NFL Sideline Protests: The Game Will Survive and Prosper
Get one thing straight. The actions of some of the NFL players on the sidelines this season were a disgrace. Personally speaking, it was an affront and embarrassment to see players on my hometown Raiders and Niners teams take a knee during the national anthem. And while the nationalistically impotent “leadership” of the league is to be expected from a cadre of globalist suits, their toothless response was a slap in the face to patriotic pro football fans.
But I will be watching the 2017-18 season playoffs over the coming weeks, as I have since the Oakland Raiders met the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl II, circa 1968.
The question is, will you? Be honest, especially if your team has made the playoffs.
Consider it understood that a growing number of people not only do not watch televised pro football, they don’t watch television at all. It’s a lifestyle decision I respect, but this submission is not for them. My question is for the millions upon millions of conservatives who’ve derived decades of enjoyment following football seasons past, especially during that special time after the regular season ends and only the winningest teams are left to face off for the world championship.
It is important to note that the controversy may have peaked. In this fresh New York Times analysis, John Branch makes the case that though the protests were the biggest story this football season, the worst is over; only one percent of players engaged in any kind of protest on the last Sunday of the regular season, and the collective consciousness has moved on.
That would seem to support my central premise: the game is bigger in every sense than these unwittingly disingenuous protests, and the PC-addled individuals who administrate the league.
Again, it is a gravely misguided act to kneel in protest during the anthem. As others have correctly pointed out, there must be countless other ways to protest an ostensibly legitimate grievance about perceived police brutality against African Americans. But— assuming the controversy has not run out of steam and may substantially rear its ugly head again — how long will it take for the NFL to right its ship? Commissioner Roger Goodell came forward mid-season with a largely toothless mandate suggesting that players “should stand” for the anthem. How many seasons will conservative pro football fans have to abjure while waiting for every player on every team to stand respectfully during Francis Scott Key’s immemorial composition?
The playoffs are go time. This is when the most consequential action commences. When dynasties are born or ended. When unbelievable outcomes are achieved and metaphorical moments crystallize the fortunes of whole teams, whole seasons. This is the magic, the build of tension, the revelatory breakthroughs, the unforeseen collapses, the miraculous triumphs.