I didn’t watch a single play yesterday, and I don’t have any plans to change that. The new NFL acronym might as well be No Fans Left as far as I’m concerned, because I’m done.
There’s lots to do on Sunday. For me, perhaps it’s time religion takes its proper role, and I have other things I should be doing which would be more productive. I keep saying I want to write a novel but have no time for it – well, here’s more or less a whole day once a week I can work on that. I can use the time to get more exercise and maybe get in better shape. I can carve out some time to do more reading, which I should be doing more of. I can find a new hobby to take up. I usually try to back away from writing Hayride articles on the weekend, because the time off tends to make my work a little fresher on Monday, but maybe I can use some time on Sunday nights to get a jump on the week.
There’s an infinite number of things I can do on Sunday which don’t involve paying homage to a bunch of overpaid babies who choose to insult me and people like me with a public disrespect of the flag – and furthermore double down on that disrespect when given the strongest possible signal that their actions are having a poor effect.
Colin Kaepernick was essentially blackballed after starting this idiocy of refusing to stand for the national anthem last year, mostly because he’s a crappy quarterback who lacks focus on his craft and would rather be a left-wing political agitator than a professional athlete. Kaepernick’s antics did significant damage to the NFL’s fan base and the owners were 100 percent right in getting rid of him. He’s no longer a starting-quality NFL quarterback. It takes a tremendous commitment and work ethic to do that job. And if he’s going to fill up a locker room with something other than football, especially as a backup quarterback, he isn’t worth the salary to hire him.
And you don’t have to be an NFL quarterback to ruin your career in the manner Kaepernick did. Try being a stockbroker who unloads left-wing political rants on your clients every time you make a sales call, or a real estate agent. Try regaling Burger King customers with pro-abortion agitprop as they attempt to order whoppers and fries from you. Try preaching anti-war messages to passersby at your construction site. In every case you will be disciplined and ultimately fired, because they don’t pay you for your politics in the real world. They pay you for the job you were hired for, and that’s it.
And by the way, for the morons possessing the illusion otherwise, it is not a violation of your First Amendment rights to ban you from political activism on your job. As my friend Michelle Ghetti, who’s a constitutional scholar, noted yesterday…
PSA: The First Amendment ONLY protects you from the GOVERNMENT denying your freedom of speech – not your employer or any other private individual!!!
For those of you who may have never read our Constitution or have forgotten it since you were in school, the First Amendment provides “CONGRESS shall make no LAW… abridging the freedom of speech.” The 14th Amendment says, “No STATE shall make or enforce any LAW which shall … deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Thus a PRIVATE person, including a private, non-governmental employer, can FIRE you because of what you say on or off the job (or for any other reason that’s not discriminatory in an “at-will” state). It can be because they disagree with you or you’re causing trouble or you’re affecting their sale of tickets/advertising income.
Even a governmental employee has limited rights. The Supreme Court has has explained: “We reject the view that freedom of speech… as protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments, [is] “absolute”… This Court has consistently recognized [that] constitutionally protected freedom of speech is narrower than an unlimited license to talk… Certain forms of speech, or speech in certain contexts, has been considered outside the scope of constitutional protection.”
All of these people screaming about football players/celebrities having an absolute protected “free speech” right to “take a knee” or “raise a fist” or sit down during the national anthem are driving this constitutional law professor CRAZY!! They are just ignorant. And by using the term “ignorant” I mean the definition of the word – without information and/or understanding (whether purposefully or by lack of education).
There was never a justification for Kaepernick or any other NFL player to disrespect the flag or the national anthem by failing to stand at attention for it. That flag and that anthem stand for a hell of a lot more than the police – they stand for the very freedoms we enjoy, the history, tradition and struggle which created and preserved those freedoms in this country, the people – whether they be cops, soldiers, volunteers, business people, lawyers, doctors or whoever – who go to work every day keeping this place running. They’re symbols of all of us, and this great nation we comprise. To refuse to show respect for those symbols is a slap in the face to all of us.
The Left might be too stupid to understand that, but everybody else gets it. That’s why the NFL, which had the most ironclad hold on the public’s attention of any sports league perhaps in world history, and certainly American history, saw a quick decline in its TV ratings last year.
And then the disrespect of the flag continued beyond Kaepernick with the Michael Bennetts and Malcolm Jenkinses of the world joining in. Bennett and Jenkins and a few others who have picked up Kaepernick’s standard of refusing to stand have gone further, making demands on the league that it get into the social justice warrior business this November. It was in that context that Donald Trump threw gasoline on the fire by his comments Friday that he wished owners would start firing players who refused to stand for the anthem.
What Trump said wasn’t productive. Owen Courreges is correct in calling out both sides of this fiasco earlier today for irresponsible behavior. But on the other hand, what Trump did was to put the NFL to the test – either put a stop to the disrespect of the flag going on every Sunday by a small number of players, or suffer much larger consequences.
The league office put out a statement trashing Trump for not showing respect to the NFL – it’s allowing its players to disrespect the flag on company time and the NFL is going to complain about being disrespected when the man elected to run the country represented by that flag objects! – and then the “protests” went into overdrive. Whole teams wouldn’t come out of the locker room. Former LSU star Leonard Fournette and a number of his Jacksonville Jaguars teammates failed to stand for the national anthem at a game in London, taking the disrespect for the flag overseas. Ten members of the New Orleans Saints – Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson, Cameron Jordan, Kenny Vaccaro, Rafael Bush, Chris Banjo, Sheldon Rankins, Alex Okafor, Brandon Coleman and De’Vante Harris – wouldn’t get off the bench for the national anthem after the Saints and Pelicans, both owned by the doddering Tom Benson, put out a statement attacking Trump for his statements (I’ll blame the atrocious Mickey Loomis, the GM for both mismanaged teams, for that).
Most of what these people are protesting is a lie. Most of what they’re protesting, though I’ll confess not all, is a bunch of career criminals who got themselves shot because they were too high to follow police instructions. Hands Up, Don’t Shoot is a lie – it always was one. And the NFL is a league containing a large number of people who made it out of neighborhoods populated by Alton Sterlings and Michael Browns because they made correct choices to reject the behavior which got Sterling and Brown killed. That I’m now going to be forced to wade through a bunch of social justice activism that I know is based on a lie concocted to turn out black votes for the Democrat Party in order to watch a football game has irritated me in the same way that the political messaging Hollywood embeds in its (mostly) insipid products. I’m not going to put up with it at all when it’s now widespread and institutional coming out of Roger Goodell’s office. When he’s fired, as he should have been years ago, I’ll take another look at the league.
Most of the players in the NFL are as patriotic as the fans. Most would share the sentiments of Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who stood for the anthem even when his team made the decision to just stay in the locker room to remove themselves from the controversy. I recognize this is a relatively small minority poisoning the game.
But after Sunday, I’m done. I’m not going to wade through the Michael Bennetts anymore. The league can either police its social justice warriors and deny them their divisive political activism on company time, or it can allow them to destroy a $14 billion enterprise without me looking on.
Rasmussen had a poll late last week showing that 34 percent of the public is less likely to watch the NFL because of these protests. Before yesterday I was one of the 66 percent – my love for football meant I was supporting the Villanuevas even though I reject completely the actions of the sitters and kneelers (and my guess is people like me were a big chunk of that 66). Now I’m with the 34, because the adults supposedly in charge have failed to protect their own businesses from idiot malcontents to whom they’re paying millions of dollars – and that means either complicity or cowardice.
I’ve seen too much of both. So I’m done. And unless major changes come, so, eventually, is the NFL.