I don’t watch NFL anymore* so I watched the #TakeAKnee controversy by way of the media and social media, so I wanted to share some of my observations.

1. People don’t want their sports politicized.

When I watch football (I primarily watch college football in general and the Iowa Hawkeyes in particular) I don’t want politics injected into the game. Football is a respite from politics, and I know I’m not alone. I don’t care if the players playing are conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, it just doesn’t matter to me. I just want to see a good game and preferably see my team win. Political statements made before the game just detracts from it.

2. The National Anthem Is Not About Trump.

San Francisco 49ers Quarter Back Colin Kaepernick got the ball rolling with the whole take a knee thing during the National Anthem, but he had a different purpose.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media after he sat during the anthem for the first time. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Trump’s comments during a rally on Friday night for incumbent U.S. Senator Luther Strange (R-AL) sparked the widespread protest throughout the NFL on Sunday.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now,” Trump said to a cheering crowd. “Out. He’s fired. He’s fired.”

More on Trump’s statement a little later, but I have to say the National Anthem isn’t about one person or one president, it’s much, much greater than that.

3. Their protest just gave Trump more attention.

In my mind, the protest just gave President Trump even more attention. Ben Shapiro made the following point on Twitter yesterday afternoon.

He also tweeted this:

Kneeling for the anthem doesn’t hurt Trump, in effect, they are helping him. The best way to hurt Trump is to ignore him. Indeed, all large-scale protests accomplish is to alienate what fans they had left.

4. The President of the United States has better things to do than taking swipes at the NFL.

Trump’s remarks on Friday were unbecoming of the President, and it continued on Twitter.

Now apparently we have to choose between NASCAR and the NFL to show our patriotism.

His Twitter rant continues.

He certainly has a right to his opinion, but as far as I’m concerned, this was an absolute waste of the bully pulpit especially when you consider his remarks on Friday blew this whole thing up in the first place.

5. Political protests while on the job don’t fly in most professions.

Something that I think is missed by those promoting #TakeAKnee is this simple fact. These football players are at work, and they are in uniform. They are not just representing themselves when out on the field (or intentionally staying in the locker room). They represent their teams and the league.

Can you imagine political protest at say a factory? A hospital? Anywhere beyond celebrity culture?

Do the NFL players have the First Amendment right to do something like this? Yes, Congress and the President should not take any action to address this.

The NFL and team owners, on the other hand, can address it as a private organization.

This also made me think of situations where government compels people not to exercise free speech while at work. For instance, soldiers who gave their lives for the very principles our flag and national anthem can’t engage in political activity while in uniform. Also, it is against the Uniform Code of Military Justice for an officer to criticize officials.

UCMJ Article 88 reads:

Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

Do you think that perhaps members of the military may have strong opinions about their Commander-in-Chief on occasion?

Then, the IRS doesn’t allow 501(c)3 organizations and their representatives to engage in political activity or speech (endorsing candidates and bills, lobbying). Also, civil servants can’t protest government while at work or else that very government could discipline them or fire them.

Also, civil servants can’t oppose government while at work or else that very government could discipline them or fire them.

Frankly, I don’t care what the NFL does to address this; I’m just pointing out the fact that while NFL players have free speech, that speech at work may not come free of consequences.

6. This accomplishes nothing.

Does #TakeAKnee accomplish anything? Does it make our nation a better place to live? Does it help those who are disadvantaged? Does it improve race relations?

No. The NFL players’ time (and ours as well) would be far better spent volunteering. The only time #TakeAKnee can accomplish something is when we take a knee to pray (not that you have to kneel to pray) which is something the media and the left typically derides. But kneeling for the National Anthem and that is just fine in their opinion.

Come to think of it; there were plenty of ways I could have better spent my time than writing an article drawing more attention to this issue. Thanks for reading anyway.

* I stopped watching the NFL when my favorite team, the Chicago Bears, after the subsequent years after their 1985 Super Bowl victory started going downhill. So I stopped watching due to a lack of interest, not because I was boycotting anything. I have always preferred college football.

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