The NFL is in an unenviable position, but I think Jerry Jones accurately assessed the situation in stating that it is the perception of NFL fans that ultimately matters. The NFL brand is tarnished, and for many, irrevocably so.

While it’s clear to me that the kneeling protest of the American flag and anthem is unquestionably aimed at America herself, leftist apologists keep trying to say it’s about “racial injustice” and the lie that a “disproportionate” number of black people are either in prison or shot by police.

Now the NFL is embroiled in a controversy of its own making.  Instead of stopping the protests and demonstrating that its policies and standards would be applied across the board, it instead showed the nation that some protests are more equal than others.

Despite the left’s insistence that Vice President Pence’s decision to walk out of a game during which players knelt for the anthem was a “stunt,” neither I nor hundreds of thousands of American patriots needed President Trump or Vice President Pence to tell us that kneeling for the national anthem is disrespectful and anti-American, particularly when the purpose was explicitly stated to be refusal to respect America.

The NFL protests are not and never were about free speech, and it’s rather amusing to see the left, usually so attuned to “narratives,” miss the mark on this one.

Not only was ESPN anchor Jemele Hill suspended for urging her show’s five remaining viewers to boycott NFL advertisers, but the call itself was ill-considered.

Considering that patriotic Americans (including yours truly) are already boycotting the NFL and its advertisers, this is a ridiculously stupid call.

But that didn’t stop her co-host bravely deciding, after consultation with his ESPN bosses, to sit out the first show after her suspension.

Vibe reports:

News rapidly spread across the Net regarding the two-week suspension of ESPN host Jemele Hill over a second violation of the sports network’s social media guidelines. Her SC6 co-anchor Michael Smith will be sitting out tonight amid Hill’s highly-publicized suspension.

According to Sports Illustrated, Smith and the network came to a “mutual” agreement to sit Monday night’s show out; he will be replaced by Matt Berrie. Smith will return to the evening program tomorrow (Oct. 10).

Hill, who last month tweeted that she believes Donald Trump is a “white supremacist,” reportedly used her Twitter platform to encourage a boycott of the Dallas Cowboys. The football team’s owner, Jerry Jones, released a statement demanding that his players stand for the national anthem or risk being benched from games.

NFL ratings reportedly hit a season low on Monday.

The NAACP has released a statement that Jones is “violating” players’ rights.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation’s original civil rights organization, today responded to the assertion by Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, that players on his team who choose not to stand for the National Anthem will not be allowed to take the field.

“This is not an issue about our flag, this is an issue about police brutality, (racism, and the ability of members of the NFL whose communities are disproportionately impacted by police misconduct to peacefully say enough,” said NAACP interim President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “This is not simply a Black issue due to the number of white people also killed by police, but we know historically that when justice occurs for African Americans, all other members of our society benefit as well,” added Johnson.

Despite representing around 13 percent of the population, African-Americans are account for nearly a quarter of those individuals killed by police.

“Jerry Jones’ comments are more than tone-deaf, more than misinformed and misguided – they are a public commitment by an NFL owner to violate his players’ Constitutional right to free speech – one of the principles on which our nation was founded. They are proof that athletes like Colin Kaepernick who have quietly and peacefully used their platform to protest violence against communities of color do so at their own peril,” said Tony Covington, former NFL player and Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at the NAACP. 

Following Vice President Pence’s decision to walk out of a game in which players chose not to stand during the national anthem – at President Trump’s insistence – the NAACP believes that the NFL has an obligation to take a strong stance on behalf of its athletes and their rights. We have asked to meet with Commissioner Goodell in order to determine how he can best protect his players. We hope that he will work with us and the Players’ Association to forge this critical path forward. [emphasis in original]

The NAACP is also on the wrong side of the dominant narrative: taking a knee during the national anthem and before our nation’s flag is seen as disrespectful and insulting to our nation and to our nation’s military.  The NAACP can keep spitting into the wind on this one, but the NFL—like every other business—has, and is allowed to have, policies and rules covering its players behavior both on and off the field/job.

The NFL screwed up.  Bigly.  It should never have allowed the Kaepernick insult to our anthem and flag, just as it didn’t allow 9/11 recognition or tributes to assassinated police officers.  The NAACP didn’t jump in and demand that these players be permitted their free speech in supporting law enforcement and observing 9/11, so their protest now rings hollow.

The left wants us to believe that the First Amendment guarantees a compliant audience who must sit mutely and not respond in any way to someone else’s expression of their free speech.  That’s not true. We are not compelled to support or to in any way finance anti-American protests that insult our heritage and culture.

These spoiled players can take the knee in visible, televised anti-America sentiment against the “oppression” that affords them multi-million dollar contracts, and the NFL can say they cannot then play that day.  The players can insult America, her military, and her flag, and the American public and NFL supporters can respond by not participating in the NFL (watching, buying tickets or merchandise, and etc.) and by deciding we will not purchase the products of NFL advertisers.

Ain’t free speech grand?