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Calling a Time-Out on the NFL-10-26-17 By Dave Gunn PDF  | Print |  E-mail


10-26-17     By Dave Gunn


Calling a Time-Out on the NFL


     Let’s get one thing straight right out of the gate: The kneeling protest disrespecting the national Anthem by National Football League players has nothing to do with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.


     No one has the right to free speech when on the job for his or her employer.  The players work for the team owners, wear the uniform of the team belonging to the owners, and play in a game designed to make profits for the team owners.  The platform belongs not to the players, but to the owners.  So any political statement must be made only with the consent of the team owners.  The players do not have the right to self-expression while wearing the uniform and playing the game.


     Allow me to illustrate.  When I worked for a radio station I was not allowed to say just anything that came into my mind.  There were certain restrictions on my speech.  On my own time, I could say what I wanted to say.  However, the station manager had rules that were to be followed while I was working for the station.


     How would you like to be in line at your local grocery store and have the clerk spouting off his or her opinion about President Trump, either for or against?  How about your local postal delivery person giving you a discourse on health care while delivering the mail?


     There is a proper time and place for everything.  There are opportunities for all of us to express ourselves.  The NFL players who disrespect the flag of our nation are hijacking a sports event and politicizing it for their own particular viewpoint.


     This could not happen were it not for the fact that the owners of the teams, for the most part, are scared to death of the players.  They are afraid that the players, who make an average of $2-million, will be displeased and throw a tantrum if they are not allowed to have their way.  The team owners might be well advised to be afraid of the fans.  More on that later.


     This all started last season when quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel instead of stand during the National Anthem to protest the shooting of black criminals by white policemen.  Just how an act of disrespect for the Stars and Stripes would help the situation is not at all clear.  White policemen continued to shoot black criminals.


     Nor was Kaepernick particularly bothered that white policemen also shoot white criminals, and that black policemen shoot black criminals and white criminals.  It also seemed to escape the notice of Kaepernick that in almost all of the shootings of black criminals by white policemen, the criminals were threatening the lives of the police or others.


     Of course, Kaepernick is the one who likes to wear t-shirts glorifying communist leaders and socks depicting the police as pigs.  As a leftist who considers his viewpoint to be morally superior to that of others, he felt he had the right to heap disdain on our flag while in the employ of another.


     This is the general attitude of leftists, who believe that, because their view is morally superior, they have the right to express it in any way they choose.  Their expression  might take the form of occupying a building, disrupting a political rally, preventing a conservative from speaking at a university, blocking a highway, setting fire to something, or throwing rocks and bottles at police.  The end justifies the means.


     Meanwhile, football fans are reacting in their own way, and many have called a “time-out” on the National Football League.  Attendance at stadiums is drastically down, television ratings are way down, and a recent survey found that the NFL is the least popular sports league of any sport in America.


     The owners of the NFL teams had an opportunity to address this situation at their recent national meeting, but decided to punt.  They are still more afraid of the multi-million dollar spoiled brats they employ than the fans who give them the money to do so.

     So NFL players continue to irritate the fans with a meaningless gesture that does nothing to solve the problem.  Perhaps the players, owners, and commissioner of the NFL would like to tackle some real problems, like the large number of players who are wife and girl-friend beaters and dopers, continuing to play while the NFL gives them a slap on the wrist.  But that would take real courage.



 [Dave Gunn is the nom de plume of Dr. David E. Gonnella, Pastor of the Magnolia Springs Baptist Church in Theodore, Alabama.  The opinions expressed are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of the church or its membership.]