My first thought on this entire matter is that this incident and chain of events was set off by one man. And that man is the President of the United States. And while we have Puerto Rico attempting to rebuild itself after being rocked by Hurricane Maria, our President is focused on players taking a knee during the national anthem in an organization that he has absolutely no clout in.
Does this guy understand what just happened in Puerto Rico? We do understand that Puerto Rico is an American territory, right? It’s literally one of our own. And while we have people stranded without homes and power, we have a leader who is going to condemn players for kneeling during our National Anthem, while it was difficult for him to condemn white supremacists in Charlottesville, VA. These athletes are sons of bitches and should be fired from their place of business but at the same time, there were some people attending the march in Virginia who were “very fine people”.
And this is where the issue comes from with people who are strongly enraged by this man. Listen, I am someone who tries hard to stay out of the political battlefield, but suddenly on Friday, the political battlefield arrived on sports soil. So now we have a story.
As we all remember, last year during the preseason, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback at the time, Colin Kaepernick, decided to take a knee during the National Anthem in order to take a stance against police brutality against the African American community.
After a season of controversy surrounding that move as he continued that action throughout the entire season, Kaepernick currently sits unemployed as a former NFL quarterback. This has sparked enough controversy over the offseason as people were curious to know why he did not have a job and seemed to point to these prior actions to be the main cause. But that’s a story for another article that I already wrote.
Through the 2016 season, you saw a few players join in on his protest. But there wasn’t enough noise to really shake up the political landscape and at the time, we had a President with the last name Obama who understood that there were more important things going on than the NFL’s pregame ceremonies.
As this year began you saw the number of players begin to amass in these protests. There were large names such as Marshawn Lynch and Michael Bennett. They would kneel, or in some cases, sit during the nation’s song.
And on Friday, during a rally in Alabama, President Donald Trump went off the rails and wanted to fire up the crowd in the deep, deep… DEEP south and called those kneeling “sons of bitches” and called for their jobs to be stripped from them.
In doing so, Trump then incited a mass protest in the NFL on the following Sunday and more players than ever before, black and white alike, were seen linking arms, kneeling, or even staying in the locker room during the National Anthem.
So I have always been someone who has taken great pride in this country that I live in. Do I like the current President? Absolutely not. Not even a little bit. I think he’s flat out too unstable to be holding the most powerful office in the world. But I have always been sitting on the side of standing for the anthem simply for those men and women overseas who have sacrificed it all in the name of this great nation.
BUT… after hearing our president condemn those kneeling by insulting them, I thought instantly that the league needs to band together and stand up to Donald Trump and protest the president by unifying in a time where he is attempting to divide.
And that’s what people need to grasp about this whole concept. The players kneeling before this week have clear motives. No, they don’t despise the country that gave them the most blessed opportunity to play a game for a living and make millions. Well maybe they did, I’m just assuming there. Though instead they knelt in the name of those African American citizens who have been murdered by police in an unjust manner.
And as for those who linked arms yesterday who generally don’t take part in these silent protests. Those who stayed in the locker room and those who knelt who are usually standing tall did it for one reason, to show President Trump that he cannot divide the family that is the NFL and that they stand by their brothers who are silently fighting for a cause that they deeply believe in. That’s all it was.
Did they disrespect the anthem? Yes they did. I see it as a just cause however. We have a man in office who skated his way to the presidency by dividing people whether you believe that or not. And by kneeling yesterday, the NFL proved that they cannot be split and will not accept President Trump’s words.
Do they necessarily agree with what their teammates point of view is on certain political matters? I’m going to say probably not. Will there be backlash because of how they handled the situation yesterday? Yeah most likely. I am already seeing a TON of jersey burning videos and a New England Patriots fan page on Facebook literally begin a boycott because of the protests. This whole story became a wild fire that engulfed the internet in flames.
And to the people claiming that they are going to boycott the NFL because of this. I’ll see you Sunday when Red Zone kicks on and you need to check your fantasy score. Come on now. YOU KNOW and I KNOW that you’ll be ordering your wings and drinking your cheap beer come Sunday.
Let’s get back on track though for a minute. I do have another question for the readers who are heated over the protests… What other forms of protest would you have liked to see? Because I’ll be honest, every time I see a protest from groups who feel discriminated against, I see certain parts of the internet light up and go “YOU CAN’T PROTEST LIKE THAT! THAT’S NOT RIGHT!” for literally every… single… protest. It’s the classic, “You have the write to voice your opinion and protest matters you feel need attention… But not like that… or that… or that”. It seems like at this point the only protest people are going to be okay with is people writing on pieces of paper, “Please fix [insert issue here]” and holding it up in the air.
Can we just be honest and say that the internet as a whole hates protesting? Because it is never enough for people. Nobody is every happy with the way people express their concerns and that’s just the reality we live in.
Greg Popovich said it best tonight. The only way we are going to work out this race issue that is clearly prevalent, is by constantly talking about it. Because if we just let it simmer and sit quietly in the shadows, it is only going to escalate.
What happened in the NFL yesterday wasn’t a full protest against the way that the United States has been treating African Americans in the eyes of the law. But it was a protest against President Trump that basically gave him the middle finger and saying, “Hey, we cannot be divided.” So burn your jerseys if you want to. Tell Twitter that you won’t be watching any games next weekend (wink, wink), and boo your favorite players like they did at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. Because to me, that was a show of solidarity between teammates telling each other that they have each others backs whether they agree or not. And they are not going to allow a man with tiny hands to tear them down.
PS I have small hands and I’m not afraid to admit that. I’m a small handed man and I’m proud. I can slip my hand between any and all couch cushions. And I went to California last week and ended up at a wax museum in Hollywood. One of the exhibits was molded hands of celebrities… AND MY PUNY BABY HANDS ARE BIGGER THAN PRESIDENT TRUMP’S. I was dying. Believe me folks, there’s not problem… But God damn his hands are basically infantile.
And not trying to toot the NFL’s horn… but after President Trump bashed their ratings, they actually went up yesterday and this was the first week where ratings beat last year’s mark during the corresponding week.
Plus another cool fact is that Army Ranger and offensive lineman for the Pittsburg Steelers, Alejandro Villanueva, currently has the highest selling jersey. I have nothing to say about that but I just thought it was kind of cool considering he was front and center with his hand over his heart while the remainder of his team sat in the locker room.
And before I sign off from this piece, my God can I stop hearing about how NASCAR was condemning their own if they were to not stand for the Anthem? Can anything be less surprising. Gee, I wonder what demographic they’re going for there. Please, let’s keep these red states in the south happy. If anything, that’s just good business by NASCAR.
Written By: Nick Quaglia (@NickQuag)