I used to be a huge NFL fan. Seriously huge. I was the type of person who watched every single game every week courtesy of my DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket. I watched the eight-game game mix, red zone channel, pre- and postgame shows, you name it. I used to write NFL articles for a now-defunct sporting site, and, in addition to playing fantasy football, I also wrote fantasy analysis for a few sites.
With football playing such a huge role in my life, when Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel for the national anthem and presentation of flag to protest police brutality back in 2016, I was livid. Kaepernick said that he was kneeling for people who are oppressed.
First of all, what the hell does Kaepernick know about oppressed people? He is half-black and half-white and was adopted into a very well-off white family where, to be honest, he never had to go without anything.
Secondly, what does police brutality have to do with the national anthem and the flag? Granted, some people think the anthem is racist, but, frankly, what isn’t racist today?
Third, yes everyone has the right to peaceably assemble and protest issues against their beliefs. The First Amendment of the US Constitution provides for freedom of speech, but what most people fail to understand is that this protection is from government infringement (save for certain, specific exceptions.) You don’t have freedom of speech at work if you work for a private employer. Seriously, does you boss let you protest anything while on the clock on company property?
Because Kaepernick was employed by the National Football League (NFL), he didn’t have absolute First Amendment (or any First Amendment) freedom of speech while at work. Yes, these so-called celebrities do have a forum where they can reach thousands of people, but protesting anything that is inherently American (anthem, flag, etc.) is inappropriate in that situation.
And, of course, Kaepernick’s poor behavior rubbed of on other players, and “boss” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell failed to put his foot down and tell them to knock it off while on the clock. Isn’t it funny how none of these kneeling protestors bothered to get their message out anywhere during the offseason?
Fourth, what, exactly, does police brutality have to do with the American flag and national anthem? In fact, police shoot and kill white offenders far more than black or Hispanic ones, yet those with the loudest mouths don’t believe facts matter and don’t want anyone else to know the truth.
Anyway, back to my main point. Because of this blatant disrespect for the US and her flag, and the failure of Goodell to harness this crap before it overtook the league, left such a bad taste in my mouth and, consequently, I boycotted the NFL for a few years.
I have only recently started watching games again, but the passion, interest, and excitement is gone.