poltical cartoon

The NFL’s Stupid-Ass Anthem Policy

I would love nothing more than to see every Viking on opening day, sitting in the locker room, waiting for the anthem to finish.

You can’t regulate patriotism.

Baseball games used to just have the seventh inning stretch. Peanuts and cracker-jacks and that’s it. Now they also play America the Beautiful while a B-roll of nationalistic images from Sam the Eagle’s archives plays on the jumbotron. Happened after 9/11, wouldn’t ya know. And people look at you funny if you don’t stand for that.

When you force people to stand and pay homage/obesiance to a symbol, that’s no longer a democracy. Democracy means you have a choice. Taking away people’s right to choose is antithetical. (And BTW, seems fitting that such an autocratical rule was decided in an autocratical way).

Do not tell me that you want politics out of your sports. Yes, I understand sports is an escape from those trials of life. Same way video games and RPGs and books are for me. But anything public is always political. It can never not be–not when you have a public face, where many millions are watching you. Especially when every twitch of your nose is scrutinized by analysts. Remember Chris Kluwe? The world’s finest punter, author, and D&D player (triple threat)? He was blacklisted for the same damn thing, speaking out about political beliefs (specifically free speech and LGBT rights). I hope he’s doing okay.

Plus he’s so handsome

What slices my cheese is that this was never about patriotism or free speech. It started with protesting the way cops treat black suspects (a.k.a. Black Lives Matter), a situation that still goes on and still hasn’t been remedied to this day. Oh, but we all care about what the football players are doing. It didn’t become a thing until people noticed (which was like 4 games after he started doing it) and someone tried to put the kibosh on it. THAT’S when the other players started getting in on it. Because then it was no longer about the original cause, it was about free speech. The ability to not be censured.

And here’s what they could have done.

I mean, I know brainstorming means more misses than hits, but bad ideas are bad ideas. Personally, I love the idea of implementing a 15 yard penalty. It’s like getting a parking ticket, so we’re going to force your car to slow down.

I would love to know who came up with that idea. So many things wrong with it. Is it cumulative for each player? Does it start on the kickoff? After the kickoff? Can someone decline the penalty? If both teams do it, do they offset?

And don’t forget–the national anthem at sports is a new thing. There used to not be anything. I don’t want to get rid of the anthem, I like it as a symbolic kick-off to the game. A sign that “it’s starting now”. Plus we’d miss those close-ups on the players who look like they’re really into it. Ooh, here’s an idea — make up an NFL-only anthem. Like a theme song.

I don’t think anyone in America cares as much as politicians think they do. It’s like the term “African-American”. White people are the ones who came up with that term, not Blacks. But if political pressure is what made Roger Goodell make this change, then yeah, you have entered the political arena. And not on the side of the bill of rights.

Eric Juneau is a software engineer and novelist on his lunch breaks. In 2016, his first novel, Merm-8, was published by eTreasures. He lives in, was born in, and refuses to leave, Minnesota. You can find him talking about movies, video games, and Disney princesses at http://www.ericjuneaubooks.com where he details his journey to become a capital A Author.

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