During football season last year, fans around the country witnessed the un-American antics of Colin Kaepernick protesting during the National Anthem. The second-rate quarterback decided to take a knee during the Anthem to protest perceived racial injustice and oppression of black Americans all while cashing his million dollar checks.
The controversy around Kaepernick began to grow and soon enough he found himself unemployed. Instead of Kaepernick realizing the error of his ways he has grown only more defiant, digging his heels in deeper and refusing to apologize. Now, another football season has begun and other players on different teams have picked up where Kaepernick left off, however, not all players feel the same way. One of those players is Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert and the message he is sending to Kaepernick and those like him will cost Eifert one hell of a hefty fine.
Football season is upon us once again, and of course, controversy is already swirling around America’s favorite pastime. Instead of football players doing what they are paid to do, which is to play football, they have decided to become social justice warriors on the field.
Colin Kaepernick began to protest last season by taking a knee every time the National Anthem played. Sadly, instead of this absurd protest dying off like Kaepernick’s career, other players in the league have picked up the ludicrous protest. Thankfully, not every player in the league is disrespectful, which includes Bengals player Tyler Eifert.
Eifert announced on Twitter that he will be standing for the National Anthem, and he will also be honoring a member of the U.S. military on his cleats every game, starting with former NFL player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman.
— Tyler Eifert (@tylereifert) September 9, 2017
Eifert explained his reasons to stand for the Anthem in detail in an article on Medium similar to how Kaepernick explained why he chose to kneel.
According to Yahoo:
“I am not questioning anyone’s reasons or rights to protest, but instead the method,” Eifert wrote. “This entire protest about raising awareness for racial inequality has gotten lost in the media and turned into a debate about whether to sit or stand for the national anthem.”
Eifert pointed to the military, including a cousin serving in the Air Force, as his motivation. “These people are why I am standing,” he wrote, “because they gave me and everyone else the chance to have freedom and earn a living playing a sport I love.”
He noted that he will be writing the name of a member of the military on his cleats for every game this season, starting with Tillman. He also noted that he will support the K9s for Warriors charity to help soldiers deal with lingering effects of PTSD.
“In this world of turmoil, I still believe in one thing strongly and that’s the flag and everything our country was built on,” Eifert wrote. “I respect my fellow players’ right to kneel during the national anthem but I hope everyone now knows why I stand, and respects that as well.”
Tillman, a former safety for the Arizona Cardinals, enlisted in 2002 following the September 11 attacks, turning down a multimillion-dollar contract offer from Arizona to do so. Tillman, who completed Ranger training, was killed two years later by friendly fire. A coverup of the specific circumstances Tillman’s death, by both platoon members on the ground and officials higher up the command chain, resulted in a years-long investigation that included Congressional hearings.
However, that respect for our military and veterans does not come without a cost.
You see, the NFL has some pretty strict rules stating that a player cannot alter his uniform or cleats. So, by Eifert writing Pat Tillman on his cleats means he will be facing a fine for altering his uniform. But, this is not the first time a player has altered his uniform in order to honor our country.
Last year, Tennessee Titans linebacker Avery Williamson wanted to pay tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with a pair of custom cleats. Though when Williamson found out about the hefty fine he decided not to wear the cleats and auctioned them off instead, and donate the money to Operation Warrior Wishes which is a veteran charity.
“I don’t want to draw negative attention, so I’m just going to focus on playing the game,” Williamson said last year. “Once I heard from them, I didn’t even try to argue anything. I just left it alone. I didn’t want to press the issue.”
— Avery Williamson (@AWilliamson54) September 9, 2016
It is great to see men such as Williamson and Eifert wanting to pay tribute to those who died for our country, but it also shows the irony of the entire situation. These men have faced consequences for breaking the rules to show their patriotism, and yet Kaepernick and those that kneel during the Anthem do not. The simple reason is that Kaepernick and his anti-American buddies have not broken any rules in the NFL by kneeling. In fact, there are no rules against kneeling during the National Anthem which is why these players are allowed to get away with this sort of disrespect. Maybe those rules will change and instead of protecting those that spit in the face of our brave men and women they will face stiff consequences for their actions.
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