The recent contretemps involving football players kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem demonstrates the folly of mixing politics with sports or entertainment. The demonstrative kneeling trend begun by then quarterback of the San Francisco 49rs Colin Kaepernick to protest alleged police abuse against black people and historical racism in America is the perfect case in point: Rather than giving proper voice to a controversial issue the demonstrations turned fans perceptions of hundreds of athletes and a few team owners into haters of America and Americans.
The result is a growing schism between sports teams and the fans whose support pays the salaries of these benighted millionaires and billionaires. Generally, fans don’t care much about the political opinions of athletes or team owners but when athletes take a knee during the National Anthem fans see the action as beyond the pale, and rightly so. When athletes bring their politics into the public arena through their highly paid entertainment platform they show themselves to be ungrateful of the riches and opportunities presented to them by living in America. And they poke a crooked finger in the eye of their customers.
“We love this country. It’s America. We know there are injustices in this world, but to me, personally, football is football and that’s what we need to approach it as.” – Pittsburgh Steeler’s center Maurkice Pounsey
To protest against the National Anthem and the American flag – symbols of American unity – athletes are denigrating the very existence of the United States. They are essentially saying, in an in-your-face manner, that America, from its founding documents to the present-day state of the republic, is an irreconcilably racist nation and so are its people, the white ones anyway. Most fans disagree with the assessment and are starting to find other things to do on Sunday than to watch football or go to games. Some teams and players are starting to get the message, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose entire team, save one patriot, failed to come out of the locker room for the singing of the anthem.Read More