The debate over kneeling or sitting in protest during the national anthem was ignited by Colin Kaepernick in 2016 and has escalated to become a nationally divisive issue. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first refused to stand during "The Star-Spangled Banner" on Aug. 26, 2016 to protest racial injustice and police brutality in the United States.
Now, before I get into those issues, let me be clear on one point.
I listen to music, to hear the music and the artist perform. For 50+ years, as an avid fan of the NFL, I watched football teams square-off on the gridiron to play football. I didn't and never have, and never will, tune in to those mediums or any other comparable medium, to bear witness to their protests, on my dime. That is my choice, period. If you disagree with that choice, fine. If you dislike me for that choice, fine. The only thing that I despise more than that, is for those of you who feel they should be able to control what I do and when I do it.
I said "I didn't leave the NFL, the NFL left me." And that's a fact. Let's look at some additional facts.
Colin Kaepernick made it clear in 2016 that he was kneeling for the National Anthem, in part, due to "police brutality." As a 33-year veteran law enforcement officer, and who in all those years, has never once met Colin Kaepernick, I take issue with that statement. I also take issue with it, for a number of other reasons. In thirty-three years, I have watched as fourteen law enforcement officers. whom I personally knew, all of which were killed in the line of duty, were buried. Not a single one of those Officers, individually or combined, made an income, throughout their careers, that came close to what Colin Kaepernick made in one year.
Make no mistake about it folks. Each one of those Officers knew they would never get rich by pinning on their respective shields. And too an Officer, I can assure you that isn't why they chose the path they took. They did it for the same reason myself and others have done it and continue to do it. We want and wanted to make a difference. We wanted our families to feel safe at night and we took an oath to do just that.
At the end of a shift or on a day off, I would enjoy rooting the New Orleans Saints to victory. Through channels that I still protect, I own a Saints helmet that was signed by every member of the winning Super Bowl team, in 2010, including Coach Sean Peyton. I didn't tune in to watch them or anyone else take a knee to our flag or anthem. I damn sure didn't tune in to hear their opinions on anything but what I paid for the NFL channel to hear and watch, and that was football. THEY elected to to support Colin Kaepernick and continue to do so. I, on the other hand, have effectively told them what they can do with their protests.
One would think that the NFL being the NFL, would have a leader at the helm. Someone who takes charge and runs the league for what it was, a business. I knew when Roger Goodell took over as CEO, and said as much then, that the team owners had made a mistake. I said then, that Goodell wasn't about football; he was there to plant and nurture an ideology. He was there to change football, as we had known it. And to his credit, he moved slowly, without a lot of fanfare. You see, Roger Goodell could have, had he been so inclined, "nipped this thing in the bud" from the beginning. But he didn't. And furthermore, he won't. Issuing a "cease and desist" order doesn't fit his personal agenda. I know, some of you are saying "he couldn't do that anyway."
Well, you're wrong. He could have and should have but the choice was his, as CEO and he took the path that had already been laid out for him. Let's address "he couldn't do that anyway."
Does the name Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf ring a bell with you? If not, I can certainly understand. Perhaps his birth name, Chris Jackson, would be more familiar? He grew up in Gulfport, Miss., and played his college basketball at Louisiana State. He was selected third in the 1990 NBA draft and struggled for two seasons before breaking out with a 19.2-point average in 1992-93.
After Chris Jackson converted to Islam and changed his name to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, he decided to sit during the National Anthem prior to a game. The CEO of the NBA not only fined Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf $31,707, he also suspended him from playing. The NBA made it clear, that they have a rule that states "players, coaches and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture . . . during the playing of the American and/or Canadian national anthems."
Plain, simple and to the point. It's a point that even Chris Jackson aka Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf understood. His days of sitting out the Anthem, ended almost as quickly as it began. That is the difference in leadership and someone with a title.
Just a little over a year ago, on September 24, 2017, New Orleans Saints quaterback, Drew Brees (someone I once admired and truly respected) said this: "Trump's comments "unbecoming" of office....." He said that in reply to President Trump responding to a question he had been asked, about his thoughts on the NFL players protesting on the field. President Trump replied "I'd fire'em." He didn't waffle, he didn't perform a "verbal dance," he simply answered the question matter-of-factly. And oooooh, the people (some of whom surprised me) that attacked him for that one statement! The Liberals revealed their true colors, quickly and with malice.
For the record, I would have as well Mr. President.
So, for whatever it's worth, that's why I made the statement that I did. I believe that I would have returned to being a fan had this issue been addressed early on, however, with the movement such as ESPN's decision "we simply won't air the National Anthem segment," my decision was easy and it was mine to make. I no longer watch the NFL, in any capacity. And I do not foresee that changing.
Johnny Cash wrote a song in 1975 that I have listened to many times. It spells out, how I personally feel about the symbol of our great nation. I'll leave you with that song.