Local business owners show NFL how to protest

I’m a football fan.

I watch football, both college and pro regularly, probably an unhealthy amount.  I analyze it, talk about it with my friends and spend much of my Sundays on my sofa watching pregame coverage, post-game analysis and obviously the games themselves.  I wager on them, play in eliminator pools, as well as fantasy football and pick ‘em leagues, not only because I enjoy them but also because I’ve turned a profit doing so.  I recognize that the sport, for me at least, has generated an alternate source of discretionary income.

I may be a dying breed, however, for as many people as there are looking forward to this NFL season, there are equally as many still perturbed about the anthem issue and they are striking back.  I know of several bar and restaurant owners that are refusing to purchase the rights to air NFL games.  Whoops there goes another NFL gaffe.

I feel I fairly understand both sides of this argument.  You can call it straddling the fence, I call it looking at the issue objectively, which I’m afraid is something league representatives have still failed to do.  What’s the rush?  I mean, it’s only been two years.

I can see where the owners (and fans) feel players should stand for the anthem out of respect for those who have defended it.  I can justify team owners and even the league either fining or firing players, putting their commitment to the test.  After all, they’re the bosses.  When my boss tells me what to do, I do it.  However, I can also sympathize with the players who want to use their position to voice their concerns about the issues of our day.  As long as they’re doing so constructively, that can prove to be a healthy form of protest.  The irony here is that we criticize our athletes for not taking a stand yet when they do, we come unglued.

I’ve never not stood for an anthem.  I’ve never not removed my ball cap when the song plays.  But I understand why those who have would.  It still astonishes me that the NFL, a ten billion dollar a year industry, can’t get out of its own way on this issue, an issue Americans are very passionate about, even more so than they are football.

To tell players (to use another famous quote told to another famous athlete) to “shut up and dribble” isn’t necessarily akin to telling them to dance, monkey, dance but it ain’t that far away.  Instead of talking about watching the games, we’re talking about whether we should be watching them.  That’s something the NFL can’t be happy about.

I see the anthem issue as a league problem, not a player or owner problem.  What if this was happening in another league and not the most popular sports league in America?  What if there wasn’t so much money involved?  What if the players involved in these anthem protests weren’t primarily black?  Would another form of protest have sparked this much controversy?  And where the hell is the league solidarity?

Prior to all this rigmarole, the NFL set strict rules on self-expression.  Players weren’t allowed to paint their cleats or have anything on their uniforms that would interfere with “the shield.”  In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago that the NFL wanted its players to come out for the anthem so that the league would be seen as more patriotic.  Boy, did that strategy backfire!

The reason I continue to bring this issue up, aside from the fact that it still hasn’t been resolved, is that new information has come to light.  I know of several business owners of key establishments, who have openly refused to purchase the NFL’s product.  By doing so, they themselves are losing money but they, like the players, are standing up for what they think is right.  Just as I can’t blame the players for taking a knee, I can’t blame the business owners for taking a stand.  Be prepared, football fans.  These days, it might be harder than you think to head out to your local watering hole and catch a game over a pint and some wings.  And when you do go to a place that used to show the ticket and no longer does, what will your response be?

I’d be willing to bet NFL ratings drop this year.  The league is desperately clinging to legalized gambling and fantasy sports to keep people’s interests.  It’s working on me but little do they know that I’m just using the league for my own benefit: nice relaxing Sundays and the occasionally cashed ticket and conquered fantasy football league.

As it turns out, there IS such a thing as bad publicity.  Business owners may be boycotting the NFL because of how it’s handled this mess, which is likely.  Or they may be protesting the players’ actions, which is far more likely.  Either way, no matter how they spin the sales statistics and turnstile numbers, the NFL is bound for decreased viewership and lost revenue.  The league had nowhere to go but down; the NFL’s lack of leadership is a direct correlation.

Five years from now, Commissioner Roger Goodell will be kicking it in the Caribbean, never to be heard from again, resting comfortably off the 40 mil a year the league paid him to be their puppet.  Much like Selig and steroids, this whole anthem debacle happened under Goodell’s watch.  His inability to resolve the issue will lowlight his legacy.  Well, that and that whole CTE thing.

Years ago, I wrote the most important thing that could come from this all was the emergence of any sort of constructive dialogue.  That never happened.  As a result, people are taking their money and spending it elsewhere.

I can’t say I blame them.

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20 Replies to “Local business owners show NFL how to protest”

  1. 1. This is not an anthem issue. This is a police murdering/brutalizing black people issue. Most continue to, purposely or not, not make that clear. There is only one reason this has become an issue which most, again, are unwilling to discuss; BTW, where is the outrage against the millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons who do not stand for the national anthem. Uh, yeah.

    2. NFL ratings will NOT drop. Although Goodell couldn’t manage a Pop Warner league properly, they just distributed record earnings from last season. Fox just signed another 5 year deal with the NFL this year and will pay them an additional $15 mil per game for the right. Time Warner has a mega deal in place. Licensed merchandise also had a record setting year. I see no signs of that slowing down.

    3. MLS is always a nice option for bar viewing. Or when the season ends, Premier League will still be on for the duration of the NFL season. I’ll turn you into a fan yet.

  2. As I read this, Larry Fitzgerald is standing in front of the flag draped coffin, speaking at Sen. McCain’s funeral.

  3. Don Calvino chiming in nicely.

    One of the many problems with this whole shit storm as you suggest is that we have lost sight of what these protests were about to begin with. Somehow, and I’m not surprised because this is America, all that got lost in translation… or at least spun differently to upset the masses.

    I’m not too sure I agree with you about the ratings though. Just because those networks and cable conglomerates dropped a pretty penny allowing (white) quarterbacks to be paid at alarming rates, that doesn’t mean that a ton of people still aren’t all up in arms about the issue.

    And what is this MLS you speak of? If they charge less for 16-ouncers at MLS games than they do football games, I might be convinced.

  4. Oddly enough, Todd, you were the second person to make that exact same observation.

    Unfortunately I missed the speech but I know they were close. I’ll be sure to look for the replay.

    Send me a link if ya’ got it.

  5. I will go to a different bar.
    Are said business owners requiring patrons to stand in the bar during the Star Spangled Banner? Do they stand while at a bar or at home watching? Is the NFL gonna close the bathrooms and concessions during NA? Oh, and has police discrimination ended? And… what is freedom exactly? Excuse me, I need to go do some laundry. Got a killer 4th of July deal on some patriotic underwear.

  6. What I love about hosting this site, Mr. Lane, which I have done now for almost ten years, is that THIS is exactly the type of healthy debate that I was hoping would emerge when the issue first came about.

    Unfortunately, this is only a microcosm of educated readers and not an accurate representation of the masses.

    One post at a time, brother.

  7. I think the NFL is tacitly choosing the red-meat core of its fan base when owners and others express righteous indignation over player protests. Plus, I think football owners probably fall into the red meat category too. Ultimately all the right-wing chest-thumping will calm down–especially since fewer and fewer kids are signing up for football and ownership is going to have to try harder to pull in fans.

  8. Speaking of sports in disarray, Uncle AF, have you heard of this new book called “Baseball Cop” co-written by a guy who was assigned to investigate the role of Major League Baseball in the steroid scandal?

    One of this contentions is that the use of drugs in the sport is still rampant.

    My book supplier sent it to me and I started it last night. So far, so interesting.

    Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/Baseball-Cop-Eddie-Dominguez/dp/0316483974/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1535653626&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=baseball+cop&psc=1

    Who knew the NBA and NHL would be the last sports standing?

  9. That is funny that Todd and I made the McCain/Fitzgerald observation simultaneously.
    The Don Calvista poignant and insightful as always, but I am gonna disagree on the ratings as well.
    I think a lot of people are boycotting, their loss!
    I hate standing too, but, only because I hear ‘please rise’ just as I’ve balanced my hot dog on my knee in perfect position to dunk it in the cheese sauce from the nacho’s in my lap. That always blows.

  10. “I reach down, between my legs”

    – Van Halen

    “for that hot dog”

    – Croshere

    Look, boys, the NFL was at an all-time high in terms of ratings. I don’t know if the league was necessarily resting on its laurels assuming nothing could possibly go wrong but it might have felt it was too big for its britches and now look.

    I’m still waiting for a voice of reason to emerge from somewhere other than this website.

    Holding…. breath…. face…. turning…. blue

  11. They are employees, the NFL makes the rules. Pretty simple.
    Don’t like the rules? Find another job that permits it.

    If the issue is as important as the kneeling players consider it out to be, why not simply find or create a different avenue to make their stand, or better yet, make a difference. It’s not like they don’t have the money. LeBron’s doing his via his show The Shop rather than on the court.

    The kneeling tactic has obviously backfired, misinterpreted or not.

  12. Bleed…

    Speaking of LeBron’s show, it looks like we’re about to see a whole new LeBron.

    No more shutting up and dribbling. Those days may be long gone.

  13. I’d rather he did, but whatever. It’s a free country. If he feels the need to voice his, good for him. I’d prefer he focus on basketball since that’s what the Lakers are paying him for but I respect his decision to not use the games as a platform. He created another way.

    I don’t agree with his politics, but it’s his right….And he’s producing the platform on his own, so all the power to him.

    I just wish the media bias wasn’t so blatantly one sided politically. Meaning, LeBron and every other Trump basher gets praised for “Standing up for what’s right” by the MSM, yet Jim Brown, Tiger Woods, Hershel Walker, Mike Ditka, Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, Lou Holtz, Mike Tyson, Bobby Knight, Dennis Rodman, Dana White, and even Kanye West get bashed for voicing their opinions that differ?

    Whatever. Smart people see through the bullshit on both sides.

    I’ve said it before, and I truly believe it.
    I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend til the death your right to say it.

    Too bad everyone doesn’t have that same outlook.

  14. ATL UTD games have fairly cheap beer and insanely cheap food for a world class stadium. You’re always welcome up here, bro.

    I am open to changing my opinion, but I just haven’t seen any evidence where the NFL is losing money on this yet. If the main NFL fan base has a substantial boycott, then maybe but I haven’t seen/heard that yet.

  15. I think Bob Costas had a good idea for a compromise. “It might be more prudent for the league and the teams to say, ‘We will make an organized forum available. You want to state what your position is? We’ll make it available. We’ll have the press there. And if you want to remain in the locker room, remain in the locker room.’ I think you would get more clarity. Player A says, ‘I am staying in the locker room for this reason.’ Player B says, ‘I am staying in the locker room for this reason.’ Player C says, ‘I’m coming out and standing for the anthem for this reason.’ But I’d give them all an opportunity to articulate, in a clear way, what their position is. Rather than have the world wonder.” But alas, compromise seems to have become extinct in this graceless age. My guitar gently weeps.

  16. I did hear something about that book but not much more. I’ll check it out. Thanks!

  17. Bleed….

    Bron Bron’s built himself quite the platform. I enjoyed the show but then again I lean pretty left of center.

    I would expect a lot more of this from him in the future. Isn’t that why he moved to L.A. in the first place?

    Oh and did you hear the recent news of Grant Hill telling the story of Shaq choking out Gordon Giricek?

    Pass the ball, Kobe!

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