Dave Richards for November 7th
--Once again the National Football League is in trouble. Trouble, I believe, it brings upon itself. The owners, who own the league, some time back hired what I believe to be a weak commissioner. This man will do anything he’s told to do. Which means, when controversial issues come up, he’ll always do the expedient thing and not necessarily do the right thing.
When the New England Patriots were having their way with their opponents on the field and going to the Super Bowl frequently, some of the owners didn’t like it. Because of that, the commissioner didn’t like the Pats. He did his best to reverse the fortunes of the Patriots in order to appease the other owners. He made expedient decisions. The Pats won anyway, or perhaps, in spite of it.
When the protests began and players decided to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem, it was bad. Many owners, where the expediency begins, didn’t want to appear to be stifling social commentary (because that would be bad for business) so they ordered the commissioner to look the other way. Once again, expediency has its price. Viewership of NFL games has taken a tumble as the American public has voted to disapprove of a league which has no backbone.
They say, if you don’t take a stand for something, you’ll stand for anything. However, the American public finds it a shallow argument when athlete millionaires protest social injustice on the job by disrespecting national traditions. The players should have thought better of this, and observed the public’s earlier reaction to famous actors and actresses who use their notoriety to protest. The American public doesn’t buy it.
Add to that, I see a very big difference between the two. When the actors or actresses are protesting, they are doing it on their own time, not during the shooting of a Hollywood film. The football players are in uniform, on duty, and inside the building in which they work. In my opinion they have taken the matter way farther than the actors and actresses protests, which didn’t work for them. What could the players be thinking, if indeed thinking was part of the process?
If the football players were on their own time, out of uniform and not in the football stadium when they chose to protest, I would be defending their actions, I would. Personal protests should be conducted on personal time.
Can you imagine if you had saved up your money and took your family to a place like Disney World, for example, and a costumed character there decided to step out of character and protest something they didn’t like in front of all the visitors to the park? If you can imagine that, you can imagine what happens next. The employee will be summarily dismissed and escorted from the park because, as we were taught when we were children, there is a time and a place for everything.
Do you have a right to peaceably protest in this country? You certainly do! Do you also have a responsibility to protest without causing harm to others? You certainly do!
Famous sports broadcaster Vin Scully loves to watch NFL football games. At a speaking engagement recently he was asked what he thought of the player protests and he said frankly, “I miss watching the games, I do. But I simply shut the TV off and won’t watch what is happening now. I hope it ends soon, because I really miss it.”
Famous pizza maker Papa John’s invested a ton of money into being named the official pizza of the NFL. Falling TV ratings are making that investment a big mistake for them and they are holding the league responsible for their mis-management of the issue which is costing Papa John’s plenty. They won’t be the last company to re-examine their advertising with NFL games. I assure you there will be more. Expedient decision making causes this kind of trouble.
Now we hear that the same football players who have been causing so much damage to their sport and to those who invest money in the sport are demanding a ‘sit-down’ meeting with the league to air their grievances. Grievances? To me that sounds like a classic case of the tail wagging the dog. And the tragedy of it is you can’t even blame the commissioner any more………..he was the wrong guy for the job when he took the job…..and he’s just doing what he’s told.
The problem is……leaders are not leaders if they only do what they are told to do. They are followers. In my opinion, the NFL needs leadership to stop the bleeding and start the healing. The NFL needs a new commissioner.
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: email@example.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.
Thanks for reading!