Anytime someone says “I believe in freedom, but” you’re listening to a person who does not believe in freedom at all. The ongoing war over players kneeling for the national anthem at NFL games is a perfect example.
While I, like many, despise the disrespectful actions of those players kneeling for the national anthem, I support their right to do so. It is a valid expression of their belief and values.
That does not mean I must share those beliefs or values.
In fact, if I find those actions unacceptable, many options are available to me.
First and foremost, is my freedom of speech. I am free to write articles expressing my opposing opinion.
Second, I am free to choose not to watch those teams play football. In fact, I am free to choose not to watch NFL games at all.
Clearly I am not alone in this opinion. NFL ratings continue to drop in the wake of these protests and the NFL’s refusal to enforce their written regulations requiring players to stand when the national anthem is played.
When DirecTV, one of the largest pay-per-view networks in the country, reverses its own written policy on refunds and now refunds the full amount for anyone cancelling their subscription to NFL games because of these protests, this issue continues to affect the NFL’s bottom line.
I don’t watch football for political statements. I watch football to see players do what they do best in that physical arena. I don’t care what their political opinions are, only whether they can perform their physical miracles on the field and lead their teams to victory.
I certainly don’t want to listen to commentators blathering on about these players, their thoughts on why players kneel before the anthem or the President’s latest Tweet or public statement about this ongoing protest.
We are all free to make choices. We are all free to protest in the way we see fit. That freedom, however, comes with a responsibility.
We must accept personal responsibility for the consequences, the logical and foreseeable consequences, of those actions.
Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who started this kneeling for the anthem nonsense, is unemployed in large part due to the controversy he brings to any team hiring him. Talented or not, and I personally think not, no team in the NFL will deliberately invite that kind of destructive influence to their team.
This is a completely foreseeable consequence to his actions yet Kaepernick and his fans insist racism is the reason he can’t get a job. Hogwash. He can’t get a job because he is a destructive influence. Full stop. No coach in their right mind wants that.
So the NFL can continue ignore its own written policies, the players can continue to disrespect the flag, and football fans around the world can continue to choose whether or not they will condone those actions and, if not, turn off their televisions or watch some other sport on Sundays.
Actions have consequences. Imagine that.
There are better ways for NFL players to use their high profile to affect this issue. Hopefully they will figure that out and stick to playing football on Sundays. It is, after all, the job they’re hired for in the first place.