“Most people see this for what it is, the NFL embracing anti-Trumpism”
To kneel during the national anthem or not is one of the dumber questions of our time, but here we are — grappling with the very basics of patriotism in the losing battle with cultural marxism.
Sunday, Professor Jacobson wrote an excellent piece explaining how the NFL must live with the consequences of the side they’ve chosen in the culture wars.
The NFL is as political an organization as there is, now. It picked sides in the culture war, and the side it picked is decidedly left. The NFL refused to allow the Dallas Cowboys to display a decal honoring the Dallas police killed by a Black Lives Matter supporter, yet it is completely supporting the “right” of players to kneel on the sideline while the National Anthem is played, as both a sign of support for the Black Lives Matter movement and an anti-Trump protest.
Since wading into the cultural pond, and in keeping with the arm-twisting progressive culture of intimidation, the NFL (implicitly if not explicitly) has determined that some protests are more equal than others.
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) September 14, 2016
— Legal Insurrection (@LegInsurrection) September 24, 2017
And when it comes to kneelgate, look no further than Steeler’s offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva.
Villanueva a former Army Ranger decided to stand for the national anthem while the rest of his team stayed in the locker room. As thanks for his counter protest and patriotism, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin took a swipe at Villanueva in a post-game interview.
Fox News has that story:
“Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team,” Tomlin said.
Tomlin told the media that, prior to kickoff Sunday, the Steelers held a team meeting and decided, though not unanimously, to not come out of the locker room for the national anthem. Tomlin added the intent was to have his team focus on the game and not President Trump’s comments blasting players who chose to protest during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“Many of them felt like something needed to be done. I asked those guys to discuss it and whatever they discussed that we have 100 percent participation or we do nothing,” Tomlin said after the game. “They discussed it for an appropriate length of time and they couldn’t come to an understanding, so they chose to remove themselves from it. They were not going to be disrespectful in the anthem so they chose not to participate, but at the same time many of them were not going to accept the words of the president.”
Villanueva, who served three tours in Afghanistan, decided to stand his ground instead and placed his hand over his heart while the anthem played.
“We’re not politicians. We’re coaches and professional athletes,” Tomlin said Sunday. “If those of us or individuals choose to participate in politics in some way I’m going to be supportive of that. But when we come out of locker rooms, we come out of locker rooms to play football games.”
There appeared to be some confusion in the Steelers locker room after Villanueva came out of the tunnel for the anthem.
Offensive tackle Chris Hubbard told Penn Live that the players, by a slim majority, voted in favor of staying off the field instead of standing on the sideline holding hands.
“We thought we were all in attention with the same agreement, obviously,” linebacker James Harrison told the website. “But, I guess we weren’t.”
Hubbard, however, said everyone in the locker room accepted that Villanueva would be exempt from the team’s decision.
Villanueva may have been the only Steeler standing with hand over heart for the national anthem, but he has the support of his teammates. Similar factions are appearing in other teams where players appear to value team agreement over other considerations.
Axios has Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on the matter:
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady came out against President Trump’s NFL comments this morning with Boston’s WEEI hosts Kirk and Callahan during his weekly Monday morning radio hit:
“Yeah, I certainly disagree with what [Trump] said. I thought it was just divisive… Like I said, I just want to support my teammates. I am never one to say, ‘Oh, that is wrong. That is right.’ I do believe in what I believe in. I believe in bringing people together and respect and love and trust. Those are the values that my parents instilled in me.”
Why it matters: Trump has called Brady a friend and described him as “the BEST quarterback.”
Several teams chose to stand, arms locked, for the national anthem: the Vikings, Texans, Eagles, Jets, and Bengals.
“Football and politics don’t mix easily. Fans come to NFL games to watch great competition on the playing field and that’s where our focus should be,” wrote the Bengals in an official statement.
For the teams choosing to rally around players with less patriotic inclinations, the damage is as of yet inestimable. Few fans appreciate the politicalization of sports and even fewer care to watch something as basic as the national anthem disrespected, regardless of the reason why.
As Professor Jacobson, a now former diehard Patriot’s fan wrote, “most people see this for what it is, the NFL embracing anti-Trumpism. Purely political. Has nothing to do with freedom of speech.”
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