Wednesday, September 7, 2016

DEAR NFL PLAYERS: DON'T SIT ON 9/11



The NFL is a lot like the Kardashians. They just loooove attention. They are quite addicted
to it, actually. It doesn't matter if the subject they are dealing with is good or bad, just as long
as it makes them the center of attention, it's all fantastic.

Both franchises have used social media, talk shows, and 24-hour networks to push their
product and make obscene amounts of money. The NFL is a multi-billion industry that
is bullet proof to scandal and, in many ways, thrives off it.

I mean, the NFL is the brand that let a little air being let out of Tom Brady's balls
mushroom into a nearly two-year reality show. It was something they could've ended after
one episode, but instead, let it develop into a seemingly longer sit-com than "Seinfeld".

Hey, if it was good for ratings, the almighty dollar, and season-ticket renewals, then by
golly, let the "controversy" keep on rolling, they must've thought.

Now, the NFL has another controversy on its hands. Colin Kaepernick, a mediocre
quarterback on an even worse football team, ignited a storm two weeks ago by sitting
down during the national anthem. However, unlike Hurricane Hermine, it didn't fizzle
out and die quickly. In fact, it just got stronger and stronger.

The Kaepernick case is now a runaway train with nearly everyone in the country
weighing in on the subject. Athletes, politicians, CEO's, and co-workers at the
watercooler have all put their two cents in. Some have been thoughtful, others insightful,
while more than a few have been downright ignorant.

However, something tells me the suits that occupy the NFL offices on Park Avenue
in New York City, are grinning from ear to ear.

The controversy means more attention given to their game. More eyeballs, more ears,
more tweets, and ridiculous epic rants on Facebook.  You see, in that boring period
of meaningless preseason games played mostly by those you never heard of before
training camp opened and perhaps, will never hear from again, the NFL dominated
everything: social media, ESPN, the talks shows, headlines and front pages.

The frenzy is sure to equal higher-ratings and a louder cha-ching at the cash register.
Yep, as they say, bad publicity is better than no publicity at all. And the NFL is soaking
it all up. Everybody is talking about Kaepernick and the league couldn't be happier.

Come Sunday, it needs to stop.

Sunday is the first full weekend of the new season. It's the real "opening day" for the
league and a time to celebrate.

It's also 9/11. One of the most significant days in our nation's history.

We are 15 years removed from that terribly tragic day that saw more than 3,000
innocent people lose their lives. Among them were heroic firefighters and police
officers who rushed the towers in an effort to save lives. Instead, many of them
perished when the buildings collapsed atop of them.

To Colin Kaepernick and anyone else who thinks Sunday is about something else,
please do the right thing and stand when the national anthem is played wherever
you are. I realize the 49ers play on Monday night, but Kaepernick should just lay low
or even disappear when approached by a camera or microphone.

Oh, I understand it's everyone's constitutional right to do what they want to and
protest anything they wish, but 9/11 is not the time. That day is sacred. 

For two minutes and change, pay your respect to all those who lost their lives. You
don't have to love everything about the country. You may not feel everyone is treated
the same and you may be upset about how some police officers deal with minorities.
I understand that. There is a time to discuss all that.

9/11 is not that time.

I really don't have a problem with Kapernick and others expressing their views and
using their freedom to protest. Our constitution assures everyone of that. However,
I will have a problem if he or anyone else does takes a sit or a knee when the national
anthem is played on 9/11. It is the one day where people should really think about
others and not about their views or making a statement.

The NFL can't make anyone stand for the national anthem, but I sure hope they get
the attention of the players by Sunday and make sure they all get the message about
the right thing to do. That would be the statement they need to make.


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