NO FLAG IN FOOTBALL
To Extremely Patriotic NFL Football Fans:
The American flag “symbolizes” the nation, nothing more, nothing less. The nation exists as a “real” democratic republic, not because of its symbolic cloth flag but because of its written Constitution. Among many other things, this Constitution guarantees:
- Freedom of speech
- The right to peacefully assemble
- The right to petition to redress grievances
If this is true…
Who are you to restrict, in any manner, those “rights” by claiming that, in your collective opinion, kneeling NFL football players somehow disrespect the flag and by extension the United States military? The kneeling athletes have a grievance against the government, not the Constitution, not the military, not the nation and certainly not you, the fans that partially pay their salaries. They grieve for their fellow citizens who are denied the full and rightful measure of constitutional protections. In short, their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Your espousing a massive boycott because of imagined slights against the military is unseemly, divisive and defamatory to the protestors and the Constitution itself. If you don’t like kneeling then counter-protest the kneelers by standing on your seats or on your heads.
Despite the Pentagon’s saber-rattling use of ear-impairing fighter jet flyovers, midfield-targeted parachute assaults and field-length flag-unfurlings, football remains a mere game, a lucrative business, yes, but at heart a game. And definitely not a war game. And definitely not some fascist exercise in public patriotism. So far, no loyalty oaths are needed to buy tickets. For some, it seems a pity that superior athletic skill can also accompany well-developed social consciences.
During the heydays of the US-induced South American juntas, the football (soccer) stadiums were used as venues for the mass slaughter of dissenters. Remember this. Then remember our constitutional guarantees. And then applaud those who are demanding that ALL citizens be treated equally under the law.
If you want a real cause, campaign against the president of the United States. So far employed in a non-uniformed civilian job, he must stop saluting every uniformed person that twitches and every flag that flutters. It’s an egregious violation of flag etiquette and presumptuous to those who have earned the right to wear a military uniform and the privilege to salute.
James C. Ryan
October 26, 2017