After weeks of countenancing all sorts of national anthem protests and inchoate liberal platitudes given as justification for them, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell finally decided this week that he’d had enough.
In a strongly worded memo to the league’s team owners, Goodell wrote that “we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem” and that the league wanted “to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.”
The anthem protests haven’t gone over well with the American public, but Goodell’s reversal didn’t quite go over so well in those corners of the NFL that have of late become an adjunct of the American far left. One player in particular, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, seemed to stop just short of promising open revolt if Goodell’s rather strong recommendation were to become official league policy.
“If you take (protesting the anthem) away from them, there’s gonna be an uproar,” McCoy told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“I don’t think guys are gonna like it,” McCoy continued. “I think it’s gonna be an uproar if that is to happen because you’re basically taking away a constitutional right to freedom of speech. If guys wanna have a, I guess you would call it a peaceful protest, I don’t think it’s right to take that away.”
McCoy, an eight-year veteran, isn’t one of the kneeling contingent, surprisingly enough. However, he buys into the same insanely faulty logic that everyone taking a knee seems to harbor.
I’ve had to type these same points out 1,473,264 times in articles about the NFL anthem kerfuffle (rough estimate), so I’m going to try to make it quick:
a) Constitutionally-protected speech can still get you fired, especially if you do it in the workplace. If you want a quick demonstration of this very salient fact, try wearing a “David Duke ’92” campaign shirt into work on dress-down Friday and see what happens.
b) There’s already an “uproar” over the national anthem, and it’s coming from the NFL’s consumers — you know, the fine people that have made Gerald McCoy a millionaire. If McCoy doesn’t think so, maybe he should ask himself why Roger Goodell went from embracing the protests to rather unsubtly telling players to knock it off in the span of two short weeks. Spoiler alert: It’s not because America agrees with the protesters.
c) The NFL is under no compunction to subsidize the political activities of any of its players at the expense of its bottom line. There are plenty of opportunities for constructive political engagement that do not involve disrespecting the anthem, the flag and those who have fought for it every Sunday, Monday and/or Thursday.
d) The NFL is a private organization. If its executives say that players must stand for the national anthem, players must stand for the national anthem. If McCoy doesn’t want to, he is free to find another line of work.
While Goodell’s memo was a pretty strong hint that the league has had it with the protests, there have also been rumors that it won’t just end at hints: Sports Illustrated and other outlets have reported NFL owners will consider making a rule requiring players to stand for the anthem as early as next week, although alternative options will likely be on the table.
If McCoy’s promised “uproar” occurs, it will only further marginalize a league that’s woefully out of touch with its fanbase.
Commissioner Goodell has finally had enough of the players’ childish attitude. The American public had enough of it a long time ago.
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