As the current executive vice president of football operations and general manager of the Denver Broncos of the National Football League, John Elway knows a thing or two about football, sportsmanship, and respect.
He’s watched the sport he retired from in 1998 devolve into a national mockery, thanks to the sideline antics of ignorant athletes who intentionally disrespect the country before each game. This isn’t the league that Elway once played for and didn’t become the winningest quarterback in National Football League history, after 16 seasons and two Super Bowl championships because he was focused on protesting.
Protesting wasn’t popular in football when Elway was on the field. Players played the game, respected the country, the sport, franchise, and fans and went out to win for their team every game.
Now, working with the NFL in an executive capacity with the Denver Broncos, Elway has seen enough in this preseason and is putting an end to it. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell picked his side and told fans to be the tolerant ones, not the protesting athletes, but Elway has a different approach to the problem.
It’s been about a week since the debauchery began with players kneeling or sitting out the National Anthem. A Denver Bronco player wasn’t among those who disrespected our country, but the Colorado team’s linebacker, Brandon Marshall, did kneel last year for several games.
Elway has finally broken his silence on the matter and pointed out the one big problem with these protests which nobody has before.
247 Sports reports:
Asked Thursday about sitting or kneeling during the National Anthem — a trend started by Colin Kaepernick in 2016 and continuing this preseason — the Broncos’ general manager gave a strong, well-thought-out response.
The gist? He respects players’ beliefs and supports their rights, with the caveat being that it doesn’t hurt the team.
“We have not had a conversation with them and I think that my stance—I think everybody has the right to do what they wish to do and their beliefs are their beliefs. That’s why we live in this country and they have the right to display whatever they wish to display,” Elway said.
“I think one thing that where we stand and I can stand with the Broncos is that you know what, that’s OK, we’ll respect that and whatever you want to do is fine with us. But the bottom line is, that can’t get in the way of our main goal and that is to compete for World Championships. I just don’t want that pulling away from our team. Sometimes that can pull away because obviously it gets a lot of attention.”
Players’ protests are selfish since they hurt the team, franchise, and NFL which is something they should recognize considering that football is more than a game, it’s a business. However, this is a team sport and they are part something bigger than themselves and their cause.
The entire team wants to win what they were hired to play the sport to do, and one bad apple can derail everyone from what should be the common goal of a championship – not a political cause.
“The only thing I would say to our players is make sure it’s not hurting your teammates, right? Because if the questions and everything the tenor changes of what’s going on in these interviews and now you’re not talking about our next opponent but talking about what’s going on out in the world,” Elway explained in his interview.
“That’s not the best thing for our football team. My only advice—we tell our players, I respect where you stand, just when you’re doing anything just understand what it’s doing to the football team because I want all of these guys to understand that we’re football first and we want to win football games.”
Elway reiterated the fact that he completely respects people’s differences of opinions — we all do. All fans of the sport don’t care what a player’s personal politics are, or if they agree with them on 100% of the same issues. Fans just want to watch and enjoy the sport without it being politicized.
There’s a time, place, and respectable way to express your opinions and it’s often not on the job or in an arena like this. These players are part of a team first and if they protest and compromise the goal of the group in doing so, they should be punished for that.