As I sit down to write this article, I do not know if things have changed in the NFL as regards the kneeling of professional athletes, coaches, owners and other staff during the National Anthem performed at each respective football game. Last week I boycotted watching any game and heard about the Pittsburgh Steelers’ disgraceful act in choosing to stay in the locker room, which adds insult to injury. Admirably, Alejandro Villanueva, who served our country as an Army Ranger, took the opportunity to come out to the edge of the corridor, where the players enter and exit the field, and honor the flag, placing his hand over his heart as the national anthem was played.
The “protest” that week, many say, was about the comments President Trump made at an Alabama rally earlier in the week when he asked the crowd “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son-of-a-bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired.’” With the exception of the term “son-of-a-bitch” he chose to use, those comments expressed exactly how most Americans feel about the lack of respect for our country’s flag and national anthem many players displayed.
By denigrating the flag, the national anthem and the country, these players are alienating fans and would-be fans from watching anything that has to do with the NFL. In doing so the NFL’s ratings will decline, ticket sales will decline and fans will become hateful to anyone and everyone who joins this “protest.”
Their anger is misdirected. One shouldn’t protest against police brutality and racial inequality by taking it out on the flag and the national anthem. That is very ignorant and exactly the wrong way to handle any situation. When the NFL’s ratings, ticket sales and merchandise sales decline, it will be their own fault and those players, coaches and owners who joined in with the spoiled and overpaid brats will be the ones responsible for the decline of the institution many Americans love.
In another episode of professional athletes protesting President Trump, Golden State Warrior and NBA champion Stephen Curry tweeted that he would not be attending the White House ceremony his team was invited to. As a gesture, championship teams are commonly invited to the White House to be recognized and to celebrate their NBA championship. Trump responded by tweeting back that Curry was disinvited. Cleveland Cavalier Lebron James injected himself into the twitter war by calling the president a “bum.”
In responding to a question about how he felt when he read Trump’s tweet, Curry stated that “it’s just kind of beneath a leader of a country to go that route…it’s not what leaders do.”
Lebron James also stated in a press conference that Trump “doesn’t understand the power that he has for being the leader of this beautiful country…doesn’t understand how many kids, no matter the race, look up to the President of the United States for guidance, for leadership, for words of encouragement…this is the most powerful position in the world…we are at a time where the most powerful position in the world has an opportunity to bring us closer together as a people and inspire the youth.”
There are certain points that these players make about Trump that are indeed true. It’s hard to defend the president when he uses choice words in his own speeches. However, there is an opportunity here, a way to make amends. If Trump would be willing to extend an invitation to Curry, James, Colin Kaepernick, Aaron Rogers, and others who have taken a stand on this issue, to discuss their concerns, and if these players will accept that invitation, maybe they can all act like mature adults and address ways to improve race relations and make the country better for all.
It’s unfortunate it has come to this. But again, it’s an opportunity. Since President Barack Obama did so much to divide this country with comments he made, Trump has an opportunity to reach out, reverse the damage Obama did and restore this country to how it should be. After all, he campaigned on making America great again.
Tom Folden is a political strategist, conservative thinker, and Editor of RightWingWriter.com, a website for conservative viewpoints. A human rights activist, he is a firm believer in the Constitution and the rule of law. He is also a singer/songwriter and recording artist. For interviews and/or appearances, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.