The National Football League might be arguably the most popular professional sports league in the world. It is without question the most popular of the many professional leagues here in the United States. The recent anthem protests by several players has really put that popularity to the test. Many fans seem to be tuning out and ratings of the games are in a downward spiral. I hear many fans saying they are through with watching professional football and talks of more boycotts are sure to come if these protests continue by these disrespectful players.
As a huge lifetime fan of the league, I thought hard and long about boycotting this season and refusing to watch any games. Seeing players disrespect our flag by taking a knee during the anthem rubbed me the wrong way. How could a player who is privileged to be making millions of dollars by just playing a game show such lack of appreciation for this country? It seems like these protests are a direct slap in the face for many fans like myself who love this country. Then it dawned on me that these players represent a small minority of players in the league. A huge majority still have enough common decency to stand for just a few minutes and show some respect to our country. I am sure many are not entirely totally happy with what has gone on with the recent police shootings of unarmed black men, but they put those things aside to show just a little appreciation for how fortunate they are to be living in the United States.
Furthermore, many of these NFL players are extremely active in the community. Many use their off days to visit hospitals and schools. I saw a number of players from our local team visit a hospital and surely brighten the day of a young boy who was undergoing cancer treatment. These type of stories go widely unnoticed by the media. They like to focus on all the bad things that players do. Included among those players are probably some who are protesting. And let us not forget about J.J. Watt, a young player who organized a relief effort for victims of Hurricane Harvey. If you are going to criticize players for being unpatriotic, you might want to look at players such as Watt who has given so much time and effort to help those in need. There are many other players just like him who will sacrifice much to help out a fellow American. That is what this country is all about.
When I think of this acts of helping others, it makes me forget the actions of just a few knuckleheads. There are plenty of good dudes in the NFL and they are really worthy of our support. They do a lot for our country. I know many people are really upset with some of the players and the league’s response to these protests. I just think that we need to look at the total picture and understand that this league is filled by a majority of players who love this country. I don’t think boycotting the league at this time is the answer. I will still continue to watch and enjoy what is by far the best professional league going today.
It started with Colin Kaepernick, then several other prominent athletes joined this practice of kneeling during the playing of the national anthem to protest certain atrocities going in this country. With the upcoming NFL season just a few weeks away, this controversy of not standing during the anthem is not going away anytime soon and more players are bound to take a knee this year as well.
It is absolutely true, this is America and you have a right not to stand during the playing of our national anthem. Whether an athlete wants to stand or not stand is their own decision. However, with all decisions of that nature come consequences and many players fail to realize how much they are turning off fans like myself. It is also my right as a fan and a consumer of the league to turn off the NFL and distance myself from this complete disrespect of our nation.
Do these spoiled athletes realize how many opportunities are given to them in this country? Is it too much to give just a few minutes of gratitude to stand and show appreciation for the opportunity to earn a lot money by growing up in this great country? Or maybe honor many brave young men and women who gave their lives in honor of this country? Instead I hear whiners like Kaepernick and other athletes talk about all the wrongs going on and how they feel they must make a statement. Outside of protesting the national anthem, what have you done to help fix these problems. I often wonder how involved some of these athletes are in the inner city where many of these problems of our society originate. How many actually go to the police departments and talk about how they can work with the police to help ease racial tensions?
I think I speak for a lot of fans in seeing a very disturbing trend among some of these athletes, especially athletes of color. Many years ago, black athletes were on professional rosters because of their skin color. That has dramatically changed. As I mentioned in a previous post about Confederate symbols, we have come a longs ways in helping bridge the gap between whites and blacks in this country. I just wish some of these pampered athletes would look at the whole picture and realize how lucky they are to be playing ball and making a ton of money in this country. Disrespecting our country by failing to stand during the anthem is a huge turnoff for me and many fans. I have no time to feel sorry or support those disrespectful, pampered, crybabies.
Shortly after Tom Brady and the New England Patriots finished off the Atlanta Falcons in the greatest Super Bowl comeback ever, my thoughts were not on where Brady ranks among the greatest of all-time quarterbacks. Nor were my thoughts on the jubilant Patriot players and fans who just won their 5th Super Bowl title. My thoughts were of the many Atlanta Falcons fans and the organization who had their hearts ripped apart in dramatic fashion. Imagine for a second if your favorite team had blown that type of lead in the Super Bowl. Your team was cruising along with a huge lead and an almost certain chance of winning their first ever Super Bowl, then disaster strikes! In all my years of watching sports, it might go down as the biggest collapse ever with so much at stake. The rumors that the psychiatrists in Georgia were probably overbooked with appointments last week is probably true.
I don’t know where to exactly place the blame on the collapse, but one series of events during the game pretty much defined the collapse. After the Patriots had cut the score to 28-20 with about 5 minutes left in the game, Atlanta got the ball back and promptly marched down the field. They had a first and 10 around the New England 20 yard line. All they had to do was run a few running plays and kick a fairly makeable field to go up 2 scores with probably about 2 minutes left in the game. A fairly reasonable plan, right? The Falcons have a good tandem of running backs and the Patriots did not show all during the game that they could stop any running plays. For some unknown reason, the offensive coordinator of the Falcons decided to run a couple of passing plays which resulted in a holding penalty and then a costly sack. Those plays pretty much backed the Falcons out of field goal range and gave the Patriots a chance to tie the game which they did. Now I am far from being a football genius and the offensive coordinator is far smarter in football then I am, but the rationale behind this particular offensive series has me scratching my head! I just don’t understand the logic behind it.
Winning the Super Bowl is a very difficult task and most teams are lucky to even reach the big game, let alone winning the game. This was a golden chance that the Falcons let slip away. They may never get another opportunity to win their first Super Bowl in years. This game will be a deep permanent black mark on the organization forever. And what about the poor fans?! Having your team win the Super Bowl makes you feel so good inside. Very few things make you prouder to be a fan of a particular team than having that team win the Super Bowl.
If you are a fan of the Falcons or a member of that organization, all is not doom and gloom for the future. I still rank them as one of the favorites to win next year’s Super Bowl. They have one of the best quarterbacks in the league and a nearly unstoppable offense to rely on. Their defense is very young and will get better. It would not surprise me at all to see them back in the Super Bowl next year. But for the time being, how can you even sleep at night if you are a Falcons fan? This game was the big one that got away! Ouch! That one has to hurt.