I used to enjoy football. I was a long-suffering Chief’s fan. But no more. And the NFL’s latest non-apology emotional tribute to Medal of Honor (MOH) winners just pissed me off.
I grew up on an Air Force sergeant’s pay, and as a kid I was lucky to score a dollar for a movie now and then. I worked pretty much from 8th grade on, and I’ve never done anything but work. I may fail retirement for that reason. But the point is, I have always known that there are workers, people who carry the load, and directors, people who direct the work. For most of my life I was a worker. When I moved into the director class, I remembered what it was like to be “the help” and I tried to always regard people who worked in my office as people who worked “with me” and not “for me.” It is a small distinction, but an important one. How you treat people says more about you than it does about them.
This past year the National Football League has, as an entity, spent the majority of its time spitting on the sacrifices made by our troops in the service of freedom. Instead of standing and respecting the National Anthem, they allowed – in fact, encouraged – players to “take a knee” to protest something that the NFL has absolutely zero involvement in or control over. Generally speaking players were allowed to spit on our national image. And when the president called them out on it, he was labeled a racist for saying what 90% of the country already felt. Stop injecting politics into football. Instead of protesting, do something positive!
As a result of the NFL policy, for the second year in a row, I refused to watch any NFL games in person or on television. I refused to buy any NFL gear. I refused to care who was in the playoffs. I refused to watch the playoffs. I refused to watch the Super Bowl. And somewhere along the line some ratings analyst went squeeing into the NFL offices and said “Holy Shit, we’re taking a beating, and losing money!” So the NFL got its brain trust together (creating a collective IQ of at least 70 with all of those folks in the room) and decided that what they would do at Super Bowl 52 was honor all the Medal of Honor winners to make sure that everyone knew that the NFL was really patriotic (just forget that whole spitting on the flag thing!).
It reminded me of all the times that, as a low-level employee, the big bosses would take a few hours out of their life to “recognize” employee’s hard work with a ham, or a turkey, or maybe a set of towels. My wife, a teacher, once got a whole $1 as a bonus. Wow! “We don’t actually care about you, but we do so much wish you to think so!” So, basically, the NFL glitterati are willing to let the MOH winners shine for a few seconds at the Super Bowl to try to make America forget that its players have disrespected the very nation that allows them to play a game for money.
If the MOH ceremony had been accompanied by, say, an apology from Roger the Dodger Goodell, apologizing for his inaction and promising to discipline players in the future, I might have watched. I might have applauded.
But it didn’t. And I didn’t. And I won’t be back next year.
It was a cheap emotional ploy to try and hook the suckers. I refuse to be a sucker.
But make no mistake, the kneelers will be back next year.
They can’t admit they are wrong.
But the best postscript of all to the 2017 season is the fact that the Eagles, the one team that never kneeled, took home the trophy.
Suck on that, losers!