Remember When the NFL Stood for the National Anthem?

OK lets be real. The NFL and now the MLB, (and I’m sure the NBA will follow suit soon) feel that kneeling for our flag and our country’s anthem is acceptable. Guess what, its not. Many, many Americans, myself included, have very strong feelings towards our national anthem and our flag. I’m tired of seeing people talk/post how carrying the flag on the field, wearing flag clothing, or eating on flag plates is disgraceful. While those issues may be against flag protocol, they are not done with the intent to disgrace the flag, its colors, our country, our veterans, our military, or our first responders.

Now before you go getting all up tight about free speech, and racial injustice, and how this is a stand against President Trump, yada … yada … yada … let me call BS. Many, many people have personal, and political beliefs that I disagree with, however, those issues cannot, and should not prevent me, or anyone else, from working with them, nor is it a time or place in which those issues should be discussed. At the end of the day, these multi-millionaire athletes are doing a job. A job they are very well paid for, but no one will DIE if there isn’t a football game on Sunday, or a baseball game on Monday, or Thursday night basketball.

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Now imagine, if for an entire day, in lets say Chicago, or NYC, the ENTIRE police force, dispatchers, firefighters, medics, correction officers, etc decided they were all going to stay home (and no outside agency was able to help the city, such as the National Guard, or State Police), how quickly do you think that it would be absolute chaos? I’m pretty sure that within 20-30 minutes it would be insane. Imagine the lawsuits, the tragedies, the abuse, and the emergencies that would result in one 24-hour period of no public service officials. It would be mind-boggling. These are the people who are important. These are the people who should receive praise and endorsements.

Don’t take this to be that I dislike sports, because I am/was an avid attendee at NFL games. Once my husband and I hit a Giants game, then made it over to MSG for a NY Ranger game in the span of a day, it was great! However, I will not cry, lose sleep, or crumble if I can no longer support the NFL, NBA, or MLB (yeah I left the NHL, I need something to believe in right???).

If a police officer, or firefighter decided in uniform to stand in front of their city hall with signs that are pro-police, fire, veterans, etc., you can bet your ass there would be backlash, and probably disciplinary measures taken. These players are no different but are much less important than our first responders, and military (veterans also). They are doing a job. If we, as Americans, determine we do not like the job they are doing, or the actions of the players (such as domestic violence, assault, DUI, animal abuse and kneeling for our flag) then we need to turn off our TV’s, stop buying the merchandise, and the tickets. We need to stop purchasing the items that are endorsed by the players, or the Leagues they play for. At the end of the day the networks, owners, coaches, sponsors, etc. only care about the almighty dollar. If you start affecting their bottom line, you will see the actions of the players change.

I respect their rights as individuals to protest anything they choose to, whether I agree with it or not; that’s the wonderful part of being an American, we have that right. These players should not be voicing their opinions while on the field, that’s work. When they walk off and change out of those uniforms, they can easily start to make a difference in their communities. They should be encouraging a positive discourse, a starting point for all of us to come together and have the discussions that some feel are necessary. The players need to utilize their fame for something positive, and taking a knee on the field during the singing of the US National Anthem, while our Flag is being displayed is not the time nor place for that individuality. Then again maybe I missed the part where there was an “I” in TEAM.

In this house, we kneel for the fallen, we kneel to pray, we kneel in remembrance, but we damn sure STAND FOR OUR FLAG.

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Marissa Cullen is the wife of a police officer, an Air Force veteran, and a stay at home mom to 2 boys. An outspoken supporter of public safety and the owner of Behind The Thin Blue Line, a law enforcement advocacy group. She is a speaker to many law enforcement groups and their families on the challenges and joys of being a part of the thin blue line. She is a contributing writer on various Law Enforcement publications, as well as being part of the thin blue line. She is also graduate of the University of New Haven. 

(Photo: defense.gov)