I’m going to open with a controversial statement today, and here it is: I place my hand over my heart and stand for our national anthem whenever and wherever it’s played. I know that’s a shocking statement to some of you, but I’m not going to apologize, so those who can’t bring yourselves to stand for the anthem should stop reading right now because I’ll become even more offensive later on. Sorry about that ... but not really.
Of course I’m writing about the new National Football League policy that requires players who are on the field to stand for the anthem. No longer will they be allowed to take a knee in public, thereby disrespecting those who have died to keep us free and everything else the anthem and American flag stand for, like freedom of expression and the right to protest.
Players who can’t or won’t stand may remain in the locker room to protest racial injustice, police brutality and anything else they’re upset about. I think that’s a fair and equitable solution to the anthem problem, but it probably isn’t because some far left “progressives” believe players’ First Amendment rights are being violated by not being allowed to protest on the field.
A couple of comments on this topic by Northern Nevada sportswriters caught my attention last weekend. One comment was by Reno Gazette-Journal sportswriter Chris Murray, who won’t be watching NFL games this fall. “I’ll watch the Super Bowl because I host a party every year,” he wrote, “but outside of that I don’t see myself tuning into a game.” So Murray won’t be watching NFL football except when he’s hosting a party. Now there’s a really courageous decision based on moral principles. Not!
And my friend Darrell Moody, who does a terrific job covering local sports for the Appeal, expressed his disappointment with the new NFL anthem policy. “Either make the players stand for the anthem, or just play the anthem when both teams are in the locker room,” he wrote.
I’m OK with that, but I parted ways with Moody when he wrote former Nevada football star Colin “Kap” Kaepernick, who started the “take a knee” craze, “has always handled things with dignity and class.” No he hasn’t because he wore socks depicting cops as pigs and strongly supports Black Lives Matter, which demonizes white people and police officers — black, brown and white alike. So Kap isn’t a hero; he’s part of the problem.
Some sportswriters think owners should hire Kap because he’d be a good backup quarterback. But why would an NFL team owner pay a backup QB millions of dollars to sit on the bench and be a cancer in the locker room? Let’s remember professional sports teams aren’t in business to promote social justice, although that’s a laudable goal. Team owners are in business to make money in order to pay players millions of dollars to play popular games, so they’re not going to make business decisions that jeopardize their bottom line. Duh!
The goals of professional sports are to entertain fans and keep politics off the field. So here’s another shocking and/or outrageous statement: The overwhelming majority of American sports fans are proud to stand for the national anthem, and everything it represents. I go to Nevada Wolf Pack basketball games with a friend who disagrees with me on most political issues, but both of us stand for the anthem. We’re not at Lawlor to argue politics; we’re there to watch basketball. Go Pack!
Let’s all stand proudly for the Anthem because it’s the right thing to do.
Guy W. Farmer is a lifelong sports fan.