Dear NFL Athletes,
As a fan rather than a critic, may I offer a suggestion to you regarding the national anthem?
I understand why many of you felt the need to take action this past Sunday.
You felt you were attacked personally by the president of the United States and that some of your teammates and friends were called SOBs. So you needed to make a statement.
Some of you even felt that this was a racial attack by President Trump, and so this became a matter of personal integrity and family honor.
Not to make a public statement was to dishonor your teammates, your families, and yourself.
Obviously, this was a difficult decision for all of you, which is why your teams responded in so many different ways. Standing together with arms locked. Kneeling together in unison. Staying in the locker room to avoid bringing politics into football.
Each team gave this careful thought, and I imagine that there were some heated discussions along the way.
But now you face a bigger problem.
The game you love is coming under attack.
Your fans are turning off their TVs and asking for refunds from their cable networks. Some are burning their jerseys.
Why? Because they feel you are disrespecting the American flag, the very flag that gives you your liberties.
They feel you are spitting on the blood of servicemen who died on the foreign field protecting your freedom. They feel that you have been blessed to be an American, potentially making millions of dollars through sports, but by protesting the national anthem, you seem anti-American.
You might say, “But that’s not what this is about. Some of us protested at first to draw attention to social injustice. Now, we’re protesting the president’s attacks on us. We appreciate the sacrifices made for our freedom, and we love our country. We’re being misunderstood.”
Maybe so, but the fact is, actions have meaning, and your actions are turning many of your fans away.
And for many other fans, they simply don’t want politics brought into the NFL. Can’t there be one day in the week – or even a few hours in a day – when things aren’t political? Can’t we take a break and enjoy watching gifted athletes play their hearts out while we cheer for the home team and jeer the visitors? Why must everything be politicized?
Do you personally enjoy the conflict and the turmoil? Wasn’t it a lot more fun when you could just play the game?
I’m sure you respect…