For the third week in a row, my social media accounts have been blowing up with posts about various NFL players who have refused to stand for the national anthem. I have read of proposed boycotts and of pulled sponsorships.
What I have not read is a single freedom loving patriot who is willing to stand up and take personal responsibility for why this story has gained so much traction.
When was the last time you saw on television a person streaking? Just because you do not see it, does not mean it does not happen. The media and various sporting leagues have determined that if they stopped covering streaking, fewer people would disrupt the game in order to obtain their five minutes of fame.
Why is the media showing video of players kneeling during the national anthem? It is because they know that freedom loving patriots are upset about it and are talking about it on social media. Why do photographers take pictures of kneeling players? It is because they know that these pictures are going to be shared on social media.
The media is not stupid. The media understands that they need eyeballs on their work product if they want to keep selling advertising. If freedom loving patriots are going to share their stories and their photos, they are going to keep covering the story. The media has no financial incentive to stop covering this story.
The fastest way for this story to die down is not an economic boycott on the NFL. The fastest way to kill this story is for freedom loving patriots to stop reacting to the story. Maybe an economic boycott could work. We saw mighty Target eventually make changes as a result of all the boycotting that was going on of their stores. However, a boycott of the NFL is not certain to succeed, and if it does, how long is it going to take before the boycott succeeds?
These athletes are protesting because they think that they have something to gain. They are getting attention in the media that they would not have gotten otherwise. These players are not being covered for their accomplishments on the field, but for their actions off of the field. These players are working under the assumption that name recognition by the media has more long term benefit for them than the short-term problems associated with the controversy.
If the media stops covering this story, these athletes are going to very quickly start falling in line again. The peer pressure to stand at the national anthem will quickly return when the media stops sticking a microphone in their face to ask them to comment, and when they stop seeing their pictures all over social media.
Freedom loving patriots, we all know the sacrifices that have been made by our soldiers to help make and preserve the freedoms that we enjoy. Freedom loving patriots, we all know that these athletes are disrespecting these soldiers, the flag, and the freedoms that we are supposed to be celebrating when we sing the national anthem. Freedom loving patriots, I have one request, let’s stop talking about this national anthem controversy and instead, let’s focus on something else.
Freedom loving patriots, the next time you are tempted to share a picture of someone who is refusing to stand for the national anthem, stop, and share a picture of the United States flag instead. Rather than republish the upsetting unpatriotic stories, share this article on your social media accounts instead.