On the EDge: NFL caved to presidential bullying

Photo by m-gucci/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

OPINION – My interest in the National Football League has diminished the last few years.

The announcement of a restrictive rule that would penalize players and teams for actions deemed “disrespectful” in regard to the national anthem won’t do much to draw me back into the game.

There is a monopoly at work here, but if the players have the courage to stand for their rights, this monopoly can be defeated.

The NFL caved last week to the pressures of presidential bullying with a rule change designed to penalize athletes and team owners for taking a knee, or other behavior deemed inappropriate, during the anthem.

“This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a statement released on Wednesday after announcing the new rule.

That means if you wish to make a stand, you may do so as long as you do it out of sight of the fans and television cameras, in the solitude of the locker room.

The players have some leverage in this.

First, there is this little thing called the First Amendment. They have a right to express themselves, guaranteed by the First Amendment.

But there is also this problem the NFL has had over the years of being a monopoly, which even resulted in a Congressional exclusion from antitrust laws.

Yes, there’s the Canadian Football League, but that’s a different nation.

And for the die-hard football junkies, there is the Arena Football League, a mishmash of wannabes riding that carousel one more time in hopes of a rags-to-riches finish in the big time.

Neither pays well, especially when compared with NFL salaries. It’s an exclusive club, and for years there have been restrictions placed upon who can join and, once a member, who can stay.

Players formed their own union, which has been more involved over the years with cutting out a bigger piece of the money pie. Pertinent issues, such as domestic violence and head trauma injuries, are gaining some traction, but as always, the NFLPA has been more or less centered on a chase after more money.

That’s why there wasn’t much gusto behind a statement released by the NFLPA upon the announcement of the new rule:

The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new ‘policy.’ NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about.

The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL’s Management Council John Mara about the principles, values and patriotism of our League.

Our union will review the new ‘policy’ and challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.

It’s a weak statement, especially when placed in the context of the president’s union-busting mentality and the blowback of last season when the whole issue of taking a knee during the anthem overwhelmed the game and the actions of players before kickoff were considered more important than the final score.

Now, in the regular world, where the minimum salary is far less than the $480,000 the lowest-paid players will receive this season, there are many companies out there where you can ply your trade, whether butcher, baker or candlestick maker.

These companies have the right to set their own rules, and if you don’t like them, you are free to move on to a different company with rules more in line with your own sensibilities, standards and beliefs.

However, if you are a professional football player and your employer – the NFL – implements a rule that you feel is unfounded, unjust or an affront to your civil liberties, you have no recourse. There aren’t many other jobs were your 4.4 time in the 40-yard dash and the number of times you can bench press 225 pounds will matter. You simply cannot go elsewhere and earn a similar income in exchange for your athletic talents.

That is where the NFLPA can score on this, by simply going to the courts, laying out the monopoly the NFL has and explaining how the league treats players in a manner inconsistent with fair employment practices and civil liberties.

There is also the not-so-subtle shadow of racism that further weighs down this whole issue.

You might remember that in the beginning, taking a knee during the anthem was an expression of protest against racial inequality and was a response to the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police officers.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after a preseason game in 2016 when he took a knee during the anthem.

“To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” Kaepernick said. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Kaepernick had initial support from not only teammates and fellow players but from his team and the league itself. A team spokesman said the following at the time:

The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pregame ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.

Chip Kelly, who was Kaepernick’s coach at the time, said the quarterback’s decision not to stand during the national anthem is his right as a citizen, adding that “it’s not my right to tell him not to do something.”

The NFL also released a statement that read: “Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem.”

The issue blew up beyond all reason when the president wagged a tiny little finger into the cameras and said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

It inflamed his knuckle-dragging base of supporters, which includes most NFL team owners who brought pressure to bear on Goodell, who despite initial support for the players has knifed them in the back to capitulate to a guy who will someday provoke historians to ask, “What was America thinking?”

The answer, of course, is that it wasn’t.

No bad days!

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: edkociela.mx@gmail.com

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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76 Comments

  • Blemonds May 29, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Kociela fails to understand that while NFL players have a First Amendment right to speak, that does not extend to their place of employment. Your employer has the right to restrict your speech while you are “on the job”. NFL players, even after the rules change, retain the right to express their concerns, on their own time.

    • ladybugavenger May 29, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      Exactly!
      Dont we all have that issue. We are not free to say whatever we want on the job. At least at my work. I mean, I’d like to say all kinds of things to customers but I just have to nod and smile. Ugh! There is no free speech while you are employed 😁

    • Anejo June 3, 2018 at 7:13 am

      While I agree with you on the ability to restrict the 1st amendment on private property and with private business does the president have the authority to coerce a private business into restricting the 1st amendment based on his interpretation of that amendment?

      The NFL policy was one of almost indifference until the president commented on it and now their policy changes allow teams to discipline protestors as they see fit.

      While I have no issue with any business/citizen protesting/not is it constitutional for a sitting president to tell anyone how they can, or cannot, exercise their constitutional rights?

  • actonmac May 29, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    I think he’s missing the whole reason the NFL has made the new rule. It’s all about money, the sponsors are the one’s putting pressure on the league. I know it doesn’t fit with the liberal mind set that Trump did it, but the cash is what is talking.

  • Southpaw May 29, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    I’m going to make an assumption. I assume Ed never served his country. He even admitted in an article a couple of weeks ago he couldn’t even make it in the Cub Scouts. I’ll go out on a limb here. I suspect Ed has never even had a real job. A first amendment right to speak does not apply to a person’s workplace.

    • No Filter May 29, 2018 at 10:31 pm

      A author is a job, when you get paid for your services, it’s called a job. Your “real job” is not a real thing, which is why you can find it’s definition in urban dictionary, not Webster’s. Who are you to say he has never had a real job? what does this have to do with the article he wrote?

  • jj9384 May 29, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Mr. Kociela, When you’re at your place of employment especially in a company that if there is no fans spending money to support these outrageous sallies then what do you have, I think the public has spoken on how they feel about the players disrespecting the flag and the National Anthem and that’s why they changed the rules. It has nothing to do with the president, it’s all of us red blooded Americans standing up for patriotism. I don’t see the players fighting to fix the problems in the inner city as to how may African Americans are killed every year by gang violence. These guys are disrespecting the very people that protect us, whether it be our armed forces or the law enforcement. I don’t know what the real numbers on how many people are shot and killed by law enforcement, but what I do is that if the person followed the direct orders given to them they would still be alive. In my option one life taken whether it’s black, white, brown is to many.

  • RadRabbit May 29, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    I wonder if Ed would defend my right to open carry my gun while working against my employers wishes? You have rights but while your on the job you are bound by the rules and regulations your employer lays out if you don’t like it you are free to find another place of employment. Also I would say the NFL reacted to public pressure in the fact that viewership has taken a sharp decline due to the politicization of something many of us consider an escape from the politics of the world along with the utter disrespect shown for our flag and national anthem.

    • PatriotLiberal May 29, 2018 at 5:32 pm

      I wonder…would you say the same thing about Cliven Bundy? After all, if he doesn’t like paying the grazing fees he agreed to (obey the rules) he can simply find another place to live, right?

      I mean, he has rights but while you’re living in America you are bound by the rules and regulations we the people lay out. If he doesn’t like it he is free to find another place to live.

      I’m sure you agree, right?

      • John May 29, 2018 at 6:20 pm

        clueless panty-Fa…hahahahaha!

    • Utahguns May 29, 2018 at 8:19 pm

      I wonder what would happen if I openly carried my sidearm while participating in the Huntsman softball games?

      • Badshitzoo May 30, 2018 at 8:16 am

        Have you ever commented about something w/o telling the world you’re a concealed carrier? Grow up! Nobody cares; except, the one terrorist, or school shooter, who will shoot you first, probably saving a number of people from becoming victims of your stray shots! Last year I had a guy stop at a garage sale I was having, he noticed I was selling a gun, and right in front of 6-7 customers, he felt compelled to show me his “Concealed Carry” weapon, and then hold up the line while he told me, and everyone within earshot, all about it. It’s a “Concealed Carry” permit; not a “Tell Us all about it permit”. If I’m a criminal looking to steal some firearms, who’s house do you think someone would hit? Ladybugavengers, or Utahguns?

        • Utahguns May 30, 2018 at 12:49 pm

          Cherry picking my comments to suit your agenda? Typical lib shitzoo.
          BTW…I’m sure LBA could more than take care of herself as well.

          PS: It’s amazing that people like me live rent free in your head.

  • observant one May 29, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    Is it possible that the NFL owners first caved to the PC, America is the problem crowd? And now they are making it worse by trying to back up out of that?
    I turn the TV to football to get away from all this garbage, not get another dose, even if there is a point. It IS all about the money, and that’s a good thing.

  • Utahguns May 29, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Ed…
    Do you kneel when the National Anthem is played?
    How about when you see a military veteran? What about the American flag?

    ps: Your closing line…”no bad days”?
    I can’t think of a better way for one to start the day on the wrong foot, than by reading your diatribe.

  • Craig May 29, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Yup, must be racism. One might worry you and Al Sharpton are partners in promoting racism.

    If you read the news and financial information, the NFL caved to the owners who caved to the fans. Not complicated at all.

    Defending spoiled brats making millions of dollars is a rather low place to be.

    Standing respectfully for the flag and anthem is just that, respect, respect for the men and women who come home with the flag on their coffin. I’m sorry you find it unacceptable to expect employees to respect the flag.

    The flawed character you revealed today is yours, not the President’s.

  • Blemonds May 29, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    I think it is safe to say that those, like Kociela, who argue that NFL players have a right to free speech on the job also believe it was the right thing to fire Roseanne Barr even though she spoke on her own time.

  • statusquo May 29, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    If the NFL players don’t want to work under the rulebook laid down by their employers there are always other options available for such talented loud mouths. I’m sure Kaepernick could get a job coaching at at high school in some small town friendly to his political persuasion, but then, maybe not.

    • PatriotLiberal May 29, 2018 at 6:34 pm

      If Cliven Bundy and his pack don’t want to work under the rulebook laid down by we the people there are always other options available for people like them. I’m sure Bundy could a place to live that is more friendly to his political persuasion but I doubt it.

      I’m not saying I agree with the NFL players, I’m just pointing out the glaring hypocrisy you right-wingers put on display every day.

      • John May 29, 2018 at 8:12 pm

        Nothing right wing about it panty-fa.. you are truly a tool..

  • NotSoFast May 29, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Ed, Don’t you know your PC thinking is going out of style?

    • mesaman May 29, 2018 at 9:02 pm

      Some become more knowledgeable with age, others turn sour and smell. Nice try, Ed.

  • Kyle L. May 29, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    I am pleased to read the comments on here! Sometimes it is disheartening to have liberal comments splashed around after one of Eddies articles. I am truly glad that this seems to be one thing that all of us agree upon in Southern Utah. Proud to be a citizen of the GREATEST COUNTRY the world has ever seen! Ed, if you are not might I suggest that you find one that better suits your ideals and move there. Maybe you could work for one of the government run news outlets.

    • No Filter May 29, 2018 at 10:18 pm

      Please tell me how the US is the greatest country in the world, aside from total defense spending and the leader in total number of incarcerated citizens and mass school shootings? Besides those facts we are not the greatest at anything. I love living in this country, but it’s not because we are the greatest. I love this country because of the diversity of people, the scenic landscape, and because my family and friends live here.

  • Kevin May 29, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    Hey Eddie, curious. Is there anything you could do or say at work or in public that would subject you to discipline? The players’ 1st amendment rights are not being abridged (you must have missed that day of con law). Rather, they can express their views but as workplaces often to – read NBA here – there are consequences to expressing free speech. Ask the cast and crew from Rosanne. Speaking of Rosanne, I’m sure that your intellectual consistency extends to your sure outrage over her swift termination. Right?

  • Steve May 29, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    Hang in there Ed. Southern Utah is especially hazardous for freethinkers who refuse to drink conservative hog swill.

    • Kyle L. May 29, 2018 at 7:06 pm

      You should find Ed and go hide in a freezer some where so the two of you don’t melt! It is starting to get a little toasty out.

  • tcrider May 29, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    good article Ed,

    Another tool the nfl players have at their disposal, is the fact that
    they are all members of a players union, it is called the
    NFLPA, it is the labor organization representing the professional American football players in the National Football League, all the players need to do is make it a issue at their next union meeting and then it does not matter what the pos dungle has to say about it.
    Like so many of the other retirees with a good pension, we made a choice to work for a employer that offered employee rights and a good pension, something that is hard to find in Southern Utah, but its still a good place to retire.

    • Kyle L. May 29, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      If southern Utah is such a great place, why do you keep trying to make it into the place that you moved from? Why don’t you accept the fact that conservative values are what has made this community into the place you now enjoy? If something is good, leave it alone.

  • Real Life May 29, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Ed, you are recycling your old stories. You lost that argument already, and you are losing it again. But hey, just republish THIS piece in 3 more months and maybe you’ll get lucky.

  • John May 29, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Ed, did your crayons melt too? Just like you do every time you share your fact starved liberal opinions?

  • commonsense May 29, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Why was the flag and national anthem not an issue for NFL players while Obama was president? The same reason Confederate statues were not an issue just months ago.
    Could it be just another distraction by Dems to create the illusion of chaos, manufactured to distract from MAGA and the faded Obama legacy?

  • Utahguns May 29, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    http://www.loneconservative.com

  • jaybird May 29, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    So tired of the 20% meatheads, morons of this country running it. Tired of the racism here in this country like we ALL are not Americans. Its their right to take a knee. I hope they all opt to stay in the locker room. Trumps got a lot of hypocritical nerve lecturing patriot moves to ANYONE. He dodged the draft. Liar, scumbag, bottom feeder that some have believed. His values ARE NOT those I grew up to believe in. God bless America, but send Trumps ideology to hell.

    • Kyle L. May 29, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      Leave! You will get a good price for your home right now because of all the people that want to be part of OUR society.

      • John May 29, 2018 at 9:48 pm

        There would be so much less to laugh at if jailbird leaves…hahahahahahahahha! Somebody bailed him out again!

      • jaybird May 30, 2018 at 10:11 am

        You leave moron. Its for the minority of meatheads like YOU who have this country screwed up. Shut up if you cant stand up for freedom against racism. Trump dodged the draft and has proven himself a white bigot.

        • John May 30, 2018 at 11:47 am

          hey jailbird! how long was your last incarceration? It must suck not being allowed to vote!

    • comments May 30, 2018 at 12:26 am

      trump is actually the anti-morality. He is the swamp. He is the filthiest stinkiest scum that grows in the stagnant waters of the swamp, yet these idiot buffoon pretend “conservatives” like little john down there think trump is the returned messiah. Sometimes I feel like we’re living in loony land twilight zone. Some of these right-wing loons will always be braindead. they don’t come back from that level of stupid–can’t be fixed. He’ll faithfully come back with his child playground attempt-insult remarks. It’s all he knows.

  • ladybugavenger May 29, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    I use yo watch football because it was a fun game to watch and cheer on my team. Now it’s so dang political I dont want to watch it. Boooooooo!

  • No Filter May 29, 2018 at 9:54 pm

    Making NFL players stand for the National Anthem is the same as making kids stand for the Pledge of Allegience. It is against our rights as citizens. The same thing goes for prayers, it can never be forced upon us. The national anthem is not part of their job therefore they cannot be made to participate. Just as your work can’t make you do the anthem before your work day.

    • Kyle L. May 29, 2018 at 10:09 pm

      Your a traitor to this great country and should reevaluate your loyalty. It is a choice to be here just as much as it is a choice to respect our anthem. The problem with the libs is that they have no respect for anything but the disrespect of everything.

      • No Filter May 30, 2018 at 8:56 am

        The founding fathers were once called traitors when they stood up against the King of England. Seems funny that you think I am a traitor because I support free speech. What loyalty do you speak of? Loyalty to Trump? Loyalty to your conservative views? What about loyalty to my beliefs? Do they not count because I am a liberal? Sounds to me like you are complaining that I am not loyal to you.

      • jaybird May 30, 2018 at 10:12 am

        Its a real traitor who supports a bunch helped by Russia.

    • Utahguns May 29, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      Now that is unbelievably ignorant….
      What do you “stand” for ?

      • No Filter May 30, 2018 at 8:37 am

        I stand for those who can’t stand for themselves. When we serve in the military we don’t just serve the people who have flags on their porch and those who like to wear patriotic t-shirts, but we serve and protect all citizens in the United States. I stand for the homeless man who begs for money on the corner, I stand for the urban black youth that is being killed or injured by the police for no reason other than the color of their skin, and I stand for the hippies who may not have served in the military and enjoying smoking marijuana while writing about their beliefs in a newspaper that is read by 90% hard core republicans. When you sign up for military service you don’t get to choose who you serve, you serve all Americans. Does that answer your question of what I stand for?

        • comments May 30, 2018 at 7:33 pm

          LOL filters, did you enlist?

          • No Filter May 30, 2018 at 9:55 pm

            3 tours in the sand box during the war.

  • Kyle L. May 29, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    Stand for the anthem or walk for the border. My family fought for this country. If you don’t respect the flag they bleed under you do not deserve to live in the country it represents. Ed is an … . So is anyone that will not stand in respect for our country.
    Ed. ellipsis

    • No Filter May 30, 2018 at 8:19 am

      I am glad you have respect for your family who served this country because you should, but don’t assume that because someone is a liberal that they didn’t serve their country and they don’t have respect for the flag they fought under. Many men and women who served support the players kneeling. They are not disrespectful, they are standing up for an injustice and using their power to stand up for those who cannot do it themselves, that is patriotic. If a person cannot silently protest against injustice without being persecuted then we are no different than any other country without freedoms. I served my country honorably and any little punk like yourself who tells me I don’t respect our country can kiss my …

    • jaybird May 30, 2018 at 10:24 am

      What does our country state for? Not your nonsense. Freedom to stand up against racism and oppression is more important than your false racist views. Fighting for that Walmart job are you? Dupe.

    • Badshitzoo May 30, 2018 at 11:31 am

      Your family could have fought in World War Z for all I care. That doesn’t make you, or them some kind of Royalty. So quit with your wishful thinking about what others “deserve”, cause nothing of the sort, is ever going to happen; cause, my entire family has served as well, including myself (something I noticed you didn’t mention) and I fought for: 1. The guy fighting next to me. 2. The nation of laws that protect those who can’t protect themselves. If LEO’s were killing people that looked like you & your family every week, I’d be fighting for you as well.

  • commonsense May 29, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Jaybird has been watching CNN. Your news source will determine your ideology. Garbage in, garbage out. The NFL is a business and it’s owners have the right to protect their investment by dictating standards of behavior. Trump is not perfect but this country is so much better, more prosperous and safer than it was 16 months ago.

    • jaybird May 30, 2018 at 10:21 am

      Commonnonsence, at least I READ. Your reality consists of Fox News, state run props.

    • John May 30, 2018 at 11:49 am

      jailbird watches cnn and can’t even comprehend the third grade level fake new they make up

  • General Seamstress May 29, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    Reality is every side of everything can be perfectly argued oppositely. Both sides r usually always right. All u have done is spin a liberal view. Whoopie.

  • General Seamstress May 29, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    Ps. I’m tired of the whiney snowflakes. We should stop letting anti Americans use our freedoms against us.

  • General Seamstress May 29, 2018 at 11:47 pm

    Clive Bundy was grandfathered in. Its now been proven. Oops.

  • comments May 30, 2018 at 12:08 am

    The real question is why does anyone look up to NFL players for any reason in the first place? So they can run around and charge into eachother like angry hormonal beasts and chuck a little ball back and forth. Monkeys and even lesser animals can be trained to do these things. Bottom line: it aint impressive. If you’re putting money into this stuff in any form you are at the very least a sucker, but more than likely you’re an idiot. It’s as classless as NASCAR. In the real world cars need to be able to turn both directions, and I’m not gonna pay money to watch a bunch of oversize angry hormonal beasts toss a ball back and forth. I’d rather go and visit a zoo. At least when animals act like that they have the excuse that they are animals. What are NFL idots’ excuses, both players and watchers?

    • comments May 30, 2018 at 12:11 am

      *NFL idiots’

      complete and total idiots. I don’t hate any of you idiots, but you should know your hobby is making you brain dead, IF YOU’RE AREN’T ALREADY. I go watch the primates at the zoo and there is so much similarity. AND I HAVE 0 RESPECT FOR MONKEYS. I DON’T LIKE THEM, BUT THEY ENTERTAIN ME. THEY ARE FUNNER TO WATCH THAN NFL! BY FAR!

  • Kyle L. May 30, 2018 at 12:14 am

    ED, I will be expecting you to be standing up for Rosanne and her comments right? She was after all just practicing her first amendment right.

    • John May 30, 2018 at 2:31 am

      Would be a miracle coming from the extreme left hate baiter special eddy!

  • mshaw May 30, 2018 at 6:41 am

    The writer of this article is a left wing cook and should have to go do his storytelling down on the Baja in Mexico he is not a true American

    • jaybird May 30, 2018 at 10:18 am

      Baja is a great place to live on your half baked wages, mshaw. Lots of Americans there living la vida loca. Meanwhile, you’re stuck making $9/hr as a Walmart greeter and letting the church dictate your happiness. Live well my friend in your blindness.

  • jaybird May 30, 2018 at 10:14 am

    And John here is just that. A john.

    • John May 30, 2018 at 11:50 am

      Ex cons like you should talk? hahahahahahahaha!

      • jaybird May 30, 2018 at 4:03 pm

        Honestly, you are so stupid, your insults dont matter. You are not a man.

      • John May 30, 2018 at 6:57 pm

        jailbird, you aren’t an adult…hahahahahaha! go cry to somebody who gives a crap !

        • jaybird May 30, 2018 at 9:45 pm

          And you, john, are an easy troll.

  • ladybugavenger May 31, 2018 at 6:34 am

    These football players are not paid millions of dollars to have “free speech” they are there to play a game. Standing for the star spangled banner is part of the job. Its American football. Now get back to the game! Do your free speech without getting paid an incredibly disgusting amount of money.

  • PatriotLiberal May 31, 2018 at 7:57 am

    TEACHERS (who, outside of parents, are responsible for the education of our children) should be paid more that Football players (who contribute NOTHING to our society). it’s really astonishing to me that we, as a society, have arrived at the conclusion that it’s perfectly accceptable to pay men MILLIONS OF DOLLARS to toss ball around but a teacher gets paid a pittance and then has to buy his/her own stuff.

    I know that’s off topic but it needed to be said.

  • Marty June 1, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    Received the below in an email. Where the blank spots are, there were photos. Some were of wives draped over the flag draped coffins of their husbands, wives laying by their fallen soldier husband. Compare that to the brilliancy of Ed’s opinion.

    To the NFL and its players,

    If I have brain cancer, I don’t ask my dentist what I should do. If my car has a problem, I don’t seek help from a plumber! Why do you think the public cares what a football player thinks about politics? If we want to know about football, then depending on the information we seek, we might consult with you, but even a quarterback doesn’t seek advice on playing his position from a defensive tackle!

    You seem to have this over inflated view of yourselves, thinking because you enjoy working on such a large scale stage, that somehow your opinion about everything matters. The NFL realizes the importance of its “image” so it has rules that specify the clothes and insignia you can wear, the language you use, and your “antics” after a touchdown or other “great” play. But somehow you and your employer don’t seem to care that you disgrace the entire nation and its 320 million people in the eyes of the world by publicly disrespecting this country, its flag, and its anthem! The taxpaying citizens of this country subsidize your plush work environments, yet you choose to use those venues to openly offend those very citizens.

    Do you even understand what the flag of this country means to so many of its citizens before you choose to “take a knee” in protest of this “country” during our national anthem?

    You may think because you are paid so much that your job is tough, but you are clueless when it comes to tough. Let me show you those whose job is really tough.

    You are spoiled babies who stand around and have staff squirt GatorAid in your mouths, sit in front of misting cooling fans when it’s warm, and sit on heated benches when it’s cold. That’s not “tough” that’s pampered.

    You think that you deserve to be paid excessively high salaries, because you play a “dangerous” game where you can incur career ending injuries. Let me show you career ending injuries!

    You think you that you deserve immediate medical attention and the best medical facilities and doctors when injured. Let me show you what it’s like for those who really need and deserve medical attention.

    You think you have the right to disrespect the flag of the United States, the one our veterans fought for, risked limbs and mental stability to defend, in many cases died for. Let me show you what our flag means to them, their families, and their friends.

    You believe you are our heroes, when in reality you are nothing but overpaid entertainers, who exist solely for our enjoyment! Well, your current antics are neither entertaining nor enjoyable, but rather a disgrace to this country, its citizens, all our veterans and their families, and the sacrifices they have made to ensure this country remains free. You choose to openly disgrace this country in the eyes of the rest of the world, yet with all your money, still choose to live here rather than in any other country. People with even the slightest amount of “Class” will stand and respect our flag.. Where does that put you? You want to see heroes… here are this countries heroes!

    You can protest policies, the current government, or anything else you choose, that is your right. But when you “protest” our flag and anthem, you are insulting the nation we all live in and love, and all those who have served, been injured, or died to keep it free. There is nothing you can do or say that can make your actions anything more than the arrogance of classless people, who care about themselves more than our country or the freedoms for which our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much, to ensure you have the “right” to speak freely. Our country is far from perfect, but if you can point to any other country where your freedom and opportunities are better than they are here, then you just might want to go there and show respect for their flag!

    If you respect America and all those who have sacrificed so much to keep her free, please forward this to your friends and relatives. Eventually, it should end up in the mailboxes of those who choose to disrespect our country, its service members, our veterans, their families, and all of us who appreciate the freedoms America represents.

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