If you like professional sports, a major reason -- perhaps THE reason -- you attend games, or watch them on TV, is that it helps you escape from whatever occupies your mind the rest of the week. You certainly don't want the issues of the day encroaching on your enjoyment.
The recent exchange of insults between
Football is a sport, but it is also a business. Fans pay big money for tickets, gear, parking and overpriced food and drinks. They have put up with a lot to root for their favorite teams, but these protests, which many regard as disrespecting America and the flag, may have exceeded their high tolerance level.
The players say they are "taking a knee" to protest police brutality inordinately targeted toward African Americans. It is this systemic racism, this inequality that they are attempting to bring into public view. It's a right cause, certainly, but perhaps the wrong arena? These players should first consider who is responsible for their unequally high salaries. Where else could most of them earn that kind of money? If fans stop coming to games and watching them on TV, the unique covenant between player and fan will be broken, perhaps forever.
Sunday night games on
Fans of the
Many are fed-up with being told they have to tolerate everything they don't believe in. They are sick of being called names for upholding values that have served the nation well. They see
The president has called for a boycott of NFL games, if these demonstrations continue. One already sees a lot of empty seats at some games. Part of it may be that people don't want to support perpetual losers, but it may also be that fans don't want politics in sports.
In a football game, a penalty is imposed for unnecessary roughness. This current roughness is unnecessary. The president has made his views clear. After many players refused invitations to come to the
Maybe what's needed is something like
Whatever grievances the players have, these demonstrations help no one. Future demonstrations could further widen the divide in an already seriously fractured nation.
Cal Thomas, America's most-syndicated columnist, is the author of 10 books.