The National Football League kicked off the season this past weekend and patriotic fans hoped it would be different from the last. Colin Kaepernick’s disrespectful antics didn’t end well for him but rather than learning from that lesson, some players were inspired by his protests and have picked up where he left off.
It was up to the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, to set the record straight that this a sport and not a place for politics and the platform should be used to show respect for the country. Proud Americans waited to see if he would take action against it, but he put the blame on the fans for not being “understanding” enough of their message.
Just because Goodell wants to put the sport and players over patriotism, doesn’t mean the majority fans automatically agree with him. He apparently didn’t expect citizens of this nation to react to his advice about these protests in the way they did since many Americans immediately proved they value our country more than this past time.
A heap of backlash ensued immediately after the commissioner’s original announcement.
“During a Q&A session with Cardinals season-ticket holders, Goodell was asked if he believes protests are ‘going to be another problem’ this season,” the New York Daily News reported.
“It’s one of those things where we have to understand that there are people who have different viewpoints,” Goodell said, according to ESPN. “It’s something that I think everybody wants. The national anthem is a special moment for me. It’s a point of pride. That is a really important moment but we also have to understand the other side – that people do have rights, and we want to respect those.”
Everyone does not want protests, although most can agree that we want unity. However, that’s not what these divisive antics promote.
Goodell probably knew that this controversial stance was going to bring about some backlash and apparently accepted that fact even though it’s a huge risk to the NFL. Perhaps he’s feeling the burn more than he thought he would since in the days since he made this statement, thousands have expressed online that they won’t support football this season.
With the commissioner’s original statement on the matter, he clarified, saying what he really meant was that he supports every player’s right to express their opinions, but that “he just seems to prefer them to do it by ‘going into the community’ and ‘actually making really positive change’,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
This community service caveat to his statement was seeming to say it was a better option for making a difference and a statement “rather than kneeling or sitting on the sideline during the national anthem before football games,” the LA Times added.
“What we see is a lot of players going into the community and really taking the platform they have and being active and creating dialogue and actually making a really positive change. And that’s what I think is so important. Protest to progress is what I call it,” Goodell said.
“And we all have to recognize that people want to see change. Let’s go out and try to make that change happen in a peaceful and important way. … That’s what we want to see our players do, and I think that’s a positive thing.”
He’s right that the players need to participate in the community this way if they really want to enact change, but that doesn’t seem to be the root purpose of the protests. If so, they would be doing that and not kneeling in disrespect of our flag before every game for attention. This doesn’t enact any change at all – it only perpetuates the problem and deepens the divide and the players know that.
The commissioner put the final nail in the coffin for this football season with his acceptance of these protests and refusal to demand respect out of these guys who get paid millions to play a game.
Goodell could have condemned the sideline antics and condone the community service to send their message, but instead, he told Americans to be more understanding while they disrespect the men and women who are currently fighting, have fought, or have died for our flag that they can’t stand for.
There’s a lot more that people can do with their time than sit around and give these players the attention they so desire with their “protests.” We’ll see how important this message is to these people when they arrive on Sunday to play in a practically empty stadium.