The NFL’s preseason is legitimately one of the biggest wastes of time and energy on God’s green earth.
Before a smattering of season ticket holders forced into buying seats for games that are basically little more than player evaluations, your FedEx driver will probably be intercepting a wobbly pass from the electronics team leader at your local Target sometime during the fourth quarter.
Attending one of these contests will probably lead you to question whether you could be doing anything better with your life, or whether the idea of a meaningful vs. meaningless football game is all a societal construct. Any sporting event so boring that it makes you think seriously about poststructuralist philosophy isn’t worth watching unless you’re a poststructuralist philosopher. And then, wouldn’t you just be better off reading some Derrida?
All of this is is a torturous way to say that if NFL players are already causing a commotion over anthem protests during preseason exhibition games, it’s going to be a long, long season.
That’s exactly what happened last week, where numerous players knelt, raised fists or engaged in other displays of protest during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” While the NFL had previously enacted a rule that stated that anthem protests would be limited to the locker room this year, the league has held off on enforcing it for the first few weeks of the season.
And that has at least one major police union calling for a boycott of the Miami Dolphins franchise.
According to the Miami Herald, three Dolphins protested the anthem during the preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson knelt, while defensive end Robert Quinn raised his right fist.
— Chris Fischer NBC6 (@FischerNBC6) August 9, 2018
Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneeled during the national anthem.
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) August 9, 2018
That was enough for the Broward County Police Benevolent Association to call for an all-out boycott.
“The Broward County PBA recently offered our members discounts to a Miami Dolphins game because that franchise said they were going to honor all First Responders,” a statement on the PBA’s Facebook page read.
“We entered into this partnership with the understanding that the Dolphins organization would require their players to stand for the National Anthem. This did not happen at last night’s preseason game against Tampa Bay.
“As a result, the BCPBA will no longer participate in this ticket program, and we are asking all of our members, as well as members of the Dade County PBA and Palm Beach County PBA, not to participate either,” the statement continued.
“If you have already purchased tickets to this game, we encourage you to call the Dolphins ticket office to request a refund because this organization obviously DOES NOT honor First Responders and the dangers they put themselves in every day.”
Conservative author Janie Johnson may have said it best:
— Janie Johnson (@jjauthor) August 10, 2018
The NFL, meanwhile, tried to stem the anger and return the preseason to the dreary August sporting interlude it usually is.
“The NFL has been engaged in constructive discussions with the NFL Players Association regarding the anthem and issues of equality and social justice that are of concern to many Americans,” a statement from the league said, according to Fox News.
“While those discussions continue, the NFL has agreed to delay implementing or enforcing any club work rules that could result in players being disciplined for their conduct during the performance of the anthem.”
I think we’ve already established that, the media’s affections aside, this isn’t a winning issue for the league the players involved or the cultural left. Polls have consistently shown a rather substantial majority of Americans believe players should stand for the anthem, and the only real shift we’ve seen has been when the president stepped into the fray; that seems to be more indicative of anti-Trump sentiment and not a shift away from venerating the anthem and the flag.
Oh, and speaking of the president, it seems he knows this is a winning issue, too:
The NFL players are at it again – taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem. Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their “outrage” at something that most of them are unable to define. They make a fortune doing what they love……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2018
And there’s the problem: We’re constantly told these players are protesting “racial injustice” or “systemic oppression,” which are nice buzzwords but horribly unspecific.
When it comes to asking these players to name their exact grievances, I can’t help but notice that our brave media — the same media that’s ever-willing to stand up for whatever vaguely liberal gesture germinates half-formed from athleteville these days — isn’t intrepid enough to ask the players what concrete aims they hope to accomplish.
This reticence, I tend to believe, stems less from the apprehension that there possibly aren’t any than to the certain knowledge that there definitely aren’t — at least not any that are defensible.
Whatever the case, it’s going to be a long, long season — assuming, of course, an exhausted fandom even bothers to tune in.
I can tell you one first responders union that definitely won’t be.
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