In its first few weeks of this football season, the NFL has dominated the news.
It’s mostly not for the sports, but rather for the politics involved as players have decided to protest during the national anthem, including by kneeling or staying in the locker room. President Donald Trump also became further involved in the discussion last week, leading to more reactions during the Sunday and Monday football games.
The protests gained attention last year with San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick, who could not find a team to play for this season.
Kaepernick, and other players who have continued this move of kneeling during the national anthem, have offered that their peaceful protest is in response to racism and police brutality. Opponents say that it disrespects the police and military. Others point out that on the field in front of the flag is not the time to protest such causes. Still another position is that while the players are entitled to such a peaceful protest, they may still face consequences from fans and sponsors who don’t take lightly to the gesture.
People are talking about football, and along with it the First Amendment, race relations, the police, and military. Both sides of the aisle can agree that police brutality is wrong. What if players used their voice to protest another issue, however? What if that issue was the number one killer of African-Americans, which is abortion?
One could hardly find a more divisive topic in America than abortion. The pro-life side points to science confirming life begins at conception, and argues that the unborn child is a human person worthy of legal protection for the right to life. The pro-choice side meanwhile argues for the mother’s right to bodily autonomy and to do what she wishes with her body.
A Gallup poll, from this year, notes that there is “No consensus on legality.” The poll acknowledges, however, that “Most Americans favor legal abortion, but many of these want limits.” Polls also show that laws regulating and restricting abortion enjoy support from various demographics and opinions on abortion.
It’s likely pro-choice groups would get involved to denounce or mock these players, as they’ve done in the past. Tim Tebow, formerly of the Denver Broncos, was known for not shying away from prayer and his Christian faith. He wrote John 3:16 on his face before each game. In reaction to his pro-life views, a pro-choice blog known as abortion gang, encouraged a donation of $10 every time Tebow scored a touchdown, in the post “When Sports and Anti-Abortion Messages Collide and What To Do About It.”
Pro-choicers also did not take kindly to Tebow’s mother, Pam, who appeared in a Super Bowl ad with her son, about how he chose life for him despite facing a difficult pregnancy. At least one young woman who watched the ad was prompted to choose life for her child. Planned Parenthood also released a video, not about lives of unborn children they’ve saved, but why pro-choice athletes decried the message of life so much.
Tebow isn’t the only notable pro-life football player. Matt Birk, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens, has spoken at pro-life events, including the 2016 March for Life, and the upcoming Iowans for LIFE event on October 12. He declined to visit the White House after his 2013 Super Bowl win, as he and then President Barack Obama did not see eye to eye on the abortion issue.
Ben Watson, also of the Baltimore Ravens, is also hardly shy or quiet about his pro-life views, particularly on Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger targeted blacks for extermination, as Planned Parenthood continues to do by performing more abortions than any entity in the country. Watson makes his pro-life comments off the field, but, if he were to do so on the field, perhaps with a sign, or in talking to the media immediately before or after the game, what kind of reaction would he receive? Would there be those sticking up for his First Amendment right, as there are people sticking up for the rights of the players who kneel during the National Anthem?
Earlier this week the Washington Post published a perspective by Michael Frost, “Colin Kaepernick vs. Tim Tebow: A tale of two Christians on their knees.” As thoughtful as the piece was, Frost declined to point out the pro-choice backlash against Tebow, and he focused arguably too much on contrasting Kaepernick with Tebow, while he referred to Tebow as “concerned with private sins like abortion.”
The slaughter of innocents, and at such a rate in the United States, including and especially of African-Americans, ought to be anything but private.