We’ve all been talking about the NFL protests. It’s a huge mess, and everyone has different things to say. Let’s take a minute to look at the most popular claims and once again see where the liberals have it wrong.
The first thing to remember is that rules of employment are always contingent upon at will employment. Requiring employees to wear a uniform is not a violation of freedom of speech, even though clothing choices have been protected by the Supreme Court. The reason is that employees voluntarily submit to contractual agreements. This extends to public displays. On the field, NFL players are representative of their organizations, and as such they can be required to demonstrate appropriate respect, if it is in their contract.
This is the important part. The NFL has two rulebooks. One regards the rules of play and the other outlines off-field behavioral guidelines. Within this book is a set of rules pertaining to the national anthem. It specifies that players must be on the sidelines for the anthem. They should face the flag, hold their helmets in their left hand and stand at attention. Failure to do so can be punished by fines and other disciplinary action. Let’s clarify something. The players aren’t just violating their contracts when they kneel; they are effectively protesting their employer, the NFL.
Hypocrisy in the NFL
Despite the clearly outlined rules, the NFL has taken a cowardly approach to the whole situation. They have decided that the disrespect shown by their players is unimportant, and they have waived enforcing any penalties in this regard. This is the same NFL that banned kneeling in prayer during any part of a game broadcast. If you remember a few years ago, Tim Tebow was frequently harassed and reprimanded for praying on the field. The NFL brought down the hammer and now a quarterback with one of the best win rates in the history of the sport is playing baseball.
Similarly, the NFL showed hypocrisy when it refused the Dallas Cowboys permission to wear decals after last summer. You may recall the series of ambushes that left a number of Dallas law enforcement members dead. The Cowboys wanted to honor their memory with helmet decals, but the NFL forbade it. It’s clear that the NFL cares nothing for supporting the freedom of their players. Instead, they have taken sides on a political issue, and they will have to face the consequences of that choice.
A Lost Message
Let’s talk about what’s really happening. The idea of protesting national injustice by kneeling for the national anthem isn’t unreasonable. It is a peaceful way to spark discussion, and in the beginning that might have actually happened in this case two. The problems with the NFL protest in particular are two-fold.
First, the protest is based on factually incorrect claims. Less than one percent of police officers ever fire their guns in the line of duty. To call police killings a system-wide application of aggressive racism is to ignore the indisputable numbers. Even if there were a problem, it’s in sharp decline.
Since Trump took office, police have killed 20 percent fewer unarmed civilians. The ratio of police killings that take black lives is also down by 20 percent. You can compare that to Obama, who saw both of those numbers climb during his second stint in the White House. All of this suggests that racism is still a sensitive subject and making it a national discussion incites violence that can otherwise dissipate.
The second issue with this protest is a bit more personal. We have NFL players, some of the wealthiest and most famous people in the country, protesting America herself because of perceived injustice. These are players who have everything at the snap of their fingers, and they dare to complain that they aren’t treated fairly?! It’s easy to misunderstand, but when you protest the flag and the anthem, you are effectively decrying everything the government stands for. More importantly, you are proclaiming that the efforts of those in service to the government are wasted, ineffective or blatantly wrong. Law enforcement officers and the men and women of the military are the target of this protest, and that is misplaced blame.
We could go in endless circles on this topic, so I’ll be succinct. The NFL has shown that they will support their players in a misinformed protest that blames the wrong parties for a problem that is in sharp decline. At the same time, they will happily end the career of any player who makes them uncomfortable through displays of humility and religious fealty. Perhaps it’s time to let the NFL fade into obscurity.
~ American Liberty Report