EDITORIAL:

We have a problem with this weekend’s national day of protest by the NFL. We think the players might have as well, had they spent a little time looking at the reasons for the show they put on.

 

If there were a Subversive’s Guide to Effective Protesting, Rule No. 1 would be “Make your message crystal clear.”

We’d be willing to bet that half the NFL players participating had no idea just what they were protesting.

Was it America’s treatment of blacks or was it meant as a slap in the face to President Trump. The answers are both conflicting and vague at best.

Whatever the reasons for the protests Sunday, the bottom line is that the players selected the wrong symbol to pick on. The American Flag and the National Anthem are not symbols or racism, and never have been.

Columnist Michael Gerson reminds us that it is the same flag under which the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry fought the Confederacy — the first African American regiment organized in the civil way. It flew over the Capitol when the Civil Rights Act was passed and it drapes the coffins of our nation’s soldier — black, brown and white.

He says that it is the symbol of a country with ideals that exceed its practices.

Disrespecting the American Flag disrespects all the sacrifices or our service men and women — and that would be true whether the President is Donald Trump or John F. Kennedy.

The players have a Constitutional right to freedom of speech — but not to play football.

The NFL’s game manual reads: “All players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem” and “stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand and refrain from talking” — or face “fines, suspensions an/or the forfeiture of draft choices.”

From what we can glean from conflicting reports, more players were protesting the President than actual oppression of minorities. Trump seems to have a God-given talent for starting a culture war when he wants to divert America’s attention from the foibles of his administration.

Forget, for the moment, that football took players of all ethnicities from varied backgrounds, got many into colleges who would not have gotten there without it, gave them a free ride through and multi-million dollar lifestyles in the pros.

Simply put, disrespect of the ideals and symbols of our country are not he way. They’re not protesting a Donald Trump, they’re emulating one. And if they’re protesting social injustice, they don’t seem the least bit worried that their world of fast cars, hot chicks and “bringing the bling” is so far separated from those they supposedly protest for, as to make their social “stand” over the weekend a national embarrassment.

At least Colin Kaepernick acted out of conviction, not pretension. And he’s paid a high price for his stance.

 

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