So many thoughts in my head about the topics in the title, so let’s just go over them one by one and then I will try to wrap things up at the end.
The NFL – I have been a fan of professional football since I was a young boy. I have been a Colts fan since they were in Baltimore. As a fan of the NFL, I have been very disappointed with their response to the player protests that have been ongoing.
Taking a Knee – I’m all for peaceful protests when done appropriately. However, I don’t believe that disrespecting the American Flag, The National Anthem, members of our Military, and our First Responders is appropriate. I know that the “protesters” and their supporters say that’s not their intentions, but it’s more than obvious that millions believe the protests are disrespectful.
Boycotts – I’m not really much of a fan of boycotts and have only participated in just a handful in my life. That said, I did NOT boycott last year when the “taking a knee” protests began, but I HAVE decided to not watch or support the NFL with my time or money. I have not watched one minute of football this season, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
VP Mike Pence – I am a huge fan of the Vice-President. We share our hometown of Columbus, Indiana, and both went to high school in the same city (different schools). I had talked with Mike numerous times both in Washington, DC and here in Indiana.
Now let’s look at what happened in Indianapolis this past Sunday. My response to the events may surprise you.
First of all this was a huge day for the fans in Indianapolis. Peyton Manning had his statue unveiled and Peyton, many of his former teammates, and Vice-President Pence were on hand for the event. I hated not watching, but even with the very special day – I held true to my NFL boycott.
The Colts were playing the San Fransisco 49ers at Lucas Oil Stadium. At least 20 players for the 49ers decided that taking a knee during the National Anthem was what they were going to do as a protest. According to the Indianapolis Star, “All Colts players stood arm-in-arm during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner, just as they did last week ahead of the game in Seattle”.
In response to the 49ers players taking a knee, the Vice-President and his wife Karen, decided to leave the game before it even started. Pence sent out the following tweet shortly after leaving.
“I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,”
That was followed by a tweet from President Donald Trump:
I asked Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and Karen.
And then Pence further explained his reasoning on leaving.
“At a time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience, now, more than ever, we should rally around our Flag and everything that unites us,” Pence tweeted. “While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem. I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem.”
Ed’s Response to those events – While it angers me as a Veteran of the United States Army and a proud American for the NFL players to take a knee during the National Anthem, and for the NFL to not take a stand against the players for disregarding the NFL policy regarding standing during the anthem, I believe that the Vice-President, but more so White House response, was done in an unbecoming manner.
Had things been that Pence had left on his own convictions, I would have totally been in support of his response. I believe that just as the players have the “right” to protest (as much as I hate it), the VP and his wife were more than justified with their response – even though they probably knew that someone would take a knee before they ever arrived.
However, when you read the tweet from Trump, then things take a different meaning to me altogether. It upsets me that “my man Mike” seems to have been used as a pawn when Trump says he asked the VP to leave if any players knelled.
I’ve read that Mike had scheduled the Colts game visit a while back, and I fully believe that. He is a big Colts fan, and the Manning statue unveiling was a big deal for most Colts fans.
That said, I believe the President used this opportunity to support his stance on the NFL and the protests, which I totally support – just not in this manner.
In conclusion, I still love and support Vice-President Pence totally. My gripe is that President Trump politicized this event, the same as the players politicize their protest at the expense of those who take offense to the manner of how they protest.
I never feel that stooping to the level of those I disagree with is to Do The Right Thing.