he make it worse?  Yeah, he did – but then you had to up the ante.

People don’t turn to you for political insight – you’re sportscasters, sports journalists, etc.  Cover sports.  And when people try to make sports political – remember that no matter what, you’re going to alienate half your audience so maybe you should stick to….  SPORTS!  So stop your handwringing.  Stop blaming the President for the mess you helped get us into.  Start covering sports again – maybe we’ll come back and watch you again someday if you figure that out.
Also, I’ve had people who I generally like to think have two brain cells to rub together accuse the President of doing this because he’s racist – and that he only ever attacks people of colour.  Now, either they have no integrity or the shortest memories/attention spans known to man.  This assertion is so blatantly false it almost merits no comment – but they get to make that false claim over and over again without being called out on it: not gonna happen.  This president calls out anybody and everybody that disagrees with him – for better or worse (as is generally the case).  He spent the campaign going after everybody in the media, his competition, Hillary Clinton, etc….  ANYBODY AND EVERYBODY.  Trump isn’t racist – never has been, never will be.  He’s done the work in his business and personal life to prove it – if you’re going to ignore that, please just shut your cakehole. 

ME
* I respect the fact that good friends of mine disagree with me on some of this
          I will point out, that whether or not kneeling is a sign of disrespect is not something I’m willing to budge on.  You don’t get to change definition because you don’t like them, it is a sign of disrespect.
          I am also willing to discuss this – but if we disagree, I expect the discussion to be well-reasoned, factual (you don’t get to make your own facts up – come correct or don’t come at all), and as absent emotional outbursts as possible.

But as for me…  Like I said at the beginning: I just don’t care anymore.
This last Sunday was the first time I can remember not turning on a single NFL game…  It was sad for me.  This was the first Monday night I didn’t check to see who was winning.  It was the first weekend I just didn’t give a flying rat’s tail about my fantasy football teams.
Thanks, guys.  You’ve taken one of the great passions of my life and crapped all over it.
In my life I am passionate and knowledgeable about very few things: politics and football were two of them.  And I liked the fact that there was nothing political about watching my Bears take on whoever.  There was nothing political about who I drafted in fantasy football and made games I could otherwise give a hoot about interesting.  And you had to go and mix the two.  Again, thanks.
Football is a game, and while it is a game I enjoy – I will not be party to making a plethora of people who think it is alright to disrespect the flag (or warp the meaning so that they feel they’re not) richer than they already are….  for playing a game.
My personal boycott of the NFL started last Sunday, and will continue until such time as it is practice across the league to recognize that respecting the flag and the National Anthem are important and not optional; and that politics is not something I have to hear about before, during, and after a game.
I want to enjoy the game again… and you’re making it impossible.  I hope to be able to come back someday, but until then I’m hanging up my Bears jerseys and making time on my Sunday for more napping..  I’m out.

2 thoughts on “On being done with NFL (for now at least)…

  1. Hey Justin. I am not a football fan in any way. I feel bad for the millions of Americans who have had their fun diminished because of some people who turned the game political. However this plays out, I see it as a no win situation. Sorry!

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  2. This started before Kaepernick decided to take a knee (more than likely for personal reasons – he was about to get cut – and figured he could milk his contract a little longer if he made it political). A bunch of Rams players, backed by their coach, came out with Hands Up, Don’t Shoot after Michael Brown got killed. They forgot they are entertainers. If they want to send a message, they have to do it in an entertaining manner, otherwise the fans will walk. I did. And if they keep it up, I’ll spend just as much on the NFL as I have on MLB since ’94.

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