As the NFL anthem protests continue, one has to ask what is the true agenda being served? Ostensibly, this originated with Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the National Anthem as a protest against minority oppression, now continued weekly by a number of players. That they have chosen this format is sad, for it has degenerated into a fiasco of enormous and (most likely) unintended proportions. If the intent was to engender sympathy and understanding for minority oppression, it could not have failed more miserably.
How could it not?
The time and place for protest is crucial for effectiveness. That Kaepernick and now his followers have chosen the National Anthem and the American Flag as their preferred venue is truly unfortunate. That the NFL has allowed this to fester and metastasize to this point is disgraceful. One needs to ask, who benefits by this malignant situation? Who benefits from this? “Follow the money”, so to speak. We have real enemies who don’t care about the NFL, the players or black lives, for that matter. They thrive on the chaos. The demise of the NFL, which up until this point has been a manifestation of aggressive competitive excellence, teamwork and uniquely American pride, would simply be icing on the cake for those whose true goal is to sow division and chaos, and to destroy the foundations of American society. Lenin coined the term “useful idiots” for dupes that would participate in their own destruction. These ill-advised protests eerily fit that model.
The Chicago Sun-Times, along with many in the media, have endorsed the player’s actions as sacrosanct rights fully protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution. That those in the news media would champion free speech and the First Amendment is obvious and expected. That First Amendment rights are unlimited is another matter. Were that the case, then the job of editor would be nonexistent. Don’t columnists and reporters have a constitutional right to write and say whatever they please? Shouldn’t the Chicago Sun-Times volunteer, no, be required to provide several pages daily to employees to air any and all grievances they may have, even those that may be insulting to readers and advertisers? Should a theater owner who hires actors to perform a play be forced to allow the actors to throw away the script and perform whatever they desire? If the NFL is required by constitutional mandate to provide a forum for its employees to air complaints on company time in a manner that is proven harmful to its business model, then shouldn’t that apply equally to all business enterprises?
The Chicago Sun-Times referenced Voltaire’s famous line, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” He never said there would be no consequences for your “right to say it.” Should fans, who enjoy the entertainment value provided by the NFL and its employee/players decide they do not want to be subjected to what they view as uninvited diatribes against things they hold dear, there will be consequences, unintended or not. If you want to shock and insult your customers/fans, don’t be surprised if they respond negatively.
The vast majority of Americans, of all political persuasions, view the Flag and the Anthem as sacred symbols that represent all that is good about America, and accept that we also have flaws. The short time during which the Anthem is played, we set aside our differences and acknowledge the beauty and wonder that is America, the country unique among all others, that allows us to hold our different views and work together to solve our differences. To disrespect that is to disrespect your own basic rights.
James E. McNally
“Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys”. ~P.J. O’Rourke