Yet Goodell is far less stern about anti-patriotic protests. In an interview with Matt Lauer airing on September 14, the commissioner welcomed these displays: “We play a role in society, an important role in society,” he says. Apparently this includes offending large segments of that very society. Lauer asked Goodell directly if, on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it might be difficult to see a player kneel or sit for the anthem.
“I don’t think so,” answered Goodell. But players expressing reverent support need a talking-to, and should be threatened with reprisals.
While no one suggests these players should have their rights of expression stripped, I do have to question their methods. You may position yourself the ambassador of a message you want me to become aware of to effect “significant change,” in your word-salad mission statement. Yet when you antagonize the entire nation and disrespect the memory of victims of a savage national attack in order to draw attention to yourself and your pet cause, the opposite occurs. You have instead granted me permission to ignore any message you want heard.
The Miami Dolphins have already given me permission to avoid further games. Goodell and the NFL are working on a similar project. I don’t have to expend any more money towards their posturing, nor the league sponsors. Although I don’t drink Bud Light’s tepid product, I am often dispatched to get beer for game-time parties, and have taken pleasure in getting cans emblazoned with the ‘Phins logo for my Bills devotee. No more. The family has also been told to refrain from aqua-colored gift-giving. Load me up with NHL gear instead.