Open Letter To The NFL
By Sam Blair
Growing up we all did small seemingly innocent acts every morning before school. For some of us it was tending the horses. For others it was putting away the dishes and cleaning the kitchen for Ma; and for everyone it was reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as we stood with our hands covering our hearts facing the American flag.
Those twenty-nine words instilled in me a sense of pride for my flag and country. I watch as progressive liberals slowly degrade our Pledge bit-by-bit, first by attacking the use of “God” in the Pledge, and then by attacking the recital of it in public schools. This has become a sort of cancerous sore for most Americans. The very cornerstone of our nationalism has been brought to its knees by a politically correct fueled rage. It’s ironic how those who brought us to our knees are now on their knees as well, albeit for a different reason. How ironic is it that those progressive liberals who want equality for all do not want to support an affirmation of liberty and justice for all. In the spirit of the Pledge I would like to dictate an open letter to all professional athletes, though more specifically the player’s of the National Football League.
This is an open letter to the NFL players who kneeled for The Star-Spangled Banner, but stood for Britain’s God Save the Queen. Let that sink in. England and the other European powers are the reason the African slave trade came to and thrived in America. England colonized most of the known world through violence, intimidation, and terror for over a hundred years, but you think Trump said mean things and now you want to take a knee?
Take a trip to Valley Forge in January. Hold a musket ball in your fingers and imagine it piercing your flesh and breaking a bone or two. Imagine that there won't be a doctor or trainer to assist you until after the battle. Imagine lying on a cot waiting your turn while listening to the screams from the other wounded. Then take a knee.
March in the steps of thousands of Americans who fought their own family to end formal slavery in the United States at the Battle of Gettysburg. Families were torn apart, morals were questioned, and allegiance to the flag was tested every day. Look your fellow countrymen and brothers in the eyes as you take up arms against their revolution. Pull that trigger as the cold steel of a bayonet is plunged into your stomach. Then take a knee.
Go to Normandy where American men stormed the beach, dodging dead bodies and withering machine gun fire as the sea was stained with American blood. Imagine that your fellow players are your dead brothers in arms. Then take a knee.
Take a knee in the sweat soaked jungles of Vietnam. Over 60,000 Americans died in those jungles. There was no playbook or million dollar contracts for doing your job, but they understood what our flag represented. When they came home, their fellow Americans protested them. Then take a knee while they spit on you.
Take another knee in the blood-drenched sands of Fallujah in 110-degree heat. Trade in your pads for a Kevlar helmet and battle dress. You'll have to stay hydrated, but there won't be anyone to squirt Gatorade into your mouth. And watch out for those IEDs when you take a knee.
There are a lot of places to take a knee. Americans have given their lives all over the world. When you use the banner under which they fought as a source for your protest you dishonor the memories of those who bled for the very freedoms you have. That's what the red stripes mean. It represents the blood of those who spilled it defending your liberty.
So while you're on your knee, pray for those that came before you, not on manicured fields striped and printed with numbers to announce every inch of game yardage, but on nameless hills, bloodied beaches, sweltering forests, and bitter cold mountains, every inch marked by an American life lost serving that flag you protest.
No cheerleaders, no announcers, no coaches, no fans, just American men and women on the land, air, and sea delivering the real fight against those who choose to harm us and oppose our Western way of life so you would have the opportunity to dishonor their service by "taking a knee."
You have no clue what it took to get you where you are. Your millions of dollars, mansions, cars, and "protests" are duly noted. Not only is it disgraceful to our nation, it points to your ingratitude for those who chose to defend you under that banner that will still wave long after your stats and game jersey are completely forgotten. If you really want change and your "protests" to mean something go spread your message of love, unity, and acceptance on television, radio shows, and through public speeches. Taking a knee during a song before a football game won't change anything. What will is when high profile citizens like you go and speak out about police brutality and build relationships with police. It changes when people like you go out to those affected areas. It changes when you speak up. This "silent protest" does nothing. Abolitionists and civil rights leaders wouldn't have made their advancements if they knelt in the courtrooms and streets. Don't let their accomplishments go to waste by taking a knee. Go out and do something. You all support the NFL Play 60 movement. Why not go out for 60 minutes a week and speak up for your beliefs instead of falling mute?
Have self-pride or look at your own fellow athlete and brother, Alejandro Villanueva of the Pittsburg Steelers. Villanueva is a first generation American citizen, as well as a retired United States Army Major [sic] and former member of the 75th Ranger Regiment. Just like you, he has decided to be a man of deeds and not words. The difference is that he has devoted his life to the betterment of his fellow Americans. You won’t find him in the locker room or kneeling during our National Anthem because he will be standing proudly with his hand crossing his heart in reverence of our flag and great nation. Take a cue from him and quit kneeling on the sidelines. Don’t shame your fellow athletes who stand up proudly for American values. Don’t bully them into publicly apologizing for doing nothing other than respecting our flag, honoring our fallen, and standing up for the defenseless. Instead, stand up like generations of American men have for years while confronting your demons. Defend the defenseless and at the end of the day your legacies will be worth more than any contract you have signed.
Author: Sam Blair
Edit: To the authors knowledge Alejandro Villanueva was a Captain in the U.S. Army during much of his service overseas and now stands at the rank of Major in the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.