Don’t Be Fooled

(Image Courtesy of: usatoday.com)

By: Zach Fulwood

Last Sunday, we saw something different. After a full year of separate anthem protests from a select few of NFL players, for the first time ever, entire teams decided to stand or kneel together in a show of solidarity. NFL owners were seen locked in arms with their players as the national anthem was sung and it looked like a beautiful site to behold in the spirit of unity and inclusion of all people. It felt like everyone involved was fighting for the same cause except they actually weren’t. Don’t be fooled.

Let’s get something straight here; The NFL owners and their players were not fighting for the same reasons last Sunday. When President Trump went off on another tangent and decided to suggest that any NFL player who would protest the American flag was a “son of a b****” and that NFL owners should fire them on the spot for doing so, NFL owners got mad. The players obviously took offense to what was said about them and their frustration is understandable but the owners sudden involvement in the protests were puzzling to say the least. Don’t be fooled.

Now, I guess you could say that the NFL owners and their respective organizations should be commended for their outward show of support in defense of their players being negatively called out by the President but I’m not one of those people. It’s hard to be one of those people when you see the person who started the anthem protests in Colin Kaepernick continue to be without an NFL job and seemingly blackballed by those very owners who now want to be on the side of equal opportunity amongst its players. Don’t be fooled.

This looks less like a sudden moral revelation on the part of NFL owners and more like a protection of assets in relation to ensuring that the NFL remains a multi-billion dollar entity. There’s no secret that in sports, teams will put up with whatever distractions an athlete may come with so long as their talent makes up for it. With extreme talent comes extreme marketability which ultimately streamlines excessive amounts of cash into the owners’ pockets. Because Colin Kaepernick is no longer considered an NFL star and because of his anthem protest, he’s seen as more of a distraction as well as a potential road block to NFL sponsors and thus, he’s unemployed. As for Kaepernick no longer being considered a star, that very well may be the case but he should definitely have a job in the NFL and judging by his jersey being the 17th best selling in the NFL as of this past May, he’s still more marketable than 1,679 other NFL players. Don’t be fooled.

Kaepernick’s unemployment aside, the NFL as a whole has a huge problem and the image of unity doesn’t erase the division that exists within that very image. Some NFL players were protesting against social injustices while others were protesting against the remarks of the President and the owners were simply protesting against the President having the audacity to tell them how to run their business. Don’t be fooled.

Giving the NFL a badge of honor because of their response to the divisive words of the President would be nothing short of wrong and unwarranted. Further more, it would continue to muddle the initial purpose for protesting the American flag and the national anthem by turning the protests into an anti-Trump protest.Don’t be fooled.

No one was protesting against the American Army or the colors of the flag. No one was protesting the freedoms that exist within this country and clamoring to leave the country for something better. When people protest in the streets, their not protesting traffic. Their protesting in a place where they feel the most attention will be payed. The initial NFL protests were and have always been about the social injustices that exist within this country and how those same words that are beautifully sang during every major event doesn’t accurately apply to every American citizen. Don’t be fooled.

The NFL put their money where their mouth was when they failed to show any support for Colin Kaepernick during his protest and collectively chose not to employ him because of it. From day 1, the conversation about the anthem protests has been consistently shifted and contorted in a way that gives people a reason to complain and that’s unfortunate. I can give some credit to the NFL for collectively finally deciding to stand up for something but I can’t ignore the fact that all of the unity being preached by them is hardly being practiced. Again, i say, please don’t be fooled.

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