TLP Op-Ed: 5/26/18

Anthems, Protests and the NFL

I promised myself that I wasn’t going to write about media reactions to news stories this week. It wasn’t the first time I made this promise to myself, but it was the first time I told you about it and so, I have to keep it this time.

Consequently, I won’t be writing about the reaction to Mr. Trump’s announcement that he’s taking a pass on his date with Mr. Kim of North Korea on June 12th. Honestly, that reaction was so predictably idiotic that writing about it would just be too easy anyway.

So, I’d like to reflect upon the announcement made by the National Football League the other day about their new National Anthem Policy.

It seems clear enough, since they said so specifically, that the NFL recognizes that their employees have an inherent right to protest any cause favored by the Left in the workplace. OK, they didn’t actually say “Left”, but I think their record on that is clear enough. This brings me to a question: do the stadium beer vendors have the same right to protest on the job? How about the hot dog vendors? How about the ticket collectors at the gate?

Somehow, I doubt it, but wouldn’t it be fun to find out?

When did employees get the right to engage in political protests of whatever sort in the workplace? Come to think of it, wouldn’t that bring about a hostile work environment, since any protest is likely to have people who disagree? Don’t people who call themselves “liberals” normally oppose such things?

Let’s be honest; you only have a right to protest in the workplace if the employer wants to go along with it. Those poor beer vendors can’t protest because that would take cash out of the owners’ pockets: Can’t have that. Those team owners and the League already have our money for those multi-millionaire players and thus we, the customer, must endure the protests as a captive audience− not so with the beer vendor.

But… don’t worry! From now on the protesters will stay in the locker rooms during the Anthem in protest and run out onto the field afterwards… in protest no doubt.

Of course, this brings us back to where we began as fans and customers, we who enjoy football to get away from the chaos of politics. Yet there is hope, for we discovered last year that there really is life without the NFL.

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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21 Responses to TLP Op-Ed: 5/26/18

  1. sullivanspin says:

    The NFL doesn’t necessarily care about freedom or rights, more so public image and how it adversely effects revenue streams. Money is the NFL’s moral compass. It’s hard to pass over this topic so don’t be to hard on yourself Don 😉

  2. wmhny says:

    The vendors work most like work for the stadium. If a college game was there, if Coldplay had a concert there, or other events, they would work at there too.

  3. Locally, one of our players spoke out about the ruling. He said the league’s rule wasn’t fare that it would be embarrassing for players to come out of the dugout after the anthem, people would see them coming out and it would be an embarrassment to the players. Isn’t the same true when people see the players kneel instead of stand during the anthem? They are still standing out and making a spectacle.

    I have never understood why some protests are acceptable (black lives matter) and other unacceptable (blue lives matter). Guess I’m of the old generation who think that all lives matter (along with other protest topics).

  4. Keeping this up, someday there will be no country to walk out on.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The bigger question which you might want to address is: why is a national anthem played before a sporting event? What is the relationship between two for-profit teams, that the billionaire owners have convinced you actually represent cities and communities, to a musical symbol of nationhood?

    The players can protest about any cause, left, right or centre because they are a scarce resource, a limited commodity. Beer vendors making minimum wage can be replaced tomorrow. Quarterbacks are in shorter supply. (Mind you the quarterback who started it all is still unemployed.) Economics drives the issue.

    As a non-American it is fascinating to watch the anthem protest story unfold. From outside the US it looks like an attempt to uphold your civic religion. The anthem is sacred, as is the flag, idols not symbols. The issue raised is ignored over the outrage of the desecration of the American religion.

    • Don Merritt says:

      I wish you hadn’t posted this comment as “anonymus”, for you make a valid point. Why do we play the anthem at sporting events? It has become a cultural thing for us and I can see why it may seem silly to people in other places. In most cities the anthem began being played at sporting events during WW 2 to honor the men we sent all over the world to fight for Freedom… and it stuck, becoming a part of who we are as a people. For the players to think they are somehow an elite class who have privileges that the beer vendor, a mere mortal, a “commoner” doesn’t have doesn’t work here, for we have no “betters”, no “nobles”. For a group of people to throw their self-appointed status in our faces, is to have a heck of a fight on their hands… even though it seems like much ado about nothing from somewhere else, kind of the way a monarchy looks to us.

      • No idea why WordPress decided I was anonymous! I hadn’t noticed it. BTW, yesterday I went to a baseball game in the Bundesliga, the German baseball league. No anthem was played.

        • Don Merritt says:

          There’s a German baseball league? I had no idea! As for the anthem, I’m not sure anybody else does it before every game in whatever sport… But we do. 🙂

  6. I don’t watch television and I do not follow this controversy in much detail. What do the kneeling players want? Is it a more equal society, especially in terms of jobs and social acceptance? If the log in our eye is seeing fault with protest, what is the speck in my brother’s? And what do I have to do to see clearly to remove that speck?

  7. Logs and specks are both faults. What we choose to do with them determine whether solutions are pursued or just talked about.

    • I handled this wrong.  I apologize if you felt judged or condemned.  I viewed the controversy at distance and at first had opinions against the players taking a knee.  My log is seeing fault in taking a knee.  When I apply Jesus’ words to what I see I remove my log and realize what the players’ need is:  They want awareness for the unfairness in this country toward those want to work and are denied because of unfair reasons.  And they want to feel equal, they want to end the sting of rejection because of racism.  The speck in my brother’s eye is that he is doing this on company time.  Once I see the problems clearly and in relation to each other I am now able to better come up with solutions.  So the biggest problem is racism and our need to serve Jesus in ending it.  The second problem is protesting on company time.  And the players may have enough money to buy time on television to voice their views. This is not a “post” it is meant for you. Don’t feel you have to approve the previous “in moderation” “post.”

  8. Wally Fry says:

    “When did employees get the right to engage in political protests of whatever sort in the workplace?”

    I know, right?

    • Don Merritt says:

      Yeah! And if anybody isn’t clear, go to work and start a political protest in the workplace- I’m confident that little misconception will be cleared pretty quickly, although they need to find another job 😊

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