The last year and a half, the NFL and the players who have chosen to protest have angered millions across the United States who have ignored the purpose and cause for the players’ issues on social injustice. Players are looked at as pawns by fans and some media who say, “Just play the damn game. You make millions for a living. How dare you protest against my flag? Get your butts out there and get my fantasy numbers so I can win my league.”
It all started with ex-San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick, the 30-year-old now-unemployed quarterback who has been unable to sign in 2017 with any of the 32 NFL teams. Has he been blackballed? Are the 32 owners colluding against him?
They clearly want no part of his right to protest when it affects their bottom line. Anger from fans and sponsors may not be right, but it’s understandable. It’s the price of doing business. When you decide to take a stand, be prepared for the consequences.
The NFL owners and players are at least talking now. However, the owners can’t change all of society by themselves, like making the police stop shooting innocent young Black men or racial profiling or hiring practices in America.
Kaepernick has hired an attorney and is pursuing a lawsuit against the NFL. When Black people protest it angers the majority of people, mostly Whites because, they insert their own personal bias into the situation.
A case in point is the playing of the national anthem and the displaying of the American flag. So many people talk about disrespecting the flag and the national anthem. Sports teams have long used revenue from the armed forces to buy and promote nationalism (before kickoff or tip off) and the pride of America the beautiful. Have you noticed it’s only at sporting events that bring in big revenue for the teams — NHL, NFL, MLB and NBA?
What the players do does not bother me at all. I don’t take it personally like so many who talk about their dad, brother, sister, uncle, husband and how they all served this country in the military.
They forget that Black people serve this country also and have sacrificed to protect our liberties. It’s a joke to say that taking a knee or standing with your arms folded during the playing of the national anthem on Sunday, Monday and Thursday is disrespectful.
No player has stopped the anthem from being played or tried to damage the flag from sailing or flowing. Those who argue against the players and their protest won’t talk about racism or discrimination or murder or about police brutality and shootings, because they don’t care. It’s a non-issue, they say — get over it. The police were doing their jobs.
We have gotten over it, but we will never forget it, the millions of innocent people hung and killed in this country, the beatings, bombings, Whites-only bathrooms and water fountains. If we did not fight nonviolently by protesting, marching for voters’ rights, and to go to school to be viewed as equal under God in this nation, we would still be living under Jim Crow segregation.
President Donald Trump lit a fire under the players with his divisiveness. “Fire the sons of bi***es, he told the NFL owners. Dallas owner Jerry Jones says any of his players kneeling during the playing of the anthem will not play that day.
On October 18 Houston owner Bob McNair said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison” in a meeting with other owners related to player protest and the national anthem. His statement has again sparked the flames; the level is high with his team. Almost his entire team kneeled on Sunday in Seattle, unified arm in arm in protest.
Because McNair is an owner and the players are represented by the NFL Players Association, this is an EEOC issue also. McNair may be forced to resign — it’s happened before. This issue is not going away.
People like Trump and McNair, being who they are and showing their horns, are making the issues clearer by the day for all to see. What we are seeing is that we have major problems in America.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.