About this whole NFL kneeling situation we have going.
One young man graduated high school in 2010. His teenage years were a bit of struggle. He grew up in the south side, poor of town. His mother was the breadwinner of the family and worked endlessly to keep clean clothes on his body, a roof over his head and healthy food on the table . Academics wasn’t his thing and his grades were below average at best. But, there was one thing that made him stand out: he weighed 230 lbs and could run 40 yards in 4.3 seconds while handling a football.
As for the other young man, he was the football player’s best friend, nearly identical in all things except not as big in physical stature and he didn’t play football. Instead of going to football practice after day after school, he went to work at the local grocery store for minimum wage.
The football player was heavily recruited by all the major universities and spent most every weekend of his senior year visiting the colleges where coaches and boosters alike made every effort to convince him their campus was best. Red carpet was laid before him. Meanwhile, his best friend worked double shifts at McDonald’s. Attending a fine college was never an option for him. On the very day the football player signed with State University, his best friend signed paperwork with an Army recruiter. One young man went to summer workouts. The other young man went to basic training.
The football player lived the next four years in the athletic dorm, eating at the university cafeteria. He spent his Saturdays on the football field, adoring fans cheering him as he ran out into the stadium. Free tutors attended to his every academic whim. He attended class when and if he wanted to. Yes, he worked hard while lifting weights, running sprints, studying plays, and with that work and talent he became one of the top college players in the country. His best friend was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. While one led a pleasurable life in college, the other was deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan once. He became a Sergeant and led a squad of 18 and 19 year old soldiers who grew up nearly in the identical circumstances he had. He shed his blood in Afghanistan and watched other young American Soldiers give their lives, limbs, and youth in serving the USA.
Player went to the NFL combine and topped the charts. He hired an agent and was drafted in the first round while your agent immediately went to work, ensuring that you received the highest compensation humanly possible. Young Man number one signed for $18 million although he had never stepped onto or played on a professional football gridiron. His best friend re-enlisted in the Army for four more years. As a combat tested sergeant, he is promised to be paid $32,000 per year.
Football Guy will drive a Maserati on the streets of San Francisco. His long ago forgotten Amigo in the Army will ride in the back of a Blackhawk helicopter with other combat loaded soldiers. Player will get his rest at the Waldorf Astoria. Soldier will dig a hole in the ground and pray for a couple hours of sleep. Player will “make it rain” at the night clubs. Soldier will hope for rain as the temperature reaches 120 degrees.
On early Sunday afternoon, Player will run into a stadium as tens of thousands of fans cheer and call out his name. His former best friend, might now even realize what day of the week it is, as the days are seemingly the same except for the friends he has lost that day in battle. No adoring fans are with him, only the opposition Taliban who are trying to kill him and his faithful soldier. Once in a great, great while, he and his fellow combatant soldiers have the opportunity to rest from the front lines and “go to the rear” to rejuvenate. Soldier might get lucky and able to catch an NFL game on TV and brags of his famous friend from a neighborhood of years past. But, the moment the National Anthem plays Soldier jumps to his feet and salutes the flag on the television and tears well up in his eyes for the pride his heart and mind are feeling for his nation and countrymen. It is then that the camera zooms in on his former high school friend who is seen on national television taking a knee while the Star Spangled Banner is being played and sung by another high paid celebrity. Soldier cannot believe what he is seeing, that his former high school class mate is defaming and discrediting the very thing that helps make this country great. And, Player has everything in the world that money and fame can buy, but refuses to stand with his hand over his heart while the National Anthem is being performed. Soldier is devastated and no longer will share tales of his former friend’s world class life.
While the NFL Football Player is protesting the plight and unfairness of the under privileged life of the black man in the United States, the other young man, thousands of miles away from being his own home soil will give thanks to God that he has the honor of defending his great country.
To the players and owners of the NFL: It is we the people who purchase your high priced tickets, turn the TV channel to your game, and wear the jerseys of our favorite squad or players’ number. It is now sad and with regret that I write of our anxiously waiting for Sundays so we can cheer for you and your God given athleticism. Please understand that we care little about your opinions unless we find them offensive and then you will hear US roar louder than we have ever roared before, and it won’t be in the stadiums across America. As human beings you have the absolute right to express yourselves, but we have the absolute right to boycott you. Your drug use, DUIs, domestic violence, and your vulgar displays of wealth have all been tolerated and forgiven until now. I for one am ashamed of putting my admiration of your physical agility before what is morally right. You have now gone too far. You have insulted our flag, our country, our soldiers, our police officers, and our veterans. As well-paid athletes you are living the ultimate American dream, yet you depreciate, belittle and discredit our great country. For now I am done with NFL football and encourage all likeminded Americans to follow your heart and beliefs and if that leads to boycotting the NFL, so be it.
Yes, there are injustices and life isn’t always fair and we’ve all experienced them, some more than others, but we all make choices – good or bad, right or wrong; but, by the NFL players using our National Anthem and Flag on National TV to promote their so-called activism is extremely wrong, especially when many are themselves involved in illegal and immoral activities.
Thank YOU Soldiers, Veterans and Police Officers for Your Daily Sacrifices which do help make our Country of the United States of America a safer and better place to live life. GOD Bless the U.S.A.
Peace, Love & Tequila! www.ricoaustin.com