New England Patriots players kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
The singer of the National Anthem, known as the Star Spangled Banner, also took a knee while on the field before the Titans-Seahawks game in Nashville. While all the football players were in the locker room, Meghan Linsey decided to join the protest.
Linsey, a former contestant on “The Voice,” was receiving rapturous applause for her performance at Nissan Stadium when she chose to bend down on one knee. The kneeling has become political symbol over the past year and particularly over the weekend after President Donald Trump called for the firing of NFL players who kneel in protest during the anthem.
Trump also appealed to his followers and asked them to boycott the sport until players refuse to give up their right of free speech.
If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
They listened, as Trump wasn’t the only person irritated at the athletes’ decisions to kneel rather than stand during the National Anthem.
You can boycott our anthem
— DONNA WARREN 🇺🇸 (@DonnaWR8) September 24, 2017
Unfortunately for all those offended, rights include things you don’t like and attempting to strip them from the players because feelings were hurt simply makes you a tyrant. The boycott does appear petty on the surface, however, was formed as a way for those offended by the protests of the National Anthem to strike back at the NFL and hit them where they think it’ll hurt: ratings and wallets of the players. It’s ironic how those on the right don’t wish for their gun rights to be taken away, but seek to strip the free speech rights of others by using their own free speech. Again, free speech covers things you don’t want to hear too, much like gun rights cover guns that look “black and scary.” That’s the funny thing about rights…
For example, putting a gun to a person’s head and forcing them to pray doesn’t make them instantly a believer in a God. Forcing players to stand for the national anthem doesn’t make them instantly patriotic. It only means you’ve forced another human to conform to your way because you were offended someone disagreed with your belief of standing during a certain song because of personal symbolism. The constitution never says you have the right to not be offended. Perhaps the offense on the right is even more of a reason why these athletes continue to instigate.
Of course, the protesting of the anthem is all but worthless too, since it won’t accomplish anything other than irritating the backsides of the easily offended.
The anthem protests, which began with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and have now spread throughout the league, and in just one week, already appear to be affecting NFL ratings. Last week, with the 2017 season barely started, ratings were down a stunning 15% year over year, according to the Hollywood Reporter. And that’s after an 8% slide last year. That has triggered an immediate slump in the stocks of broadcasters locked into NFL contracts, with some down as much as 9% already this month.
For the most part, NFL ratings are down. But, it’s worth noting that even bad NFL ratings are rather impressive compared with nearly everything else on television, including every other major American sport. But the boycotters cannot claim responsibility for nailing the NFL’s ratings just yet. Experts have said the ratings in the first week were likely affected by the massive hurricanes that the struck the country.
Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell kneels during the National Anthem as protests bleed into MLB.
To those uninterested in a boycott, it sounded like nothing more than an excuse for overly sensitive rightists to add one more item to the growing list of things they refuse to participate in because their feelings got hurt. Nordstrom, Starbucks, Target, and Netflix are on that list.
Boycotts and freedom of association should be at the forefront of Americans minds anyway, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But a boycott over free speech, because it’s speech one dislikes, is little too “USSA” for some.
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