To me it seems the NFL has every right to fire football players, and in fact should, who refuse to stand for the National Anthem.
And I am not a sports fan, so I really don’t care…I’m just saying.
What brought this to mind is a story I just read that said the NFL is considering imposing 15-yard penalties for taking a knee during the anthem. Really? that’s it?
So here’s the deal: freedom of speech and expression is one thing. But you know in some ways one gives up some of that freedom when in the employ of another. While you are on the job most employers prefer that you don’t run down the company and that you don’t do anything to make the company look bad. Your pay and the company’s profit depends upon the good will of the public.
And then there is the question of patriotism vs freedom of speech. As a fan sitting in the stands — and I, myself, would not likely be in that position — I have every right not to stand. Now I personally would, and do so proudly. But even if I was not enthused about it I might anyway just to go along with the crowd in something that does not hurt me or anyone else, and thereby avoid any unpleasantness and avoid despoiling the occasion for others. Heck if I did not want to be there no one made me.
My father was not religious. But I recall attending a public meeting with him that began with an invocation by a local minister. We all stood, and dad, knowing that I knew his feelings on the matter, whispered to me: “just look at the floor”. Dad was there as a newspaper reporter — I of course just tagged along. I know he did not think much of those invocations but he was there in the capacity of his job. I am sure he thought something like “my employer might not like it if I caused any stir by not going along with the invocation”, but even more so, dad was polite and respected the wishes of others, and he saw no harm in this instance of going along. After all we were not extending our arms and declaring Heil Hitler. Now that would be over the top.
And even though I don’t like our current presidential administration, I am perfectly okay with standing and putting my hand over my heart for the National Anthem, and I would be sincere, not just going through the motions. But in no way would I say “Heil Trump”.
But back to the professional athletes: they have it over the team owners because of their talent and the worth of it. The owners depend upon their talent to draw paying customers. Many of the players are so good that they would be hard to nearly impossible to replace.
I knew this had to be true many years ago now when I read a story about a basketball player choking a coach but not losing his job over it.
It’s too bad that these guys live in a world of adulation where they are often above the law. And worse yet that we go along with it. What does that say about us as a society?
Oh, what about that basketball player (not the same as I just referred to above) — I know his name but why bother? — who was at a motel and allegedly raped a female concierge and faced no penalty for it?
What an example they set for young people trying to figure out right from wrong and how to survive in this world.
But anyway, although I am not often where I am called upon to do so, I will always stand for the National Anthem and the American Flag.
I realize most or all of the kneeling players are black and are protesting the shootings of black people (in mostly seemingly clearly unjustified circumstances) by the police — the Black Lives Matter movement — and I am not sure but that they should or do have every right while not involved in the actual game day event to make their feelings known. They or no one else must give up their rights under the First Amendment. And of course it is not up to me to decide any of this. I just do a blog and let my opinions fly.