Tuesday, November 12, 2019
US flag

The NFL season comes down to this

The “legendary” Chicago Bears didn’t have such a good year, writes Ryan Zheng at Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois in that school’s student newspaper. But in hiring Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy as their 16th head coach, the “Bears found what they were searching for,” he writes.

Turning in a dismal 5-11 season, the Bears weren’t in the running, and “many things weren’t working for the Monsters of the Midway,” the article says, in enumerating a list of deficiencies, most of them underscoring the offensive team’s inability to put points on the board.

That wasn’t a problem for the Chiefs last season, having finished the season fifth in total offense and seventh in passing yards over the season among the 32 teams in the NFL.

In his college days, Nagy used to be a quarterback at the University of Delaware, Joe Flacco’s alma mater. Flacco led the Ravens to a Super Bowl LXVII victory—yes, the one where the power got shut off during the second half—against none other than the San Francisco 49ers. San Francisco was led in that game by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has since become famous for inspiring the protests during the national anthem at games in the NFL and beyond.

Kaepernick’s Super Bowl loss was in 2013, and the “take a knee” protests didn’t start until August 14, 2016, writes Carson Beck in The Mustang, the student newspaper at Mundelein High School in Illinois. Mr Beck goes on to present a 2017 timeline of events in the history of this movement, focusing mainly on the NFL.

The protest has spread to high school athletic contests for both girls and boys, but its origins are in the NFL, culminating with Beyoncé presenting Kaepernick with the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award at the 2017 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Awards show on December 5.

But Tuesday’s State of the Union speech by President Donald Trump enshrined the protest in the national record for all time. This is what he said:

Here tonight is Preston Sharp, a 12-year-old boy from Redding, California, who noticed that veterans’ graves were not marked with flags on Veterans Day. He decided all by himself to change that, and started a movement that has now placed 40,000 flags at the graves of our great heroes. (Applause.) Preston, a job well done. (Applause.)

Young patriots, like Preston, teach all of us about our civic duty as Americans. And I met Preston a little while ago, and he is something very special—that I can tell you. Great future. Thank you very much for all you’ve done, Preston. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Preston’s reverence for those who have served our nation reminds us of why we salute our flag, why we put our hands on our hearts for the Pledge of Allegiance, and why we proudly stand for the National Anthem. (Applause.)

Unfortunately, Mr Trump’s characterization of kneeling during the national anthem completely missed the point of the protest. The American flag doesn’t stop representing the veterans who gave their lives for this country when it is burned. And Americans, in all their diversity, with free speech leading to inevitable irony, do not stop saluting the flag when they take a knee during the national anthem. In fact, the gesture of kneeling was designed to maintain respect for the many different things the flag means to all of us.

I can tell you, speaking for three generations of my family, it is PRECISELY for men like Kaepernick, and his right to peacefully protest injustice, that we were willing to serve,” Business Insider quoted Michael Sands, a Green Beret who is the son of a World War II veteran and father of an Army officer who served in Afghanistan, as saying. “Want to respect the American flag? Then respect the ideals for which it stands. Bullying language and calling peaceful protesters ‘sons of bitches’ who should be fired aren’t among them.”

The Super Bowl will hold its 52nd meeting Sunday, and while the protests have dimmed, especially in light of the president’s characterization and the fact that Kaepernick is no longer the quarterback for the 49ers, the game looks to be an offensive shootout, according to Matthew Conway, staff writer for the Viking Logue at Fremd.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady makes his eighth Super Bowl appearance, having won it already five times, and he faces off against Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, whose second season—2013, one season after the Ravens won the Super Bowl against Kaepernick—got him elected to the Pro Bowl after leading the league in passer rating and tying an NFL record with seven touchdown passes in a single game that year.

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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