I love football!
I love football so much, that I had credentials to coach football after graduating from college. I played football for 5 years in school. I never played beyond high school, because, as the old saying goes: ‘if you can’t do it, you teach it.’ I fit that mold perfectly.
My uncle was a very good football player. He was so good, he was offered a full scholarship to play football at a Big Ten university. But he wasn’t good enough to avoid fighting in World War II. He lost the ‘life lottery’ because he graduated from high school in June of 1942. There was an insurmountable amount of pressure put on him by the people of our patriotic, small town. “How can you think of going to college to play football, when there is a war going on!” He succumbed to the pressure and enlisted in the Army. After four years in the Army, combat in the jungles of the Pacific theater, war wounds, malaria and dysentery, his college career and playing football ambitions had vanished at war’s end. But he still loved football, and, just as importantly, he got me interested in football. We watched football together.
Now this next sentence may stun some of the readers that know me personally. Until 1961, my uncle and I were Green Bay Packer backers. Yup. We were cheeseheads in abstentia, as we were not natives of Wisconsin. But in 1961, the two closest teams to our state were the Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Now I realize that the Chicago Bears may have been closer than Kansas City geographically, but we never had any love for those Chicago Bears. (Still don’t!) Then it occurred. For us it was bigger than winning a small lottery. (OK. If it was Powerball, that would be a bigger deal!) It ranked with Moses receiving the ten commandments. It was more earthshaking than the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883….we got our own, in-state professional football team! Yup. Our home state got the almost 4 time Super Bowl champion Minnesota Vikings.
My uncle and I were in heaven. We loved the game. We admired the coaching. We cheered on the players, and of course, we had our favorite players. Our first quarterback was a very young Fran Tarkenton. He led our new team to an upset victory in their very first game, over those thugs, the Chicago Bears. I had an opportunity to meet him and get his autograph after his football career had ended. Fran is in the Football Hall of Fame, and was a very, very successful businessman in his own right. Amazingly, our biggest rivalry developed with our former favorite team, the Green Bay Packers. Whenever the Vikings play the Packers, the TV viewership is typically one of the top three viewings during the entire football season.
We also very much enjoyed the pre-game pageantry. What is not to like about bubbly, attractive cheerleaders whipping the hometown crowd into a frenzy. The bands. The singing of the national anthem. The coin flip. It was all very exciting. It was our way of escaping the rigors of everyday life and enjoying the entertainment provided by our favorite sport.
But my uncle and I were not impartial. We watched the Olympics, both summer and winter, beginning with the 1960 Olympics held in Rome, Italy. These Olympic games were the first ones broadcast on TV, and we became Olympic junkies. I still am. We also watched basketball. But my uncle was a hard working farmer, with 14-16 hour days not being uncommon. He had a dairy herd as well as growing crops for feed and crops for cash. It was tough. But when sports were on television, he and I were all over it, as he made time to watch.
So why have I taken time to write about my love of football?
Because, this past weekend, the Minnesota Vikings played the Green Bay Packers in the home opener. Yup. It was the biggest rivalry in our conference being played in the first game. I did something this past weekend that I have not done for over 60 years. I did not turn my TV to football. Specifically, I did not watch the Vikings, or any other team, and have no intention of doing so again for the rest of the season.
Because changes in our society have permeated my favorite sport where it has slipped from the role of providing me ‘escapism’ and entertainment to becoming something in line with a ‘paid political announcement.’ God knows we have had enough paid political announcements during this election cycle.
The owners of these football franchises are all ga-billionaires. Their two assets are the stadium and the players. The majority of players in the NFL and NBA are black. So, to protect their money stream, they need to appease their players. To cave in to a misguided social convention, the owners and the NFL decided it would be appropriate to play the national anthem and the ‘black national anthem’ at the beginning of all the home opener games.
How did this play out in practically all of the stadiums? Well, all of the players, both black and white, stood for the ‘black national anthem.’ A sure-fire indication of respect for whatever the ‘black national anthem’ is suppose to represent. Then….when the U.S. national anthem was being played, the majority of black players took a knee. At this point, as my blood is beginning to boil, I must say that the only thing that is greater than my love of football, is my hate for anyone that disrespects my country, my flag, and my anthem.
So let me ask this question. How do you expect to gain respect for your race, for whatever cause you represent, or for your ‘black national anthem’, when within 5 minutes you show disrespect for the flag and anthem of the country that so freely allows you to speak and act?
Let me be clear. I, like the majority of white people in this country, AM NOT RACIST! No one cares what black athletes do on their own time, but you polluted my favorite sport by turning it into a ‘low class political campaign ad.’ For the owners of the NFL: Did you think this ‘black national anthem’ was going to eliminate ‘systemic racism’ or possibly fan the flames of racism? Isn’t our country, ‘One nation under God?’ Do you think allowing players to take a knee during the national anthem is just ‘boys being boys?’ The millionaire players and the ga-billionaire owners may have money, but let me point out that you have a noticeable lack of respect and common sense.
There are two separate issues involving the beginning of these football games. Firstly, the owners and players have not done one thing to contribute to protection of this country other than pay your taxes. In the meantime, people fought and died in wars since 1775 to create and preserve this great nation. You disrespect everyone that has paid the ultimate price. You have disrespected soldiers, policemen, firemen and other first responders by taking that symbolic, ‘screw this country’ knee during our anthem. And, ironically, you demand respect for the ‘black national anthem’ and your political beliefs. Stupidity personified!
Secondly, as mentioned, you polluted my escapism and entertainment by injecting your political/societal beliefs into a game. Why do you think people watch and play sports?
I was trying to avoid this subject, but I cannot continue without it. I do not believe in ‘societal racism.’ No one in the U.S has owned a slave or been a slave for at least four generations, probably longer. We continue to hear drivel about ‘slave reparations’ in this country. Really? How about reparations for the families of the 600,000 white guys that died fighting for freeing the slaves? Remember? Those guys fought under the flag that many of these black athletes are disrespecting. Again…ironic.
So let me be perfectly clear to anyone of color that may read this article: I and the greater majority of white people in the United States do not hate you because of your color, we are appalled by your actions. 95% of all blacks are killed by other blacks. Rioting, looting and destruction are not ‘peaceful demonstrations’ and are not protected by the First Amendment. Many of the businesses destroyed in the Minneapolis riots were minority owned businesses! Again, ironic. (Too many ironies in this blog.) Black Lives Matter is not a civil rights organization, but a political organization with a socialist agenda. (Check their website!) Yet, I am referred to as a ‘white supremist’ if I say, ‘all lives matter.’ Now who is promoting racism?
So, I have made the decision that my life will be just fine without any sport that wants to inject political/societal beliefs into the game. Sadly, goodbye professional football or any other sport that disrespects our flag, national anthem, or history.
I subscribe to the Morgan Freeman theory; “racism will disappear when we quit talking about it.” Amen.