As Memorial Day approaches, the trappings of a grateful nation are no more prevalent anywhere than across middle America and in the rural communities scattered from New Mexico to Arkansas. Old Glory is flown year ‘round by most; but the approaching weekend brings out the inner patriot, as stars and stripes dominate the small-town squares, from bunting draped on main street, flags waving on front porches, and of course, dotting the lawn, marking those who once served our country with unparalleled pride.
Perhaps it was just precipitous timing by the National Football League (NFL) in announcing their policy for players in regards to protesting during the National Anthem. Or maybe it was just additional and premeditated posturing by an organization already taken down to a knee by former fans.
In brief, the policy states that all players and personnel on the field during the National Anthem must stand or be fined a paltry, yet undisclosed, sum. Those wishing to protest can do so inside their locker rooms.
Either way, it seems no one is satisfied with the beleaguered league if outrage on social media, specifically my own Facebook page, is any indication. Here are some of the more colorful comments:
Mike Culver, NM “Professional football is a business before it’s a sport and these protests have been bad for business. Players are not allowed to wear attire that is pro law enforcement but get a free pass wearing socks that depict cops as pigs.”
And this gem from Julie H. in Illinois:
“With so many options available for these millionaire ingrates to peacefully protest, why slap the face of the people who have protected your right to do so? Pick something else, like plaster a sticker on your Mercedes you ungrateful as****.”
President Trump was pleased with the ruling and he commented immediately, via Twitter of course, saying, “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem. You shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe they shouldn’t be in the country…the NFL owners did the right thing.”
But detractors are crying foul, claiming this is an infringement of our First Amendment right. And of course, laying the blame at the feet of President Trump and his gang of Deplorables. Mike Freeman, of Bleacher Report fame (yes, that’s sarcasm) went off his happy meds and wrote this:
“Why is the NFL handling this so poorly, crafting a policy based on fear, not practicality? The answer remains clear, according to a variety of league sources: an intense fear of President Donald Trump. What does the NFL fear? It fears boycotts of games. It fears people not watching its product on television. It fears people not buying its products.”
Yeah, Mikey, the consumer is king, and peaceful protesting by patriots trumped the antics of an over-privileged and whiny group of millionaires. Imagine that.
Regardless of the rancid political divide, where one calls home, or if football is still your beloved sport, our National Anthem deserves the respect of each and every American. We should applaud the franchise owners, and Roger Goodell, for taking a stand for patriotism. As Goodell stated, “All 32 clubs want to make sure that during the moment of the anthem and the flag, that that is a very important moment for a lot of us as a league, as clubs and our country, and it’s a moment we want to make sure is done in a respectful fashion.”
Amen to that. Enjoy your Memorial Holiday and fly your flag high and proud in honor of those who gifted us with freedom.