Apart from a few players, the NFL anthem protests came to a temporary halt this weekend. It was Veterans Day on the 11th, and even players who had been kneeling for weeks capitulated.
The protests have been a hot-button issue all year, but stopping for Veterans Day was a foolish move on the players’ part.
Now the NFL Anthem Protests Are Related to the Military
The glaring issue with players choosing to stand for the anthem this weekend is that they’ve been stating for months that the protests have nothing to do with the military. They haven’t done it to disrespect the military, only to bring awareness to racial injustice.
Fair enough. I never thought they were disrespecting the military, or disrespecting anyone, for that matter. But then why the need to stand on Veterans Day?
They’ve now made the decision to stand or kneel about respecting the military, when it never was in the beginning.
Players Should Have Doubled Down
If the players want to make the most significant impact with their protests, they should have used Veterans Day as a chance to double down.
Screw what the fans or Papa John or anyone else has to say. The players had a chance to stay strong, and most of them buckled. They went with the passive, easy solution. Don’t make any noise because it’s Veterans Day.
That’s the reason the NFL has a labor agreement that’s most tilted against its players out of any professional sports league. The players will complain, but then they’ll do what they’re told.
Standing on Veterans Day Won’t Change Public Opinion
All the players have done is avoid pissing people off further, which certainly isn’t a victory.
The people who supported the players will still support them. The people who didn’t will still keep whining and calling for a boycott until they see how empty their lives are without 20 hours of football per week.
Personally, I’d like to see them take the NFL anthem protests a step further. Start breakdancing during the damn song. Make it entertaining. I don’t watch much football anymore, but these protests are the most exciting part of the game now.
With any luck, they’d stop playing the national anthem dozens of times per day. For fuck’s sake, a group of eight-year-old players took a knee during the anthem before their game. Who wants to hear the national anthem before a bunch of little kids play football? People in Alabama or Arkansas or one of those states, I’d assume.
They’ll never stop playing the anthem, of course. But if it’s going to be played incessantly, controversy at least makes the whole thing interesting.