It's A Grand Old Flag

Every NFL player who kneels commits a despicable and incoherent act.

The Dallas Cowboys and their owner Jerry Jones are the latest overpaid and ignorant ingrates to join the anti-American national anthem kneeling. They knelt on Monday, 24 hours after the rest of their frivolous league mates made the same protest, which mediocre quarterback Colin Kaepernick initiated last season. Do not be confused by the ubiquity of the gesture. Every professional football player who kneels for the national anthem commits not merely a despicable act but also an incoherent one.

Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick laid out the alleged logic of the protest in 2016. He explained, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave, and getting away with murder.” Kaepernick alleged that there is a nationwide epidemic of racist cops gunning down innocent black victims. Despite the widespread popularity of this belief, it bears little connection to reality.

Regardless, kneeling for the Star-Spangled Banner is not despicable and incoherent merely because some allege police brutality where there is none. In certain specific jurisdictions, statistics do indeed demonstrate certain racial inequalities that do not so easily lend themselves to explanation, and there will always be some small number of bad cops. The causes of racial inequalities may be publicly debated. That is all beside the point in this case.

If the players performed some gesture to express dissatisfaction toward police officers, they would be protesting the police. If the players performed some gesture to express dissatisfaction toward President Trump, they would be protesting President Trump. In this case, the players perform a gesture to express dissatisfaction toward the flag — the Star-Spangled Banner, which symbolizes our country. Kaepernick described that aim in precise and explicit language when he launched the trend.

To so disrespect the flag and therefore the country it symbolizes makes no sense because the premise of the protest is debunked by its very fact. The players are only permitted to protest because they are Americans. No other nation in history has permitted such free expression. No other nation in history has spilt so much of its own blood to reconcile the natural fact of slavery with the Christian civilization that engaged in and yet philosophically abhorred it. No other nation in history has so meticulously sought and cultivated racial diversity and equality before the law. No other nation in history has so prospered that it can pay grown men tens of millions of dollars per year to run around and entertain us while still offering nonpareil international charity and single-handedly securing the world order.

Perhaps these virtue-signaling lowlifes are projecting their own moral defects on the country that has given them everything and asked nothing in return. As my colleague Joseph Curl points out, NFL players are arrested on average once every seven days for charges including domestic violence, drunk driving, assault, battery, gun violations, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, theft, burglary, drug offenses, rape and murder. In any case, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has loosened league restrictions on end-zone dances. Here are some song lyrics the players might learn if they weren't tone-deaf:

You're a grand old flag,
You're a high-flying flag,
And forever in peace may you wave.
You're the emblem of
The land I love
The home of the free and the brave!
Ev'ry heart beats true
Under red, white and blue,
Where there's never a boast or brag.
But should old acquaintance be forgot
Keep your eye on the grand old flag!

UPDATE: Some have written to point out that the Dallas Cowboys Monday night took the field and knelt immediately before the National Anthem but stood for the Star-Spangled Banner itself. While I appreciate readers' precision, this seems a distinction without much difference. The Cowboys participated in the league-wide kneeling protest. Too clever by half, they cynically tried to have their cake and eat it too.


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