The largest sideline protest among professional players took place at the Monday night preseason game between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants. Nearly a dozen Browns players dropped to a knee the second the National Anthem came on, not long after their coach had warned them.
Now, 12 hours later, the players got exactly what they deserved when they didn’t think they needed to listen.
The anti-American trend started by Colin Kaepernick has always included one, maybe two players at any given game sitting out or kneeling for the anthem. This show of protest against the perceived injustice of black Americans in this country has become more popular this football season. It just reached a milestone on Monday night when 11 Browns players opted out of the anthem.
Prior to this demonstration, Head Coach Hue Jackson had warned that there could be fallout for the players who used their rights this was to make this statement. Although he was misquoted as saying that he did not want his players to protest the National Anthem, he later clarified what he really meant by that.
Jackson said that he respected his players’ “right for peaceful protest; a right afforded to every American.” “We’ve always made it clear to our players that they should embrace the platform they have as an NFL player to improve our community and use their platform in a positive, thoughtful and respectful manner,” he explained.
Although he feels players can and should use their platform to make public statements they feel are important, he acknowledged that in doing so, it does not absolve them of any negative consequences.
Jackson warned that players could come under what he thinks is “unfair scrutiny” for protesting the anthem, but the players protested anyway. He was right that there would be fallout since NFL fans were disgusted at what all 11 of these players did at once, and have strengthened their resolve to boycott the game. However, it’s not “unfair” as the coach alleges.
Jackson explained that the problem with these protests is that spectators have made the focus on “whether or not a player is being disrespectful to the flag or military.” That’s absolutely the truth of what they are doing and it’s not something that can be ignored, even though the coach claims in his players’ defense that there is a different “issue and cause attempting to be addressed by the protest,” 247 Sports reports.
Sitting out for the anthem shows a disrespect for the flag that actual brave men and women have fought and died for, regardless if anyone wants to say that on the surface that’s not their intent. The players know that they are getting attention for this and feel power in doing so.
If there’s a problem that professional sports players have with issues they disagree with in our country, then there are more productive ways to address it without disrespecting real heroes and our nation.
A Seahawks player who was among the first to pick up where Kaepernick left off called for white players to get involved in the protests. That simple request seemed to work on Monday night as some of the 11 were white.
This isn’t a conquest for the cause, it’s a mockery of the sport and the people who pay to watch it. Those people don’t need football and definitely don’t care about it enough to not protests against it themselves by not watching the sport.
Droves of sports-loving spectators stopped watching the NFL last season with Kaepernick’s constant sideline antics. Although he got what he deserved in that he can’t get a job on any team, his “legacy” in this regard has become a cancer in the league that’s killing off a lot ratings with spectators who are refusing to watch.
With far more protesting athletes this season, the fans are responding ten times more. There may be more kneeling, fist raising, and anti-American antics this season, but there will also be a lot less fans around to see it.
If the people you want to see your protest and be enraged by it aren’t around to watch it, will the players’ message still remain the same? It’s all fun and games when people give you attention, but to take the power away isn’t a benefit to your cause or your multi-million dollar paycheck.