Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Center Did Not Hold: What Bothers Me Most About the NFL Protests

 

I finally am sitting down to write my thoughts about the NFL protests to try to articulate what bothers me most about them. It’s not that a subset of players decided to politicize the game, or that they chose to do this by disrespecting our flag and our national anthem. We have always had the disaffected among us; they have a right to protest, even to the point of calling America unjust and unworthy. It doesn’t bother me that such people exist or that they say their piece in public.

But when this happens, either in the NFL or on college campuses, we expect that those in charge will hold the line. That they won’t collapse and say, “You know, you’re right. We are corrupt. What penance should we do?”

We saw the press, our universities, and Hollywood fall to the left a long time ago. It was a shock when I realized how thoroughly we had been outflanked on those fronts. Even so, we still had politicians who at least paid lip service to shared American values on both sides. But the Democrats are hopelessly lost, as Obama and his crew ensured that they no longer need to even pay lip service to American exceptionalism. Soon after, it became apparent that the heads of our major corporations have veered firmly to the left. When any leftward-leaning idea or grievance is espoused, they fall all over themselves in making reparations and insufferable commercials, proclaiming their PC bona fides.

But through it all, we had sports. I always breathed a sigh of relief when everyone stood — all races and creeds — before a game and saluted our shared heritage. So when Colin Kaepernick first pulled his stunt, I said, “Surely the NFL, which has made a fortune off our patriotism, will politely and firmly tell him to cease and desist. That the place for this display is not on the field. That he can use the power of his position off the field to support what he chooses, but that the NFL supports our institutions, including the police. That if he insists on bringing his politics to the game he will be disciplined or fired.”

But the NFL didn’t say any of that. Instead, they stood back and said he had a right to bring his politics on the field; we are helpless to stop him. They — and the press, and Hollywood, and politicians — showed a shocking lack of understanding of the nature of the First Amendment and the difference between public and private speech.

I held out a hope that it was just Roger Goodell who caved to the need to be loved by the left. But this Sunday showed me I was wrong. And that’s what bothers me.

There are 35 comments.

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  1. WI Con Member

    I feel that we are ‘the Center’, the fans are ‘the Center’ and I have to say, I have no idea how this ends, I’m afraid they’ll ‘win’. Pretty much expected it from the owners and coaches.

    Maybe people will go to church or spend time with loved ones.

    • #1
    • September 25, 2017, at 6:17 PM PST
    • Like
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    What is really funny is how much the left hates football. Morons Wil help the left kill it.

    • #2
    • September 25, 2017, at 6:20 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. Guruforhire Member

    WI Con (View Comment):
    I feel that we are ‘the Center’, the fans are ‘the Center’ and I have to say, I have no idea how this ends, I’m afraid they’ll ‘win’. Pretty much expected it from the owners and coaches.

    Maybe people will go to church or spend time with loved ones.

    There is no league with 50% less players. There is a league with 25-30% less viewers.

    The math is simple on this one.

    • #3
    • September 25, 2017, at 6:33 PM PST
    • 1 like
  4. Ekosj Inactive

    WI Con (View Comment):
    I feel that we are ‘the Center’, the fans are ‘the Center’ and I have to say, I have no idea how this ends, I’m afraid they’ll ‘win’. Pretty much expected it from the owners and coaches.

    Maybe people will go to church or spend time with loved ones.

    If I were an enterprising cable TV executive I’d be scheduling the next 13 Sundays full of football movies. …The Blind Side, Rudy, Brian’s Sing, The Longest Yard, etc.

    Provide an outlet for the football-self-deprived.

    • #4
    • September 25, 2017, at 6:46 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  5. PHCheese Member

    The NFL can end this. They can set a rule that stops players from kneeling. They don’t have a first amendment right as players if there is a NFL rule. They can quit the team, buy a ticket, go to a game and knell all they want. They have a first amendment right to that. I once had a employee that claimed he has right not to wear a hair net while working at my Cheese factory. I fired him , he sued and he lost. Legal Work place rule.

    • #5
    • September 25, 2017, at 7:14 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  6. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat Post author

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    The NFL can end this. They can set a rule that stops players from kneeling. They don’t have a first amendment right as players if there is a NFL rule.

    But that’s just it. They can and they haven’t. If they think they can’t, then I’m bothered that they know our Constitution so little. If they know they can and won’t, then I’m bothered that yet another institution has fallen. Sports in the absolute sense is not important, but it is one of the few things left that is and can be enjoyed by Americans of all walks of life.

    • #6
    • September 25, 2017, at 8:11 PM PST
    • 1 like
  7. DocJay Inactive

    I think you’re right. Their moral compass got busted. They’ll still be surrounded by sycophants and make plenty of money but every now and then some dad will put a hand in his sons shoulder and point at them, saying they all didn’t care about his brother who died in Afghanistan. The dad will say that just because they run fast and hit hard that they’ve made a decision which shames them forever.

    • #7
    • September 25, 2017, at 10:26 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  8. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat Post author

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    WI Con (View Comment):
    I feel that we are ‘the Center’, the fans are ‘the Center’ and I have to say, I have no idea how this ends, I’m afraid they’ll ‘win’. Pretty much expected it from the owners and coaches.

    Maybe people will go to church or spend time with loved ones.

    There is no league with 50% less players. There is a league with 25-30% less viewers.

    The math is simple on this one.

    Yes, that is correct @guruforhire. The NFL is now just another industry that thumbs its nose at its conservative customers. We like to think we matter but both Hollywood and the NFL feel comfortable alienating half the country-actually more than half on this particular issue. They appease their stars’ egos at the expense of their customers. Their movies flop; the NFL ratings are down (and I hope they continue to plummet). Yet still they persist.

    • #8
    • September 26, 2017, at 3:20 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  9. Manny Member

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    WI Con (View Comment):
    I feel that we are ‘the Center’, the fans are ‘the Center’ and I have to say, I have no idea how this ends, I’m afraid they’ll ‘win’. Pretty much expected it from the owners and coaches.

    Maybe people will go to church or spend time with loved ones.

    There is no league with 50% less players. There is a league with 25-30% less viewers.

    The math is simple on this one.

    Players won’t protest if their paychecks are at stake. If one or two players are made an example, the players will fold like a cheap accordion, as the adage says. So far the players haven’t risked anything. Actually just the opposite. They’ve been made into heroes. 30% less viewers means 30% less money, thereabouts. Owners will start enforcing the rules and players will fold.

    • #9
    • September 26, 2017, at 5:50 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  10. Matt Bartle Member

    What’s the path of least resistance? Stop playing the anthem.

    That’s my prediction. They’ll take the easy way out.

    • #10
    • September 26, 2017, at 8:19 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  11. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat Post author

    Matt Bartle (View Comment):
    What’s the path of least resistance? Stop playing the anthem.

    That’s my prediction. They’ll take the easy way out.

    That is my prediction as well. They will say it has become “too divisive.”

    • #11
    • September 26, 2017, at 10:45 AM PST
    • 1 like
  12. Columbo Member

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    The NFL can end this. They can set a rule that stops players from kneeling. They don’t have a first amendment right as players if there is a NFL rule. They can quit the team, buy a ticket, go to a game and knell all they want. They have a first amendment right to that. I once had a employee that claimed he has right not to wear a hair net while working at my Cheese factory. I fired him , he sued and he lost. Legal Work place rule.

    They prefer to focus on the most important rules. Like the one’s regarding touchdown celebrations.

    • #12
    • September 27, 2017, at 7:15 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. James Gawron Thatcher

    GC,

    This is what the Obama era was really all about. The center becomes completely co-opted by the ideologue left. The right continues to live in a delusional world whereby being reasonable they expect to obtain a reasonable compromise and get on with it.

    There is no way to compromise with an ideologue. They are not acting in good faith. You must crack them across the snout like a dog that just chewed up the furniture. This is why Trump is President. I didn’t support Trump originally and I didn’t see this coming but that’s what it is. So be it.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #13
    • September 27, 2017, at 7:32 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  14. Jim George Member

    @phcheese, there is such a rule, as outlined this morning in bizpacreview.com:

    “The rules, as stated on pages A62-63 of the league’s game operations manual:

    The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem.

    During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.

    Snopes.com claims the rule doesn’t exist in the 2017 version of the Official Playing Rules of the National Football League, but the game operations manual is separate from the rule book, according to Grabien News.”

    However, as the article goes on to note:

    “Goodell was quick to react in 2016, threatening to fine players if they wore specially designed cleats to commemorate 9/11, which marked the opening day of the season — in the end, the players were not fined.

    That same year, he would not allow the Dallas Cowboys to pay tribute to FIVE police officers assassinated by a black man who expressed sympathies toward Black Lives Matter.”

    One thing is becoming more and more clear– liberals share a love for “discretionary enforcement”, which really equates to picking winners and losers, i.e., what looks like an endless “Special” Counsel persecution (not a typo) of everyone who ever knew Trump going back 10-15 years or more but a strange and almost total lack of any interest in acting on the potential thousands of Federal felonies committed by Felonia von Pantsuit.

    Go figure!

    • #14
    • September 27, 2017, at 7:49 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  15. Goldwater's Revenge Member

    Frequently in the last few years I have asked myself “Is anything sacred in America anymore?”. No, not the institution of marriage, not the cross, not our founding fathers and now obviously not the flag. The press, Hollywood and the media are all in lock step to fundamentally change American values.

    In Dinesh D’Souza’s latest book “The Big Lie” he describes how the left has successfully painted the Nazis and Facists as right wing. The opposite is in truth the case, the Nazis being the National Socialist Party. The Antifa (Antifacist) tactics today is not unlike the tactics of Hitler’s Brownshirts, the difference being they only claim to hate racists, not Jews. As the predominantly right wing football fans boo the left wing, predominantly black football players the propaganda message is clear. All right wing (read Republicans) are racists. Chalk up another unchallenged propaganda message for the libs.

    • #15
    • September 27, 2017, at 8:07 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  16. Kozak Member

    Guruforhire (View Comment):
    There is no league with 50% less players. There is a league with 25-30% less viewers.

    The math is simple on this one.

    Like 50% of the players would walk away from the money, the #### that started this is still whining he wasn’t hired. And there are lots of players who would love to play in the NFL. But with 30% less viewers, the $$$$ gets way way less.

    • #16
    • September 27, 2017, at 8:34 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  17. Kozak Member

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Matt Bartle (View Comment):
    What’s the path of least resistance? Stop playing the anthem.

    That’s my prediction. They’ll take the easy way out.

    That is my prediction as well. They will say it has become “too divisive.”

    I’m fine with that. And no flyovers. And no public funds for stadiums.

    • #17
    • September 27, 2017, at 8:38 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. GiveMeLiberty Inactive

    If the NFL wanted to eclipse this behavior they could:

    • #18
    • September 27, 2017, at 8:50 AM PST
    • 1 like
  19. Bob Thompson Member

    Guruforhire (View Comment):

    WI Con (View Comment):
    I feel that we are ‘the Center’, the fans are ‘the Center’ and I have to say, I have no idea how this ends, I’m afraid they’ll ‘win’. Pretty much expected it from the owners and coaches.

    Maybe people will go to church or spend time with loved ones.

    There is no league with 50% less players. There is a league with 25-30% less viewers.

    The math is simple on this one.

    I don’t consider that as relevant to what is right here. The players are wrong, lack understanding of why what they are doing does not connect to their stated cause, the cause as laid out is a lie, and if there is a price to be paid, it will be borne by these players. Football is not on the same scale of importance as this country.

    • #19
    • September 27, 2017, at 9:03 AM PST
    • 1 like
  20. Jim George Member

    Goldwater's Revenge (View Comment):
    Goldwater’s Revenge

    Excellent short distillation of what is (sadly, tragically) happening all around us; I have circulated it to friends with attribution.

    Thanks again, Jim

    • #20
    • September 27, 2017, at 9:09 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  21. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat Post author

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    This is what the Obama era was really all about. The center becomes completely co-opted by the ideologue left. The right continues to live in a delusional world whereby being reasonable they expect to obtain a reasonable compromise and get on with it.

    There is no way to compromise with an ideologue. They are not acting in good faith. You must crack them across the snout like a dog that just chewed up the furniture. This is why Trump is President. I didn’t support Trump originally and I didn’t see this coming but that’s what it is. So be it.

    @jamesgawron Well put. We have not yet developed the tactics to combat redefining left as center, and many of us are only slowly waking up to that fact that we have to. A few weeks ago in another thread, I even argued that we could still take the reasonable approach by staying the silent majority. But the NFL finally convinced me that we cannot. But I fear it is too late for the NFL.

    • #21
    • September 27, 2017, at 11:42 AM PST
    • 1 like
  22. thelonious Member

    The arrogance of the league annoys me. The crowd at the Cowboys/ Cardinals game are booing lustily while they’re all kneeling and all I see is Jerry Jones with a crap eating grin on his face. Do they even care they’re offending the sensibilities of a large percentage of their fans? Goodell obviously doesn’t care. He’ll take a bunch of money from the military then turn around and support this crap. It’s horrible enough they hold cities hostage for new stadiums that have a horrible ROI. Psl liscences, forcing season ticket holders to buy crap pre- season games, overexpansion which gives us mediocre football,$100 dollar parking. I could go on and on. The owners and the league have broken out in A-holes and crapped all over the fan base and they couldn’t care less. They have no shame.

    • #22
    • September 27, 2017, at 12:41 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  23. GFHandle Member

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    They can set a rule that stops players from kneeling.

    They actually have such a rule or guide. But like our actual laws, its not worth the paper it’s written on. Must be one of those “living documents.”

    • #23
    • September 27, 2017, at 12:47 PM PST
    • 1 like
  24. GFHandle Member

    thelonious (View Comment):
    they’re offending the sensibilities

    Fully agree, but I think it’s more than sensibility at stake. I’m no sociologist, but I know that tribes have totems. So do cities: the Roman Legions worshiped their “Standards.” Israel had the Ark. Maybe they all knew that there is no group if none will die for the totem, as they continue to do. To disrespect the totem (first time ever done in sport, says Prager) is serious business. It violates a taboo. It is more than mere “protest” in that sense. The flag is a charismatic object, if you are academic. It is Sacred if you are traditional. But in both it is special. Political protest is not–it is everyday business. It’s Hubris to mix them.

    • #24
    • September 27, 2017, at 12:59 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  25. GFHandle Member

    Beautifully said.

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    ports in the absolute sense is not important, but it is one of the few things left that is and can be enjoyed by Americans of all walks of life

    I loved your post.

    I think sports is important in a sort of absolute sense because it is like War, and it is in War especially that the Standards must be upheld and guarded–and obviously respected. So to me (I rarely watch pro sports) sports is very important both at the level you mention (chance for civil exchanges) and for a deeper, more visceral meaning. We use words like “icon,” forgetting their charismatic meanings.

    • #25
    • September 27, 2017, at 1:15 PM PST
    • Like
  26. GFHandle Member

    thelonious (View Comment):
    The owners and the league have broken out in A-holes and crapped all over the fan base and they couldn’t care less. They have no shame.

    Well-put.

    I never came across that eruption in a medical book. Made me laugh out loud.

    • #26
    • September 27, 2017, at 1:17 PM PST
    • 1 like
  27. I Walton Member

    This is a win win for the left. They hate football so if they manage to destroy it as they destroy everything the touch, they don’t lose and since the media never learns, the athletes and celebrities themselves lack the wherewithal to understand what’s going on, they’ll blame us. But focusing on this center that is not holding is very important. It was college administrators and professors who, being anti Vietnam war themselves tolerated the outrageous behavior that started this whole cultural,educational, media, entertainment deterioration. Here we go again, but there is no Vietnam war and draft to act as catalyst so we may come out ok, maybe even better than ok, and this hysteria on the left may help. I think it’s important for our side to not focus on Trumps tweets but on the outrageous behavior of the left that he, perhaps tastelessly, draws attention to.

    • #27
    • September 27, 2017, at 1:24 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  28. Larry Koler Inactive

    This is an important debate and it’s all about anti-Americanism and the lies that people who are under the sway of the media and other leftist institutions are told. The left has to show us how this is racism — it’s made more difficult for them because the flag is involved.

    The average American doesn’t realize just how despicable the left is in this country. This shows how blacks are controlled and educated by the left.

    I hope this generates conversation all over the country and that people can see what is going on here. If not, then we are in deeper and deeper trouble.

    • #28
    • September 27, 2017, at 3:12 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  29. Bob Thompson Member

    I Walton (View Comment):

    This is a win win for the left. They hate football so if they manage to destroy it as they destroy everything the touch, they don’t lose and since the media never learns, the athletes and celebrities themselves lack the wherewithal to understand what’s going on, they’ll blame us. But focusing on this center that is not holding is very important

    That’s how this looks from one perspective at the moment, but if the fans’ reaction causes players to look at ‘facts’ and realize how wrong this is in terms of the unpatriotic act and the false fabricated cause, it could turn around.

    Larry Koler (View Comment):
    This is an important debate and it’s all about anti-Americanism and the lies that people who are under the sway of the media and other leftist institutions are told. The left has to show us how this is racism — it’s made more difficult for them because the flag is involved.

    The average American doesn’t realize just how despicable the left is in this country. This shows how blacks are controlled and educated by the left.

    I hope this generates conversation all over the country and that people can see what is going on here. If not, then we are in deeper and deeper trouble.

    This is what we need to get these players to look into.

    • #29
    • September 27, 2017, at 3:43 PM PST
    • 1 like
  30. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat Post author

    GFHandle (View Comment):
    Beautifully said.

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):
    ports in the absolute sense is not important, but it is one of the few things left that is and can be enjoyed by Americans of all walks of life

    I loved your post.

    I think sports is important in a sort of absolute sense because it is like War, and it is in War especially that the Standards must be upheld and guarded–and obviously respected. So to me (I rarely watch pro sports) sports is very important both at the level you mention (chance for civil exchanges) and for a deeper, more visceral meaning. We use words like “icon,” forgetting their charismatic meanings.

    Thank you. Yes, I shouldn’t have minimized the importance of sports. What I should have said is that any sporting event is a game and is only as important as our involvement in the teams. But sports in the abstract are important. We know that because they transcend all cultures and all times-we can go back to the ancients and still find them- so there is something very fundamental about this type of play to our humanity.

    • #30
    • September 27, 2017, at 3:44 PM PST
    • 2 likes
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