Why I let go of anthem protests, and you should too

I used to be like you.

“How dare these athletes making millions of dollars sit down, lock arms or kneel during the playing of our national anthem?”

Then it became abundantly clear.

There is too little time on Earth for you or me to care if Marshawn Lynch or Colin Kaepernick have a hand over their heart or not during the national anthem.

“But Matt that’s an affront to the soldiers who gave their lives at Normandy and Iwo Jima to defend this country.”

No, your whining about someone exercising their fundamental freedom of expression is the affront.

I think at Normandy and Iwo Jima, the troops had more on their minds than what a football player who wasn’t even born until forty years after the end of the Second World War would do in 2016.

You know, like trying to survive being shot at by the Germans and Japanese respectively.

In a league where players are doping, sometimes more than once (Darren Waller), or running into trouble with the law (Rolando McClain), are Colin Kaepernick or Marshawn Lynch’s anthem protests the biggest problem facing the NFL?

Now do I agree with their actions? Absolutely not.

In fact, I think it’s completely ridiculous.

Not standing for the national anthem makes you look stupid and alienates prospective allies from your cause.

Growing up in Baltimore I was raised on the story of Francis Scott Key and The Star Spangled Banner.

I saw Michael Phelps win eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and sing along with a tear in his eye, and a hand over his heart, as the “Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave” portion of the anthem played in the background.

Three years ago next month, we commemorated the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore and the writing of The Star Spangled Banner.

So yea the anthem means a great deal to me.

But so does the U.S. Constitution, which means no matter how stupid something you say is, you have every right to say it.

And at the end of the day, professional sports is not about social justice.

It’s about winning.

Why else do you think the Raiders signed Lynch, irregardless of his anthem protests while with the Seattle Seahawks.

In the case of Colin Kaepernick, he’s not the electrifying quarterback he once was, but he’s much better than the quarterbacks in Jacksonville – Chad Henne and Blake Bortles, who proved tonight, neither is capable of starting in the NFL.

During his post game presser, Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone made it clear he wasn’t happy with either quarterback’s performance against Tampa Bay.

So cheer up Colin, maybe it will get so bad over the remaining preseason games that Jaguars GM Tom Coughlin will ignore your anthem protests and give you a call.

After all, if I was Coach , and my hide was on the line, I’d rather coach a quarterback who can complete a 15 yard pass to a wide open receiver; something Bortles failed to do on more than one occasion tonight.

 

 

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