It seems the NFL cannot help but continue to stick its foot in its mouth regarding the player protests that began last season. The latest “situation”…the NFL recently rejected a proposed AMVETS Super Bowl ad that dared to call on the NFL’s million dollar divas to respectfully stand during the National Anthem.
According to the NFL, the ad was rejected because it made a “political statement”. The NFL went on to say that, “The Super Bowl program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams, and the Super Bowl [and] it has never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement.”
I find it rather ironic, and hypocritical, that the NFL is all of a sudden concerned about making a “political statement”. Isn’t that what its overpaid divas have been doing by protesting? The above statement raises other interesting questions as well. Is the NFL suggesting that it’s ok to protest and make a “political statement” during regular/postseason play, but not during the Super Bowl, in the interest of the “fans to commemorate and celebrate the game”?
Here’s another question…in the interest of “fan commemoration and celebration of the game”…is Mr. Goodell saying that his million dollar divas are not going to be allowed to kneel and protest during the National Anthem at the Super Bowl so as not to make a “political statement”? That’s an easy one…of course not. Roger Goodell hasn’t had the balls to stand up to his players this entire time. Why would he start now?
Naturally, the NFL did its best to portray itself as the victim in this situation…much like its players do when protesting. The NFL made it “clear” that it went out of its way to try and work with and find suitable alternative messaging so as to accept the ad. However, it was the AMVETS organization and not the NFL that was unwilling to compromise.
Throughout the player protests, the NFL has had to go out of its way to justify its divas’ right to protest. The NFL has also been consistently swift to vehemently admonish any individual, or entity, that dares to challenge or rebut its players’ right to protest. This was evident last year when the New Orleans Saints organization seemingly went out of its way to disparage a disabled Veteran that dared to decline an award from the team due to the ongoing players’ protests. That Veteran, Mr. John Wells, declined to accept the team’s Peoples Health Champion Award because he believed the “ongoing controversy with NFL players’ disrespect for the national flag forces me to decline to participate in the presentation. I am unable, in good conscience, to enter an NFL stadium while this discourtesy prevails. Since this award is tainted with the dishonorable actions of the NFL and its players, I cannot accept it.”
At this point and time, the New Orleans Saints organization could have simply honored Mr. Wells’ decision and quietly moved on. Instead, the Saints organization went on the offensive and publicly vilified Mr. Wells for daring to have the audacity to decline its precious honor and to challenge the NFL’s players’ protests. What makes this even more despicable is the fact that it was Veterans that rebuilt New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It was Veterans that ensured the New Orleans Saints organization had a Superdome to play in after Hurricane Katrina. How soon the New Orleans Saints forget.
It’s clear that throughout these protests the NFL, and Roger Goodell in particular, don’t really seem to understand the concept of a “protest”. All parties involved have been adamant about their right to freedom of speech to justify the protests. The part that Mr. Goodell and his million dollar divas seem to miss is that…those that disagree with their protest have just as much the right to freedom of speech to rebut their protests!
To be fair to the NFL, I recognize that the organization does do a lot for the military as well as Veterans. In addition, I also realize that the original intent of the protests have been lost and that it was never about disrespecting the flag, country, military, or Veterans. However, this is something else the NFL, the players, and Mr. Goodell don’t seem to understand about protesting. Just because someone protests, that doesn’t mean their intent is going to be clearly understood by others. In addition, just because someone protests, that doesn’t mean their intent is going to stay intact. The reality is, due to Coin Kaepernick’s impulsiveness of kneeling during the National Anthem, his protest was never clearly understood. Which means that his intent was pretty much lost from the very beginning.
In light of this, Roger Goodell should have grown a pair and nipped the protests in the bud from the very beginning. Instead, Mr. Goodell tried to placate everyone…and as a result his million dollar divas’ protests continue to haunt him and the NFL as a whole. Mr. Goodell is slowly and systematically alienating the NFL’s fan base…just to protect his overpaid divas’ right to protest.
While I haven’t watched an NFL game this year due to the players’ protests, I was considering watching the Super Bowl. However…in light of this latest “situation”, I have decided not to. I cannot…in clear conscience…support an organization that seemingly goes out of its way to heavy handedly disparage those that dare to challenge its actions. In addition, as a Veteran, I will not support an organization that seemingly went out of its way to vilify a fellow Veteran.
I would love nothing more than to see other Veterans do the same and boycott this year’s Super Bowl. I understand though it’s highly unlikely this will occur. However, the longer Roger Goodell allows his million dollar divas the right to protest, the more fans he and his players will alienate. The more often the NFL heavy handedly admonishes any individual, or entity, that dares to challenge or rebut its divas’ right to protest, the more fans and businesses the NFL alienates. It’s no secret that the NFL’s revenues are down…viewership is down…and we’ve already seen cracks in the foundation as companies affiliated with the NFL are suggesting, whether openly or rumored, that the protests are adversely affecting their bottom-line. At this rate, Roger Goodell and his overpaid million dollar divas are well on their way to “burn[ing] this bitch down”.