Protests and the NFL
Starting last season football players started to protest during the National Anthem. They have every right to do this, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression exists for all of us.
There is a question about timing. As professional football players they are on the clock during the National Anthem, so their employers do have some say about their protests.
This issue is not about race! Race is an element, a significant element behind the protests themselves, but their protests are a slap at patriotism, service and sacrifice. I believe the protestors are making a statement about race relations in this country and they have every right to do so, but their protests are a slap at patriotism and service, not about race.
I may want to protest the ACME Widget Company because they’re guilty of exploiting child labor however, my job requires me to be at work during the planned protest and my employer wants me to be present doing my job during the protest, so if I can’t get excused time off to take care of my personal business, protesting ACME, I must be at work doing my job.
A police officer might want to also show their displeasure with the ACME Widget Company by wearing a purple protest ribbon to show support for the protest of ACME. The Police Department has a uniform policy that prevents the wearing of any ribbons or buttons that shows support or opposition of any cause.
Many organizations have work rules and policies that govern the behavior of their employees. As an employee we represent our employers so they do have some say about our conduct while on the clock. This does not hinder or block an individual’s Freedom of Speech or Freedom of Expression, it just limits when you get the opportunity to express your position.
Football team owners have the right to set the standards for the performance of their players on the field. Last year the protests during the National Anthem had an impact on the profits of professional football. Ticket sales and viewership were down, that will impact the bottom line, and the bottom line is where the protestors million dollar salaries come from.
The Patriotic hard working public who spend the money that supports professional football, don’t want to see millionaires who play a game disrespect the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who risk their life to defend Freedom around the world. Joe Six-Pack doesn’t want to see a millionaire fail to show respect for the flag when we have millions of men and women who risk their lives daily to enforce the law, fight the fires, and respond to medical emergencies every day all over this country.
Actions have consequences. Players have the right to protest and express themselves, but the fans have the right to react to their protests. Last year the protests were on a smaller scale; this year they are on a much larger scale. Last year’s small protests had a significant impact on the bottom line, let’s see how much of a hole the bottom line takes this year.
Here’s my summary, men who make millions of dollars to play a game are protesting social injustice. The form of protest they have chosen is offensive to millions of sports fans. Their form of protest is perceived as a lack of appreciation and a lack of respect for the young men and women who put on a uniform and place their lives at risk to defend freedom. Their form of protest shows a lack of understanding of the commitment and service millions of police, fire and EMT men and women who serve this country daily.
Millions of men and women may choose to turn off the football games in favor of other entertainment choices because of the player’s protests. The players are free to protest, but I’m free to object to their protest. The net result of this may be a significant negative impact to the money that professional football earns this season.
My position is clear; I stand with the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines who wear a uniform to defend our country, I respect the player’s right to protest, but I object to the time and place of their protests. I will not support professional football; not today, not tomorrow not in the future, the owners made a choice and it think they made a bad choice.