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September 25, 2017

The Destruction of the NFL

Jason Miller

I remember when football was a chance for everyone to come together and cheer on their team. The business of football was football. A sports team of any kind was once a unifying opportunity for entire communities to join in fellowship.


Democrat, Republican, and Independent could devote themselves and give their whole support to their team. Football games used to be a place where politics was set aside at the door while everyone assumed the role of a devoted fan.


Today the political forces that have divided out country have infected institutions that were once apolitical. It used to be that a fan could invest everything into the cheering and supporting their team. The relationship between fan and team was a romance and a relationship unlike any other. A person could invest all of themselves into a football team and the team would never reject them.


Gone are the days on heady, carefree, self-indulgent crowds and television audiences. The once anticipated football game day gridiron has been replaced with an ivory tower indifference to the fans. As players continue to take a knee during the National Anthem, the diehard fans are starting to leave the game.


The diehard fans of professional football can take a ton of emotional abuse in defeat only to reaffirm their faith in the warmth of euphoric victory. Heavy losses are remembered for decades. Victories won from incredible comebacks are the epic legends of history. The love of the game has been replaced in the hearts of some players by the love of themselves.


The diehard fans who love the game have begun to realize that some players are rejecting them on political grounds. Nothing could be more evident of this than when Baltimore Ravens players took a knee on foreign soil during our National Anthem. Incidentally the foreign soil was that of Great Britain on whose bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore inspired the anthem itself.


Players kneeling at the sound of the Star-Spangled Banner is a freedom of expression that is as American as apple pie, but that freedom of expression isn’t free from consequence. Fans are free to boycott. Fans are free to feel rejected. Fans are free to express their opposition. Many are beginning to do so.


Some fans in the social justice clique are bloviating about how all fans must respect a player’s right to free expression during the anthem. Count me as one who doesn’t buy that line of thinking.


Everyone is free to ridicule and shame my country. What is lost on these players is that just because a player can take a knee doesn’t mean a player should take a knee. I can, as a football fan, and will as a football fan, morally judge their choices of my football team’s players. I am free to do so because I am not morally obligated to support the expressions that players are free to make. I am a true American patriot before I am a football fan.


As a veteran, I am ashamed of the Baltimore Ravens players who took a knee during our anthem in Great Britain. I find such an action painfully hard to swallow as a fan. Our National Anthem recalls the fortitude and courage of our fighting men who defended a city against almost impossible odds. The invaders were English and the city was named Baltimore.


The irony is that our former English adversaries remained standing for our anthem while our own countryman chose to bend their knees in self-righteous and sanctimonious indifference toward the fans who make their excessive lifestyles possible.


I’ve had enough – and I’m not alone in my feeling this way.


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