Imagine for a moment you’re a young basketball player who accepts a deal to play pro ball in Europe. But during your stay, you decide to disrespect your host country’s national anthem before each game.
Don’t you think the country’s fans would have every right to despise you and boo you off the team?
In turn, we, and plenty of other National Football League fans, don’t happen to think former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did anything heroic or courageous by refusing to stand for the National Anthem before games to show how racist he thinks we are here. For a while he sat, then took a knee. Several other players around the league, and some in other sports, copied him.
At one point, Kaepernick wore socks that depicted law enforcement officers as pigs.
Frankly, it made many of us sick to our stomachs or just plain livid to see such open contempt for our country – particularly by an overindulged professional athlete who has done quite well here. If he doesn’t like it here, Delta is ready when he is.
But he knows he’d never flourish the way he has in the United States of America.
Plenty of Americans share this view. A Rasmussen poll last fall found a third of Americans said they were less likely to watch NFL games due to the insulting display – which is basically a middle finger to those paying Kaepernick’s salary.
More recently, a J.D. Power poll last month said the anti-American protests, sanctioned by the league itself, were the top reason they tuned the games out last season. Viewership of NFL games was down 8 percent last year.
The NFL offered pretense that it had no way to prevent Kaepernick’s antics. Unalloyed nonsense. This is a league that carefully controls the color of a player’s cleats. Nor is it a free speech issue. Once you don a company’s uniform, it has a little something to say about your behavior. Nowhere is that truer than in the NFL, which regularly fines or suspends players for their conduct – and even uniform violations.
The current lament for those who shed tears over Kaepernick’s self-immolation is that he can’t get another job since being released by the 49ers. While his abilities have become suspect after his early success, it’s also likely no one in a league whose logo is red, white and blue wants to inherit the public relations nightmare Kaepernick has cloaked himself in.
Again, if you were hired by a country to basically be an athletic ambassador and you then proceeded to urinate on the country’s standing by not standing for its national song, what could you reasonably expect to happen? A raise in salary?
As we noted, the NFL polices nearly every other form of conduct by its players. It should institute a policy of respect for this country by its players.
The fans who pay the freight deserve no less.
At this writing, Kaepernick was being chatted up for various quarterbacking jobs – though reports indicate he won’t settle for a backup job, and has, in fact, turned down at least one contract offer. So much for being blackballed.
We don’t begrudge the man a job. We just don’t plan to ever watch him work at it.