NFL: Tell your players to respect our Country
The NFL should require players to stand for the National Anthem and show respect for the Flag. The NBA does. No player has the right to damage a league's brand or distract from its corporate purpose. Players have the First Amendment right to participate in whatever social causes they wish and to use their celebrity status and the platform that comes with it as long as they do not bring disrepute on their employer.
The NFL unfortunately fails the test of patriotism. Even on 9/11, they allowed players for the Miami Dolphins to desecrate the memories of those who died in that horrific attack.
Yet, when the Dallas Cowboys attempted to wear stickers on their helmets to show support for the fallen police officers of their city, the NFL stopped them. If the NFL can tell its players not to display social messages on their informs, they can tell players not to convey messages by their behavior. To suggest that the two are not analogous is to make a distinction without a difference.
It is lost on no one that Kaepernick's demonstration has created racial division within the league and among fans. The question for the league and Roger Goodell is whether they want to play football or play politics. Do they want to be a unifying influence or a symbol of racial and social division?
On the field players represent their teams and the league, not just themselves. When a player publicly refuses to honor the Flag and our National Anthem, it reflects poorlyon his team and the NFL. The Commissioner can't use the U.S. Constitution as an excuse not to act on this. The National Football League is a private organization which can set policy for the conduct of its employees during games. Goodell has stated that the NFL is patriotic. Those words ring hollow when he allows players to disdain the Flag, a stunt which is now spreading not only in the NFL, but among college and high school players.
Football is an influential institution in American culture at every age level. Professional players enjoy fame, wealth and privileges most Americans will never experience. We celebrate them, but they should not be allowed to exploit the field for their personal political agendas. They should not be allowed to use the game as an opportunity to insult the millions of Americans who support the game and believe deeply that we are a nation of freedom and opportunity. It is one thing to raise a social issue. It is quite another to condemn the entire nation.
Here are the facts: Kaepernick is a black man worth $100 million, hardly a victim of oppression himself. Leaving him aside, the data makes it clear that there is no epidemic of police brutality or conspiracy to hunt down black men and reward police officers with paid leave. It is a despicable thing to say because it is not true. About 5/1,000ths of one percent of all black suspects police attempt to arrest are killed. While some of those killed are technically unarmed, most fight with police or try to take the officer's gun, as happened with the Michael Brown incident in Ferguson. Police are 18 times more likely to be killed by a black suspect than a black suspect is to be killed by a cop. Forty percent of murdered cops are killed by black men. Black men are 6% of the population and commit 52% of the murders. Black and Hispanic cops are more likely to shoot a black suspect than is a white cop, probably in part because of the racial implications and career consequences. The real epidemic that is killing black men is fathers abandoning their children, as Kaepernick's father did to him. He has been incredibly blessed in the America he so disdains.
In spite of these indisputable facts, Kaepernick said: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color...There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Does the NFL support such nonsense? Do we not have enough racial division in America? Are football games to become forums for demagoguery? Kaepernick and players like him have enough money to buy their own platform and spew whatever rhetoric they can conjure. The NFL should not be their enabler.
It is time for the NFL to say to its players, "the causes you adopt, the ideologies you embrace and public policies you support on your own time are entirely up to you. However, at our games you will show respect for our Flag, our National Anthem and the United States of America."
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Petition to: NFL- National Football League