Monday, January 20, 2020
US flag

On protesting the national anthem in the NFL

President Donald Trump suggested that NFL players should be fired if they fail to stand during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner before games, the New York Times reports. Next he’ll be suggesting that high school students who do this, while I don’t exactly favor the practice, should be disciplined.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired,'” the president was quoted as saying at a political rally in Alabama. “When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem, the only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop.”

Those people? So not only is it un-American to kneel in peaceful protest, but fans should leave the stadium in counter-protest. Perhaps Mr Trump forgot that in order to get into the stadium, people will have already forked over the money for a ticket.

The nightmare of people filing into small-claims court to get their money back is on shaky legal ground, especially since Mr Trump suggested they leave voluntarily and players who do this are exercising their First-Amendment rights, but he made no reference to the fact that these people paid to see the football game, not the playing of the national anthem.

Ah, to be rich and be able to willingly sacrifice what you paid good money for in the interest of a misdirected counter-protest!

Also in NFL-related news, the Baltimore Ravens take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in London tomorrow morning (US time). The game starts at 9:30 AM, Eastern Time.

The NFL scheduled one game across the pond in 2007 through 2012, two games in 2013, when the Jaguars made their first appearance in London, and three each year from 2013 through last year. Four games are scheduled this season. Even with all that, the 2017 season marks the first time the Ravens will play a season game at Wembley Stadium.

This is the fifth straight year for the Jaguars to be in London, the result of a signed agreement between the Jaguars and Wembley Stadium that has now been extended for one game every season through 2020.

“The London experiment is working,” as far as the business side of the NFL goes, writes John Eisenberg for the Baltimore Ravens.

“After a decade of playing games in London every year, there are metrics that indicate the experiment is working,” he wrote. “As the Baltimore Sun noted earlier this week, the United Kingdom’s Super Bowl audience has grown more than 75 percent in the past decade, and viewership of Sunday NFL games has more than doubled, according to the league.”

An 18-year-old man was in court yesterday over the terrorist incident on the London Tube subway train earlier this month. Prosecutors say Ahmed Hassan, of Sunbury, Surrey, planned to kill many innocent people because of his “warped political views,” the BBC reported.

Three other people have been arrested for the bombing plot, although one has now been released. The bomb was poorly made and failed to detonate, but investigators say it was packed with knives and screw.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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