The NFL regular season opens Thursday night as “America’s Team,” the Dallas Cowboys, takes on the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There will be pageantry, marching bands, pretty cheerleaders in not-too-short skirts (because we can’t objectify women) — everything we’ve come to expect from “America’s game.”
The NFL may be marketed as “America’s game” but it’s an open question just how “American” the billionaire owners want the game to be. Recent seasons have seen a decided tilt away from displays of patriotism as kneeling for the national anthem or turning your back on the flag has become the latest way to show how cool and woke you are.
There’s only one thing the NFL hates more than boring games: controversy of any kind. Advertisers who will fork over hundreds of millions of dollars to the TV networks are terrified of their products being associated with anything controversial. Rather than face the issue of disrespecting the flag, the NFL has punted and will bury the controversy by allowing teams to stay in their locker room when the national anthem is played.
You might think the American flag would be one of the least controversial symbols around. Sadly, that’s not the case. Despite the multitudes who have given their lives and shed their blood for what the flag represents, the American flag has become an object to be vilified by those who want to make a political statement about what they see as some of the more unsavory aspects of American society.
This, they have a perfect right to do — a right guaranteed by the Constitution. A right fought for by millions and which many have given their lives defending.
But will the NFL honor those who fought for the right to protest, fought for the right for others to disrespect the flag, and gave their lives in defense of those who spit on and disrespect everything they stood for in life and died defending?
The league won’t say.
Thursday night’s football faceoff between the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers marks the first game of the regular NFL season, and while fans already know who the top returning players and purported new stars are, one question has yet to be answered: will the NFL, three days before the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and only a few days after the deaths of 13 American service members in Afghanistan, honor America and its fallen heroes? The issue of whether the league will pay some tribute to the 13 warriors is also part of a larger question: will the NFL require players to stand for the national anthem this season, or will the league instead spark even more outrage among football fans by continuing to allow players to disrespect our flag?
AMAC Newsline reached out to the NFL for comment multiple times on that very question over the past two days but has not receive a response as of the publication of this piece.
America just ended a 20-year war that was forced on us by a radical, fanatical enemy that murdered 3,000 innocent civilians because most of them don’t see god quite the same way that they do. That enemy also despises our ideas about freedom and liberty. They hate that our women can walk the streets not being escorted by their fathers or brothers. They hate that we think for ourselves and make decisions based on what’s best for us and our families.
The great twilight struggle will continue. Mistakes were made and will continue to be made. Men and women will pay for those mistakes with their lives. That is the nature of conflict and will continue to be true until the enemies of human civilization are defeated.
But recognizing the sacrifices of our fallen heroes and the warriors who served because their country asked them to would seem to be the least that the guardians of “America’s game” could do.