Cleat Geeks

NFL Players; Put Your Money Where Your Knee Is

Now, let me start this article by saying that I do not have a problem with a peaceful protest. But, I think there is a proper time, place and attitude with which to protest. With that being said, I have a few questions on this subject.

What Are The Players Actually Protesting?

Lets start with what President Trump said. “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race,” President Trump tweeted on Monday. “It is about respect for our country, flag and national anthem.”

Colin Kaepernick who was the first athlete on an NFL sideline to protest when the National Anthem was performed said “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told last year.

How about this tweet from John Elway, former player and now General Manager and President of Football Operations for the Denver Broncos.

Then there is this, released in a statement by the Seattle Seahawks “We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms.”

Lastly, how about this statement from Republican Louisiana State Legislature Kenneth Havard, who said, “Disrespecting our national anthem and flag in the name of social injustice is the highest form of hypocrisy,” Mr. Havard said in a statement. “It is time the taxpayers quit subsidizing protest on big boy playgrounds. I believe in the right to protest but not at a taxpayer subsidized sporting event.” He wants to take away millions of dollars in subsidies and tax breaks that the New Orleans Saints and the N.F.L. receive because they have allowed players to protest during the national anthem.

Conclusion– I don’t think the players, owners or politicians even know exactly what they are protesting. Is it race, oppression, or people who deny other people basic freedoms? Is it our flag, or the actual Anthem itself? My point is, I watched several pieces of several games on Sunday and Monday, and I don’t know if they are all protesting the same thing, and exactly what it is they are all protesting? I then have to wonder if some of the teams locker rooms are feeling the same way?

Should Players Who Protest Be Punished?

President Trump said last week that protesting players should be fired, calling their mothers “b——.” In reality, they won’t even be fined.

Remember when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted at Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones last month, thanking him for threatening to fire any players who did not stand for the anthem? He tweeted this last month, “Thank you, Jerry Jones,” linking it to an article in which the Dallas Cowboys owner tells players to “stand for the anthem or you’re off the team.”Image result for jerry jones

Now before you all stand up and beat your chest in Texas and praise Jerry Jones, according to Josh Hafner of USA Today, Jones never said that. The Dallas Morning News found out the claim was a hoax that began circulating online last year. A similar fake comment attributed to Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt also resurfaced this year.

Kneeling as the National Anthem is played is not against any NFL rules, but not being on the sidelines while it is being performed is. An NFL spokesman said Monday that players would not be punished for breaking a league rule that says they must appear on sidelines during the national anthem. Players on the Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers all skipped Sunday’s anthem.

“Looking at yesterday, everyone should know, including the president, this is what real locker room talk is,” NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said Monday, adding that “our clubs and owners demonstrate just how deeply we believe in our players and in our game.”

Conclusion– They will not be punished. Which is wrong. If you violate a rule, you should be punished. Now, the NFL is sending the wrong message, they are saying not only can you protest whatever you want, but that it doesn’t matter if you break rules to do it. Mock my words, the NFL is leaving the door open and someone is going to walk through it. Also notice the second half of the above quote from NFL spokesperson Joe Lockhart. Are the clubs and owners allowing these protests because of a tweet from the President, and not for any of the other reasons listed in the first question? Lockhart does not mention anything about race, religion, oppression or color. He says it is because the NFL believes in it’s players and it’s game.

Are There Military Veterans Who Support These Protests?

One of the big sticking points for alot of Americans is that the protests are being conducted when the National Anthem is being played, and our country’s flag is being honored. But, are there military personal who are supporting the protests? The answer is yes.

John Middlemas, is a 97 year old World War II veteran from Missouri who knelt on Sunday in solidarity with players. His photo went viral with a quote: “Those kids have every right to protest.”

There’s also Nate Boyer, the former Green Beret the NFL longsnapper who stood alongside Kaepernick and encouraged him to kneel, rather than sit, during the anthem.

Lastly, there is Rory Fanning, an ex-Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan alongside former NFL star Pat Tillman. Fanning is even quoted as saying, “(Kaepernick) is choosing not to lie to himself, the world, or all the people who thought they died to ensure we lived in a free country, by claiming this is the land of the free when it is not. This is the opposite of an insult to those who died thinking they were fighting for liberty.”

Conclusion– The answer to the question is yes. But the quotes and the way the support is shown seem to continue to muddy the waters. Boyer was not really supporting Kaepernick. If he was truly supporting him, he would have knelt with him. All Middlemas said, was that they have the right to protest, which I agree with. Fanning in his quote mentions nothing about race, religion, oppression or color. He is introducing a new idea by saying our country is not free. He is correct, there are punishments for one’s actions. Unless you are an NFL player who doesn’t even come out when the National Anthem is played, because you want to protest.

So What Is The Answer?

The answer is the title of the article. Instead of putting your collective knees down on the sidelines for a few minutes before the start of a football game, put your collective money down in your communities. Most of the people who are protesting are millionaires. If they are not millionaires, they are making more money at their job than most people reading this article. If you think a certain race, religion, or ethnicity in this country is being treated unfairly then find a local charity and give to that charity with either money, time or both. Staying in your locker-room or in the tunnel does not do anything to help the problem, it just draws attention to yourself. Don’t put your knee down, put your money down. If every player who did not show up for the Anthem or sat or knelt for the Anthem would have just given $10,000 dollars to a local charity that would make a difference. All you are making now is a scene.

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