By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… I am no longer watching NFL Football. This means I will be reading on Monday nights while my wife watches “Dancing with the Stars.” Is this because of the disrespect these millionaires show to the flag of the United States? Partially, but I also realized that for the last few years I have not been the devoted fan that I once was. The game became predictable and boring long before the protests began. In fact, the most exciting thing about the game today is wondering what will happen during the pre-game show.
Much of my disgruntlement with the NFL may be jealousy. As a youngster, I always dreamed of being the middle guard in the defensive line for the Green Bay Packers. I spent my high school years going to school to play football and eat lunch. I even played one year of small college football. This was done in a 140 pound body. I was one of those “pound for pound” players. Coaches would say “Pound for Pound he is a good as anyone. The problem is there isn’t enough pounds.” As I watch our high school kids play football today and I realize I would not even be able to suit up. Today the “pound for pounders” weigh in at 190-200 pounds. I marvel at our young men who each week go out and match up with players 50 to 60 pounds larger and are still successful.
However, back to the issue at hand. There is undoubtably a free speech right involved in the deplorable display by those players who choose to kneel during the national athum. These are athletes who for the most part have nothing more to offer the American people than three to four hours of entertainment. With the removal of elephants from the circus and Shamo from Sea World, the NFL is the only place we can watch trained behemoths do what it is that they do.
I believe the NFL players have every right to display their displeasure with the legal system of America and I will continue to defend their right to do so; however, those who protest must understand that with rights comes responsibilities and consequences. I am aware that whether I watch, or do not watch, will not affect the NFL. Nor will my writing of this column. However, my reaction is also a free speech issue.
For the most part, the latest form of protest by the players does not appear to me to be disrespectful. The linking of arms as they stand looking at the flag actually seems to have some dignity even greater than individuals standing alone. Kneeling in itself is a sign of submission; Colin Kaepernick and others might have considered that before they chose that means of protest.
One must also remember these mass demonstrations are not in support of the two or three players that choose to kneel during the National Anthem. This mass demonstration was a reaction to President’s Trump’s fiery and profane speech telling the NFL owners they should fire those players who disrespect the flag. This seems to be the standard operating procedure for President Trump as he arrived on the fire scene with a gas truck to put out the fire. President Trump does not seem to understand he is no longer on a T.V. show called the Apprentice and he doesn’t get to fire everyone who displeases him. He once again took an issue that was a mosquito bite and turned it into a full-blown case of the hives. President Trump reminds me of an administrator with which I once worked. He reacted to every everything that happened among the student body as a crisis. While it might not have been a crisis in the beginning, by the time he got through dealing with the issue, it was a crisis.
I will not call for others to make the same decision I have for I am aware there are a number of people who support the efforts of the NFL players and I also believe our justice system needs to be over-hauled. There is no question that the America court system is no longer, if it ever has been, a fair arbitrator of the law. The Supreme Court has been politicized. In lower courts, we see example after example of people of means who are allowed to skate on offense that those who are poor are sentenced to prison. Locally, we have watched people imprisoned for peacefully, but forcefully, protesting government action. While these peaceful protestors sit in prison enduring retrial after retrial, in violation of numerous constitutional issue, violent protestors who loot and burn cities go free.
We have a federal judge who admittedly made an “emotional decision” rather than a legal decision in the case of the local ranchers which keeps them incarcerated awaiting a third trial. We see a judge rule that a young man was so rich he cannot be held accountable for deaths related to his DUI for his privileged status kept him from knowing right from wrong. How rich do you have to be to not understand driving under the influence is a criminal act? Why does the fact that as a child your parents never held you accountable for your actions mean you are not liable for your actions when you are eighteen and a voting member of society?
At the same time a poor girl was sentence to years in prison when she fell asleep on her way home from a night at work killing a number of youngsters cleaning a highway. It was a fact that she had trace amount of marijuana in her system but even the judge said this was not a causative factor. The issue is that if you are poor or, if you have offended the wrong group, the law is not applied equally and that is what the protests are about.
If you have a grievance, you have a Constitutional right to peaceful redress your government and I support those who do so. I do not support those who do so by disrespecting our National Anthem.
Thought of the week…There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.
– Abraham Lincoln