I have a friend that is up in arms about all this “taking a knee for Jesus” crap…..to the point the he is boycotting all sports because of it. I told him I had been boycotting the NFL ever since I found out that they were paid by the Defense Department for all these patriotic salutes to the troops and such silliness.
The American public’s apparent compulsion to demonstrate “support for our troops” in ways that are emotionally satisfying but ultimately meaningless has been described by Andrew Bacevich as the central tenet of our nation’s “civic religion.” It has rightly been noted that the best way to support soldiers, sailors, and Marines would be to bring them home. Bumper sticker sentiments telling the guys and girls that we love them do the opposite, permitting us to avoid any possible guilty conscience or introspection over why young Americans are fighting and dying in a seemingly interminable series of wars. Nowhere is the tendency towards monetizing meaningless bromides about national security more evident than in professional sports, particularly the National Football League.
Paid patriotism….NFL and their salutes to the troops…..paid patriotism…..
Before 2009, Colin Kaepernick would have had to find some other way to protest racism against African Americans. That’s because until the height of the Iraq War, NFL football players weren’t even required to leave the locker room for the national anthem, much less stand for it.
That’s not to say that the national anthem didn’t take place before every game. The singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” was mandated during another war, World War II, when the NFL commissioner at the time mandated it for the league. The players were told to stand for it about the same time that the Department of Defense was ramping up massive recruitment and media operations around the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They began paying sports teams millions in U.S. tax dollars for what amounted to “paid patriotism,” or mega-military spectacles on the playing field before the games. It got so bad that there was a congressional investigation led by none other than Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a veteran and considered one of the most patriotic men in the Senate.
The NFL will never see my ass watching anything they offer……the sport does not mean that much to me that I feel like I would be missing something.