The NFL Players Association is suing the NFL over the rule requiring players on the field to stand for the national anthem. Employers have the right to set workplace rules for their employees and you have the choice to follow those rules or find another job. The NFL owners voted to impose this rule and players should abide by it. I doubt that owners’ chief concern was patriotism; they were more likely concerned for their bottom line. The NFL is a business and fans are the owners’ customers. Surveys suggest that fans approve of the new rule, but more white fans approve than black fans. That is understandable since the demonstration began as a protest by black players for social injustice. There is no question that our society is not colorblind and in encounters with police blacks may not be treated the same as whites. However I am still waiting for an explanation as to how these protests will have a positive impact in the lives of average blacks. I grew up in the Kennedy era of social activism and have attempted to live a life of equal treatment for all. Our society is not perfect (and probably never will be) but I can see no connection between disrespecting our flag and improvements in social justice. If players wish change then they should become involved in their communities and work for improvements at the local level. I can’t pretend to know what it is like to be black in America, but we are making progress. We just celebrated two patriotic milestones, Memorial Day and D-Day. Hundreds of thousands of Americans died on those two occasions defending our flag and the freedoms that flag represents. We should stand for the flag if for no other reason than to honor the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Every day migrants travel hundreds of miles and risk their lives just for an opportunity to share in the freedoms we take for granted. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Tom Brady voiced support for kneeling players. Tom Brady and others have said they support the protest. In my opinion those who can’t stand for our flag and those who are defending this behavior are cowards. Our men and women in uniform have pledged their lives and work an entire lifetime to make what some players make in a single afternoon. Two minutes of standing hardly compares to putting one’s life on the line each and every day. I will never support kneeling for the flag unless that flag is draped over a veteran or returning soldier’s coffin.