A Veteran's Take - The Unprofessional Professionals

By Curtis M. Hendel

In the last several years we have watched problems brew in our great country that I struggle to make sense of.  Race relations are sinking very fast, and law enforcement officers have been deluged with false stories and facts almost every time they are faced with life and death situations.  Above and beyond so many other issues comes a new one….

Colin Kaepernick has become the face of a new protest movement, even though he really wasn’t the beginning of it.  His disrespect for the American Flag and National Anthem are well known, but this summer it was actually on the world stage.  Several of our athletes that had won Olympic medals did not stand quietly and place their hands on their hearts, as is longstanding tradition.  The mixed tennis podium was a great example.  One couple stood solemnly, hands on their hearts while the other team fidgeted and seemed inconvenienced by the whole tradition.

On the surface, many people may pay little attention and care even less.  We have that luxury to be engaged in things or not.  We also have the luxury to blatently disrespect the symbols of our nation without having dire consequences.  Men and women have fought and died for almost 250 years for those rights.  Most veterans acknowledge those rights, but that doesn’t make disrespecting our Flag and Anthem proper.

My first question for these athletes taking such a ‘brave’ stance would be this.  Even if every player in the NFL disrespected our Flag and Anthem like some are doing, what would be accomplished that would help people?  How are you improving the human condition?  My guess is nothing would get better.  Those that stand in protest do so without losing or sacrificing anything, while men and women serve and die in the military and police forces protecting them.

And then there is this question to an athlete like Kaepernick who makes $19,000,000 a year; Are you really worth that money?  Are your peers worth their salaries, and is it fair that the average person on the street can’t afford to get into a game or buy a jersey.  So is it actually you that is oppressing people as you live in your mansion on the hill protected by those you condemn as murderers?  Compelling thoughts, in the least.

Now, as the NFL opens another season, I see that high school players across the nation have begun to protest our Flag and Anthem just like the pros.  Gotta hand it to those professional athletes that take exorbitant money from their fans to play a game, nice job on poisoning the minds of our children.  These kids don’t understand what that Flag means to so many that have served under her.  They take their freedoms and rights for granted worse than anybody; they grew up with them so they have no idea it could be different.  And the chance exists that these very same young people will take the hatred for law enforcement from the likes of Kaepernick and do something stupid in the future.  Who will take responsibility for that?  Surely not an athlete or other celebrity.

There is a cherry on top of this too.  The Dallas Cowboys wished to memorialize the police officers assassinated there this summer in Dallas with a sticker on their helmet.  Another player wished to wear special cleats in honor of 9-11, raffle them and give the money to charity.  The NFL said no, while at the same time condoning the disrespect for our Flag and Anthem.

Are you ready for some football??