Oh, how times have changed. We only have to look back to Whitney Houston and 1991 to see just how far.
Just two seasons ago, the NFL was the most popular sport in the country by far and growing in popularity. But after Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem turned into a league wide debacle, fans had had enough. People went so far as to burn hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise, and vowed never to watch the NFL ever again.
Many appear to be making good on that promise, because ratings have suffered.
It’s getting so bad that the NFL finally decided to take action, and the commissioner wrote a letter to teams indicating that they should stand for the playing of the national anthem. Is it too little, too late? Only time will tell, but since players are essentially being forced to stand for the anthem, the damage has been done.
Why has this one protest done so much damage?
No matter how many times they say it’s not about the troops and American ideals, people simply won’t view it that way because that’s exactly what the flag stands for: freedom, and of course that means a LOT to the people who risk their lives to defend it. It means a lot to the families who’ve lost a loved one defending it.
Trying to highlight police brutality or racism by targeting the American flag is quite possibly the most confusing and ineffective way to accomplish that objective. Those are perfectly legitimate issues, but the flag is an innocent bystander in all of this. The flag is actually a helpful reminder of what the country strives to be, while realizing we will never fully achieve peace and harmony because we’re all human. But it’s great to have something to point back to, and for many Americans, the ideals the founders built this country on – faith, freedom, justice – the flag is a beacon that keeps us striving and gets us back on course.
So it shouldn’t be all that surprising that people now look at NFL players as people who harbor deep distain for the country. Especially when that country has provided them with fame and fortune.
Intended message or not, that is how it is being received.
A perfect example to illustrate just how deeply people tie the American flag to the idea of freedom and the people who risk their lives to preserve it, let’s take a trip down memory lane to 1991.
America was fully engaged in the Gulf War. Our troops were engaged with a tyrannical dictator who had gassed his own people. The Super Bowl was here, and our men and women in uniform were in harms way. This was the first major conflict involving boots on the ground since Vietnam, and Americans didn’t want to make the same mistake again and leave our troops out to dry.
It’s been a while, but have we forgotten how moved the entire nation was when Whitney Houston took the stage and absolutely nailed the national anthem? It was such a good performance, radio stations all across America played it for weeks and it became the top song in the country. The song resurfaced and became popular again after the September 11th attacks. We were filled with pride that America was once again the beacon of freedom for the globe to follow and emulate.
America wasn’t perfect then. It wasn’t perfect ever. But the idea of America is. And for all our flaws, we do it better than any other. That’s why people risk life and limb to come here, and not France or Italy or China or Africa or Venezuela or anywhere else in the world.
If you yearn to be free, you come to America. If you yearn to be free, but can’t come, you call on America to come help you.
That’s why we stand for the anthem and salute the flag. And that’s why people are so upset at those who disrespect it. Not because of Trump. Not because of any other political issue. It’s because we love freedom. We love the people who’ve died and continue to fight to preserve it.
In the video clip, there’s a short set up before the performance. Take note of the people interviewed. The mom of a soldier in harms way – look at how much the performance meant to her! It perfectly illustrates why and how so many people are upset at this protest and willing to ditch the NFL over it.
Watch. Remember. And prepared to get CHILLS:
Perfection. The interviewees in the video clip felt the same.
“It was an overwhelming feeling,” said the mother of a soldier.
“The most electric moment that I’ve ever seen in sports,” Frank Gifford added.
It’s impossible not to beam with pride when listening to this. Now, take that feeling and imagine someone protesting it. That’s why we’re seeing what we’re seeing today. The flag does not represent something evil or bad, and just because evil and injustice happens in America today doesn’t mean we should protest the flag — in fact, it’s the exact opposite. When injustice happens, that’s the precise time to point people towards the flag.
Share this story to remind everyone that the flag truly does represent something good!