The big shots of the National Football League (NFL) have no one to blame but themselves for the problems surrounding the playing of the national anthem at the beginning of each gladiatorial exhibition that they refer to as a football game. It is they, the league, who concocted this false link between football and the anthem along with the adoration of things military and superficially patriotic. In the past, the league and the owners contracted with the US military to provide exhibitions of and by military personnel, ceremonies honoring “our heroes”, aircraft flyovers, enormous flags and the like thus setting the stage for protests when black players finally understood the irony, the absurdity and the injustice of the show.
Almost two years ago and shortly after the first time Colin Kaepernick took to his knee, I wrote a column entitled “Anthems and Pledges - RIP? Since then the situation in footballdom has deteriorated as the NFL tries to contain the uncontainable. The more they try to control the players, the worse it gets and the more stupid and clueless the league responses become. Their effort to milk more miserable bucks from a show of false patriotism has proven a divisive disaster yet they strut forth naked in their ignorance as did the emperor without clothes.
In my referenced column on anthems and pledges, I quoted from an article by Mike Whitney in which he suggests that we consider alternatives to pledges and, might I add personally, anthems. I would like to suggest that before the anthem is played we do as Whitney opined, recite the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence. Just think of the effect of 80,000 people in a stadium saying this in unison:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”