Beating a dead horse: Protests, ratings and the NFL experience

I went to a professional football game last Sunday.  The sky did not fall down.

Hours before the game, a friend sent me a text asking me if I wanted to play golf that afternoon.  I politely declined, saying I was going to the game.  An avid sports fan, his reply was surprising and curt.  “You’re supporting those fucks?”

I could only assume he was referring to all the anthem kneelings that had been going on and not the fact that the Buccaneers, despite winning that afternoon, are still a team of dysfunction.

After checking out the sights and sounds of that particular Sunday, I can tell you the NFL is still alive and well despite how many of us are upset with how much of the league handled last week’s, pre-game ceremonies.  The Giants-Buccaneers game was a sell-out; NFL fanfare was in full effect.

In fact, according to attendance figures, all stadiums but one this year are routinely filled to 85% capacity or better, the lone outlier being Cincinnati and let’s be honest, who in their right mind would want to watch the Bengals?

That’s not to say there weren’t people who avoided watching the games altogether.  I know for a fact that one bar owner experienced a loss in sales that Sunday that may, or may not, have had to do with fans unhappy with the league’s actions.  I know of another business owner who considered cancelling his subscription to the NFL package altogether.  While this is only a random sample size of two (three if you include my golfing buddy), it shows that people are upset with how the league has handled this.

For one brief moment, let’s exclude right and wrong from the argument since these are preconceived, subjective notions anyway.

Not long ago, one reader questioned the fact that I referred to Kaepernick’s actions as “divisive,” which I still feel they are for the mere fact that they have the nation in an uproar.  Any time you have a fair number of Americans on either side of this fence with no constructive dialogue bringing them together, that can be considered divisive.  That, however, is not Kaepernick’s fault.  That is our own.

Here’s the true shame of what happened ever since Kaepernick first took that knee.  Those against the gesture fail to understand why he did it in the first place.  They simply don’t understand his point of view and suggest his demonstration was ill-timed and disrespectful.  Those in favor of Kap fail to understand those who feel he disrespected our flag and our nation.

Over a full year later, we have come nowhere closer to any sort of dialogue which I said long ago was the most important part of the process.  Instead, this has driven us farther apart.  So much for united we stand, divided we fall.

Here’s what I’d like to know.  Why has no one suggested that leaders from all parties, professional sports, military, police officers, etc. get together and talk about their points of view in a healthy manner in order to generate a better understanding?  This is no foreign concept.  It’s how diplomacy works.  When two people are in a relationship and have a disagreement, they either talk things out and figure how what went wrong went wrong or they ignore it altogether and allow the relationship to disintegrate.  That in a nutshell is what’s going on right before our very eyes.  Relationships that don’t address the underlying issues at hand but rather avoid them and hope they’ll go away are doomed to fail.

And right now, we’re failing.

It’s not kumbaya to suggest healthy discussion.  It’s about time both sides figured out why the fuck they can’t get along.  Personally, I have always stood, taken off my hat and put my hand over my heart when the national anthem plays.  But I sure as hell understand why others don’t.

Sport in general, and football more specifically, is designed to bring us together, to teach us principles of honor, teamwork and sportsmanship.  We gather together as families at tailgates; we celebrate our team’s colors and our city’s pride.  It has become an American tradition, just as much as protest, freedom and progress.

After that football game, I saw some jabber-jawing but I also saw a lot of congratulating and shaking hands.  A lot of chanting, a lot of cheering and a lot of celebration which leads me to leave that maybe, just maybe, there’s hope for us after all.

Disagreements notwithstanding.

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22 Replies to “Beating a dead horse: Protests, ratings and the NFL experience”

  1. Teamwork, sportsmanship and honor . All well and good , but you can’t stop the incessant stupidity of so many NFL players. Latest idiot , Cam Newton. WTF was he thinking ?

  2. Simply put, during the anthem is the wrong time to try and make a statement regardless of how right or wrong anyone feels about the subject they are attempting to draw attention to IMO.

  3. Coach and MoS…

    Thank you both.

    I just had some final thoughts on the matter since I did go and see a game first hand that week.

    It’s been pretty good fodder for debate and I’m not sure the two sides of the argument have come any closer.

    In my own little way, I guess this is an effort to make that happen.

  4. If Kobe would kneel, that’s his prerogative. My prerogative would be to lose respect for him for choosing to do so.

    Disrespecting the anthem is sacrilegious IMO, regardless of the motive. I think a good portion of the population feels the same. Which is why ratings are falling.

    These “fucks”, as your buddy so eloquently put it, may see it as some sort of moral statement they’re making, but what they fail to realize is that by kneeling during the anthem they are pouring fuel on the very fire they mean to extinguish.

    If Kap is such a hero, why the socks with pigs on them? Is that the actions of someone truly looking to create change? Seems pretty divisive to me.

    Collectively I would bet all the keepers make a pretty penny. Why not use that for change?

    Instead, they kneel.

    By choosing that route they have offended not only a large portion of their fan base, but also many who could otherwise care less about football.

    Will that be how the issues they hope to bring attention to get resolved?

    Quite the opposite from what were witnessing…Yet they persist.

    I would call that beating a dead horse.

  5. How many times do the players have to state that there is no disrespect meant for the military or to the flag. Peaceful protest is an American right period. If you don’t like what is going in the NFL it is your right to boycott the league. Now if you will excuse me, I’m late for the kickoff.

  6. Sorry about the double post, I am having to reset my computer and I thought I lost my first comment. Cheers!

  7. Cam is barely carrying on the idiocy of the days while in college , where his pastor father was on the take , talking about building a church where his congregation felt welcomed. I say , he (Cam Newton Sr) would have been better off building a whorehouse, as there would have been a genuine reception from certain congregants within his church.

    What’s this about a Dolphins’ assitant coach being busted for snorting coke prior to the team’s most recent game ? LOL,LOL !!!! Fans were calling for Jay Cutler’s dismissal and the insertion of Matt Moore before Cutler led the team to the win. Miami (2-3) still remains in last place within the AFC East. Get the feeling their season is just about over ?

  8. Ladies and gentlemen, it appears Bleed is bucking for a seat in the Trump’s cabinet. Don’t forget the little people when you’re running things, sir.

    Setting aside Kaepernick for one brief second, Bleed, when IS an acceptable time to protest?

    FYI… Jerry Jones said anyone now kneeling will not play and Jemele Hill has been suspended two weeks for her second feisty Tweet about the matter.

  9. Al…

    I think Miami’s hopes went downhill as soon as they lost their quarterback.

    Did anyone really think Cutler would be able to step in and make good of a bad situation?

  10. No, Saban’s been veery, veery quiet on this subject. His rant was about the media as always. I was just making a joke using his words that seem to fit this asinine war of words between very wealthy, very narcisstic, very…..(do I need to list some more?) people. Anybody got a free dollar that I can borrow? I can afford the buck but not the hooker.

  11. The Miami Dolphins are being ran by bunch of idiots .

    With regard to Jemelle Hill’s suspension. Let’s look at ESPN’s record as a noted bastion misoginy, male chauvinism and the fact many of their male analysts’ shenanigans make the exploits of Fox Editor In Chief Roger Ailes , Glenn Beck , Bill O’Reilly and Eric Bolling seem like a choirboy practice.

    Now come full circle as to the antics of Jerry Jones with his latest outburst . How the fu#k can that @sshole carry on about throwing players off the team for not standing to the national anthem when over the last two years he came to the defense of sexual predators , abusers and drunks who were on the team roster at one time or another ? I’ve yet to hear anyone speak out about that at all in depth within this forum , but here they are talking about what’s right or wrong concerning how one responds to the national anthem. What a load of frigging bull#hit !!!!!

  12. lol…Man, I’m too honest and blunt to be a politician.

    An acceptable time would be pretty much any time other than while the anthem is playing. They are interviewed after every game. Say what you need to say then, or call a press conference…

    OR…How about just go do something without the grandstanding.

    Jones is obviously feeling the pressure because as I recall, he was kneeling a couple weeks ago…Like I predicted, the almighty dollar is having the final say on this issue, and Trump the last laugh.

    Jemele who?
    Just like Trump, and everyone else using social media as a platform to express their freedom of speech, maybe she should think BEFORE Tweeting.

  13. Moose…

    Saban is a smart man.

    Plus he gives us all the impression that all he does is think about college football… which may very well be the truth.

    Obsess much?

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