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Taking the Knee

Most NFL professional football players are the most overpaid, privileged beneficiaries of being American citizens which the anthem and flag represent.  Yet they show their appreciation by dishonoring that flag and anthem.

Supposedly, they do it to protest the shooting of blacks by police.  More than 99% of law enforcement in the US is by local city and county police, not by federal police.  If they really want to protest and change the system, they are protesting the wrong agency. They should be protesting their city police station and sheriff’s office.

Recently the Caller-Times ran a letter to the editor proposing in our nest war the NFL players be drafted first.  Wrong idea! They are not good enough to fight for our country.  The basic US Army combat unit is a squad of nine soldiers. During the Korean war, I was drafted and went through 4 months of basic infantry training.  Fortunately, I was accepted into field artillery officer training school and never served in Korea.  Most of my co-trainers did. The instructor emphasized that each squad member must perform their duty and if they don’t they endanger the lives of the other eight.  During combat, squads become a tight knit unit that endures miserable conditions of heat and cold and constant danger.  When solders receive honors for bravery in combat and are asked what motivated them to do that, they don’t talk about patriotism to country, they say loyalty and duty to protect the lives of their buddies in the squad.  Most people don’t risk death for country, they do it for their buddies.

I don’t see any NFL professional football players that would do that.  If I were fighting in combat in Afghanistan or Iraq, I wouldn’t want a NFL professional football player covering my back.  They are not loyal team members.  It’s all about how much pay and press recognition they can get for themselves.  NFL teams have total salary caps for the team.

During World War II, professional athletes joined the military and many fought well in combat.  However, then they were not highly paid, pampered elites as they are now.  After 9/11, one NFL football player joined the military and fought heroically in Afghanistan to try to save his buddies.  If he were alive and playing today, he’d be ashamed of his fellow player’s behavior.

Since the protests started, I watch very little NFL football on television.  I’m doing my own protest of the player’s behavior.  Most team revenue and player salaries come from television ads, not from stadium tickets which are ridiculously expensive.  Ad rates are determined by the number of television viewers. If we all boycott the NFL TV games, the teams won’t have money to pay players millions and tens of millions per year.  All of us can fight back and take millions right out of the players pockets.   Who knows?  We might even get good play again, not just a staged show as in professional wrestling.

Author:  Ralph Coker



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