Last year Colin Kaepernick shocked America by daring to kneel during the playing of the national anthem.
People were flabbergasted. You had folks who were fuming over this blatant act of disrespect, while others voiced their support of the former San Francisco 49er quarterback.
Unfortunately for Kaepernick, his entire “movement” has been turned into nothing more than the next social media trend.
Originally, Kaepernick wanted to raise awareness over the issue of police brutality, and specifically how police officers deal with the black community.
Unfortunately, that isn’t what fans want to talk about on Sunday afternoons. Nobody looks down at a player kneeling and says “wow, I hope that police departments are cleaning their act up”. No, they see a group of guys who want even more attention than they already have.
How many of these players are spending their paychecks on improving their communities? Guys like Marshawn Lynch, and JJ Watt are constantly praised for giving back, but can the same be said of every player trying to make some sort of “statement”?
The same people who get upset over celebrities “sending prayers” are the same ones praising guys taking a knee in “solidarity”. They are essentially the same thing. Unless they are putting their money where their mouths are it’s meaningless.
Which brings us to the mind-numbing stupidity of Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
On Sunday, prior to his team’s big fat loss, the entire Steelers’ team sat in the locker room while the anthem played. Well, everyone except for offensive lineman, and former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva.
Having served three tours in Afghanistan, Villanueva understands what the Star-Spangled-Banner means. He was not about to disrespect the country he’s sworn an oath to.
Last year, Villanueva caused somewhat of a stir for daring to criticize a millionaire’s decision to disrespect our nation’s flag:
“I don’t know if the most effective way is to sit down during the national anthem with a country that’s providing you freedom, providing you $16 million a year…when there are black minorities that are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for less than $20,000 a year.
I will be the first one to hold hands with Colin Kaepernick and do something about the way minorities are being treated in the United States, the injustice that is happening with police brutality, the justice system, inequalities in pay. You can’t do it by looking away from the people that are trying to protect our freedom and our country.”
Unfortunately, his coach feels as though respecting one’s sports team is more important than respecting the country in which we live.
In a press conference after the game, coach Tomlin talked about his disappointment in Villenueva for putting country over football:
“Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team.”
In Tomlin’s mind, football teams are more important than the country in which they get to play their game. At least, that’s the message he sent following his team’s defeat.
Have we come so far as a nation to where a coach of a GAME has the nerve to criticize a man who has SERVED OUR COUNTRY?
How in the hell does Mike Tomlin feel as though he has any right to condemn an Army Ranger for standing during the nation anthem?
Americans as a whole believe that our police departments should be full of good people. Americans are also aware that is not always the case in many places. Everyone can get on board with that.
What many, MANY Americans don’t understand is why people are choosing to disrespect what a lot of folks see as a symbol of our country.
Football players get hit in the head a lot, so that could explain the lack of thought put into their “protest”. However, when a coach decides to criticize a player who has done more for his country than he ever will, we know we have lost our way.
The time has come for sensible Americans to turn off the TV come Sunday afternoon, and find something else to do. At least until the NFL, and its players have shown that they are worth our time.
Until then, we will see this kind of blatant disrespect every single week, and people will continue to be upset by it.
If you’re upset, prove it, and turn off the NFL.