No one has the ability to tell it like it is quite like Mike Rowe, and the former Dirty Jobs host nailed it again in his response to a Facebook fan who asked for his opinion on current state of the National Football League and President Donald Tumps’s controversial remarks about players who do not stand for the National Anthem.
Last year, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick raised eyebrows when he chose to sit on the bench (he later began taking a knee) during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner before games in protest of black oppression and police brutality. While other players sporadically followed suit, the conversation surrounding the action had laregly died down—that is until Trump reignited the controversy over the weekend.
In a series of tweets dating back to Saturday, the president disinvited the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors from a customary White House visit before turning his attention to the NFL. He slammed players who enjoy the “privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,” but “do not stand for the National Anthem.” He encouraged owners to fire players who fail to stand and continued to double down on the rhetoric through the weekend.
If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
…our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
As tensions rose—NASCAR sided with Trump, while the NFL said it would support its players decision—Rowe offered his own take on the divisiveness. On Sunday, he replied to a fan named Robert Amon in a lengthy Facebook post.
“I know you avoid politics, (thanks!) and I remember your rant on the Colt’s leaving Baltimorem,” Amon said. “But I gotta ask – what’s happening to professional football, and what do you make of Trump’s comments about those who refuse to stand during the national anthem?”
Rather than follow the lead of the majority of the media and take sides, Rowe took a very different approach. Instead of issuing a lecture on patriotism, inequality, or social justice, Rowe encouraged the reader consider their own power in the situation. As Rowe explained, through their pocketbooks and television remotes, the American people will have he ultimate say in this debate, and there is nothing the media, the president, or the NFL can do to change that.
In democracies, we the people get the government we deserve. We also get the celebrities we deserve, the artists we deserve, and the athletes we deserve. Because ultimately, we the people get to decide who and what gets our attention, and who and what does not.
Right now, The NFL, the players who choose to kneel, the networks who choose to broadcast their protest, the advertisers who sponsor the games, and the President of the United States, are all eager for our attention. And they are all using football to get it. That’s all well and good, right up to the point where it isn’t. In my view, the real controversy here isn’t about patriotism, social justice, racial inequality, or free speech. It’s not even about the flag or the national anthem. It’s really only about one thing – what we will tolerate, and what we won’t.
I was disappointed last night, to hear President Trump encourage owners to fire players who refuse to stand for the anthem. Not because I dispute the owners right to do so, or the players right to protest. I was disappointed because the President’s comments presuppose that the owners are in charge of the game. They’re not. We are. We decide what to watch, and that decision – far more than any other consideration – will determine the what the owners choose to do. And that in turn will affect what the players choose to do…
The fans of professional football are not powerless – they’re just not yet offended enough to turn the channel. Should that ever change in a meaningful way – if for instance, a percentage of football fans relative to those players who chose to kneel during today’s games, chose to watch something else next Sunday – I can assure you…the matter would be resolved by Monday.
Read the full post HERE.
To close, Rowe offered an alternative to the so-called heroes (i.e. sports stars and celebrities) worshiped in pop culture by plugging his new Facebook series, Returning the Favor, which highlights ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things.
“The goal is pretty simple: introduce America to regular people who are doing something nice,” Rowe said in a trailer for the new show. “It’s a completely transparent look at the neighbors you wish you had. [We are] searching America for better-than-average citizens and the returning the favor.”
Check out the first episode, which features an inspiring 20-minute look into the incredible work of former Army engineer Jason Zaidement, below:
Follow host Mike Rowe as he travels the country in search of remarkable people making a difference in their communities and celebrates their good deeds. Returning the Favor gives back to those who pay it forward – and it does it all with humor, heart and an amazing surprise. It could be a storefront for a formerly homeless teen who gives soap to the homeless, brand new tools for a mechanic who works with traumatized military veterans or an expanded salon for a cancer survivor who provides free makeovers for those fighting off the disease. Because one good turn deserves another.
Posted by Returning The Favor on Tuesday, August 22, 2017