We’re all for freedom of speech and believe that if you’re passionate enough and are willing to sacrifice for your cause, more power to you! That includes football players. If you feel you must take a knee, then plant it right there on the sidelines; in fact, go out on the 50 yard line, be proud, be bold and make everyone understand how serious you take the issue. But be willing to accept the sacrifice heaped upon you, whether it’s criticism from the fans or punishment by the people who sign your very large checks.
Many of us enjoy sports because it’s civilized, entertaining, and a distraction from all of the craziness in the world. So when you bring your passion for anything other than football onto a football field, the NFL brand is effected. The protest won’t increase ratings and only serves to dampen the enthusiasm for the sport. If we were NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for a day and you’re a player being paid a hefty seven or eight-figure salary, that’d be the end of the protest. It doesn’t mean we don’t respect your opinion, but it does mean that we don’t tolerate anything that comes between the brand and the customer. Take your protest to the street but not on the field and not while wearing the NFL logo.
Let’s put this protest in context. What if similar demonstrations occurred during other more common jobs. All non-violent, all with a direct message, all that we’re certain there’s passion for to one degree or another. What if you:
- were a greeter at Walmart and started each greeting with “Al Gore is my god”,
- were a server at Starbucks and wrote “Antifa kills fascists” on the coffee cups before serving,
- were a teacher and during the pledge of allegiance you said the “Oath to ISIS”, or
- were a professional sports player and used eye black that said “we will find a cure” in support of cancer research?
Those actions would likely result in a reprimand and possible termination, i.e., your sacrifice. By the way, that last one happened to DeAngelo Williams, NFL running back. He was fined.
So consider the meaning of patriotism, consider the people who sacrificed so much for this country, and thank Pat Tillman’s family for their sacrifice.