Op/Ed By Michael Vaughn –
When they were done (and I had rooted for them to win, although many times I was disappointed), I would watch the other games.
It was a great time, to sit and see that level of competition in the National Football League.
Unfortunately, now things have changed, due to the fact that one man decided to protest his genuine concern in a very obscure manner.
He chose to kneel during the national anthem before NFL games!
As a result, the relaxing experience I used to have on Sunday afternoons is no longer the same, because players have been attempting to make political statements that taint the game I used to enjoy.
However, as I work through some thoughts on this issue, I want to make it very clear that I support Americans’ right to free speech.
Even if I personally disagree, and have contempt for what the free speech stands for, I support one’s right to do so.
I also want to make it clear that, just as I support others’ right to free speech, the reverse must be true as well.
I am an American, and I also have the right to free speech.
Lately, we seem to think that free speech should only be afforded to those with whom we agree in this country.
If I happen to disagree, then I should be ridiculed, mocked, blackballed, etc.
That is completely anti-American, and should not be tolerated!
My main problem is not with the protest itself (the subject of which I happen to agree with), but how and where it is taking place.
NFL players are deciding to use the platform the NFL has provided to them for personal gain, and they want team owners, media, coaches, and fans, to agree with them, and to allow them to do it.
In my humble opinion, players are employees of the teams for which they work.
These employers are not paying them to exercise their personal beliefs, when they should be representing their teams, their owners, and the NFL!
These players are hurting the very teams and “company” for which they work.
And, they are doing so by offending the audience members who disagree with what they are doing, and by offending those who are now vowing to no longer support the NFL.
Those who support what players are doing have also said they will not support the NFL, until the former player who started this issue is allowed to play. (That is an illogical demand, by the way. Why should an owner be forced to hire a player he has deemed to be unqualified? When you think about it, that violates the owner’s freedom of speech.)
Either way, the league will start to lose business.
And, the thing to remember is that if the NFL vanished overnight, owners would still be billionaires, and advertisers would still make millions.
The only people who would truly suffer are those who are protesting something their employer has not done!
That makes about as much sense as people who riot destroying their neighborhoods because of what people who do not live in their neighborhoods have done!
In the past, folks have protested to boycott the entities which have harmed them.
For example, if the bus company was the culprit, by implementing bad policy, folks did not boycott the train station.
That would make no sense, and it would hurt the train station, while the bus company would continue to keep implementing bad policy.
Players protesting the national anthem at NFL football games will do NOTHING to stop bad police officers from killing innocent African-Americans.
And, anyone who thinks it will is naïve, and void of knowledge.
This past weekend, 250 players reportedly took part in the national anthem protests.
I recommend that each of these players give $1 million to a general fund to support the national efforts to stop violence against African-Americans among police officers, instead.
That would do more to help get rid of bad police officers than kneeling during the national anthem.
Then, they can get back to playing (and I can get back to watching) football!
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