Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Irma. And now Hurricane Maria.
Our country's focus should be on helping those affected by these natural disasters. But, what's on our minds?
Football players refusing to come out of the locker room for the national anthem. Football teams segregated as some choose to stand at attention, while others do not. Voices around the world weighing in on whether kneeling during the national anthem is offensive or not.
Of the 323 million Americans, let's just say 150 million Americans spent their Monday coffee hour or dinner table conversation talking about this controversy. It's wasted time. That hour across the country amounts to a combined 150 million hours.
With that type of man power and time, we could've put our 150 million minds to work to come up with a solution to help those in need in places such as Puerto Rico, Houston, and Florida. Those 150 million minds could've been brainstorming ways to combat the drug addiction that plagues citizens across our country.
Our country's division is growing wider and wider.
Football is America's greatest sporting spectacle.
Google's definition of sport is "an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment."
In recent headlines, our country has taken the entertainment out of sports and turned it into yet another platform to discuss politics and social issues. President Donald Trump, the leader of the free world, is adding more fuel to a fire that doesn't need to be burning. He's calling athletes and sports teams around our country SOBs and engaging in conversation that is inappropriately placed.
Our Sundays are being taken away from us. The NFL is one of the most, if not the most, popular sporting organizations in our country. Sundays are a luxury for football fanatics to forget about their personal problems for a few hours as they watch their favorite teams go head-to-head, while even most fans take it a step further and participate in fantasy leagues where they act as virtual general managers.
What once was a Sunday of leisure while watching athletes excel has now become another day and another platform that sparks conversations about:
We've been robbed of our entertainment and replaced with more controversy and anger where it doesn't belong. There's no escape.
Do NFL players have a duty to stand at attention for the American flag?
According to Time Magazine, standing at attention of the flag on the field during the national anthem is written in the general operations manual for NFL teams to abide by.
Here's the excerpt:
"The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem.During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violation of the above, including first offenses."
These NFL teams are technically in breach of their contracts and may face repercussions at the hand of their own decisions. It's understandable that a group of men would want to make a bold statement in response to a man who is supposed to unite our country, not act as a divider.
Personally, I believe as Americans we have a civic duty to pay our respects to our flag as a ritual that symbolizes our freedom when the national anthem is played. If that's not your opinion, that's fine. As a constitutional right, you have the freedom to express yourself however you deem necessary.
Is patriotism a real value of the NFL?
President Trump seems to think it is from his tweet storm.
It seems far-fetched though seeing that the national anthem policy conveniently changed in 2009 when they began a marketing sponsorship with the U.S. government. Thinkprogress.org lays out all of the details about how the NFL patriotism isn't all about patriotism.
It's misleading business practices. The NFL teams have been receiving compensation in exchange for marketing tactics for our government. They aren't putting a focus on our nationalism out of the goodness of their hearts. These teams are filling up their pockets with cash as they show support for the military and government as a marketing ploy. Can we really be THAT shocked? The NFL is a business after all.
We must prioritize what's important over what's trivial.
Let's ignore our president's tweet storms that have no benefit to the greater good of society. Personally, I believe it's his way of diverting the attention away from things that really matter.
An NFL player, J.J. Watt, proved how influential and resourceful his organization is during time of need when the focus is on those who need it most. He took initiative to spread a national call to action to raise money for hurricane relief, which ultimately amounted to over $37 million. These are the stories we should be telling and focusing on.
Our society is always going to be at odds if we have marginalized groups and a leader whose communication skills are highly suspect. We can't buy into that nonsense.
We must keep our focus on those that truly matter and what's most important. Those victims who need our help are the ones that matter. Those players like Watt who are using their national platform to better our society are who we should be spending our time talking about -- and we should be joining him on helping with these relief programs.