“Despicable” is a word being thrown around a lot today; one that readily applies to the National Football League. Officials of the League claim they will allow athletes to continue to disrespect the flag and the National Anthem. However, at the same time they refuse to allow athletes to show their patriotism. The standout examples: The Dallas Cowboys were told no when they wanted to display an insignia on their helmets to support the fallen police killed in action, and when three football players, Avery Williamson, Victor Cruz, and Odell Beckham Jr. wanted to wear 9/11 cleats they were told they would be substantially fined.
When the NFL finally decided to take a stand against athletes who want to express their values, it was against the athletes that chose to honor those fallen on 9/11 and show some patriotism. The athletes wanted to wear blue cleats covered with stars and bear red- and white-striped Nike swooshes, which read “Never Forget” and “9/11” on the back of each shoe. The numeral “11” is drawn to represent the twin towers of the World Trade Center. However, they would be punished for going against the uniform code, not those who choose to diss the flag, the police, and country. American Thinker asked those serving what they thought.
Those interviewed want Americans to understand that the flag inspires them and represents the idea of freedom. An E6 Coast Guard diver who has served fifteen years has issues with what is happening within the NFL. “I think those sitting or kneeling can find a better way instead of showing such blatant disregard. Think about it, what stand are they really taking, no pun intended? Do they think they are a role model? If so, why aren’t they personally going into the community to help make things get better? Do they understand that people are paying attention, but not for their goal of raising awareness. I had a cause also, after 9/11, wanting to do something for my country. I just did not take some symbolic stand, but actually did something to hopefully make things better. In other words, I feel I am part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman has been on the force since 1982. She noted to American Thinker, while on the USS Midway, after the rendition of the American National Anthem, “I look over and see our flag waving in the wind and shining brightly. I never take for granted that the flag represents democracy, liberty, and freedom. Looking back on 9/11 I remember as a police officer in San Diego thinking would we be attacked next? People need to remember that freedom is not free and comes with sacrifice.”
She went on to say, “Those who become police officers want to make a positive difference within our community. It is very hurtful when we hear and see so many negative comments. The vast, vast majority of police officers are not just good cops but great ones. I don’t hear many people speaking of those who lost their lives in the line of duty. San Diego police officer Jonathan “JD” DeGuzman was trying to protect the community from harm. Having to knock on his family’s door and let them know he was not coming home was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. What is lost in all of this is that we tend to forget the sacrifice officers like DeGuzman has given as well as so many more.”
A female Navy Seabee is proud of the humanitarian aid she participated in while in the Navy. She noted to American Thinker, “We do our job so those kneeling or sitting during the anthem have that right. I am asked about being a woman in the military, but I realize I have been given the same opportunities as my male counterparts. I have to prove myself through my skills. Maybe those in the NFL can better use their skills to help their community as we have done with our aid. What have they accomplished by sitting or kneeling?”
Another Seabee who came to America from Peru and became a U.S. citizen believes that the “flag and anthem are symbols that show respect someone has for this country. They could do something else to support their cause, using their name and fame in a better way. Why isn’t the emphasis on the vast majority of football players that are standing, many with their hands over their hearts? We in the Navy, as well as our families, have sacrificed. What sacrifice have those in the NFL made? After 9/11 I decided to take action and help rebuild my country. Have those in the NFL done anything to help rebuild their communities?”
Why is the NFL so despicable? Because those who kneel or sit, disrespecting their country, have not accomplished anything for their cause except to say it is okay to be unpatriotic. Those in the military and police chose their profession to serve and help others, something the three NFL players wanted to do by recognizing their fellow Americans who suffered and died during 9/11. A widow of someone who served in the Coast Guard summarized everyone’s feelings, “I am a patriot, not to be confused with Tom Brady. I am teaching my son to vote and honor those who serve. I will stand for the flag and never forget 9/11,” something the NFL should think about when they say no to patriotism and yes to the disrespect of this country.