Opinion

NFL anthem protest 2.0

NFL players standing together and locking arms is better than their taking a knee or sitting.

It’s a good compromise.

And Aaron Rodgers requesting fans do the same, while well intentioned, did not stand a chance of succeeding. Most fans stood with hats removed and hands over their hearts

Where to begin next…because the next thing that happens on this issue can be a new beginning, especially since emotions are not quite at the fevered pitch they once were.

Fans are (somewhat) less irate at players for their (perceived) ruining of fans’ weekly escapes from life via pro football.

NFL team owners are less anxious about their teams losing value.

DirecTV is breathing much easier knowing that unless players return to kneeling or sitting during the anthem, the ratings drops of recent weeks will soon level off.

And so that leaves us with the issue of the protests themselves.

As someone who’s never been close to a millionaire or even known one, I try to reconcile the actions of wealthy men with those of the other 98%, which includes myself.

While national television broadcasts are a great platform to reach a broad audience, the common person who is upset about racial inequality, discrimination, unequal pay for women, stagnant wages for workers, exorbitant pay for CEOs, the cost of a college education or the still paltry amount of interest derived from having a savings account, does not typically have the means to bring their message to that many viewers.

The common person engages in grass roots efforts. They cannot draw attention to, or politicize their cause in such a fashion that would potentially jeopardize their jobs or violate the terms of their employment contracts.

What common people do when they are considering protesting, and when I say “common,” I am not intending to diminish, minimize or offend (after all because I am a common person), is to engage in their peaceful demonstrations outside of their place of employment. They take their messages, whatever they may be, to the community.

The NFL is a money making machine. Don’t kid yourself. EVERYTHING that happens, every decision that is made–both actual game day strategies and strategies for dealing with NFL player protests in such a fashion that they don’t jeopardize astronomical revenues for team owners, is predicated on what course of action will best perpetuate the highest level of dollar generation.

Thus, my issue with player protests of any kind, whether they are masked in shows of team “unity” or otherwise, is that in order to be more sympathetic to the common people that are the fans and lifeblood of the money making machine, players need to now transition their protests to action in their communities.

We’ve heard of donations of money.

I get that. But players, like owners, have a habit of throwing dollars at problems when they could be garnering more support by actually going into communities and spending time and DOING something that results in measurable progress for the issues they are currently only bringing awareness to.

Every constructive peaceful protest or demonstration merits consideration.

Every constructive peaceful protest or demonstration is something, when it is occurring in our own community, that should be paid attention to.

Consequently, every constructive peaceful protest or demonstration can be the seeds that are planted for real change for the better as a result of the causes for which they represent.

There comes a time, though, for protests to give birth to courses of action that result in more than just awareness or attention to causes.

So far, NFL players do not appear to have thought beyond raising awareness.

Until they do, until Aaron Rodgers and his peers can take the attention off themselves and direct it onto and into their communities–working together with struggling 9 to 5’ers and figuratively standing together and locking arms, history may just judge them all as grandstanders who abandoned a cause that deserved better, in favor of proliferating a lifestyle common people can never ascribe to.

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