MARK POPE: To Hell With The NFL [OPINION]
To hell with the NFL
Sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe. I never thought I’d say this – because I enjoy watching NFL games – but I’m “on strike” until the league, its team owners, and the players can realize the folly of their actions with these silly protests.
Let’s start with the players’ right to express themselves with kneeling, sitting, or whatever sign of disrespect they demonstrate for the American flag, and what it stands for, during the national anthem. Yes, the players have the right of expression, but there is also the consequence they face of displeased fans who are “counter-protesting” by not attending NFL games and not watching the league on television.
Entertainers can be pretty doggone stupid. They should realize that what they offer to the American public is ENTERTAINMENT. To attend a sporting event, a movie, or a play is an opportunity for hard-working Americans to escape from the reality and challenges of living here in the 21st Century. There are numerous examples of entertainers demonstrating their lack of understanding of this basic concept, and turning would-be fans away from the sullied “entertainment” the entertainers serve up.
Take for example the Emmys this year. The event was a non-stop bashing of President Trump by a bunch of smug, liberal-minded actors, and TV ratings were ultra low. Flashback several years to the Dixie Chicks, who at a concert overseas, bashed President George W. Bush. The wave of protest by once-loyal fans was overwhelming. Chicks’ albums were publicly burned. Country music stations stopped playing their music. In short, the Chicks paid the ultimate price for exercising their “free speech rights.”
The protests are a violation of the NFL Game Operations Manual, intended to create a “fan-friendly” environment. Players are supposed to stand during the national anthem – which is required to be played before all NFL games – face the flag, cradle their helmet in their left arm, and refrain from talking. Prescribed penalties for non-compliance include team fines, suspension of players, and loss of future draft choices. Yet, the league’s head office ignores the players’ “fan-unfriendly” behavior, even condones it.
What are these players really protesting? When all this protesting nonsense started, it was Colin Kaepernick who was allegedly protesting “police brutality” toward black Americans. I guess that is still the motivation for all the protests which have spread throughout the league here recently. Seems like the police officer in St. Louis, who was recently acquitted of killing a black man during an encounter with the officer, has intensified the protests. President Trump’s recent comments also threw fire on the burning issue. I do not know if the acquittal was “social injustice,” which is one of the buzz words overused by those on the left who do not like the outcome of most any political issue. If you want to believe – as the protesting NFL players seem to – that white cops go out to hunt down and shoot innocent blacks, go ahead and believe it. But it’s simply not true.
I trust the intellect, research, and integrity of Ben Shapiro, a Harvard law school graduate and conservative commentator, who is also a contributor to the Fox News Channel. Shapiro said on Monday, Sept. 25, that of the approximately 760 national incidents of police shootings of criminal suspects in 2016, only nine of those shootings involved an African American. The claims behind the protests are extremely exaggerated. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. When does it stop?