Herbert London: Kneeling For Recognition

Oct 4, 2017

It is now a Sunday ritual. Petulant NFL football players joined by their colleagues in other professional sports have colluded to dishonor the flag and what it represents by kneeling during a performance of the national anthem.

President Trump said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag say ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired!”

While people like Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, argued, “There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics,” it stands to reason that politics should not be inserted into sports. But he has permitted it.

In fact, the grandstanding started with Colin Kaepernick, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who said he will not show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people. Kaepernick claimed his protest was based on racist police targeting black men. But that is a lie based on an urban myth. As Heather MacDonald has pointed out a police officer is more likely to be attacked by a black youth (18 times more likely) than a minority youth attacked by a police officer.

In this overheated environment, facts count for little. However, this kneeling controversy on a football field evokes memory of Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow who took a knee in the end zone after scoring a touchdown. The Left described this religious gesture as polarizing and a violation of church-state separation. Surely Mr. Tebow should have been supported for the expression of personal conscience, but apparently there is a double standard when it comes to the Christian faith.

Curiously the NFL game operations manual contends all players must stand at attention during the playing of the National Anthem. But what was once mandated is now merely a suggestion.

My hope is that Americans who stand in defense of liberty will stop watching NFL games and avoid attendance at stadiums. Moreover, it is time for Congress to question the NFL’s anti-trust exemption which ensures billions in profits for team owners.

Those who cannot honor our tradition should not be in the position of reaping national rewards. If you insist on kneeling, go to a church. Say a prayer in silence or conversely, go to your local park, get up on a pedestal and express your opinions.

For most of my life I’ve played sports and admit to be an avid fan. Those days are gone. Sports have been corrupted by Left wing politics and will never be the same again. RIP.

Herbert London is President of the London Center for Policy Research,  a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the book The Transformational Decade (University Press of America). You can read all of Herb London’s commentaries at www.londoncenter.org

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