Television host Mike Rowe typically avoids politics, but he did take the time to address a question on Facebook regarding the national anthem protests, issuing a stark reminder to President Trump and the anthem protesters: the people are the ultimate arbiters on this issue.
Rowe began his answer by pointing out that people get the kind of society they deserve since they have the ultimate power as to who deserves attention and who doesn’t. He lamented that both sides were using football as a political tool.
“In my view, the real controversy here isn’t about patriotism, social justice, racial inequality, or free speech. It’s not even about the flag or the national anthem,” Rowe wrote. “It’s really only about one thing – what we will tolerate, and what we won’t.”
Rowe expressed his disappointment with Trump’s comments suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the anthem.
“The President’s comments presuppose that the owners are in charge of the game,” wrote Rowe. “They’re not. We are.”
“We decide what to watch, and that decision – far more than any other consideration – will determine what the owners choose to do. And that in turn will affect what the players choose to do.”
Rowe noted that Trump blew an opportunity to unite the country behind the notion that he and the NFL all work for the people. While he understood the NFL commissioner’s and President of the Players Union’s responses to Trump, they were “perfectly arrogant.”
“They too, presuppose that millions of fans will continue to watch them play a game – no matter what,” wrote Rowe.
Rowe pointed out that football fans typically endure a lot of “dubious behavior” from the NFL in order to continue watching the game they love, but if the anthem protests continue, that could change.
“The fans of professional football are not powerless – they’re just not yet offended enough to turn the channel,” wrote Rowe. “Should that ever change in a meaningful way – if for instance, a percentage of football fans relative to those players who chose to kneel during today’s games, chose to watch something else next Sunday – I can assure you…the matter would be resolved by Monday.”
Rowe concluded his post by suggesting that people watch the first episode of his show Returning the Favor, where people could watch “actual heroes – combat veterans who made sure today’s athletes have the right to kneel for our flag, or honor it.”
The full post can be read here.