The NFL doesn’t seem to understand that Americans are sick of the political statements at football games. Their players are making it difficult to appreciate the game and making those who consider themselves to be patriotic to choose between respect for their country and a game they used to enjoy watching. Even the most die-hard NFL fans are having a hard time overlooking what the overpaid racists are doing on the sidelines that keeps us from loving the game.
If you’ve been on the fence before about just ignoring all the pettiness and watching the game, you might find yourself on the fence no longer after what current and former players are planning to do in protest now. Kneeling has been the go-to sign for protest against the country and police force that players are claiming to be unfair, but that’s no longer enough. The protest grew to the point that many players, even those who formerly never claimed a strong political opinion, are siding with the anti-American Americans and cashing in on the publicity.
Apparently kneeling was too non-aggressive for the players who feel that America is out to get them. The new sign of their objection will be to raise a clenched fist in the air. It’s hard to see that kind of action as a symbolic gesture rather than an all out threat.
CBS Sports has more details on the new protest plan:
“Weeks after teammateduring the national anthem, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said Wednesday that he will be raising his fist before every one of his team’s games in the 2017 season, not for protest but ‘for racial equality and a much-needed reform to our criminal justice system.’
‘This is not about protest,’ Jenkins said via Twitter, where he shared a video of himself and retired NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin explaining certain players’ decision to demonstrate. ‘This is about reform.'”
— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) September 6, 2017
Jenkins and Boldin, who met with members of Congress in March, say in the video they are after everything from ‘police accountability’ and ‘Clean Slate legislation” to ‘playing against policies and practices that reinforce the cycle of poverty in communities that need the most help.’
Jenkins, a Pro Bowler with the Eagles, began raising his first during the national anthem in Week 2 of the 2016 season, when ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem to protest social injustice. Since then, he’s been intermittently joined by teammates like Long, who put a hand on Jenkins’ back as the safety lifted his fist in the preseason, and defensive end Steven Means. Dozens of other players around the league, including a, have also demonstrated during the anthem.”
Even if the disrespect to the anthem weren’t problematic, these sorts of protests are putting teams and fans in a bad spot. Of course, it’s any American’s right to stand up for what they believe and say what they want about political issues, but it’s also the rights of company owners and consumers to employ and patronize only those they want to support. At this point, teams are having to choose if they want to fire someone over their political beliefs or alienate fans because of who they employ.
The Browns players protest and subsequent official team statement has been getting some attention in the light of recent events.
“Less than a week after Browns coach Hue Jackson mentioned that he didn’t necessarily want to see his players protesting during the national anthem, the Browns responded by holding the NFL’s largest protest since Colin Kaepernick started kneeling in August 2016.
Nearly a dozen players went to their knee during the national anthem before Cleveland’s game against the Giants on Monday. According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson, Jabrill Peppers, Christian Kirksey, Seth DeValve, Jamie Collins, Kenny Britt, Ricardo Louis and Jamar Taylor were among the players who kneeled during the anthem.
Woah. A ton of Browns kneeling during the national anthem here pic.twitter.com/Qv6qSPs6kX
— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) August 22, 2017
The inclusion of DeValve is notable because it makes him the first white player to kneel during the anthem. DeValve’s inclusion in the Browns’ protest comesthat Chris Long and Justin Britt symbolically on to the shoulder of their teammates and Derek Carr made a point of putting his arm around Khalil Mack during the anthem.
As for the Browns, there were several players who didn’t kneel for the anthem, but did show support for the protest by placing their arms on their teammates. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer, Shon Coleman, Britton Colquitt, Jason McCourty and Marcus Martin were all among the group who showed their support while standing.
The right to protest is one that we as Americans hold very dear, and so we should. However, your right to protest and your responsibility to do your job when you’re on the job have to learn to play nice. When a team member for an NFL team is wearing a jersey and standing on the field, they have one job to do. If that team and those coaches decide that the players can bring their political feelings to work, that’s their decision to make, but we don’t have to cooperate by supporting the team.
“At halftime of the game, the Browns organization released a statement about the protest.
‘As an organization, we have a profound respect for our country’s National Anthem, flag and the servicemen and servicewomen in the United States and abroad,’ the teams said. ‘We feel it’s important for our team to join in this great tradition and special moment of recognition.'”
While it’s an American’s right to protest, it’s not required that all other Americans ignore what their political agenda will do to the country. It shouldn’t be ignored that these players who’ve benefitted so much from democracy are raising a clenched fist in much the same way the communist did. It’s a parallel that we would be idiotic to ignore because there is a lot to be lost if the protesters win.
[H/T: CBS Sports]
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